Sunday, January 2
I have just come across some of the Kardasian Christmas cards over the years found on Kim Kardasian’s site. They are quite freaky; I can’t seem to stop looking at them. For once on the subject of Christmas cards, I’m speechless.
Here is the one they just did this year, 2010. I am wondering if they meant it to look so Goth/ Adams Family, but I fear it was not meant to be ironic. Or maybe they were going for the mobster look. I can’t decide.
And here are some from previous years. I’m afraid they are quite consistently freaky….uh….sexy. I so wish it they were all tongue in cheek.
And what, pray tell, does a motorcycle have to do with Christmas?
I guess the photographer told all of the young Kardasian girls that splaying their legs suggestively at that age was a good thing.
My they all look so young, is Bruce the dad or the brother? (Tuck in your booby Kim).
And here we are back to where we started…a Kardasian Goth Christmas card.
Saturday, January 1
These holiday cards were just submitted by the Bale family and they are some of the best series of cards I’ve seen this year. I adore how this family really goes for it every year always with a creative sense of fun and flare. It helps that Dad is pretty skilled at Photoshop, though it should be noted that the photos for all of these cards are taken by themselves with a timer. I am in awe.
This was their card in 2007. It’s a fabulous Christmas card where they are helping each other get a star on the tree using in the style of “Cirque du Bale”. I’ve seen many cards with this theme. but this one is particularly imaginative in the way they lean against each other. Lori Bale (Mom) says that they did this in 5 shots all photoshopped together by Dad. The dog was separate, Mom and Dad were taken in front of a green screen, then one of Mom and her daughter, then one of the kids, and finally, the tree was added into the back ground as the 5th shot. This card is a huge success; it’s one of my all time favorites Christmas cards. It’s incredibly creative and incredibly well executed, a perfect combination.
This is the Bale family Christmas card 2000 of the family reflected in an ornament. This is a wonderful idea which I’ve seen quite a lot, but this one is very well executed. I think I may do a blog posting soon showing all of the ornament reflection shots I’ve come across.
Here is their card in 2001. Great Christmas card of kids inside of a snow globe. This is a fun twist on the snow globe card with the kids looking at it from outside as well as being inside. I did a posting on snow globe Christmas cards which this card would fit into perfectly.
Here is their 2003 Great Christmas card of two kids looking inside their fish bowl decorated for Christmas. I have never seen the fishbowl theme, I love the hats on the fish. I wonder if the line inside the card was “Fishing You a Merry Christmas”?
This is the Bale Family Christmas card from 2004 of a photo of their dog stealing a slipper of one of the kids. It’s such a cute idea for a Christmas card. I am curious if this was one shot of photoshopped together.
Here is the Bale family card from 2005 where each member of the family holds a blank card and they are photoshopped one within the other. Photos of frames within frames are another theme I may explore in another posting.
The Bale family Christmas card 2009 made with Sparklers with time lapse photography. See more cards using light and time lapse photography.
And here is their card form this year, 2010. I love it! They posed the family into a scene mimicking the Norman Rockwell painting, “Freedom From Want”, but with a modern twist. This reminds me very much of a card by Theresa Thompson mimicking the same painting. Notice the dog, the lizard and the rabbit at the table. I also like the original Norman Rockwell painting in the background.
And finally in honor of the day, here is a New Year’s Day card from the Bale family from 2002. On this one they photoshopped more confetti into the picture.
A huge thank you to the Bale family for taking the time to share these with me. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next year.
Happy New Year!
More Christmas cards are coming they are still coming in and I am struggling to keep up.
Monday, December 20
A clever idea can make or break a holiday card photo shoot. From giving children building blocks to play with, or angle wings, props can be a useful tool to getting that perfect holiday picture. In my experience, we parents only have about 5 minutes to shoot a decent photo, after that the children have lost interest and are in danger of being uncooperative at best, at worst, of having a complete meltdown. The best way to get around this is to give them an activity or a prop to get them to cooperate. Lets face it, unless we’re super models, it’s tough for ANYBODY to pose comfortably in front of the camera with somebody saying “smile”. The photo is always much better if they’re smiling already, right? The following photos use props in a variety of ways and get that fabulous shot worthy of any Christmas mantle.
