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:
And a couple more decorations around the room:
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.
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.
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.
Fonthill Castle Christmas Display – Saloon
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.
Fuji X-T1, XF18-135mm @ 110mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 1600
Today’s post includes a few examples of Holiday wreaths that adorn the homes and buildings in Colonial Williamsburg. I just captured a few as my party was walking down the Duke of Glouster Street to our next stop.
A couple of lessons learned here. I shot these images at a high ISO 1600. I was going in and out of shade. Some of the images could have been shot at a much lower ISO for less noise, some couldn’t. Lesson learned: Take my time on each image to get the best shooting parameters … Get out of the mode of shooting a “snap shot”! I did take a little time in processing to POP out the wreath details and colors. It made a difference.
Longwood Gardens East Conservatory
Fuji X-T1, XF18-55mm @ 18mm, f/22, 1/5 sec, ISO 400
This is the first scene I saw as I entered the Longwood Conservatory from the East end. I caught this before a zillion people showed up. I saved my first image for the last Longwood Christmas post for this year. Next year will have many additional interesting opportunities. Goodbye Longwood, at least for the time being.
Fuji X-T1, XF18-55mm, @ 55mm, f/8, 1/55 sec, ISO 400
There is always something around every corner or sometimes right in front of you at the Longwood Gardens Conservatory. This decoration was right in front in the East Conservatory as I walked in. It caught my eye as soon as I glanced around the room.
I pulled out the details of the twigs and the feathers with a “recipe” that I have made in NIK Color Efex Pro. The recipe is a combination of Tonal Contrast, Detail Enhancement, and Pro Contrast. I then applied Darken/Lighten Center to provide additional focus on the white decorations. The total processing time was less that 2 minutes.
Fuji X-T1, EF18-55mm @ 55mm, f/11, 1/10 second, ISO 400
I am still in the Christmas mood. This image is just an effort to work with composition. The subject is the center stamens and pistils of the poinsettia flower. The plant leaves framed the subject while the background ornaments added interest without distracting from the stamens and pistils. I cropped the leaves to eliminated any distracting edges. Using the “mirror lock-up” function might have improved the sharpness of the subject. Always learning …
Canon 5D MkIII, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro – Multiple Exposure
We spent most of Christmas Day lounging in our living room looking at our Tree and reminiscing about the past memories that some of our ornaments brought back. While doing so, why not get a couple of images.
This photo is a combination of two images; one taken at normal focus at a moderate aperture. the other taken as a shallow depth of field and defocused. I combined them using photoshop layers, nothing very fancy.