Designing Weird, a review of set 75154: TIE Striker

In science fiction science is, well, fiction: the laws of physics can be put aside and substitute them with whatever fits the story. In Star Wars this means, among other things, spaceships with atmospheric flight dynamics in the vacuum of space. The X-wings fly like Spitfires, even the explosions spew flames and debris in the direction of airflow – which does not exist in space. Continue reading “Designing Weird, a review of set 75154: TIE Striker”

The Walker With Two Feet

One of the most bonkers a concept in the Star Wars universe are the walkers. You know the AT-AT (All Terrain Armoured Transport) and AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) walkers, they are downright ridiculous in their vulnerability when used for what they were designed for. They just look so cool that we forgive that inconvenient little weakness. Continue reading “The Walker With Two Feet”

Preimagined Re:Image

This is a follow-up to Brett’s post a few days ago, it stayed with me longer than usual. It was really good. The post got me thinking about another, rather similar aspect of photography: the curse of the test photograph.

It goes like this: you get an idea of a photograph, but before you build a setup, rig the lights and all that, you take a snapshot of a quick set up of the idea to see if it works to begin with. It’s a big time saver too.

The problem is that sometimes the test photograph turns out more interesting than what you can come up with with all the fancy lighting rigs and environment builds.

There is magic in framing an image for the first time. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is something a street toy photographer recognises as the thing that keeps it interesting. I make photographs on a tabletop, my moment of discovery is often in the first test, the rest is just work. This isn’t always the whole truth, there is also joy in creating the complicated lighting and/or environmental effects for the final. But the tricky part is that the dynamics that come with the first framing of the subject at hand can be tough to replicate for the actual image.

Two examples; first the ”Droids’ Night Out”. It was a simple idea and I thought it would only require a good positioning of the minifigures. I put the set on a sofa table in the livingroom, killed the lights and shot a few frames with different angles. The lighting is a single led lamp moved around during the exposure, a light painting, if you will.

The groovy test photograph.

The overall atmosphere was nice and I proceeded to crate the final image. I moved the setup to another table and never got the framing as dynamic as it was in the quick test. The lighting worked but I am not entirely sure what happened. I still like the first composition better.

The Droids’ Night Out. Final photograph.

Second is ”The Reader”. Again, a simple idea, I checked the angles to see what works and found this to be the best.

The file says “The Searcher”, that was the original title of this one.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the last version I tried, I moved everything around several times, and when I tried to get back to this after deciding it was the best approach, I just never found the same dynamics again. The final image also suffered from the snow obscuring the snow speeder. I didn’t take that into account when planning.

The Reader. Final photograph.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I really feel what Brett went through with the Rancor image. The same mechanism works also if you test your images with sketch photos before proceeding to the final image. Sometimes it sucks.

The Robot Built for Work

A couple of weeks ago I got an interesting assignment from an old client of mine. I had made illustrations for them in the past but this time they wanted a series of photographs made with Lego figures. One of the photos would have to deal with the future of employment, for which I would have to build a Lego robot. Encouraged by the recent flow of tiny Lego robots here and there, most notably this fab little critter from Mike Stimpson, I accepted the challenge. Continue reading “The Robot Built for Work”

Toys on Vacation: Repeat and Improve

Taking the toys along with you on a vacation has been a thing often discussed here on the SiP blog. Especially during the summer holiday season. I would like to offer a new chapter to add another contribution to the dicussion. Continue reading “Toys on Vacation: Repeat and Improve”

Photographing the blank spots

-I see spaceships
-Where?
-Everywhere.

A good friend of mine has this odd ability to see human faces in everything around him. A spit on tarmac or a shape of a lawnmower turns into an image of a face in his mind. It’s not just in his mind though, he photographs them so that he can show other people that he’s not crazy. Looking at the photos you also see the faces, you just never notice them there and then. I’m not entirely sure whether he’s happy with this trait called Pareidolia. Sometimes I get the feeling he would rather do without it. Continue reading “Photographing the blank spots”

Which Way to Panorama?

I don’t upload in hi-res for quite obvious reasons. Among other things, I have once taken an entire book of my photographs down from a website. The images were downloaded from my Flickr account and extrapolated into this crummy print-by-demand book. It was hideous! They took it down in seconds after an email from my attorney, so that was good.

This happened even when I only upload images too small to make a good wallpaper for your computer. I can’t think what it would be with hi-res originals online.

But sometimes I wish I did upload images in hi-res. Let me explain. My most recent photograph was shot with an iPhone 6S, it’s a panorama shot taken for documenting the locaton I was in, not really with a finished image in mind. When I opened the image on my desktop computer I realized just how amazing the detail in it really was, and despite it’s origins, I had to do something with it. This is what I came up with:

An iPhone panorama photograph. Typography pending.

There is a long story to go with it in the Flickr upload of this, a story about how the idea for this is 37 years old. But that’s not the topic for this post. Continue reading “Which Way to Panorama?”

Behind The Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy, Part 3

This is another post in the a ”Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy” series, where I take a closer look at a few of the photographs created exclusively for the book. This time it’s actually two photographs. Continue reading “Behind The Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy, Part 3”

Behind the Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy Part.2

Like the previous ”Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy” photograph I wrote about, this image isn’t a standalone true original idea either; it has roots in earlier versions. Actually, the earliest example I can pinpoint as predecessor to this idea of an interior filled with smoke to create an atmosphere, was with a South American cave setting using the Indiana Jones mini figure in 2009:

South America, 1938.

Their have been various tests of this approach over the years, trials and errors, but none have really nailed it. The first of these was in 2012. I created a crossover image using the Jabba’s Lair LEGO set 9516 with Indy Jones stealing the Chachapoyan fertility idol (a gold plated custom brick) from Jabba’s collections. There were some meta level gags in this image as the Indy Jones (Harrison Ford) mini figure recognizes the setting as somehow familiar. Continue reading “Behind the Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy Part.2”

Behind the Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy

As you may know,  last year DK Books published my LEGO Star Wars photography in a book titled: ”Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy”. It was subsequently translated into French, Spanish and Finnish. This was all kinds of fantastic. Continue reading “Behind the Small Scenes From a Big Galaxy”