Last year I acquired a Lego Wampa specifically for shooting outside in the coming winter snows… but the snow never came. It wasn’t till the following February that we actually got a bit of snow.
So I had to be creative. I was itching to shoot the Wampa and since the weather wasn’t cooperating I created a storyline called the Hoth Heat Wave. This storyline has since branched in many ways including a Snowtrooper Unit that has been stranded on the surface because all the ice melt has created a thick cloudy atmosphere that thwarts interstellar communications.
I recently acquired a Hasbro forcelink Wampa and it has spurred more Galactic Warming shots. The snow is all but gone and has turned Hoth into a swampy wet mess.
This past weekend I took a group of scout out to the Arizona Strip on a campout. We hiked the next morning to what is known as the Glitter Pit. It is an active gypsum mine that is in the form of Selenite crystals. The selenite crystals are nature’s form of glass and you can actually see through the rock fairly easily.
When I was younger I remember going down into this selenite mine and being able to see into the ground three to four feet. It was mesmerizing as the depth of the stone slowly changed from clear to blue to blackness. Utilizing an Estwing prospector pick, I could chisel a good 10-12″ slab out of the ground. Nowadays so many folks have visited this site that it has been transformed into somewhat of a tourist trap. The surface has been hacked at so much that now it’s just a white cloudy mess. Which is perfect for a Wampa Cave!
I had a volunteer scout to drop handfuls of gypsum powder over my new Hasbro forcelink Wampa. It was nearly noon and the sky was clear and blue and reflected so much light that I had to use my neutral density filter applied to my Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 lens to even get any shots. This ND filter darkened it quite a bit but I ended up utilizing my Litra Gear LitraTorch to add a few opposing highlights on Wampas legs. The contrast was a bit overwhelming and I lost a lot of my detail in the shadows so the LitraTorch was indispensable in bringing out those details.
It took quite a few tries to get the “snow” captured just right. The other scout leaders watched from a distance as I pulled out my toys and worked my magic. The scouts were quite gung-ho about helping and because of them it turned out awesome!
As I was finishing up a few cars pulled up and out came some families with little kids to explore the Glitter Pit.
The Galactic Warming will continue as I find new ways to incorporate the heat into the Hoth landscapes – and I’m actually dreading snow this winter season!
Lenny’s bike is so small he doesn’t have to worry about nails!???
You really never know when the right time is to take a toy photograph. I always carry my gear with me which consists of a clik camera bag and the Olympus EM5 along with several legacy glass lenses and of course my Lego and other toys. The lens I prefer and use most often is the Minolta Rokkor 55 mm 1.4f. It is the perfect lens for a good balance in detail and excellent bokeh backgournds. I also have a Sigma 60mm AF lens and my old trusty Russian lens the Helios 44mm. That Russian lens is built like a tank! and it brings in some nice light leak details that add a bit of glow to the shot.
Anyway, I was on my way out to get a load of worked up Alabaster sculpting stone and we stopped to fuel up and get some breakfast. Actually it was so my brother could get some breakfast. I had eaten something on my way out so I used this opportunity to jump out and grab a few shots with my Lego.
We were at the Maverik gas station (Adventures First Stop) on the west side of Cedar City and I noticed a small broken down pioneer house right next door. The ceiling had caved in long ago and it looked as if the stone walls and foundation had either sunk several feet – or maybe it was built that way as sort of a fruit cellar… either way it was sunken and sad looking. The wood was rotted and had deep grooves throughout. The grooves matched the size of the tires on Lenny’s bike so it was the perfect setting to get a quick shot. I setup Lenny and got a few great shots in before my brother was back in the truck honking for me. I raced over – repacked my bag and jumped in. Off to load the stone!
Up bright and early before the sun hits the valley – that’s how Lenny rolls.
Early mornings are a great time to do toy photography. I find that my mind is wide awake and ready for the day.
I took this shot while traveling down to my newly opened stone quarry. I was traveling down the black ridge on Interstate 15 from Cedar City to St. George and the morning light was barely lighting the sky. I decided to take an early exit near Pinto, UT and head towards the Pine Valley Mountain Range. The snow capped mountains lit up pink in the sunrise and the valley below was still in the shade of the black ridge. I hurried up a dirt road and parked. The light was changing every minute and I was striving to get a few shots all along those changes.
The hood of the truck turned out to be a nice clean setup for a shot and the reflection of blue hid the fact that this old chevy had a dark green faded and rubbing off paint job. The bright mountain range behind Lenny’s head was a great contrast which brought your eyes to his. I made a rather steep angle with my camera because I wanted it to look like Lenny was on the verge of a very steep ridge. I liked the blues that the early morning shadows gave so I decided not to bother with the exposure at all.