Let it Snow
I know I’ve shown this photo before, but for me, Marc Battaglia’s picture of his kid on a sled with the dog in a harness is one of the best examples of using props that I’ve seen. The caption is great as well. And how much do you love the V of the Geese up in the sky?
This child has building blocks spelling the word “JOY”. I love the Christmas message being already in the photo.
Thsi is an adorable shot of a newborn baby wrapped up like a coccoon with pinecones around him. Very sweet.
This is a beautiful picture of kids with wings for their Christmas card like Raphael’s painting
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luke05olivia/3085953710
Amanda at AC Photography did this great picture of kids asleep in front of the Christmas tree.
Cute kids with antlers and red noses looking just like reindeers.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naomifrost/3005183436
And the children were all nestled all snug in thier beds. This is a cute idea for taking pictures of kids reading holiday books in bed.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/_juleeln/2104975449
A cute photo of children’s bottoms and the words “As we leave 2009 behind.”
Taken by Sharyn Peavey
Cute picture of a baby in the tub with words spelled out behind him in plastic letters. I think this is a very clever idea for a Christmas card… or any card for that matter. You could spell all sorts of things with these letters, from “Happy Birthday Daddy” to “Please Come to my Party”
I love the Santa legs in this photo shoot, the kid is, of course, going to look up engagingly and all the photographer has to do it shoot. What better prop than Santa?
This photo is taken by Robin Winkles
Cute photo of a little boy with a sign saying “believe” for his family Christmas card photo, the sign takes this card from good to great.
Taken by Robin Winkles
This is a fun idea for props for a holiday shoot, throw a bunch of candy canes on the floor and let the children play
Taken by Robin Winkles
This is a fun card where the kids have tape on their mouths with the Caption, “Silent Night”, it’s a clever idea if your kids are up for it.
Found at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150315070990#ht_8962wt_1141This is a cute idea for a Christmas card shoot with props of a baby in a tub with a teddy bear and a washboard.
Monday, December 13
This is a cute concept for a Christmas card, putting your family or pets inside a snow globe. It’s hard to execute, it takes great photoshopping skills and if you get it wrong the thing looks a little awkward. I found quite a few that were well executed though, so I thought I’d show them to you as inspiration to give it a try.
You can have one of these made on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/listing/37154983
This is a cute snow globe card, it looks like part of it was hand sewn with glitter inside.
Find out more about how she did it at: http://dailyviolets.blogspot.com/2010/11/christmas-cards-already.html
This is a sweet Snow globe Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonynewell/2123325316/
This is a beautifully executed snow globe holiday card with 2 dogs in the middle. Clearly the creator of this card has a lot of skill with Photoshop.
This image of a man trapped inside a snow globe cracks me up. I love it’s minimalistic approach.
I found it at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/3373940125/
This is a more lengthy photo shop process. The creator of this card goes to great length to explain how it was done at: http://galefraney.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/snow-globe-card-art/
Cute Christmas card of a girl inside a snow globe.
Found at: http://www.eyefetch.com/image.aspx?ID=94355
Found at Awkwardfamilyphotos.com
From Capitol Hill realtor Marlow Harris, who runs the Seattle P-I Capitol Hill blog, and the aptly named “Unusual Life” blog.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashedesign/sets/72157621967769341
Here is another snow globe Christmas card idea made by
Jennifer DeDonato. She used cardstock, ribbon, large glitter, acetate and a sewing machine. Read more about how she did it at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/colorfly/3127004864
If you make a snowglobe card and would like to share it on this page, please let me know.
Saturday, December 11
A lot of people are using the “American Gothic” painting as inspiration for all sorts of things; holiday cards, wedding portraits, ads, and just for fun. There were so many images to choose from ,this is just a smattering of what’s out there. but I chose these to show you because they seemed a good cross section of different styes and ideas of how to mimic this historic painting.
This is the original American Gothic Painting By Grant Woods
Classic black and white image by Gordon Parks of Ella Watson is a parodying the American Gothic Painting.
The Beverley Hillbilly’s pose like the American Gothic Painting. This was perhaps a precursor to the whole fad?
American Gothic Christmas Card done by Brian Bowker, in the book “Merry Christmas From…150 cards you wish you’d received”.
