N-Pop girl is not in Kansas anymore

It’s a bit spooky… I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore Toto bear.? – N-Pop Girl

#notinkansasanymore #legoninjagomovie #lego #toyphotographers #utahtoycrew

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.

Cho-Li Leiko Sushi Chef

Where is Anton!? He kept saying he was going to build that fishing store near here… sushi chef, Cho-Li Leiko, will just have to improvise until then… Cho-Li needs to invest in some proper fishing gear:
-fishing rod
-life jacket

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!


Rocket Boy discovers Limitless Cheetos and cheeses

Limitless Cheetos and cheeses galore; Rocketboy has claimed the moon - what a score! ? ? ? .
Limitless Cheetos and cheeses galore; Rocket Boy has claimed the moon – what a score! ? ? ? .

Rocket Boy discovers limitless cheetos and cheeses

I have been waiting to get my hands on a Rocket Boy from the new Lego Collectible Minifigures Series 17.  When contemplating what to do with the endless possibilities of a kid dreaming about space – I thought of cheese.

I love cheese and I love cheetos and I love space.  My obvious choice on moon landscape from a kid perspective equaled cheese.  In the past I have done real looking moon shots with the Lego astronauts; but I felt the rocket boy needed somethig more on the imaginitive side.  The scribble-colored space flag would have looked way out of place in a hyper-realistic shot.

I went to the store specifically for rare cheeses, but found out quickly that rare cheeses are quite expensive.  I wasn’t ready to drop $60 bucks on edible props.  Maybe it would’ve turned out better with goat cheese, Munster cheese, Gouda cheese, or some fancy aged cheeses from some obscure Italian countryside village; but I just couldn’t do it.  I wanted to taste all of them.  I realized I was shopping hungry and was getting a bit carried away. ?

Taking it all in
Taking it all in

I settled on a large family sized bag of crunchy cheetos that my kiddos could dig into after the shot.  Taking into account future meals, I selected cheeses including some sharp cheddar (block) cut into wedges. Feta cheese for some contrast. Shredded Mexican blend (we go through lots of quesadillas), and a crumbly cheese that didn’t make the cut.

Setting the flag
Rocket Boy setting the flag

Making the background

I made the background with just a white sheet of cardstock colored with various shades of orange crayon.  I wasn’t about to create the background with real cheese… too much waste of this golden amazingness.  Wallace and Gromits – “A Grand Day Out” was an inspiration for this shot and I thought of their rolling hills of cheese that the alien robot was able to ski down.  That’s the background I wanted.

At first the background was too close and didn’t lend to the depth I wanted – it looked flat and colored, which it was, but I wanted some depth.  I ended up moving the background further away and using a long lens (Jupiter 37a 135mm), to make the DoF shallow and blur the background totally.

Look at all the cheesiness!
Look at all the cheesiness!

I even tried taking a picture through an orange filter – but that idea canceled out all my wonderful crayon shading and it felt a bit too orange on everything.

Through orange colored glasses
Through orange colored glasses

Feta cheese “boulders” made for a perfect contrast in the endless orange landscape of the moon.  After I was done my kiddos made a quick job of cleaning up the cheetos – and I cleaned up the feta cheese!????

How many shots does it take you to get that perfect shot?

Just this morning I was going through all my shots and I took nearly 60 pictures just to get this one finished Rocket Boy moon shot that satisfied me.  I was thinking about this artistic process of coming up with an idea and the work that goes into that idea to make it a reality.

It really is quite fascinating – the image I had in my mind.  How come the first shot didn’t fit?  I had all the props, the tripod, the outdoor lighting… but still didn’t achieve what I wanted for another 60 shots in different poses and background depths.  Different exposures and lenses… maybe it was the vast amount of options that were at my disposal that made me take so many iterations?

Do you all have similar usage of space on your memory cards?  How many shots does it generally take to satisfy your creative ideas?

~ Joecow