I imagined this photo for years. For 6 weeks Onondaga County's Lights on the Lake brighten the northern third of the eastern side of the lake. Thousands of cars drive through it to see themed arrays. The fleeting view one has from I 690 W is more magical to my eye.
To photograph it, though, was an exercise in focus (or not quite focus) during a narrow window... a few minutes at dusk. Before that it is too light. After that we are not allowed into the north end of the park.
I looked at the scene from the West Shore trail. Too far away and too wide a view.
I broke the rule, walked around Willow Bay after 5, and finally found the right angle to take a snap of the long stretch of lights and then the city of Syracuse, 6 miles away along the south end of the lake.
Photographers encounter the frustration of photographing any light display. A display of lights is most enjoyable because of the whole, which includes the overall shape, movement in the arrangement, and one's own motion through or around it. When we see a Christmas tree, we don't see single bulbs; we see the classic and colorful, or monochromatic, shape. It is an illusion of sorts. But a camera likes to see each and every single bulb. Not interesting. Have to recreate the illusion. Aha.