See it at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bowkerhouse/2088605125/
This photo is taken by photographer, Tristan Spinski of his parents in an American Gothic pose for their Christmas card
This is a very well done photoshop job. Found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjameshall/371493809
A fun couple photoshopped themselves as the American Gothic Painting
Found here: http://oddguyart.wordpress.com/
Fun photoshopped portrait of kids posing American Gothic style
Created by Theresa Thompson at http://www.flickr.com/photos/theresasthompson/2210407036
Dog’s even get into the action in this American Gothic parody.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katydaly/311448055/
Great picture of a couple posing American Gothic style.
Shot by Jackie Good at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakig/2651077624
Posted by jessica toney photography at
This card is strangely similar to the Brain Bowker one above.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15318056@N07/4457002279/
Beautiful bLack and white photo of a couple posing in American Gothic Style
Or you can use the American Gothic theme for a wedding portrait as shown at Utah Bride.
Also at Utah Bride : http://www.utahbrideblog.com/?p=2323
This bride also used the American Gothic pose for her wedding Portrait.
Shot by Dave Robbins http://www.etsy.com/storque/spotlight/etsy-finds-my-american-gothic-wedding-4288/
If you don’t have the photoshopping skills to make a photo like htis yourslef, you can cheat and get a costume with a frame, get it at :
Or you can have an image made for you with yor faces like this at findgift.com. What a fun present that would make to give your loved one for Christmas.
Go to: http://www.findgift.com/gift-ideas/pid-64670/
Friday, December 10
I love holiday cards with pets on them, in fact I used a picture of a dog wearing a Santa hat on the cover of my book . Dogs are particularly fun on cards because their faces can be so expressive. I decided to find the absolute best, most funny, holiday dog photos ever. As far as I know, none of these are commercial cards, they were sent out by their owners as their personal cards. In my quest for these photos I had to look through pictures of many hundreds of adorable looking dogs all dressed up for Christmas. There are a lot of dog lovers out there! In my first edit I had a hundred, but I finally narrowed it down to these 40 cards, and I couldn’t get any more pared down than that. Each of these 40 photos were so amazing and wonderful, I decided I had to show them all. I adore how most of these dogs look mildly annoyed yet stoic about having to wear a Christmas outfit. I have no idea why, but there is a preponderance of Chihuahuas, bulldogs and pugs in this final edit. Maybe photographers have a penchant for these breeds. or maybe these breeds just have absurdly funny looking faces. I promise I am not biased, I have a Golden Retriever , a breed which only got one photo in my cut.
I’m starting with this picture which was in my book. I think it is one of the great dog pictures. There is something about those bare bulbs above the dressed up dog on a present that I love.
By Eric Getty at : http://www.flickr.com/photos/photeric/2106607883
This adorable photo of a puppy wearing a hat way too big for him is beautiful.
Taken by Chad and found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xmarine1973/2126132328
I love this photo of three dogs (chihuahuas?) wearing hats and looking very much like Christmas.( I love the Kath Kidston Wallpaper as well!)
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/88499915@N00/5223766659
This Photo of a German Shepherd with a wreath around his neck is wonderful
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doublewithcream/3095481950
This is an amazing picture of a dog looking doleful about having to dress up in a Santa Hat.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dianabog/4201761902
This is a very funny photo of a dog wearing glasses for a Christmas card. This dog is one of the few who doesn’t seem upset about dressing up.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainriver/2133469094
Funny photo of a dog wearing tinsel looking like a tree for this Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/venosdale/5172999059
Funny dog photo for a holiday card wearing a hat and scarf.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7234729@N05/3096002699
This dog is so cute modeling a yellow hat and bow tie, like he is a harlequin.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aarynleathjames/3100384713
This dog , a pug I think, models a Christmas hat in this Holiday card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/newstock/3867404188
This is a fun picture of a dog with a big star in front of him for his Holiday Portrait.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainriver/2096588346
Fun picture of a pug all dressed up for the Holidays
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55023235@N02/5103359752/
Great photo of a dog with a hat on in this Holiday Card, this is one of my favorite dog Cards.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nogsonline/3130883388
Great face on this Bulldog in this holiday photo
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsmetj/242801666I love the face on this gentleman dog with a bowler hat in this photograph. Priceless.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/priviteraco/4948191712
Cute chihuahua dressed as an angel in this Holiday photo.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsmetj/244601781
This dog is so cute holding a Christmas Stocking in his mouth in this Holiday card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/new_years_resolutions/4174593857
This pittbull’s face looks adorable with the santa hat on.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ride2anywhere/3089220121What an elaborate dog Holiday card this is. I love the bone in his mouth.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosebud81592/5209095374
The bull dog in this Christmas card is adorable with a bright red nose.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/diypaper/5044398946
I absolutely love the face on this pug in this Christmas card, it looks like he’s had too much Rum Punch.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bugbunnybambam/2110612296
What a doleful face on this hound wearing a santa hat. He looks very depressed about Christmas.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hannah19/4128749010
I love the cat and dog partnership as they look up at the star in this Christmas card. How they got them to do this is a mystery to me.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcpayne/4127595512
This dog is wearing a wreath for his christmas card, and looking very cute I must say.
