Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Pumpkin Sail

Last night my husband, youngest daughter (oldest was at another Halloween party!) and I went to a Pumpkin Sail at a local county park at which attendees bring their carved pumpkins to be lit and then set sail upon the lake at nightfall. We went for the first time a few years ago, and the images of dozens and dozens of candle lit carved pumpkins afloat on the lake in the dark of night was a stunning sight I could not forget. In the years following, it we couldn't manage to fit the Pumpkin Sail into our schedule because of homework or dance classes, or someone being sick, etc. This year, I was determined to go again and hoped to get some really good photos. I have this fancy digital SLR camera and was excited to get some professional looking photos. Well.... I guess that's where a professional photographer would have come in handy. Because I learned very quickly that it is very difficult to take quality photographs in such low light conditions. I took about 70 pictures and only about 5 of them are worthy of keeping, and even those are not so great. My photography coach, i.e., my husband, was helping me fine tune the settings, but it was still very challenging. I have a lot to learn. Good thing it's so much fun. :) 

I hope the photos I took at least give you a sense of the majesty of the Pumpkin Sail. It was quite beautiful. You can click on the images to view them full size so you can view them in their true low quality. ;)

The view was actually darker in real time. I had my camera set to let in the most light possible, with a very slow shutter speed. That's why the scene looks so well lit. 

This shot is probably my best one. At least the pumpkin faces aren't too blurry.  

My husband and photography coach. Check out the size of his . . . lens!  So sexy. ;) 

I saved the best for last--one of my husband's photos. Great composition, lighting, and focus.  

Hopefully I get in a lot of practice over the next twelve months, and my photos will be even better next year!  


  1. That is like one of the coolest things ever!!

  2. Great shots, Mum. Glad you guys had fun :)

  3. What a cool tradition! And great shots, Christine!

  4. What a unique and wonderful tradition. The photos are wonderful Christine! The pumpkins look amazing and a great time to be had by all..

    Thank you for sharing.

    Best Regards

  5. Kate:: It is very cool. What an ingenious idea... and such a beautiful sight.

    Maria :: Thanks, sweetie. I wish you were there. Next year, no parties. Just family time, k? ;)

    Kati & Lea :: Thank you! You guys are too kind. :)

  6. Ok that has to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen! What a great idea. Wonderful pictures!

  7. I seen something similar to this on a Halloween special I watched. Very cool!!

  8. What a cool idea. And the pictures are great!

    I wish I was better at taking pictures myself, but that's probably something I have to do without. But instead, I can admire others - like you - who know what they do.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  9. That would have been really neat to see. I've never heard of anything like that!

  10. That is just the coolest thing evah. Great pics, too! Thanks for sharing them!

  11. Those pics are amazing. You did a great job taking them. It looks like a lot of fun ~ very unique way of recycling pumpkins. : )

  12. Ohh christine, those pictures are just amazing. What an awesome tradition. I cannot wait for next years pictures. xoxox

  13. ...the images of dozens and dozens of candle lit carved pumpkins afloat on the lake in the dark of night was a stunning sight I could not forget.

    Stunning is the right word! What an amazing thing to go and watch. Thank you so much for the photos!

    BTW, if you don't mind me asking, who is the dancer in the family and what type of dance? (I dance...or attempt too :)

    PS I haven't forgotten your email Christine. I feel so bad :( I'm just trying to move paper across my desk so I can see the keyboard :)

  14. That is just so unbelievably fun! But, WHAT are the pumpkins actually floating on? Are they wood squares? And are the pumpkins secured to them in some way?

    And is the Pumpkin Sail part of a larger celebration like a Harvest Fest or something?

    FWIW, I like the top shot the best. I think it shows just how wonderful it must be to see all these floating jack-o-lanterns stretched out down the river.

  15. Wow that is really neat! I've never seen anything like it.

  16. That is amazing! Thanks for sharing with us!

  17. Oh wow, I wanna go to a pumpkin sail! *stamping foot* NOW!!!

    That's cool thing to see, and more so to participate in!

    And Bev(QB) beat me to ask... what are the pumpkin rafts made out of?

    (and the anal retentive in me asks: is someone in charge of cleanup the day after?)

  18. This is beautiful! It's just like the various asian light festivals, but cooler cuz these are pumpkins!
    Mmmm...pumpkin pie.

    Too pretty. I'm so glad you have fun. Thank you for sharing with us. :)

  19. Tracy :: Thanks! I'm totally 'WOWed' every time I see the Pumpkin Sail! :)

    Anna :: Maybe the Halloween special was recorded in my neighborhood! Ha! ;)

    Taja :: I'm glad you liked the pictures. My husband's were even better, but hey-this is MY blog, so I wanted to post mostly my own pics! LOL

    Amy C :: It is quite a stunning sight. Even more dramatic in person than in the photos. :)

    Lori :: So glad you liked the pics!

    Leslie :: Thank you! It sure is a great way to send off your carved Halloween pumpkins!

    DarlingDiva :: Thanks! I hope there is some improvement in my photography skills by next year! If not .... lie! LOL just kidding.

    orannia :: I'm glad you liked the photos!

    Both of my girls have been dancing since they were 4 years old, but my 9 y.o. took a break this year to try gymnastics. My 13 y.o. is on the Company team at her dance studio and takes just about every type of class offered. Her greatest talent is tap, but she also loves modern.

    And don't worry about the email! Please. I know how crazy life can get. No worries. ;)

  20. Bev(QB) & Azteclady :: So glad you liked the photos! The pumpkins are on these little square rafts made from recycled styrofoam and I think covered with wide black tape or something. Then the pumpkins are secured with large wooden skewers. By the end of the night, all the pumpkins have sailed down the lake and accumulate at a small manmade waterfall thing. It's probably fairly shallow there and I imagine the county workers wade out there to collect them all later that night when everyone has left. They reuse the floats next year, and deposit the pumpkins at the County recycling center onto a huge compost heap. Isn't that great?!!

    Barbara & Sarai :: It is an amazing event. I'm glad you liked the pictures! :)

    little_alys :: I lurve Pumpkin Pie. And Pumpkin Bread. And Pumpkin Cheesecake. And Pumpkin Ice Cream. And .... yeah, you get the picture! :)

  21. The pics are amazing! I love them!

    Hope you're feeling better!

  22. Oh I really like the idea that both the rafts and the pumpkins are recycled... so to speak!

    It's a really cool event, thank you for sharing, Christine!

    (How's the house project coming along?)

  23. dd03 :: Thanks, babygirl! I finally looked at your KCon pictures! WOW! They are fantastic! I'm so glad you had such a great time. Don't you just love Sherrilyn Kenyon?!?

    Thanks for the well wishes, too. I need them. Muah!

    azteclady :: You are so sweet to ask about the construction. It is going very well, but demanding a lot of my time and focus. Hence not so much reading or blogging. :(

    I took some new pictures today and will post an update here over the weekend at the latest. As long as the weather cooperates, we will be roofed up by Friday! :)

  24. New roof: most excellent!!!! *happy dancing in anticipation of good weather*

  25. Wow, that is so cool! Would be nice if we could do something like that here in Portland. :) Or maybe they do and I'm just not aware of it? LOL!

  26. btw, C....I really like the 1st pic you posted. I love seeing the context of the pic...seeing the pumpkins are afloat in the woods. yup...I like that one.


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