Known as the "Political Graveyard", many of New York's prominent people are buried here, mostly ex-politicians. It's a creepy place with all of its wrought iron gates and old lamp posts.
Post Process: Tone-mapped image made up from the original RAW file converted into 2 JPEGs. After looking at it again I realized I should have toned down the white point but I took the 10 minute drive 3 hours before the challenge deadline. I rushed through the editing process unfortunately. I didnt touch the highlights much, burned some shadows mainly. I wanted to keep it darker but decided to take a risk with a final Curves selection. I finally added a faded black border and saved for web at 165KB.
Post Challenge: Many commenters thought I lit this myself, the lighting is from the lamp posts that always remain on at night.
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Or so the line entered his head as he found himself in this spot on that dark and gloomy evening. Wasn't that how stories of that nature always started? The cliche was so bad he chuckled to himself, and then shivered.
What was he doing here anyway? Sometimes his mouth opened and got him into more trouble than it was worth, but he kept doing it. This time, it had opened and had told all his friends that spending the night in an old graveyard was nothing. Stop being so superstitious and afraid. It's just bits of stone and bones in the ground. Ghosts and ghoulies aren't real. I'll show you. It's nothing.
So here he was, with a backpack filled with camping equipment, and a stubborness masking as courage. Once he committed to something, he was in it for the long haul, no backing out.
He took a deep breath, found a good spot and began setting up his gear. Yup, just another camping trip. Just another night among hundreds of other nights spent in a tent. A quick wind suddenly blew up and tickled the back of his neck, and he jumped, then uttered a sharp barking laugh. Great, now he had himself jumping at the wind. Way to go. He shook his head and inwardly reprimanded himself for his silliness, and then finished setting up the tent. He then busied himself with getting everything else ready, and, about an hour later, finally tucked himself into his sleeping bag. Nothing more had happened. No noises, no movements, nothing. It was just as he had said. Just a graveyard. Just another place. Just ...
That's when a sudden screeching cry came from seemingly all around him. He sat up with a jerk, a small thin cry escaping his throat. What the hell was that!? He sat there, barely daring to breathe, listening. Nothing. There was no more sound, and he almost began to believe he had imagined it. Mind playing tricks. That's all. Hah hah. Good one. That'll be a funny story for the boys in the morning.
He sighed and shook off the shivers, and settled back in once more. Imagined it, yes, that's all. Or a screech owl at worst. Lots of animals make crazy noises at night. With these thoughts he began to drift off once more and...
... jerked awake again with a cry as his tent began to shake and tremble as if a hundred hands were grabbing it and rattling it around. His eyes grew to the size of saucers and his cries like that of a terrified girl. He scrambled madly for the zippered entrance, fumbling for the latch in pure terror and desperation, finally grabbing it and ripping it upwards and open. With another cry as an unearthly wailing began to join the pounding on the then, he tore open the tent flap and...
It was a beautiful morning. The sun shone brightly, and the birds sang their twittering song. The caretaker walked along, whistling a tune with the birds and heading out to tend the gardens that surrounded the grave site. So it was a bit of a shock when he noticed the colored fabric blowing in the wind, nestled amongst a bunch of the tombstones. Suspiciously, he made his way over to the site, to find a tattered tent sitting there, half-collapsed. With a frown, he silently cursed whatever teenager or vagabond had left behind such a mess, and moved to begin cleaning it up, and that's when he saw it. The hand sticking out of the door flap, the skin a deathly shade of grey, and a smell coming from that dark entrance that was enough to choke him. Knowing better, but doing it anyway, he slowly approached the entrance, handkerchief over his nose and mouth, and reached over, and yanked open the flap.
His screams were not unlike the screams that had been heard the night before, as he was met with the face of the man that had dared try to camp there the night before, kneeling frozen in the doorway of the tent, his face a mask of paper white terror, the eyes missing, the mouth hanging open in a tortured mutation. The visage of a man that had looked evil in its very eyes, and was lost.
The caretakers screams continued for some time, as the birds sang their merry song and the sun shone down, and the graveyard added another whisper to the night.