I see your number, 2786, Julien, and I raise you. 4200.
Ask any geologist and they will tell you the best bit about the job is the fieldwork. Being able to travel to far-flung places, ones that are often beautiful and extremely photogenic, in the pursuit of science and a deeper understanding of the earth we live on, that’s the reason I became a geologist. My PhD project involves looking at rocks in the mountains of the Himalaya, and last month I had the privilege of working in the majestic kingdom of Bhutan.
Bhutan is a small country, about the size of Switzerland, at the eastern edge of the Himalayan mountain range. It is seen as many as an exclusive country to visit due to its expensive daily tourist tariff, which is hard to argue with. But once you are there you are treated to a country filled with culture, warm-hearted people, and stunning scenery. And my first thought when I found out I would be going there was of course, “What Lego Minifigures am I going to take?!”
After much deliberation, asking my Instagram friends, my non-Lego obsessed friends, and colleagues who had visited Bhutan before, I picked my team. I was going to be there for 4 weeks and had all my camping gear to take, so space and weight were at a premium. There were some tough choices made and unfortunately some of my staple Minifigure friends would not be making this trip. And in hindsight there are figures I wish I had with me, opportunities missed. Guess I’ll just have to go back again.
The geologists I was going into the field with were well aware that I was a Lego photographer and were very supportive in my pursuit of good Lego photos. What I didn’t know was how the Bhutanese people were going to react. We had guides and a whole camping crew with us, and even though I’ve been brave enough to lie down on the streets of foreign cities like Hamburg and get on with my photography, it’s always a bit daunting exposing your passion to new people.
On our first day we stopped to watch an archery tournament, and have planned accordingly, I had the perfect figures for a shot. I took out my pencil case full of figures and set up my shot, and explained to our curious guide what I was doing. A smile appeared on his face as he had a root around in my case. “You have Batman and Kung Fu Panda, haha!” he laughed.
As we trekked and drove our way across Bhutan, from the snow-capped peaks in the northwest corner to the lush forests and valleys in the east, there was plenty of opportunities for me to take Lego photos, in between doing a hard scientific study of course!
So back to my number, 4200. That signifies 4200 meters ABOVE sea level. The highest point that I reached on my adventures. The idea for this photo was born out of a discussion with my fellow toy photography friends on our recent meetup in London.
And this is the result.
The highest Lego Store in the world, 4200 meters above sea level.