Jack-o’-Lanterns Galore

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O Starry Night. Pumpkins cover the ceiling of a covered walkway in Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S at 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600.

A few weeks ago, my wife, Susan, spotted a plug in our employer’s newsletter for Magic of the Jack O’Lantern, an October event in Littleton, which is not too far from home for us. This is apparently the third year running that this event has been in Denver and features over 7,000 carved pumpkins. Susan thought I would enjoy photographing this event, and she was right. It’s a little different from my usual landscape fare, but was great fun:

Scares More Than Crows. A demonesque, pumpkin-headed scarecrow in Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S at 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600.

There were lights and smoke machines out in abundance, so it was easy to take atmospheric images like this:

Quite the Trick. A pillar of pumpkins supports a jack-o-lantern in Hudson Gardens, LIttleton, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S at 1/90 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600.

And this:

Not-So-Sleepy Hollow. A jack-o-lantern-headed scarecrow in Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S at 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600.

There were some times I wish I had brought a wide angle, but I had just brought my fastest (autofocus) lens, an 85mm f/1.8. I also figured that it would be easiest to keep other people out of the frame if I stuck to a short telephoto, and I think I was right. That said, a modest wide angle would have been handy for one particular huge area with about two hundred pumpkins along the lines of these:

March of the Pumpkins. A few of the evil-looking jack-o-lanterns featured at Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S at 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600.

Many of the pumpkins showed tremendous creativity, including dinosaurs, Darth Vader, Harry Potter, Veggie Tales, and these flies:

Gourd of the Flies. Flies fashioned from carved pumpkins in Hudson Gardens, Littleton, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S at 1/8 sec, f/1.8, ISO 1600.

It was, indeed, a lot of fun and went very smoothly given the hundreds of people in attendance. I definitely appreciate events like this even more since Covid put the kibosh on fun events. If it comes back for a fourth year, I will be back, this time with a wide angle (and maybe my Petzval!) for some variety!

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6 responses to “Jack-o’-Lanterns Galore”

  1. I don’t enjoy Halloween like I did when my children and grand kids were young, but I do enjoy seeing the creativity of the communities.

    Let the children enjoy some fun things to celebrate. Thanks for the pictures. They are really cool. I always enjoy your blog and fabulous pictures.

  2. Looks great, if just a bit creepy, fun! In the past couple of years, we have been to Christmas light events. Quite a challenging photographically and from the number of people present but images of a kind that I couldn’t attempt elsewhere. The ISO issue does seem to be diminishing especially with the latest Lightroom noise-reduction options.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment, Rob! Yes, it was a lot of fun. I pretty much stuck to ISO 1600 and f/1.8 (although the shutter speeds varied a lot). I didn’t do anything special to try to tame the noise after the fact; there really isn’t much on a Z8 at ISO 1600. If I do notice the noise causing mischief, it would tend to be with fine detail (like feathers). Now, part of that might be that Lightroom noise reduction tends to make things pretty mushy in its zeal (unless you use the new AI noise reduction, it seems…perhaps there is a good future post!). All that aside, none of these images are about “fine detail” so I never even noticed enough noise to give it a thought. I have some future plans for Christmas displays, myself, so we’ll see if that carries over!

      Thanks again for commenting and give my regards to Shirley!