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.
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!
Yesterday, I took my boys with me to sell Wowflutes at the Tuacahn Saturday Market. There were a few vendors there enjoying the perfect weather. No wind, no rain; just sunshine and some whispy clouds.
After our morning of selling we headed over to target so they could pick something out with the money they earned helping me. Target had no Lego Batman Minifigures… 🙁 They had a whole bunch of the series 16 CMF though. I guess they were trying to move those before putting new stuff out.
So we went over to Walmart and they had the big display in the aisle with a bunch of Batman Movie CMF. I picked up this Clan of the Cave Batman (above) along with the Mime and a Catman.
We then set off to find a good hiking location and photo spot. We drove around Quail lake to a spot on the north end I used to raft when I was a kid. Quail lake catches the runoff from the Pine Valley Mountains to the north after it has carved it’s way through the slot canyons of Redcliffs desert reserve. The water flows slowly into the lake through a covered lazy river. In the summer it is heavily shaded and is the perfect swimming hole. There was about four inches of dead leaves covering the entire area. We hiked around a bit and then headed towards Redcliffs.
Redcliffs was blockaded for construction on the access road so we headed down a dirt road north of Leeds, UT. It was such beautiful scenery all around. I love taking my boys out in the hills where they can hike without trails and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. We hiked up to a mining dump and I was hoping to show them what a mine shaft looked like, but the opening had been sealed with a rock and mortar wall. My boys were still curious about it.
While up on top of the mine dump we heard what sounded like distant barking – lots of it. We looked everywhere for dogs, but then the barking slowly morphed into honking. It turned out to be a flock of geese flying over the desert. I snapped a quick shot. Overall, today was a nice relaxing Saturday!
As I drove out to Lund to get a couple road shots with my Lego I noticed several lone juniper trees on the horizon. Luckily I had my old MF Minolta Rokkor 200mm lens. It is the equivalent of around 400mm on my Olympus EM5. The EM5 has a great artistic function that creates dramatic black and white shots.
I originally took this shot in black and white and I liked the look of it, but I felt I have been taking too many black and white shots as of late so I transferred the image over to my phone using my Eyefi wifi sd card.
I used the Mextures app to add color to the black and white shot. I’ve done this quite a few times in the past – I think it’s a great effect adding the color. I like how this shot turned out as well. Much better than the original.
What do you think about adding color to a black and white shot?
A break in the blizzard, New Castle, Iron County, UT.
Nabbed this shot out the window of the passenger side while driving at around 55 mph. It had a nice dreamy feel to it. The morning was cloudy and a slight snow flurry had been upon us until we crested the valley and dropped out of the small mountain range. When we approached New Castle, UT, the sun broke through and the clouds parted into deep blue sky above. It was just a small opening, about the size of the town but much smaller than the surrounding valley. The blizzard raged on all around us – but we were in a split second haven from the storm.
I snapped this shot with my olympus EM5 out the window. I used one of the artistic built in filters for a high contrast black and white. It just matched the scene perfectly – the contrast of billowing clouds and an opening in the storm while the ground was covered in a blur of flurries.