Saturday, October 23, 2010


   With Halloween just around the corner, the cameras are certainly going to be flashing away with all the amazing pictures that will be taken of all of the little ghouls and ghosts  in their costumes, to the amazing houses decorated to scare those little ghoulies and ghosties.  Years before your photos just ended up looking a little less than amazing.  This year you are bound and determined to capture those precious memories with some "professional" style.  So hers some tips on how to achieve great Halloween photos this year.
  •  Finding A Point of Interest- make sure you know what the focal point is of your picture.  The focal point will need to be the attention holder of the photo.  The item or person you will see first when looking at the picture.  Once you have determined the focal point make sure it is absolutely perfect.  It may be hard to achieve that with children, but pick the older child, place him in the middle of the other children, standing tall and then tell him to "BE STILL" and keep smiling.  His steadiness will make him the focal point.
  • Filling In Your Frame-To add that added punch to your photos make sure you fill in as much as possible into the picture.  To achieve a nice tight shot with people is to make sure you add as many as your frame will allow.  To fill in your frame an object the best way is to zoom into the object closer so you can remove any excess blank background.

  • Create New Angles-Did that pumpkin you shot last year look like the same one you took a picture of three years ago?  It's hard to make a picture of an object, that plain, stand out.  Try to create different angles to take the pictures from.  You should not have a problem getting that pumpkin, or any other object, to stand out in a way it never has before.
  • Candid Shots-The best way to get a photo shot of a person or multiple people is to catch them off guard.  Do some of your photos when people are not looking directly into the camera.  Have them talk to one another, playing with a pumpkin or putting on their costume.  When you have them look directly into the camera you more than likely will get the "deer in the headlights" look.  However, with a motion shot they will not have to worry about looking "just right".
  • No Flash-Sometimes the flash will cause red eyes or one point of interest to be more brighter than the other parts of the photo.  Either set your flash to outdoor setting, or kill the flash completely.  If you still need the flash, say you are in a dark setting and have to have a flash to pick up on the objects try to diffuse the flash with some cellophane.

  • Black and White- When going to print out your pictures, in stead of doing them all in color, get a few done in black and white coloring.  It gives your pictures a classic look and they become timeless.
  • Light From Below-When we just snap a photo, we usually capture the light from over head either with the sun or with a lamp light.  This way is always predictable.  To create a spooky, Halloween feel to your picture, place light on your objects from below.  When you are working with people have a flashlight put off light from below their faces.  When you are shooting a picture on an object like a pumpkin you can use a glow-stick to cast off the glow from the bottom of the pumpkin.
  • Creating The Red Eye-Contrary to what I have said about losing red eye look in Tip 5, sometimes a red eye photo for Halloween is much needed to create the devilish Halloween look.  If you want the person in your picture to have the "devil eyes" to enhance their costume then make sure the room is completely dark and have their eyes as wide open as they possibly can.  With this process you will most definitely use your flash!

  • Shutter Speed-Try to delay your shutter speed.  Either by setting it for 2 seconds or creating multiple shutter pictures like one right after another.
  • Bend Your Knees-Not every picture you take will be at your eye level.  Your children may not be the same height as you are and that pumpkin sitting on the ground is not at your eye level.  To get a great picture create the point of interest at your eye level by either bending down or even laying down on the ground.
  • Have Fun-Halloween is the time for fun and pretending, so make sure you have fun while you're capturing these lifelong memories.  Relax and don't expect every shot to be perfect.  Sometimes the best photos come fro the "oops" moments that you wish didn't happen.  Also try to do these tips the night before Halloween or a couple days before.  If you practice at taking your Halloween pictures, then when Halloween day rolls around, you'll be ready to snap away like a pro.



   Taking a photograph of a ghost or spirit does not require fancy equipment or extensive training.  Any camera is capable of capturing images of ghost and spirits.  Digital cameras are preferred because they produce immediate results, can e stored on a memory card or transferred to a computer without losing quality and there is no film to fiddle with in the dark.
  • Select a location that has reports of paranormal activity.  Although you can certainly capture a ghost image in the most unlikely of places, exploring paranormal hot spots increases your likelihood of capturing apparitions or ghostly figures.
  • Take pictures of a defined object to provide perspective and to judge distance.  Focus on a tree, gravestone or fence post if you are shooting a photo outside in a haunted location.  Include people in your photos when ever possible.  It is believed that some spirits are attracted to people and you just may catch that perfect shot while photographing your team members.

  • Avoid shooting into the sun as it causes lens flares that can easily be mistaken for paranormal images.  Any source of light, even the moon, can cause lens flare.  Be conscious of all sources of light, including flashlights.
  • Watch for reflective surfaces like windows, mirrors or shiny objects in the camera's field of view.  If yo are using a flash, objects out of the view of the camera can also reflect light that may appear on film in unusual patterns.
  • Tie hair back or wear a hat to prevent a strand of hair from accidentally falling in front of the lens.  Check lens straps and caps and keep away fro the front of the camera.
  • Avoid taking photographs in humid conditions or if it's raining or snowing.  This creates orb-like images on the picture.  Mist or fog may distort images or create a myriad of orbs.

  • Take a deep breath and hold it while you take a photograph to prevent your breath from appearing in front of the camera in cool weather.  Even when you can't see your breath, it may show up on film.
  • Take two shots of the same location without changing position.  Do this before exhaling as movement as simple as breathing out can shift the focus of the camera and result in a different angle.  If you are lucky enough to catch evidence of paranormal activity, you will have another photo to compare images.
  • Examine photos closely for unexplained images. Beware of a process called matrixing where the brain translates sensory stimulus to create a familiar image from the unknown.  If that ghostly face you see in the trees is composed of leaves and branches, then it is not a real ghost image.  An authentic ghost or spirit image is not created from parts of the environment.  It has a distinct shape and form that differs from the surroundings.

  • Study orbs carefully, as they are most often created by moisture, dust pollen or flying insects.  True spirit orbs emit their own light and may cast a shadow.  Study images of common dust and pollen orbs to learn to distinguish them from genuine spirit orbs.
   The tools you use to take spirit or ghost photographs is up to you, but keep in mind that the better the quality of the camera, the higher quality image it will produce.  Get in the habit of snapping photos whenever you visit a site or when you get a gut feeling a spirit may be present, but do observe standard precautions.  Not only does this prevent you from mistaking camera straps, reflection and orbs from insects or dust for ghostly images, it prevents real images from being compromised as well.


   One of the most intriguing phenomenons is the apparition of ghosts or spirits.  For centuries sightings of disembodied spirits have been reported around the world.  Are these ghosts just figments of our imagination, or is there really more to these spirits than just a children's fair tale?
   Sensationalism has defined the word "ghost" as a dangerous hideous spirit which rules and dominates the confines of where it is located.  But in reality these spirits, in most cases, seem to be unaware of their mistaken presence, much less ours.

Tower of London

Tower of London

   For over 900 years, the Tower of London has developed a very mysterious history and reputation.  This tower is home of headings, torture, and also numerous hangings.  This famous tower was also a prison to some of the Nobles throughout history.
   The "bloody tower" was the scene of the infamous murders of two princes, Edward V and Duke of York, in 1483.  According to sources, guards in the 15th century passing the tower spotted two small figures gliding down the stairs.  The spirits stood silently for a short time then faded into the stones of the tower.
   These figures again were spotted in 1674 and identified as the "two young princes".  Workmen at the tower complex discovered a chest which is believed to contain the skeletons of the young princes.  A royal burial and ceremony was provided for the two young men.
   Queen Ann is reported to appear near the Queen's House, as well as her headless body walking around the corridor of the tower.  The queen of England who was the second wife of Henry VII was beheaded in 1536.  Most of the ghostly figures spotted at the tower have been those who have met their death on this historic spot.


   The land down under is also known for its paranormal activity.  Ghosts are said to be disturbances in such cities as Perth, Brisbane, and also Sydney.  In a beautiful Mall in the middle of Brisbane, the second floor of this mall seems to be quite haunted.
   Consistent rumors have surfaced about the spirit of a former shopkeeper who roams throughout the second floor of the mall.  This female ghost has repeatedly been chased by security guards but always seems to escape around the next corner without a trace.

