Winter is coming! I actually really love the changing seasons – we once lived down in Mesa, Arizona and I missed the fall and winter that we experience here in Cedar City, Utah each year. Each season brings new colors and challenges to my photography.
This past week we have experienced our first cold snap of the fall/winter season. It got far below freezing. I like this transitional time as many folks tend to leave sprinklers on overnight and the ice sculptures that are made are perfect winter scenes for my toy photography. It can get rather cold and uncomfortable while shooting toys outside durning these times; but the strange things is I don’t even realize that my knees are going numb. I just get so engrossed in the creative process that everything else is forgotten.
I work at an engineering firm which is located in the outskirts of Cedar. The office is surrounded by expansive fields of alfalfa (hay). Yesterday on my way to work I was passing through the fields and the farmers had left their sprinkler pivots on. It was a beautiful sight – the barbed wire fences and grass of the fields were iced over.
Naturally I had to stop and take some toy photos. Woody matched the scene perfectly and I attempted to recreate a shot I did a couple years ago of Woody tightroping on barbed-wire. Unfortunately, the sun had been up for some time and had already warmed the wire and ground enough that the ice was starting to fall off in chunks. It was a race against time! The ground was also thawing which meant messiness – plus I was in a hurry and late for work; so the shot ended up being woody just sitting on the wire. Maybe next time, if there is a next time – icy barbed-wire doesn’t happen too often.
I also had Miguel from Pixar’s Coco and a certain stormtrooper with me.
I used to stop and just take macro shots of a scene like this but now it looks rather boring without a toy in the shot. I still do non toy shots in circumstances like this but having a toy to experience it at their level just adds something to the shot.
I was late to work after these shots but luckily we are all pretty laid back there. The beauty of toy photography is the ability to transform the mundane into another world!
If you’ve made it this far reading my ramblings I’d love to hear some feedback here on my blog.
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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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Big Willie Style! Lenny sort of cheats by using his tail…
I absolutely love the bokeh results I get with the Minolta Rokkor 55mm! It is a bit soft wide open at f1.7 but its worth the shallow depth of field. This particular shot was taken in the morning on my way to our rock quarry near St. George, UT. I pulled off the highway and up a dirt road and stopped near a boulder that had a bush in the background. The morning glow came in through the bush sticks and created this fantastic bokeh. I hadn’t set up Lenny doing a wheelie until now because it is quite tricky to get him to balance just right upright. The angle of the slope on the rock made this shot possible. Lenny’s foot is actually propping him up on the rock side and then his tail helped stabilize him. It was still a balancing act. Luckily there usually is no wind in the early morning calm.
I like getting up before the sun. I don’t always do it but when I do I feel like I get so much more done in the day. I beleive it was Benjamin Franklin that stated that “an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. I have heard it changed to “an ounce of morning, is worth a pound of afternoon” and I tend to agree with this statement. I feel when I am up early I am alert and ready to get things done. By late afternoon I feel sluggish and ready to relax and wind down for the evening.