When I assembled my first bookshelf LEGO display nearly five years ago, it was simply a quick, cutesy way to add some additional holiday decorations to the house. With each passing year, the size and complexity of the displays grew, and I started incorporating themes. Last year, when I assembled my first Halloween display, I removed two rows of books and a bookshelf for the first time to create a much larger space to work with. Unfortunately, the orientation of the lights and bookshelf in the room created shadows that caused issues when trying to take a photo of the display in its entirety.
When reusing the space for the holiday display, I made no attempt to compensate for the shadows or lighting issues. I essentially decided that there was no way I could take a good picture of the display in its entirety and that close-ups of the various components would make up for that.
When starting to assemble this year’s Halloween display, I decided to add a backdrop for the first time, rather than leaving books or the back of the bookcase as the background. Unfortunately, this made the shadows much more obvious — to the point of detracting from the backdrop. That, more than anything else, led to the decision to purchase a cheap string of battery-powered LED lights from Target and placing them behind the display. The initial hope was that this would allow for a complete photo of the display where the shadows would not be a distraction.
The lights worked better than anticipated: they provided the display with an element that gave it more of a proper Halloween feel. Thus came the realization that by happy happenstance I had taken my bookshelf displays to a new level. From there, the decision to try out the different camera filters and digitally retouch the photo seemed like an obvious next step.
The final product nearly made me giddy. By far, this is the most artistic endeavor I’ve undertaken as an adult, and I have no complaints about the final product. Of course, this wasn’t the actual purpose of the display; it’s designed to be a household Halloween decoration. As awesome as that photo looks, it doesn’t properly capture how it actually looks. So, to properly convey that, a slideshow of the various unedited shots — just as I did with last year’s display.