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.
After work I stopped near my mailbox and decided to quickly shoot this figure. There is a field near my home where the landscapers have been dumping grass clippings all summer. I smells and there is quite a bit of garbage throughout the clippings… I’m not too happy about that, but it makes for a great setting for toy photography. I find with toy photography it does not really matter where I take a photo. Coming in so close to such a small subject as a Lego minifigure for instance blurs that background to beyond recognition. I find I focus more on color this way and try to minimize distraction.
This figure is probably not the best for this setting but I figrued that would work well as sort of a contrasting idea of sorts. Sort of like Dorothy in the Land of OZ. This N-Pop girl figure is so out of place in a dingy grassy field that has low key tones to contrast against the bright coloring of its outfit. I thought it proper to name the bear Toto.
I like the variety in the new Lego Ninjago Movie CMF line and am brainstorming new ways to capture them.
I was waiting for quite awhile to acquire this figure. I liked the design of this Sushi Chef from the new Lego Ninjago Movie CMF line. Finally they became available at my local walmart and I was able to feel out the cleaver and a few sushi pieces.
Once I had it, then what? I tried to think of something for an image but nothing really came to mind. I dropped my boy off at scouts and had an hour to go shoot. I went around the corner and off onto a side dirt road. We have been having quite a bit of rain lately which is perfect for our dry high desert climate. We need all the water we can get! Anyways, this dirt road was mostly dry except for some ruts filled with leftover rainwater.
The lighting was perfect as it was golden hour and the sun had just crested behind some junipers and shaded these waterfilled tracks. There was a strip of golden light that shone through and lit up an area of the road. It was the perfect spot and lighting but I had to hurry as there were only a few minutes of that glow left.
I swooped out the minifigure container and looked at my options. The Sushi Chef was my goal to capture but in what way? The puddle would make a great fishing spot on minifigure scale but I had no fishing accessories. I had a wheelbarrow and the Shark Army dudes from the Lego Ninjago Movie CMF. So off came their fishy helmets and their fish swords and into the wheelbarrow they went.
I have been awaiting an Anton figure (from the new Old Fishing Store Set 21310) from the Stuck in Plastic community (I highly recommend their blog). It is currently in the mail and is coming from clear across the sea. Anton has not arrived as of yet, and therefore I decided to incorporate it into this post.
The poor Sushi Chef Cho-li has no fishing accessories and he is hoping Anton will build a fishing store in his area. It’s much easier to fish from a boat than a wheelbarrow. I positioned him right in the last bit of glow creeping in from behind the juniper. The light splashed through and really made the colors pop.
While I was shooting this I accidentally changed the settings on my camera so the rear screen would not display the image preview through the lens. basically just a black screen with text. This was rather frustrating because the shot had a small window of opportunity. I ended up in the dirt and a bit of mud leaning way down trying to peer through the viewfinder. I mostly utilize manual focus lenses and it was very tricky to do without my screen working. Luckily it is just a setting and I did not break anything.
I was able to snag several great shots and was still on time to pick up my boy from scouts. Success!