Rocket Boy discovers Limitless Cheetos and cheeses

Limitless Cheetos and cheeses galore; Rocketboy has claimed the moon - what a score! 🚀 🧀 🌙 .
Limitless Cheetos and cheeses galore; Rocket Boy has claimed the moon – what a score! 🚀 🧀 🌙 .

Rocket Boy discovers limitless cheetos and cheeses

I have been waiting to get my hands on a Rocket Boy from the new Lego Collectible Minifigures Series 17.  When contemplating what to do with the endless possibilities of a kid dreaming about space – I thought of cheese.

I love cheese and I love cheetos and I love space.  My obvious choice on moon landscape from a kid perspective equaled cheese.  In the past I have done real looking moon shots with the Lego astronauts; but I felt the rocket boy needed somethig more on the imaginitive side.  The scribble-colored space flag would have looked way out of place in a hyper-realistic shot.

I went to the store specifically for rare cheeses, but found out quickly that rare cheeses are quite expensive.  I wasn’t ready to drop $60 bucks on edible props.  Maybe it would’ve turned out better with goat cheese, Munster cheese, Gouda cheese, or some fancy aged cheeses from some obscure Italian countryside village; but I just couldn’t do it.  I wanted to taste all of them.  I realized I was shopping hungry and was getting a bit carried away. 😂

Taking it all in
Taking it all in

I settled on a large family sized bag of crunchy cheetos that my kiddos could dig into after the shot.  Taking into account future meals, I selected cheeses including some sharp cheddar (block) cut into wedges. Feta cheese for some contrast. Shredded Mexican blend (we go through lots of quesadillas), and a crumbly cheese that didn’t make the cut.

Setting the flag
Rocket Boy setting the flag

Making the background

I made the background with just a white sheet of cardstock colored with various shades of orange crayon.  I wasn’t about to create the background with real cheese… too much waste of this golden amazingness.  Wallace and Gromits – “A Grand Day Out” was an inspiration for this shot and I thought of their rolling hills of cheese that the alien robot was able to ski down.  That’s the background I wanted.

At first the background was too close and didn’t lend to the depth I wanted – it looked flat and colored, which it was, but I wanted some depth.  I ended up moving the background further away and using a long lens (Jupiter 37a 135mm), to make the DoF shallow and blur the background totally.

Look at all the cheesiness!
Look at all the cheesiness!

I even tried taking a picture through an orange filter – but that idea canceled out all my wonderful crayon shading and it felt a bit too orange on everything.

Through orange colored glasses
Through orange colored glasses

Feta cheese “boulders” made for a perfect contrast in the endless orange landscape of the moon.  After I was done my kiddos made a quick job of cleaning up the cheetos – and I cleaned up the feta cheese!😂🚀🧀🌙

How many shots does it take you to get that perfect shot?

Just this morning I was going through all my shots and I took nearly 60 pictures just to get this one finished Rocket Boy moon shot that satisfied me.  I was thinking about this artistic process of coming up with an idea and the work that goes into that idea to make it a reality.

It really is quite fascinating – the image I had in my mind.  How come the first shot didn’t fit?  I had all the props, the tripod, the outdoor lighting… but still didn’t achieve what I wanted for another 60 shots in different poses and background depths.  Different exposures and lenses… maybe it was the vast amount of options that were at my disposal that made me take so many iterations?

Do you all have similar usage of space on your memory cards?  How many shots does it generally take to satisfy your creative ideas?

~ Joecow

 

Lenny rides the Red Bull Rampage!

Lenny rides the Red Bull Rampage
Lenny rides the Red Bull Rampage
The red rock of southern Utah makes for the perfect backdrop for extreme outdoor sports.  The Red Bull Rampage has been taking place in Virgin, UT since 2001 and has garnered some excellent live coverage of the area west of Zions National Park.

I have had the opportunity my whole life to live in this beautiful area.  I’ve explored countless dirt roads leading to so many interesting landscapes.