This is a very cute bull dog wearing a Christmas outfit for his holiday card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/finetra/5192381693
These two bull dogs are wearing very silly antlers for their Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/retalesbotijero/4225708517
The look on the face of this bulldog in this Holiday card is so charming, It looks like his eyes are bugging out of his face.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizkerrison/3070993379
Here is a very cute picture of a pug dressed in a Christmas costume for his Card looking mortified.
Found at: Flickr
This Photo of a German Shepherd holding a Christmas Tree branch in his mouth is wonderful.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lamygrrl/3129803046
I love the picture of this black lab with one eye hidden under a Christmas hat.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9936312@N05/4191179762/
Funny Picture of a dog, a spaniel, with antlers on his head.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24569010@N06/3085219549Another funny picture of a dog with antlers on his head.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainriver/3094989163Hysterical picture of a Chihuahua wearing a Christmas scarf in this holiday photo
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/redskygraphics/4132347590
This is a funny picture of three French Bulldogs (or pugs?) wearing costumes for their holiday photo.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/labimposter/306969742
Very nice dog portrait for his Christmas photo for a Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chadlatta/5222419517
Cute picture of a dog wearing antlers for his Christmas card portrait
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cryrolfe/3063252084
Here are some very cute long haired dachshunds in this dog portrait for a Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doxieone/3087291621
Very sweet picture of a dog holding a Christmas tree in his mouth for his Christmas card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28601488@N05/5192462011
And finally, this is one of my favorites of a dog wearing a wig and Santa hat for his holiday card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pilarkitty/3085113928
Thursday, December 9
I have a new favorite card designer, Jon Arnold. I just discovered his fun creative Christmas cards at his site photoshopfu.com where he shows off his mad photoshop skills. Here are his cards over the years and a brief description of how and why he made them in his words. I am putting all of these into the Family Christmas Card Gallery, I have deemed them very worthy.
Here are all of the Arnold family Christmas cards with an explanation in Jon’s words of how their Christmas cards style has evolved over the years and a bit of a lesson on how to make a great creative Christmas card for yourself:
I feel like this was the year we turned a corner with a pretty unique concept, and this remains one of my favorite Arnold Christmas cards. Perhaps what is most surprising to me is how little Photoshop work was done here (I just had to remove the camera from the reflection). And this was old-school film, folks; I didn’t have a million digital takes to get it right.Fun idea for a creative family Christmas card with a sofa photoshopped put of it.
That Christmas we were expecting our third daughter, so I went with a “this is the present we’re getting this year” idea. I still like the concept, but this has been my least favorite Arnold Christmas card so far. I think I did a hack Photoshop job, and overall it feels contrived. The only thing that gives it a hint of genuine charm is the pointing finger of my then-youngest daughter.
The lesson: Either 1) it doesn’t matter how great your idea is if it’s not properly executed, or 2) sometimes your ideas aren’t as great as you think they are.
The (life) lesson: Good photography is all in the lighting
I think this was a step up in our creative Christmas card endeavor, and also the first of a slightly subversive, anti-commercialism tone that would appear in later Christmas cards as well. This was also the year I finally figured out the lighting technique for a pure white background right out of the camera, so I was thrilled to get to use it here.
The lesson: Don’t get carried away. Keep your creative Christmas card ideas manageable so that the whole process stays fun.
This year we wanted to incorporate a little bit of family news into our Christmas card, so we made a board game. The descriptions on the game board corresponded with the events of the year. And yes, we even included game pieces. I had a lot of fun making all of this, but it took a long time and was starting to feel like overkill.
