I saved one of my favorites for last. I title this tree “The Happy Tree” It is decorated with baubles that would make any child happy and wanting to grab. After all, we are kids at heart. See all the details below:
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.
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.
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).
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:
And a couple more decorations around the room:
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.
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.
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.
This image is taken in the Fonthill Saloon. Getting a good image is always a difficult task in this room with the huge windows and deep shadows. This image is a combination of a 4 image HDR blended with several single images to balance out the exterior light and maintain some of the interior shadows. Lights on the tree created the golden color cast.