One such experience I remember was the Mesa road just east of Virgin.  The dirt road is very rough and narrow with foreboding cliffs all along the drive to the top.  What was strange was near the top of the Mesa, as you drive around the bend all of the sudden the road is brand new and paved.  You cannot see this change in the road anywhere on the way up.  Turns out there is an old military base at the top where they test fighter pilot ejection seats.

We didn’t know what it was the first time we came across it and we thought it was some secretive government base for researching aliens and ufos!  There is plenty of that in utah as well.

Riding rough rock with a view
Riding rough rock with a view

Back to the red rock.  The countless cliffs and canyons and formations that make the area beautiful are also the perfect setup for hiking and biking and pretty much anything else outdoors – including my Lego photography.  I have been busily capturing Lenny riding the redrock and have enjoyed all the close ups of the stone and red rock on a miniature scale.  Something that normal folk would easily pass by and dismiss – I see as the perfect setting for Lenny to participate in a crazy death defying stunt.

The joy of riding the grooves
The joy of riding the grooves
It reminds me of the movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  The mundane of the backyard is transformed into an exotic jungle.  Seemingly harmless things turn into death traps.  Lenny had a few mishaps while on this shoot. Several times he fell off the minifigure equivalent of a 400 foot cliff (6 feet).  Luckily his plastic posterior bounced and landed unscathed.

The wind did not help on this shoot and Lenny weighing in at about an ounce it became difficult to peddle into.  In fact it lifted him off the front wheel a few times and deposited him elsewhere.  There is a spot near southern utah in Arizona on the rim of the Grand Canyon called Toroweap.  I have yet to take Lego out to this area because it takes nearly two hours to travel the 75 miles of tire eating dirt road.

Looking off Toroweap
This image was shot old school with my Nikon film camera before the digital age. The Colorado river 3500 feet below us!

Toroweap is the location of one of the largest shear cliff faces in the Grand Canyon at around 3500 feet above the raging waters of the Colorado.  That’s the equivalent of a 168,000 foot drop in minifigure scale. Craziness.  I bring up this location because of the wind.  At the cliff face the wind rushes up the face at nearly 60mph on some days.  We used to waddle close to the edge and put our arms out over the edge and catch the wind.

The beauty and diversity of southern Utah has made me a permenant resident with my family.  I have moved away at times and have lived in many different places, but the call of the Wild keeps bringing me back to this colorful country I consider home.

~Joecow

Where do you call home?  What are some of the unique aspects that keep you there?  Are there unique places to photograph Lego? 

Desert east of Leeds, UT

Redrock hills near Leeds, UT.
Redrock hills near Leeds, UT.

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Desert east of Leeds, UT.  Looking toward Zion National Park.

This view of the desert is from an old mine dump that my boys and I hiked up to. I had stopped to take the previous picture of the caveman Batman figure, so we didn’t find the mine shaft right away.  My kiddos found the opening right before me.  It had been closed off with a wall of mortar and rocks from the dump.  I wonder what they were after?

Silver Reef is only about 5 miles to the north of me from this spot.  Silver Reef is the only place in the world that they have found rich silver deposits in sandstone.  That may be what they were after over this way as well.  Silver Reef was once a booming mining town because of the silver.  At one time they even had a china town area.  Now it is a rather artistic community where people go to retire.  The famous sculptor, Jerry Anderson resides up there.  I am sure this desert is an inspiration for his many creations.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed a house near here.  I know the couple that live there.  They gave me a tour once and it has high shelves all over inside with plants hanging down.  The high windows and walls were inspired by the desert cliffs surrounding the area.  It is a beautiful home that is much more interesting to look at than your standard run-of-the-mill suburban stucco house.

The desert never ceases to amaze me.  The colorful landscapes are even more colorful up close.  The reds turn into many shades of red, orange, and white streaks.  The sandstone in areas is what they call picture sandstone because of all the beautiful striations that make it look like a desert scene itself.  I am glad I have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful part of the world and that I get to experience it with my boys on at least a weekly basis.  When my other kiddos get a little older we will be able to get out and enjoy this expansive place together as a family!