October 15, 2015

Halloween Photography

Hello to all my blogger friends, I hope you’re enjoying the change of season and getting out with your camera to capture all that fall has to offer. I’m fortunate that I live in New England and in my area we definitely have four seasons, each with its own special flavors and colors and photo opportunities.  

Around here, the humid hazy days of summer have given way to crisp cool days with clear air and bright blue skies. These are the perfect combinations for taking beautiful photographs. Not only that, but the sun is lower in the sky providing wonderful long shadows in early morning and late afternoon. So conditions are perfect for photographers — amateur or professional — to get out there and take some great pictures.

One of the things I really enjoy about the Fall are the Halloween displays and decorations. To me this means everything from all the cute kids in costumes to spooky haunted houses and the erie glowing jack-o’-lanterns. 

I can remember when I was a kid there were a lot more homes decorated for Halloween than there are these days and personally, I really miss them. Luckily for me, there is a person in a neighboring town that really gets into Halloween and goes all out decorating his yard and I try to make it a must see event every year. 

I found this place totally by accident and have been going back yearly. It all began one afternoon in late September a few years back that I had some free time and was out riding my bike. In my travels I happened to be driving by his home, which is definitely off the beaten path, and I saw the homeowner out in his yard setting it up. I saw how much work the guy put into his display and I stopped to check it out and speak with the man.


You could tell by his enthusiasm that this was his favorite holiday and that he was really into it. He told me that it takes him over a week just to set up his display and that he uses one of his vacation weeks every year just to get it ready. He also told me that he has his display lit up for the entire month of October and welcomes all visitors to come and check it out.

This was my cue and I told him I was a local photographer and gave him one of my business cards. I told him that I really loved Halloween displays. I asked him if he would mind if I took a few shots with my point and shoot and he told me to feel free. All the time I was taking photos, he was giving me the history of his display. We still had a few more hours of daylight so I could only image what it would look like all lit up. 
I told him that I would really love to come back early some evening with another camera and some equipment and take some serious photos. He told me to feel free and come back anytime. Like always, I offered to send him some images and told him that he could go online check them out. 

His yard display had everything from witches flying around the yard to a make-shift movie theater where kids could come on weekends to see classic horror films like the Wolfman and Dracula.

Well, to make a short story even longer, I’ve been back quite a few times over the years and I still enjoy it. Night-time photography is a tough subject for many people and with a little practice and some careful planning, you can get some really great shots of Halloween displays yourself. For myself, shooting Halloween displays like his, I approach this like I would any other low light photography situation. For these photos here, I went with just one lens, a Canon 24-105mm ƒ4.0, set wide open. In situations like this you want to be as steady as possible so I brought along my trusty monopod to steady my camera. I also brought one or two off camera flashes with triggers or sync cords and a light stand to hold the flashes if I needed to. Usually I have to avoid getting spectators in my shots but that just takes a little patience. When lit correctly, you can’t tell that flash is even used and that’s what you want right? 

Over the years I’ve told a lot of friends and fellow photographer friends about this display and personally I hope he puts it up for many years.  

Like always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography