Homes Decorated For Christmas in Historical Town

Back in December 2014, I was hired to photograph a private holiday party in my town. Before the guests arrived, I photographed the gorgeous decorations both inside and outside the residence. This was a lovely event that included a horse drawn carriage for the guests to ride around town for a bit. It was great to have been asked to be there.

All images are copyright Deirdre Ryan Photography. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Deirdre Ryan Photography.

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Then in December 2015, I went on the Annual House Tour, hosted by the Bordentown Historical Society. I remember going on this tour when I was a little girl many times with my mother and I loved seeing the historical homes all decked out for the holidays, smelling wonderful of cookies and scented candles. But the best part was listening to the owners tell the history of each home to the guests.

This year, sadly there were not enough homes for the House Tour and it was cancelled, so here are the ones that I photographed from last year. I photographed these for my own and to give to the owners. We’re all hoping that more people sign up for this lovely annual tour next Christmas.

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For the home party images, I used my Canon Mark 5D III and the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L lens with a tripod, for the slow shutter speeds, and bracketing of f-stops, that were required for the low light in the home without the use of a flash. For the other homes, I used my Canon 6D and the same lens, and a monopod. However the monopod has three hidden feet that you can use to stabilize it for longer exposures and again, bracketing of the f-stops. What that means is that I created each image as slightly different in exposure so that I could combine them later or see which one frame would suit my purpose. I’ve also done another type of bracketing with each frame being a different ISO, or what some will remember it being called, film speed.

This method goes back to film days, back then you couldn’t see how your exposures would turn out. So you often would do this technique in architecture and landscape photography. And now with digital, you can combine the exposes together to help with especially tricky lighting. It requires a light touch still. You see it’s one thing to understand how to take photos such as these, but once I get them to the computer, I then use my further expertise in the processing to achieve the look that I wanted.
You can also do a method called focus bracketing where you can focus in on different areas of a subject, and then combine the frames in post as a composite. I’ve seen this done in macro and in certain types of portrait photography.

I have to say, I am not a architecture photographer, so doing this type of genre once in awhile for me, is fun and a challenge. To do things right even further, I would’ve liked to have a special tilt-shift lens that would enable me to get the wide shots without the distortions as much. But those are really expensive, even to rent. There is something about the super-wide lens that gives a great dynamic to some of the shots that you won’t get with any other lens that I like very much. We shall see what happens in the future!

Thank you all for letting me in your homes, it was a privilege.

All images are copyright Deirdre Ryan Photography. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Deirdre Ryan Photography.

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