Archive for December 4th, 2011

A Frontier Christmas

Every year during the fist week of December the City of Prescott, AZ lights the Christmas decorations at the Courthouse. I have missed it for two years, because I am a block away over at the Sharlot Hall Museum getting ready to capture some low-light night shots.

There are tricks to getting these images. No tripod? Forget it! On-camera flash? Might as well point-and click! I find a couple of off-camera, radio-slaved flashes on manual or TTL with a dragged shutter may do the trick. The issues though are many, including the guests moving quickly past the camera and the area lights over-powering the shots. It makes getting good candids a worthy challenge.

The architecture at the museum grabs me right away, but Mike Lange, who works there (and is a photographer in his own right) puts a hand on my shoulder as I am setting up shots of the buildings and reminds me, “we want people!” Yes, the guests, who instinctively run out of the way when they see the tripod set up — presumably as a courtesy to the photographer. I call out, “wait! wait! It’s you I was trying to get!” So I come away with lots of ghosts running through the images, which are typically shot at 1/4 sec at F5.6.

Last year, the weather was cold, but clear:

2010 Frontier Christmas at the Sharlot Hall Museum (Prescott, AZ)

This year, we have early snow. So I donned my best pair of plastic pants and did Mike’s bidding, but not before I took just one more architectural shot. I went looking for the reenactment of Sharlot Hall by the outside fire. She was in parts unknown, so I shot the fire anyway, with her house in the background:

A Frontier Christmas at the Sharlot Hall Museum (Prescott, AZ)

Oh, the people? Here is a loving couple up from Scottsdale (about 90 mi away). I spotted their hats from a distance. I had to go find them to bring their Christmas regalia in front of the camera. They seemed thrilled to be in the shot. I want the hats!

Christmas Regalia


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