Happy Halloween! I had an amazing experience last evening. One that unfortunately not even with images and video can you begin to feel what the experience was like. I’ll do my best to describe it but I suspect that words will not do it justice either. Let me start by saying that I worked late yesterday and it was almost 7:00 p.m. by the time I left Maquoketa. I’m just trying to keep my head above water.
I called Jeanne and we decided to meet at Culver’s to grab a quick sandwich as she had just gotten home from choir practice. As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant Jeanne asked me if I minded if she ran out by the Meadows Golf Course to look at a Halloween House, she had heard about. I was tired and still had work to do so I said (instead of saying I’ll join you) no I didn’t mind and that I would see her at home.
Well in the short space from Culver’s to where I would normally turn to go home I decided it was worth the five-minute drive to the Meadows for a look. WOW!!!! How glad I am that I did go. It was hard to find but as I cruised the neighborhood (major beautiful homes by the way) I saw some flashing strobe lights and headed that way. I was unprepared for what I encountered.
Watch the video below and it will be easier for me to explain.
First I was amazed at the traffic jam around the house, with all the people parking their cars on a fairly narrow street and the large crowd that had gathered in front of the house. So then there is the house itself. What I would call a major house that is two stories high and wide enough that I could hide out for a week if I wanted to. Now add fog shrouding the house from various smoke machines embedded in the ground, strobes everywhere and giant monsters popping up complete with sound effects and animation. There were horrifying scenes of carnage in every window of the house and they would play like a carnival sideshow and then darken for awhile so that you attention was drawn to the next scene. There were also scenes out in the lawn that were dark until it was there turn to preform.
I shot the top image at an unbelievable 10,000 ISO and noise was amazingly low. I only got 1/13 of s second shutter speed @ f5.0. The D4 is truly an amazing camera. In retrospect I should have switched to my f1.4 lens and bumped the ISO higher and used a mono pod. But honestly photography was the last thing on my mind at the time. The scene you are presented with overwhelms the senses and you just stand there trying to take it all in.
To top it all off the woman who owns the house was very warm and friendly and was graciously handing our bags of candy. She just kept saying that she had an industrious husband and three sons and this is what they do with their spare time. Apparently a lot of this equipment came from California. He found a movie studio that was selling off some of its special effects and he was able to acquire different pieces over time. Then I met him (I didn’t ask their name) and he said it took about 60 hours of work to set everything up. The whole thing runs on 6 air compressors, and a computer program that coordinates the lights, sounds and action of the displays.
So if you want to see it and you live anywhere around the Dubuque area I would highly encourage you to make the trek. From the NW Arterial go North until Asbury Road. Follow that until you come to Wedgewood Estates (just before the Meadows Golf Course.) Turn left into the subdivision and drive to the last street on your left. Turn left and look for the flashing strobes. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. Be careful.