The Plow Inn

   The Plow Inn  in Brisbane, which was built around 1800, is also a frequently haunted establishment.  Local residents report that the female spirit which haunts the inn was reportedly strangled to death in the 1920's.  Now this spirit seems content to haunt the inn and patrons forever.

Eastern Airlines flight 401

Eastern Airlines Ghosts

  The crash of flight 401 was a tragic event which took place in 1972.  Pilots Bob Loft, and Don Repo were two of the 101 deaths which occurred during the crash of flight 401.
   Since the crash the spirits of Loft and Repo have been identified by numerous people.  Planes which were outfitted with parts from flight 401, and also aircraft which were flown by these individuals seem to be hot spots for the spirits of these aviators.
   Over twenty occasions witnesses have identified these spirits as the ghosts of Bob Loft and Don Repo.  Are their spirits trying to rectify their accident aboard flight 401, or do they just not realize that their bodies have passed from this dimension.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

   Mount Everest is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Andrew Irvine who died while climbing the peak in 1924.  This ghost was first reported in 1975 by Dougal Haston, and Doug Scott.  The ghost of Irvine has also been reported by numerous climbers since the initial sighting. 

Winchester House

Winchester House

  The famous Winchester house has reported 143 ghost sightings in the house.  Reports of a piano playing and also voices throughout the corridors continue to haunt the house.
   Old women and time period butlers have been spotted along with the ghost of Sarah Winchester roaming throughout the house.  Others have witnessed ghostly faces peering out of numerous windows in the house.
   Some of the hot spots in the house include the "Hall of Fame", the Winchester bedroom, and of course the se'ance room.



   Singapore is also considered by many to be an area of paranormal activity.  People who have visited the beach houses in Changi have reported being slapped by an unseen presence.

St. Johns Virgin Islands

  On St. John Island a spirit repeatedly calls for help then disappears into thin air perplexing those who hear its desperate calls for help.  This island is also the site where the spirit  of a ghost reportedly killed a local resident.

   If a spirit or ghost was seen in one spot by several people, maybe it could be written off as vivid imaginations or conjecture.  But, as you can see these disembodied spirits are witnessed around the globe by all different walks of life.
   Have these spirits lost their way, or do they not realize that their physical body has passed on?  Maybe some day when our consciousness awakens a "ghost whisperer can help these poor souls find their way to the next life, and beyond.





   The French have a phrase--ide'e fixe-- meaning to be obsessed with an idea to the exclusion of everything else.  There is probably no better explanation for the growing of giant---approximately one thousand pound--pumpkins.  In fact, in some sense, growing giant pumpkins has become a "big business".  Although growing giant vegetables isn't restricted to pumpkins, the pumpkin is iconic for what would be called "Paul Bunyan" gardening.  At the peak time of growth, a giant pumpkin can grow thirty to forty pounds a day, which is more than a pound per  hour! 

   The Ultimate Experience-the Giant Pumpkin

   One quote says, "To err is human, a pumpkin is Da' Vine".  The most carefully chosen pumpkin seeds, though, won't grow a world-class pumpkin without considerable planing and investment.  Seeds may now be bought online.  An internet search reveals many willing providers and forums dedicated to doing just that.  The correct choice must match the temperature requirements the temperature requirements of the variety one chooses to those of the climate.  Other factors include soil properties, pruning technique's,  fertilization, fungal supplementation, water chemistry and application method, and protection from the elements.

   What is Required to Squeak Out Maximum Growth?

   Giant pumpkins should be started indoors well in advance of the outdoor season, with care in choosing pots, soil mix, and lighting.  Pots must be large to avoid crowding of roots and only the strongest plants should be kept.  Transplanting outdoors, moisture must be carefully controlled.  A dry spell can dictate application of as much as a hundred gallons of water per plant.  Pruning of tertiary vine branches prevent the plant's vitality from being sapped by multiple fruit.  Sun canopies over the developing pumpkin prevent early fruit maturation and helps avoid cracking.  Mycorrhizae fungus improves nutrient and moisture absorption considerably.  Pests must be eliminated.  Some suggest playing music to the potential winner-preferably classical.

I'm not Interested in Giant Pumpkins

   Although most of us will never till our land with the intent of growing a giant pumpkin, is there nothing i the idea that appeals to your lighter side?