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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!
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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.
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Riding the grooves of an old pioneer house!
Sometimes I feel like Lenny here in this shot. You get in the groove and get set in your ways and it’s difficult to change. These grooves are a bit like ruts in life. When I was a kid, twelve years old or so, I got to practice driving my dads truck on dirt roads west and south of town. One such road had clearly been traversed by a large truck during muddy weather and had carved deep ruts through the road. My father helped me navigate them but on one occasion I dropped down into them. The ruts proved to steer me. It overpowered my ability to grab the wheel and make my own steering decisions. It took quite a bit of effort to climb up the side of the rut and out.
Sometimes I feel in my work that I get into ruts. Ruts that either others have created or versions I have created through habit. It is easy to feel like you are working when you are in a rut, but really you are just going with the flow. Some ruts are too deep to get out of and are difficult to change.
I experienced this at a place I worked at in the past doing 3D modeling and design. They had a system that worked but seemed very repetitive. I was given the task to do this repetitive work and it was rather boring. In fact, I nearly fell asleep while doing it. I strove to find new ways to think outside the box and implement new strategies to get the process more automated. In the end though, everyone just kept doing it the way that seemed easier because they knew it.
I also worked for a mining company as the General Manager. My goal was to create systems that made it easy to follow the stone from the mining process to the logistics and processing of the stone. There were five owners, one of which had much more control and say in the company than the others. This owner did not want to change and adapt to new technologies and therefore undermined my ability to manage the company.
I now own my own mining company and I have found that my systems work very well. I do not yet have the assets or cashflow that the other mining company had so many of my new systems are not yet perfected but I know they will work. Even after implementation, I am open to new ideas and technologies. I do not want to be stuck in ruts – especially my own.
Lenny doesn’t stay in ruts long – he’s always changing and looking for new adventures.