Over a month later and I’m still jazzed about this event! I wanted to photograph my historical costumer friends in a beautiful setting, and the result exceeded all of my expectations. I couldn’t be happier with how the event went and with the photos we got. Get ready for a very picture-heavy post!
The genesis of the event goes back to October. While a group of us were chatting at Carolyn’s birthday party, several folks mentioned the possibility of visiting Williamsburg in December. I had always heard that the Christmas decorations in Colonial Williamsburg were beautiful, and I had separately been thinking of visiting with Mike. Thus, a plan was hatched. Mike and I could combine a weekend trip (including a visit to the spa!) with a group costumed outing. It would be a great opportunity to use our new camera (we recently purchased a Nikon D7500 and a 16-80mm f/2.8-4 lens) and to take photos with the Christmas decorations. So I organized a meetup for the Saturday before New Year’s, where we could walk through the Williamsburg historic district and do a photo shoot.
Mike and I drove down on the Thursday night before New Year’s and checked in to the Williamsburg Lodge. We started Friday with a relaxing morning at the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg. The spa was pretty quiet for the holiday weekend, meaning we had most of the place to ourselves. A massage and a soak in the whirlpool was just what I needed.
In the afternoon we went to the historic area and scouted photo locations. We noted that when it was sunny, the light on the north side of Duke of Gloucester Street was too harsh for good photos. But there were several spots in semi-shade on the south side that would work. Then we went on a Christmas decorations walking tour, and followed that up with a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, the Blue Talon Bistro.
Saturday was photo shoot day! The weather was a bit warmer than it had been the day before, and, thankfully, overcast. Thus, harsh sunlight would not be an issue. Mike and I walked down to the historic area a little early to test photo locations and to get pictures of my costume, so we could focus on photographing others besides me when they arrived.
I made a new silk mantle to keep me warm. For this event, I cut it a bit closer than I normally like to with the last minute sewing. It was mostly because I did not order enough silk ribbon for the trimming, so I had to wait for more to come. But I finished trimming the mantle the day before we left home, and was able to trim the cap on Friday night.
My cap is by Fashions Revisited.
I made my necklace and earrings. There are similar earrings available in my Etsy shop (In the Long Run Designs), here. I inherited the brooch from my grandmother (bubbe)-in-law.
I also knit myself short mitts. All of my other mitts are elbow-length, which wouldn’t work for a long-sleeved dress. I used yarn from the endless cone of black wool that I’ve had since I knit three shawls for my bridesmaids. And there is still more yarn left over!
Then we went to the meeting spot I had designated for everyone to gather at. It was in front of this beautiful arced wreath arrangement. Mike was trying out a new camera arrangement, carrying the Nikon D7500 and clipping our older D5300 onto his backpack. It worked pretty well, as then he could put our 35mm F/1.8 lens on the 7500 and the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 on the 5300. Those are the two lenses we use most often for cosplay/costuming photography.
Once several other people arrived, we started with a group shot.
Elliot and Leia, a perfect 18th century couple
Carolyn made a beautiful new redingote and hat for the occasion.
Chelsea looked so cozy with her pink mantle and muff. She borrowed a cap from me, which I had purchased from Fashions Revisited.
Katy made a lovely new lavender redingote.
Samantha wore her gorgeous Christmas Felicity ensemble.
Jess had a pretty printed gown and coordinating black hat.
Taylor finished a beautiful striped gown for the weekend.
Most of our group, gathered together.
A lot of tourists stopped us to take photos throughout the day.
After finishing photos at our first location, we walked a couple blocks to our next stop.
Our second location was a pretty brick building with a white front porch/stairway. By this time everyone had arrived, so we got a full group photo. I love all the different colors and types of costumes that people wore!
Mike grabbed a selfie too!
I love the combination of green and cream on Leia.
Elliot, looking like the mayor of Williamsburg!
Aubry in her beautiful 1790s ensemble
Chelsea added some more trim to her lovely gold Francaise gown for this wearing.
Everything about Sara’s outfit is so perfectly Christmas!
Then we split into smaller groups to take additional photos. There was an area around the corner with white outbuildings and boxwood hedges that made for a nice background.
Mike specifically wanted to get some photos with Samantha in front of a white building, to make the colors of her outfit really pop.
At this point we broke into two groups. Several folks walked to the DoG Street Pub to get some food. I tagged along to take a couple pictures on their walk.
Sara stopped for a selfie!
Meanwhile Samantha, Chelsea, Katy, and Carolyn went for a carriage ride. Mike followed them to get a photo of them in the carriage.
They got to ride in the carriage used for heads of state. Queen Elizabeth rode in it!
After I dropped the other folks at the pub and Mike finished photos with those in the carriage, we met up with Jess for some additional pictures on the Governor’s Palace Green.
After they finished with their carriage ride, those ladies joined us in front of the palace.
Mike then got some pictures with Samantha and Jess in front of one of the houses along the palace green. I love this photo of Samantha!
Mike was trying to imitate poses from 1780s paintings (think Joshua Reynolds) with this one.
Meanwhile, I went with Carolyn, Chelsea, and Katy to take photos in front of the Governor’s Palace gates.
After finishing up in front of the palace, we then walked back to Duke of Gloucester Street to visit the Millinery Shop before it closed and to make our dinner reservation at Shields Tavern.
We got this photo of Katy before being yelled at for sitting on the tree. Oops!
This is just an iPhone photo, but Carolyn was lucky enough to get to try on a beautiful mantle at the Millinery Shop.
While we were waiting to be seated for dinner, we admired the gorgeous sunset.
I really played up the contrast in the edits of these photos. I love how it came out! The first photo of Carolyn shows how things look without the contrast adjustment.
After dinner, Chelsea, Carolyn, Katy, and I went to a concert at the Governor’s Palace. On the walk to the palace, we stopped to take photos by torchlight.
The palace lit up for the concert.
At the concert
Once we got home on Sunday, I couldn’t wait to get started on photo editing. There were 753 shots total, and I ended up keeping 256. A 1/3 ratio is pretty typical for me. Because the light was nice and diffuse, I didn’t have to edit things that drastically. The most annoying part was removing things like modern doorbells and signs from buildings.
A photo of my computer during editing. And yes, I’m upgrading to Lightroom soon. Just haven’t gotten a chance yet.
All of our photos are here. Thank you to everyone who attended the Promenade! Mike and I had a wonderful time. Not only did we get some great photos, I had a lot of fun hanging out with friends and getting to know some out-of-town folks better. Here’s to more costumed adventures in 2018!