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October 11, 2010 / Steve

Day 283 – Spooky Yards

As soon as October 1st arrives, our neighborhood starts to transform into a collection of spooky Halloween scenes. A couple of days ago, my next door neighbor put up this display.

Almost immediately, I had the idea of doing this shot, with gelled flashes to color the scene even more spooky and my fog machine that I use every Halloween would provide the finishing touch to the shot.

When I called my neighbor late last night to ask them if I could set up all my photography stuff in their yard to do the shot, she laughed and quickly agreed. Normally I would have just snapped the picture and been done with it, but this  shot required a major setup: two light stands, my camera on a tripod, and me running around their front yard with a big fog machine powered from an extension cord running all the way from my house. To get it right, many shots would be needed, considering the air wasn’t completely still. I had to experiment to see which way the fog would flow and then just keep at it. Can you imagine stepping outside at night to take the trash out and finding all this going on in your front yard? Yeah, that’s why I asked first. 🙂

Well, this turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. My wireless trigger for the camera only works within a few feet, so after doing the fog, I’d have to put down the machine (out of frame) and then run back near the camera to snap a few shots. I was working up quite a sweat. Right about then, Susan got home from a friend’s house and promptly asked me if our neighbor knew I was doing this and said “… because that’s creepy otherwise.” I told her “yes, of course I asked.” Susan has seen me doing some pretty strange things with photography up to this point, so she didn’t even bother to ask what I was working on and went inside.

Right about then, another neighbor emerged for his evening walk. Naturally he was curious to know what I was doing and was kind enough to be my “trigger man” for the camera. This worked perfect; I ran around dispensing the fog, stepped out of frame and then gave the word for the trigger man to press the button. We did most of the shots this way and I finally got the perfect one – or at least what I had envisioned in my head.

Thanks to the Churchyards for letting me turn their yard into a photography set!
And thanks to my neighbor Mike for helping me out with the camera! I probably wouldn’t have gotten it done as well if you hadn’t come along.

Strobist info:

  • 430EX flash on camera left @ 1/8 power, gelled blue
  • 540EZ flash at camera right @ 1/4 power, gelled red


Leave a Comment
  1. Sherrie / Oct 12 2010 7:01 AM

    I just love this picture and the mental picture I have of you running around your neighbor’s yard with the fogging machine. Too funny!

  2. Sand Sock Girl / Oct 18 2010 5:12 AM

    I am excited for the Halloween! Can’t wait for the trick or treat…

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