Locations speak

We all heave heard about location scouting in the movies and for big photo ops where location scouts go hunt the seven seas, the world cities and country side alike to find the right location to shoot and support whatever idea a creative director may come up with.

Sandy white beaches and palm trees, rainy city backstreets, industrial steam punk locations or Sahara look alike desserts conveniently a stone cast away… you name it and they have it together with the casual price-tag, the facilities to support the crew and in some cases the waiting period before it is available for a shoot.

Some of us outdoor toy photographers are both location scout and creative director in one and have the ready list of location ops available in the back of our head when we come up with a creative idea we want to put to the digital celluloid.

Others have a location in mind, take a basic set of toys and go explore and let the story evolve.

A third category of folks is looking for the location to speak up and get inspiration. The location needs to demand the image it needs and sometimes you walk away empty handed because the location stayed silent and did not connect (the main subject of this post).

I think I fall squarely in all four categories (the fourth being the studio creative who creates his own virtual world without the need of a real location backdrop in studio when the outdoor is not calling, too cold, or to expensive but that one is not part of this post).

I have anticipated the Lady Love shoot on the iconic beaches of L.A. for a very long time and I knew I wanted to shoot that shot (sorry, Shelly, create that image) long before I got on a plane.

Lady Love

Category one – check.

I have let the location many times dictate the story turn not knowing what was next after the cliffhanger, yet the story was evolving and the location could only go left or right, not halt the adventure (remember our interactive Cape North adventure).


Category two – check.

And here I was.

I had all my gear along, a few kilos of camera stuff, enough plastic friends and peripherals to make the beginning toy photographer jealous and a whole weekend of amazing creativity ahead.

Category three – ready.

Yet, after two days. lots of walking and some amazing (non plastic) RAW footage, I noticed I did not shoot one single plastic image while I had the gear, the plastic, the time and the opportunity.

No plastic
No plastic

On our final photo walk we stopped and took a seat (on the bare rocks) and let the location speak.

It was silent for a long time.

Kalle did not want to ride his bike.
Lady Love found the water too cold.
The pirates where having a poker game and could not be bothered.
And I just waited …. for the location to speak.

To call out …

And then it happened.

Out of the yellow fungi she comes …

Sergeant Green  just appeared with a smile on her face.
This was her location. She owned the barren rocks with the yellow funghi, she started a new adventure I was not aware would happen.

Sergeant Green seems to have discovered something …

Remember, locations do speak …

Whenever you find yourself in a time and place without purpose, the location you are in may speak up and invite you to an adventure you did not know you where part of.

Just sit back, relax and listen to your location when you feel you are stuck in plastic and don’t get anywhere,  just like me as I have no clue where Sergeant Green is taking me, but it is an adventure I will enjoy…


PS. You also get this location brain freeze or are you always 100% in control  and you do are squarely in category 1 or 2 ?



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7 years ago

Today I was in category 3 and didn’t get inspired by the one hour walk through the woods. I guess it’s not going to be easy after coming back from a week where I could get a glimpse of what Scandinavia has to offer in terms of location. It seemed so unreal how green the forests are there.

7 years ago
Reply to  Boris

I have no doubt that there are plenty of great forests around the world. My only regret when I traveled to British Columbia (and made a stop in Seattle before) is not having had the opportunity to go on an adventure in less urban areas. It’s also my main regret in Norway: I’ve stayed most of the time in Bergen and only went on a short day trip outside the city, only catching a glimpse through a train window of the landscapes Norway has to offer. But more generally it’s not only a matter of forests. I just lack inspiration… Read more »

7 years ago

For me it is so different from time to time. Sometimes I get brainfreeze and another time I can go back to the same place and see a story!

7 years ago

Great post!

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