Well it is the time of year I simply love taking photos of all things Christmas related, and the coming weeks will feature scenes from a holiday tree event as well as scenes from Lititz ,Pa and shop windows there. This is the first shot featuring two bears riding in a very nice miniature sleigh as they head through some deep snow at the mansion tree event.
This winter scene came to be thanks to the generosity of the homeowner, the sleigh owner, and my crazy desire to live in the past. The red sleigh was loaned to me by a kind lady who I have done photos for,and the property was made available for my idea by a generous gentleman who entertains my wild photo ideas. The two photos represent my vision for the shot,with the top being the final shot and the bottom was my pre-planning stage to decide where to place it.
This property is an ideal backdrop for the sleigh and the building on the left was actually hand-built by the owner and his son several years ago. I put a light on a stand in that building to shine light out the window across the snow toward the sleigh and lit everything else with flash. From the light illuminating the sleigh to the shadows on the roof from the pine tree,I had to light every element. The old lantern was provided by the property owner as well,and the fancy gift packages and decoration on the sleigh was courtesy of my wife.
The tricky part in doing something like this is knowing exactly where you are going to place the sleigh,and if you look closely at the bottom shot you can see two yellow stakes at the runners leading edge,which were my target spots on the snowy night. I placed a stick in the ground to mark my shooting location and had to walk very slowly as I pulled the package laden sleigh into position.One of the annoying things I had to deal with on this night was the fact that it was still snowing as I started to get the sleigh off the trailer,so I had to keep a tarp over it and try and set packages in place on the sleigh with a tarp on top of it. Thank goodness the snow stopped just in time to let me finalize everything or else I would have had to scrap the shoot. I will definitely remember this night and the fun I had doing this shot.
I am hoping the image that I shot tonight will be the last Christmas related image I post for the season, but who knows? This old sleigh is part of the Christmas decor at the Foxchase golf course banquet facility in Lancaster County. Each year the owners bring the old classic sleigh out of storage to brighten the season for all the events held in their Palmer room. I have seen it for several years, imagined what I might do with it, and finally decided to ask permission to shoot it. I shot it with a small flashlight, and went so far as to shoot through the branches of the tree to cast the shadow on the back corner. the blue cotton comes from using my flashlight on its cooler blue light setting and then shifting my white balance to something in the 4000 kelvin range, to give the blue snow effect. I also brought the packages in the right corner to hide carpeting that I felt hurt the image. My wife wrapped the fake packages a few years ago for my escapades each year. The owners say the sleigh dates from about 1902.Now just imagine traversing the countryside on a cold winters night, full moon illuminating the landscape, and fresh snow whipping around you, as you hold the reins in this classic ride.