“On one mystic, magic night, Jack O Lanterns glowing bright, kids with bags of candy sweet, roam door to door and street to street.”
Normally I don’t do seasonal themed pictures simply because they rarely fit into my own creative schedule. But over the last couple of years I really began to like this whole Halloween stick. Therefore, I thought I’d give it a try and since every October I do a self-imposed diet, where I’m not allowed to eat or drink any sweets or raw sugar until Hallows’ Eve, I also needed a distraction in form of a good old craft project.
About the figure:
This Halloween themed figure of Miku Hatsune was released in fall 2018 and was given out by manufacturer Taito as a prize figure. As with most of Taitos prize figures and Mikus in general the quality and overall design of her is clearly above average. Somehow, I’ve quite a penchant for figures that only stand on one leg. The tips of her pigtails are somewhat transparent and it’s nice that the Jack-O-Lantern she holds, is carved and therefore hollow on the inside. Sadly, the pumpkin can’t be opened and so you can’t just place a tiny LED in it.
I also like the transparent base that has some spooky ornaments on it. I’m always a sucker for trans-clear bases, since it looks way better in any showcase that has lights installed. Over all it’s a pretty nice figure and if you don’t have or had the money (yikes this figure got pricy) to go for the Trick or Miku released by Union Creative Int. Ltd back in 2017, she is definitely a good stand-in.
About the series:
Since this is already my fifth photo that features Miku (what is roughly 10% of my total portfolio) I’m not sure of what to write for this paragraph anymore. Maybe this section wasn’t such a great idea after all.
Miku is one of many humanoid personas for the synthesizer application Vocaloid from Crypton Future Media. Among the “Vocaloids” she is the most prominent figure, making her the “frontgirl” of the whole singing synthesizer genre. Crypton first released Hatsune Miku back in 2007 and within the last ten years the software is now featured in over 100.000 songs released worldwide.
Recently Miku got the honor to become Good Smile Company’s one thousandth Nendoroid as well as being the first character to kick of their new brand called “POP UP PARADE” figures. They even started to release the annual Snow Miku design as a full-fledged scale figure. I don’t know about the current status of the Vocaloid music production scene but figure wise there will be no shortage of new Miku releases in the foreseeable future.
Thoughts about the picture:
First things first: I really enjoyed taking this picture. It was the first one where I used my newly bought equipment. Of course, I already tried the new camera and filmed some video footage but this was the first studio set, where I used my new Sony Alpha and the new portable light sources. Together with some of my older lights I was able to create a somewhat compelling scenery.
When I started to picture this set in my head, I only imagined that Miku would stand in front of this rusty fence with a graveyard on a slight slope behind her and a spooky haunted house somewhere on top of it in the background. Since the fence was already bought and the gravestones would be easy to craft, I started building the mansion by using some leftover cardboard and popsicle sticks. Not exactly knowing in which direction to go I looked for some references on the internet. After I spent a couple evenings cutting and gluing popsicle sticks, I ended up with a much bigger construct then originally intended. After I applied the paint job the house looked really great and I reconsidered the composition to feature this haunted mansion front center.
The second thing that every good Halloween picture has to have is an old dead tree. I really struggled how to craft such a large tree. Of course, I already made some tree trunks in the past by using twisted wire but those were much smaller in size. I thought long and hard until I realized that I could simply go outside and search for some branches – I felt really stupid for not having this idea in the first place. Since it’s hard to find a branch hat has a big stem but also many branched arms, the three that is featured in this picture was cut and glued together as well.
For the Jack-O-Lanterns on the stairs I used a couple of cheap decorative plastic pumpkins for light strings. Luckily, I also got some leftover red colored balloon lights that helped me to illuminate the tiny lanterns. The garden in front of the house is just some dried moss on a plate and withered weed I picked up while searching for the dead three branches.
The great thing about those Halloween styled pictures is that the surroundings can look all shabby and otherwise notable details will get lost in a mostly dark environment. So, I knew that I was allowed to cut corners here and there. The moon isn’t photoshoped either. Since I used a piece of black fabric for the background, I figured it would be a nice effect if I just use a round spotlight and cast through the fabric.
Sony Alpha 7R II, 55mm lens / ISO 100 /Exposure time 1/10 sec. /aperture: F/6.3
Time and effort: The only time-consuming step was to cut and glue all the popsicle sticks. It took me about two weeks to build the whole mansion and I invested about 30-40 hours into the whole composition.
Costs of the props: This one was a real budget project. The base structure of the house was made of leftover carton and plywood. I only bought some popsicle sticks and brown paint along with some cheap Halloween decorations. Altogether I only spent 15-20 Euros on this project.