Monthly Archives: December 2015

Christmas at Fonthill – Conclusion

151231_FonthillChristmas_YellowTreeDetail_Impression by Karl Graf. Fonthill Yellow Room Christmas Tree Impressionistic Detail

This image is an impressionistic perspective of yesterday’s post of the Yellow Room Christmas tree detail.  I used Topaz Impressionism plug in to achieve the look.

This posting ends my series on the Fonthill Castle Christmas Decoration Exhibit.  I hope you have enjoyed the series.  I have enjoyed sharing it.

This probably be my last major project at Fonthill.  I will be moving back to the Washington State next Spring.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at Fonthill starting with a workshop led by my good friend John Barclay.  I want to also thank Ed Reidell and the staff at Fonthill for the opportunities to help out.  It was truly my pleasure.  I enjoyed every moment of it.

Tomorrow starts a New Year.  Every day is a gift to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Christmas at Fonthill – Map Room

151228_FonthillChristmas_Map Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Map Room

Books and reading areas are everywhere at Fonthill.  The Map Room is a small alcove extending from a walkway between the Study and the West Room.  Byers Choice Carolers are on the bureau on the far side of the room. The Dickens’ era figures compliment the decor of the Castle.  Mercer and Dickens were acquaintances.  See below.

151228_FonthillChristmas_Map Room2 by Karl Graf.

Christmas at Fonthill – West Room

151227_FonthillChristmas_West Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – West Room

Some rooms didn’t have room for big trees.  They still had their share of Christmas spirit.  Note the dull monocular tapestry.  At one time this decorated the concrete walls in bright color.  After around 100 years, the colors have faded.  I have seen some earlier photos of these tapestries.  They were beautiful.  Let your imagination wander.

To complement the tapestry, Mercer installed a series of tiles depicting Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers on the fireplace.  See below, and notice the tapestry again.

151227_FonthillChristmas_West Room2 by Karl Graf. West Room Fireplace with Dickins’ Pickwick Papers Tiles.

Christmas at Fonthill – East Room

151226_FonthillChristmas_East Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – East Room

The East Room has a little alcove that was made just for a Christmas tree.  Perfect fit.

This is a single exposure with natural lighting.  I highlighted the tree and the ceiling tiles using a simple recipe of Color Efex Pro’s tonal contrast, highlight detail, and pro contrast presets. The highlights were painted in leaving the background a “softer” contrast (thus popping out the sharper contrast highlights).

Christmas at Fonthill – Columbus Room – Merry Christmas!

151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Columbus Room

Merry Christmas to all!

Photographing the Fonthill Christmas Decoration Exhibit was very special to me this year.  Due to multiple reasons, I did not put up a tree this year (first time ever).  I substituted enjoying my usual tree with the beautiful exhibit at Fonthill.  I spent 6-7 hours exploring the Castle with my camera.  It was a very, very special day for me.

The Columbus Room is the most tile-decorated room in the Castle.  Christmas decorations are done in a similar fashion.  This tree was my favorite as I explored through the rooms.  Below is a close up of some of the details:

151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room3 by Karl Graf. 151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room2 by Karl Graf.

And a couple more decorations around the room:

151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room4 by Karl Graf. 151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room5 by Karl Graf. 151225_FonthillChristmas_Columbus Room6 by Karl Graf.

Christmas at Fonthill – Dormer

151224_FonthillChristmas_Dormer by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Dormer

This image is from the Fonthill Dormer.  The Dormer was Henry Mercer’s first bedroom at Fonthill.  The Study was in an adjoining adjacent room.  In his later years, Mercer moved to the darker Terrace Room to avoid the bright light of the Dormer.

This image is a single exposure.  Exposure was balanced using NIK’s Viveza plug in.  The corners were darkened using Color Efex Pro.

Christmas at Fonthill – Study

151223_FonthillChristmas_Study by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Study

This image was taken in the Fonthill Study, one of my favorite rooms.  Henry Mercer spent much of his time here.  There are four desks in different locations in the room.  Each one was placed to make the best use of light at a specific time of the day.

This image was taken using natural light.  Multiple exposures were blended together to balance the overall exposure and maintain shadows and the light patterns on the floor.  I used Color Efex Pro’s tonal contrast to pop the tree out from the background.

Christmas at Fonthill – Morning Room

151222_FonthillChristmas_Morning Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Morning Room

This image is from the Fonthill Morning Room adjacent to the Saloon.  Most of the standard day tours do not cover this room.  I could not get an acceptable HDR or blended image so I used flash for this image.  I set my camera exposure for exterior through the window.  The flash provide the light for the tree.