One Halloween, I was rumbling toward an old airfield, littered with rusting abandoned vehicles, airplanes and more. I had just called the previous day spontaneously, wondering if I could run up and photograph at night. It was a special day. Yes, Halloween. But a Halloween with a blue moon. What could be better? I was only too happy to make the three and a half-hour drive to the airfield for some night photography.

In honor of Halloween, I had also brought a bag full of creepy looking dolls. They’d be difficult to explain if I got pulled over by California Highway Patrol. Thankfully, the only thing I stopped for was gas and tacos.

Just the right amount of cobwebs, dust and rust

After photographing some rusty airplanes and trucks, I found the perfect setting for my Halloween photo. I opened the creaky door of an abandoned Chevy flatbed. The cab was perfect. Just the right amount of cobwebs, dust and rust. 

I became rather choosy about posing the bunny. The bunny should slump a certain way. I wanted the eye to look warily elsewhere. And also, I wanted one ear up, the other down. This was not something I usually did.

A bunny, truck, cobwebs, rust, and a blue moon: the perfect recipe for a Halloween night photo.
A bunny, truck, cobwebs, rust and a blue moon: The perfect recipe for a Halloween night photo.

Setting up the camera

Satisfied, I set up the Pentax K-1, using a Lensbaby Edge 35 Optic. This creates these quasi-tilt-shift blurs, keeping a slice of the image in focus. During daylight, this lens is somewhat challenging to focus. At night, it was really difficult.

I managed to adjust the slice of focus so that it was on the eye and head of the bunny. The rest would fall into blur. I opened the shutter. Holding a ProtoMachines LED2 in my hand, I carefully shined it overhead, trying to get some texture and illuminate the bunny in an abnormal, creepy sort of way, keeping most of the cab in almost total darkness. I “grazed” some of the rusty springs, steering wheel and cobwebs with the light quickly, just for good measure. Satisfied that I completed the photo, I closed the shutter. 

A 75-second exposure, all done. Good, weird, creepy and dark, just as it should be. 

I continued photographing among the creaky trucks and airplanes. Tonight was Halloween. Tonight was a good night.