The lesson: Don’t get carried away. Keep your creative Christmas card ideas manageable so that the whole process stays fun.
This was the year our business, our family, and life in general seemed to have gotten hectic and complicated. It was a tough year, but I’ll bet no one outside looking in would have noticed. But isn’t that how we all are?…putting up a certain facade on the outside, but inside we’re a bit of a mess? Seemed like a perfect idea for a Christmas card, though! The “picture” on the front cover was actually cut out, letting the smiling family from the inside show through. Opening the card, however, one sees the complete picture. (I love those burning curtains!)
The lesson: Being real trumps being creative.
Ok, I’m not going to feign humility here: we nailed this one. And I don’t mean just the actual card, I mean the whole experience of making it. Our girls were old enough to participate and have fun during the photo shoots, and being a huge movie buff, I loved the whole action-movie metaphor of family life. It was a lot of work, but we had a blast making it, which I think gave us all an extra sense of togetherness and ownership in this annual Christmas card tradition.
The lesson: Think of a creative Christmas card idea that hits upon your particular interest, and you’re bound to execute it masterfully (or at least have a lot of fun working on it).
I got this idea from one of my daughters’ Where’s Waldo books, of course. Here we are acting out different events and details from the previous year, and the card itself included a poem of what to hunt for in the picture. I knew this would be a bit of a Photoshop challenge (here’s my overview) but it was fun and satisfying to see it all come together. The photo shoot was one of those fun family activities that I’ll never forget.
The lesson: Feed the kids first for maximum fun and cooperation. See that pizza? That wasn’t just a prop; that was dinner.
Time to take another shot at commercialism (the inside caption read “May your only excess be of peace and love”). Our photo shoot, unfortunately, was going nowhere. Everyone was a tad grumpy and it was showing, so we changed our strategy and made it into a game. With everyone lined up on the other side of the room, we set the camera timer for a couple seconds and then would run to the couch trying to get in place before the shutter fired. Just a few tries at this, and we got our shot. And had fun.
The lesson: Your best photos will come when you’re having fun, something no amount of Photoshop magic can fake.
These Holiday cards are great right? He has a great, fun sense of how to pull off a creative card. I wonder what their card will be for this year. Contact me to ask me for my address Jon. (Hint)
Monday, December 6
The Brady Bunch image from the opening credits on the show is great inspiration for making a Christmas or Holiday card. Many people are doing it. Some of you may be too young to understand the impact that The Brady Bunch had on the generation that grew up during the 70′s. Back when there were only a few networks, it was a big deal to have an amusing show which was appropriate for groovy young people like myself. This show has a real sense of nostalgia for many other groovy baby-boomers it seems. As I searched, there were loads of cards out there, some better than others. I think that these below are some of the better examples. What makes these cards work in my opinion is having good lighting and a consistent plain background. This is the original opening credit image of the Brady Bunch Show.
This is pretty a pretty cute Brady Bunch Card. I love the pregnant belly in the middle.
found at: http://home.348north.com/archives/our-family/
Again, this is by Theresa Thompson, I’ve shown this card before, but it is such a great Christmas card that I had to include it. I love the fact that she also shows the back of their head son the back of the card.
I love the polk-a-dot background on this Brady Bunch Card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skg/4320130833/
It’s a nice twist on this Brady Bunch image to make it in Black and White.
FOund at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krissypics/4989302211/
And I love the bright colors on this version of a Brady Bunch photo.
FOund at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bananaketchup/4528973485/
This looks like it’s a Corporate card. I love the idea of doing a funny corporate card in the Brady Bunch theme.
I love the addition of pets in this Brady Bunch Card
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35124656@N07/3279207369/
I love how this guy in the outer photos are all zoning on on the middle guy, It’s a good twist on the Brady Bunch theme.
I think this is all the same person in each square on this Brady Bunch Card.
Found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/snelly23/3066701103/
If you have a Great Brady Bunch Christmas card, or any other fun, unusual Holiday card and would like to share it with us, please submit here. Or if you want to browse more clever, creative holiday cards, go to the gallery section in the menu and browse other fun cards in the Family Section, the Pets Section, the Grown up Section, the Corporate Section, the Santas Section, the Kids Section, the Vintage Section or the Illustrated Section. I also have a Book Section where you can see examples of cards in my book.
