It’s that time of the year when things start to get spooky! My kids are getting excited with Halloween approaching and the kitchen is splattered with pumpkin guts everywhere while the carving rituals begin. All the activity got m creative juices flowing and I decided to join in on the fun.
I instantly knew that a pumpkin must be included in the image as they just scream Halloween but I wasn’t sure what else to add to it. That is until I saw my wives “Miss Fritter” model toy from the Cars 3 movie and I quickly began to sketch out my idea.
Sadly my drawing doesn’t really show the idea I had in my head but I knew what I wanted to achieve so it just served as a reminder. My idea was to have poor Miss Fritter driving away from a Monster Pumpkin along a dirt road with some tree’s and fog added in for atmosphere. Now that I had the important features of the image planned, it was now time to start gathering the props to start setting the scene.
As you can see from the image above I used some fresh soil to make the muddy ground along with some conifers to make the forest background, I then placed my son’s carved pumpkin along with a squash hand prop and “Miss Fritter” onto the soil. I spent a bit of time shaping the soil and moving them to look right in the camera’s viewfinder. I choose the SIGMA dp0 Quattro for this creative project as the 14mm lens can focus really close and allows you to be creative with perspective.
With the scene now set, it was time to start planning what lighting to use to create my desired effect. I was going to use strobes or high powered continuous lighting but that would take too much time and the sun was starting to set. So I decided to keep it really simpl and quick by using an LED light on the inside of the pumpkin and used the LED from the back of my phone to light the scene. I then made multiple exposures with the plan to blend afterwards in order to give the appearance of many lights.
My first image was a success and went so well that I used it as the base image for the project. The light in the pumpkin was a little over exposed but I liked the effect and the fact that it also reflected light onto “Miss Fritter” as well as the hand prop. My second lighting technique (LED from my phone) was positioned behind the tree’s and gave a great look shining down on the the “fog effect” which in fact I created from using the vape from a E-cig (non nicotine). You can do this with a smoke machine but that often requires some mains power and time to heat up.
With the settings of 14mm, f8, iso100 and 4seconds the ambient light is almost non-existent giving me full control over the scenes lighting. I decided to do a few more frames while moving the phone light to a new position each time.
The main thing to remember if you are combining images like this it’s best to use a decent tripod and an external remote as any movement can make things tricky when combining the layers later. Also using a 10 second timer gives you time to move into position before the camera fires. Once you have the shots you need load them into Photoshop (or Gimp) and use layer blend mode lighten or Screen to combine the frames giving the effect of having more lights.
You can also use the Opacity to turn down the light of a particular frame and a Mask to only affect the parts of the scene you want, you can even adjust the colour of the light too by changing the white balance of the image or adding a colour filter. This gives you a lot of control over you final image. Its best to play around and have fun when doing this as you can also hit “undo” if you make a mistake and mistakes are a great way to learn anyway.
So after combining the images, tweaking the colours to make it look a little more like night and adding a few effects; I finished up with this image! My son loved to see his pumpkin come to life and I hope you have enjoyed it as well!