Sunday night ended up being an early Halloween treat. Mary and I went to The Mortuary Haunted House, where the theme was not my favorite (zombie outbreak), but the line moved fast and it was still an excellent haunted house as always (and not as heavy on the zombie part). The building used to be an actual mortuary and has it’s own real adjoining graveyard.
Afterwards, since it was such a lovely evening and a nice quiet Sunday night, I grabbed my DSLR, tripod and a bag of various lenses to do some serious photography. Every year the owner of a beautiful old home on St. Charles at State Street (referred to as the St. Charles or State Street Skeleton House, and often tagged on facebook as The Halloween House) with a large, iron fenced front yard puts out a elaborate display of life sized skeletons, each with a card identifying what it’s supposed to be. This one is The Scream and one of my favorites. The house can be hard to photograph because of the constant flow of locals and tourists stopping to look and take their own photos and read each of the cards and see what’s new, and even as late as 2:30 am (when I finished) people were still stopping and admiring it.
There are a lot of beautiful light displays in the Garden District and Uptown area of New Orleans, though most don’t leave their lights on all night, but I decided to make a drive through and see what else was lit up. I drove up Nashville and saw a few homes and stopped. Down Magazine Street, not much, then swung around down Jackson and came back up Prytania. I remembered it ran past the Lafayette Cemetery No 1, one of my favorites, and wondered if I might be able to get a few photos through the gates. I arrived there just before 3 am and found… one of the main gates open. I drove around to see if the gates across from Commander’s Palace were open also, and they were so I decided to drive through just to see if anyone jumped out to tell me to get out of there. No one did so I parked by the back gate and lugged my camera and tripod just inside to take a few photos.
A few photos ended up being over 100 long exposure photos, at various settings to make sure I’d get something decent out of it all. And when I realized I had a little flashlight in my bag (for focusing), I decided to try a little light painting, as shown in this image. The one thing I wished I had brought was a remote, but it’s actually easier just to use the two second timer and I rarely need anything longer than 30 seconds with my Sony. The first shot I tried ended up bright as day, and there was a hint of the waning full moon still, so I actually had to stop the aperture down and take shorter shots so that the photos would not look like day. I haven’t been to the cemetery in months and didn’t notice in the darkness that it had become quite overgrown with vines and weeds until I started feeling sharp little pains in my legs and looked down to see dozens of burrs on my thin cotton pants.
I shot a few more orange lit homes and when I got home it was almost dawn and I decided to finish putting up my own Halloween porch lights. I figured if spending the night in a cemetery couldn’t get me in the Halloween mood it wasn’t going to happen. I ended up wrapping six strands of lights around my glittery pumpkins for now, I might do more to them. The weather is rainy tonight, so look for more photos of my house this week. I might put up Mary’s brothers’ scary spider also.
Lots more photos to come from all of these, but right now I’m in my normal last minute panic trying to assemble outfits for four days in a row of Halloween parties this week. Halloween will always be my favorite holiday, but it’s busier than Christmas for me and my friends.