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Today, folks living in Mexico and some Mexican-Americans here in the United States are celebrating Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. The celebration occurs in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) and traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, as well as visiting graves with these as gifts.

“Death Becomes Him” (Pirate Skeleton, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/4, 1s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

“Se lo Llevo la Calaca” (Pirate Skeleton, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/4, 1s, -0.3EV

Due to its occurrence shortly after  Halloween, the Day of the Dead is sometimes thought to be a similar holiday even though the two actually have little in common. While Halloween is thought to be a time when the dead rise up and wreak havoc, the Day of the Dead is a time of celebration, focusing on gatherings to pray for and remember family members and friends who have died.

A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (colloquially called calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for “skeleton”), and foods such as sugar or chocolate skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead. (Sugar skulls are gifts that can be given to both the living and the dead). Other holiday foods include pan de muerto, a sweet egg bread made in various shapes from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits, often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.

Huh, how perfect then for these two skeleton images I shot inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom using a slow shutter technique! 🙂


  1. Creepy! 🙂

    • Ha! Yes, I suppose that is the look I was going for, Karma! 🙂

      I personally don’t celebrate the Day of the Dead, but I just thought is happen to coincide beautifully with these images!

  2. Spooky! Great shots!

    • So (1) creepy and (1) spooky…I like it! 🙂

      Thanks, M! I really like the second image but I also like that you can still make out the sea gull sitting on top of the skeleton’s head in the first!

  3. That’s the way to photograph this part of POTC! Don’t try to make a sharp photo and go for the abstract and write a well crafted blog around them. (Taking notes).

    • LOL! Yeah, it is when the boat doesn’t stop! What I’ve always liked about POTC ride is that sometimes you get lucky and the ride gets a little stuck and then you can actually photograph the scenery without moving! Not this trip as we only rode once but there have been times where we’ve rode time and time again just to see if, when and where the ride would stop! 🙂

  4. Love the shots.

    The Democratic party seems to have participated in Day of the Dead activities. Or lack thereof.

  5. Those are some pretty spooky shots…

  6. Creepy and very cool – guess you have gotten the knack for long exposures after all Tracy.

    • Thanks, Lynn! When you are on a moving boat inside a very dark place, you really have no choice! I have a couple more of this type of image that I tried elsewhere that I will be posting at some point so stay tuned. That is…if I survive our kitchen remodel… 😉

  7. Wow! These are really cool. I love the day of the dead.

    • Thanks, Tammy! Ya know, I never really understood the Day of the Dead, but recently, a contestant on ‘Project Runway’ who is Mexican-American used the Day of the Dead as inspiration for his runway show so it was in my head. Then, when I researched the meaning of the day I was amazed that it wasn’t about the gore, etc. but rather, about celebration.

      If it wasn’t for this blog and the images I had taken I never would have done the research and learnt something new. Go figure! 🙂

  8. These photographs are so interesting! I love how you took something from Disney and tied it into Day of the Dead!

    • Thanks so much, Dennis! So glad you like them! 🙂

      These skeleton images (and the Disney images I’ve posted so far) are a bit out of photographic character for me as I’m more of a nature photographer. But, I do enjoy the opportunities to venture out of the box! How nice of you to stop by! Hope you visit again!

  9. Mystical and magical Tracy. Awesome photography!!!!

  10. great captures, both! Love the color and good job holding the camera as still as you did – I can’t imagine you brought a tripod!

    • Thanks, Derrick! Nope, no tripod here…just hold as steady as I can, shoot and see what happens!

  11. I never thought to bring my camera out down there. Nice effect. I hope you had fun in MouseLand.

    • I try to shoot in all sorts of wierd situations. Last Oct, I got this shot and decided to try the technique again this trip.

      We did have a GREAT time! Tho, it now seems oh so far away as colder temps and home improvement are sadly my reality these days…

  12. Very cool!

  13. Supper cool shots, Tracy. And congrats on getting one of your images picked up for a logo. You’re rocking, girl. 😉

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