A Dreaded Sunny Day

Summer is upon us. I’m specifically speaking of the British Summer, often jokingly referred to as the “week of summer”, but often literally true.

The arrival of summer is not a gradual change in Britain, it makes more of a surprise entrance. A couple of weeks ago there were snowflakes falling, now it’s 23 degrees celsius and the sun is shining (and for those not familiar with celsius, that’s 296.15 degrees kelvin).

This has a strange effect on the population. We’re not used to sun, we don’t really know what to do with it. We do have a vague feeling that we should be outside doing something, not doing so would be a waste of a precious commodity.

For a lot of people that something is dusting off the shorts, donning the flip-flops and roasting themselves in the garden. Or possibly, if it’s a weekend, dragging the kids off to somewhere wet (like the local beach, if you have one, or if not, Wales).

My summer panic activity—and you can surely guess if you know what this blog is about—is toy photography. Or at least it used to be. I did go outside with some LEGO bits and pieces last weekend but mostly came away with only photos for this blog post.

The ground is covered in ants and nettles. The sun keeps going away while I’m looking at things through the viewfinder (lying on the ground looking up at the clouds sounds like some sort of romantic idyl, but I was trying to work out how many minutes I was going to have to wait for the sun to reveal itself again). The best of the light comes along in the evening while I’m having my dinner. This is not how I normally approach photography. I’ve become so used to controlling all aspects of my shots that the lack of control when outside is frustrating. At least I wasn’t indoors “wasting” the sun!

With toy photography I’m not taking serendipitous snaps of events unfolding, I can’t capture decisive moments, I have to make those photos, not take them. I’m not sure the British summer supports my workflow.

Summer, it’s good reference material, but I wouldn’t want to use it as my primary light source.

Let’s get back into the lovely cold!


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Shelly Corbett
8 years ago

This is probably the funniest post I’ve ever read on this blog! I was practically on the floor laughing! Who says the English are humorless? Someday we’ll have to go shoot together – outside – and I can show you how much fun it is, bugs and all!

Cheers my friend!

Shelly Corbett
8 years ago
Reply to  Balakov

Great! Bring them along and you can show me how to use them. :)

8 years ago

The guilt! Yes, yes, it’s crushing! 42 days ’til summer solstice and then the days start getting shorter. Sigh.


A lovely and very true post.

Shelly Corbett
8 years ago
Reply to  Avanaut

You two crack me up.

8 years ago

I typically or almost always take my pics outside. I always run into a problem. Harsh sunlight! It is crazy how distorted a stormtrooper can look. His head shines so bright you could see him a mile away. I attempt to take them in shadows. Unfortunately, shadows still don’t cut the mustard. I have now settle for Golden Hour-Sunset (Which includes Blue hour) For those who don’t know what Golden hour and Blue hour is I’ll tell you. Golden hour is when the sun starts to set. Not sunset but before. If your lucky you can get a Golden of… Read more »

Lynn Moore
8 years ago

Come to Texas, we’ll show you the true meaning of “Summer” :-) It’s so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk and the bugs are bigger than your minfigs. I’ll happily stay indoors and keep using my flashes too :-) Great post!

8 years ago

Summer in Belgium hit me hard too. During the winter I forced myself to go outside to take more photos out of the “studio”. It worked well but had a few drawbacks too. To be honest it’s the first time I miss winter. I hate having to wait late to catch the nice evening light and I know it’s going to get worse in the next weeks. I hate the ugly light of summer afternoons. Maybe it’s the perfect excuse to go back shooting indoor, but I have a major problem: I lack space for a proper studio and its… Read more »

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