Friday, November 26
After my posting a few days ago on the Sigler family Christmas card using long exposure in their photos, I decided to do a little more research into this new art form. People are calling it light graffiti. It is similar to graffiti tagging, but the good news is that the effect created by the light is no longer visible after the artist moves on. What a great concept to use for your card. An image like this would make for great invitiations, Christmas cards, or even as a way of sending a message like, “I love you” or “will you marry me?” How original would that be?
In order to make light graffiti all you need is a light source, such as a flashlight, light saber, glowstick, blinking LED light or sparklers. For the best results you should use a tripod when taking pictures. The exposure on your camera should be set to between 10 and 30 seconds, but can be as long as you need to get the effect you want. Set the camera to iso100 and close the aperture as much as you can. By standing in front of the camera and moving around you will become nothing more than a blur. Or, if you choose to stay still and interact with the light image, you can still be seen in the photo. Wherever the light is moved a streak of light is created that will show up in the photo later.
Light graffiti message saying “I am here”Light Grafitti New Year’s MessageLight Graffiti saying “Happy Holidays”Light graffiti showing hearts
Light graffiti of a guy losing his cool
Light graffiti of an angel….…and a devil
Using light to show the statues enjoying a little music,
A Light Ghost resting
A lost city of lightsLight graffiti of pac man
Light Graffiti SpiderLight graffiti of a soccer goal
Light graffiti of a car chasing a manLight graffiti of a people crossing a crosswalk
Light graffiti of a girl showing her aura?
Light graffiti of figure making crop circles
Light graffiti of a rocker and his guitar
Light graffiti of the word “sky” up in the sky
Light graffiti of a couple using long exposure and light
Light graffiti of a VW van looking ghostly
Of course, with this time of year upon us, I am thinking everyone should go out and make a Holiday card like this, I’m thinking about it…but I have other ideas as well. More to come.
Friday, November 19
And finally, here is my last card that I am posting for now from the Sigler family at weareheavyduty.com. For their 2008 card they used a long exposure camera and light sabers to make Christmas designs, in effect painting with light.
They are so descriptive about how they did it, I thought I should let them tell you how they went about creating this in their own words in case you want to try something similar.
“This large scale light painting of a Christmas tree was made in our backyard. On the ground the tree was 55 feet tall and about 25 feet wide. It appears short and fat because of the angle of the photograph. I had the camera, and video camera, in a stairwell window at the back of our house. I’m at least four storeys (someone asked, that is in fact the correct spelling) in the air because our property drops quite a bit. We are in the mountains. But the back lot is nice and flat. I used rope to lay out the tree and enlisted the family and some conveniently located neighbors to move the lights around.
The kids were in the middle of the tree swinging the light sabers (see below) in circles to make the “ornaments” and Mars walked back and forth to make a “garland.” The Moms (Mary and Jill) made the tree outline by waving two light sabers each as they walked along the rope, invariably racing at the end of each take to finish in time. I used a kitchen timer and called out the remaining seconds.
I wanted to do some light painting myself so I took the tripod and camera outside and made some “Nöels” in green and red. Nöel (Which I now know should be spelled “noël” – oof, embarrassing. I was in the dark!) is way easier than trying to write “Merry Christmas,” backward mind you, in the dark, before the time runs out and the shutter closes. Plus, Nöel is so short I was able to turn the light on and off for each letter, and add the umlaut over the “o.” I put a strip of four of these inside the card, along the top.
We did something similar for the family shot on the back of the card. For this one I used another camera, mounted on separate stand, just for the flash. That way I could move the lights around to make the frame, then get back into position before the second camera flashed, which would make us visible in the photo taken by the first camera. Staggering the timers on the two cameras so that the flash would happen after I was done drawing, but before the shutter closed on the first camera was a challenge. Have I mentioned we were in the dark? The image came out too dark on the card but the original looks good.
This was a fun card to make, but I was stressing about the execution. I mentioned to my friend Gary a couple months ago that I was worried about the logistics and he said something like “only you would have a Christmas card with logistical challenges.” Why do things the easy way? Walk hard.”
Thanks again to the Sigler family for allowing me to show you their wonderful cards. Hopefully I will posting this years card within the next month. Stay tuned. (No pressure or anything Siglers).