Grateful (2/3)

I’m sure this one is pretty self explanatory, but I am thankful for my family. I’m not foolish enough to think that I could be taking lego photos, volunteering, running 1/2 of Stuckinplastic as well as 1/3 of Brickcentral (as well as my regular life and job responsibilities) without some serious family support.

Not only do they support my photo antics, they actually encourage them. My husband will buy me unusual mini figs as gifts, my daughter keeps my up to date on the doings at the Lego store she works at and my son helps me build props as well as accompanies my on my photo adventures.

They all know that when we go on a family adventure there is a good chance my Lego friends will be coming along as well. They are all happy to hang out for an hour or more while I take advantage of some interesting local to snap a couple of photos. This past weekend was no exception. We went on a hike and I had some quality photo time at our destination as well as some quality time photographing at the lake at the base of the trail.

It’s not easy to be an adult playing with toys. Not having to explain myself to the ones I love is a blessing I don’t take for granted. Of course many of my friends fall somewhere between enthusiastic and skeptical, but they are slowly coming around. My parents…now that’s another story altogether.

~ xxsjc

How do your family and friends react to your hobby?
Do you have a photographic support system? If so, who are they?

Taken on a gloomy day at the end of a lovely hike.

Grateful (1/3)

I’m out of practice blogging, but +me2‘s last post put me in mind of a series of posts about gratitude. I know it’s not the holidays, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and take stock of where you are and why.

Even though I graduated from university with a degree in photography and had a successful art career, I never felt like I knew what I was doing. I would joke that if the subject wasn’t under water I wouldn’t know what to do. This was shockingly close to the truth. 
When my art career ended I was at loose ends and struggling to find my place artistically. Through a random series of events I ended up volunteering at my local independent radio station KEXP. The gentlemen I work with have been generous with their patience, guidance and willingness to share information. I felt like I was in school again. Over the past five years I’ve learned how to handle my dslr, light a room, video like a pro, work as a team member and most importantly travel successfully with nine distinctly different and mostly male personalities. 
Our last adventure together was to a nearby music festival, Pickathon. Since we always travel short handed I volunteered to not only help with video but to take care of still photos of the bands. Basically I would be doing double duty. I took all my lenses with me: 70-200 for video, my favorite wide angle lens, my go-to 24-70 and on the off chance I could sneak in a lego photo my 100 mm macro (which is also a great portrait lens).  The upshot of taking stills for three days, 100’s of photos and multiple lens changes is that I actually understand how and when to use each of these lenses. I also learned each lenses strengths and weaknesses. It was glorious. 
Since I’m an art / casual photographer I rarely have this kind of intense photographic experience. I left mentally exhausted but happy with my efforts. It was also gratifying to find out my current toy photography editing work flow also worked great in the field. It is mazing to me how much these two hobbies of mine, toy photography and music videos, inform and influence each other. In many ways I wish my stills could be as good as the work I turn in with video. I am sure in time it will.
In the mean time there is never a day that goes by that I’m not grateful by this volunteering experience. I have learned so much over the years, made friends and met more than a few amazing musicians. 
~ xxsjc
Where did you learn your photographic skills: traditional school or the school of hard knocks? 
Have you considered sharing your photography skills as a volunteer?
If you want to see the entire set of photos I took, look here.
Pickathon’s main stage at night.

6474K of Friendship

The friendship dinner outside the Studio
Our friends arrived sound and safe at The Studio and decoded the message of our little green friends that every adventure needs to end with a friendship dinner just like the adventures of Nero and Asterix.
While Rudolf made a viable alternative for the wild boars of Asterix and Co. up here in the North, the secret message of our green friends talked about cloud berries and ice cream.
  
Herr K. from Hamburg.

Herr K. mentioned the good old tradition of German Weisbeer and before we knew we were all talking about our own country favorites, from crocodile to wiener.

Lady W. from S.

A great evening where adventures and stories were turned into tales for the future …

A toast …

Friendships were sealed …

… for a toast full of wonderlust.

And new adventures full of wanderlust are forged into the future …

The great quest for the Northern light has come to an end and the Crew will travel back to the corners of the earth with great new experiences, certificates and a secret key to the  light switch of the arctic light … 

We will give you some more travel details and inside pictures in the coming weeks as we get our head around the plus 6K pictures we took on this trip. 

A trip which took us six thousand four hundred seventy four kilometers with our little VW camper …

Trainspotting

After a long trip through the woods of Lapland crossing Norway, Finland and Sweden (meeting up with the locals across the arctic circle) our friends made it finally back into the urbanized world where they decided to hitchhike back across the vast lands of Sweden with the local train.

Soon our friends will reach the Studio™where the secret package of our little green friends will be turned into something delicious to end this epic adventure before our friends travel back to the different corners of our world and enjoy the memories of friendship, crazy adventures and midnight sun


One World

I admire +Me2 and his grand adventure of friends. To bring together people from several continents and many countries who’s only link to each other is a mutual love of Lego (and a sense of the absurd) is a beautiful thing. If only the rest of the world would get on board and join the fun.

I love the Instagram toy community that I am an active member of. It has shown me in so many ways that we are one world. We have so much in common beyond just having mother’s and father’s. Maybe we can counteract the fear and suspicion that seems to be taking over our planet by making friends across the globe. Each connection makes us stronger and less fearful of our differences.

In lieu of making friends and connections I guess we can always rely on a good alien invasion to bring us together.

~ xxsjc

Did you have a chance to catch up on the blog and see all the great group shots?
What super hero do you want to save us when the aliens come?

The Little Green Men …

What a surprise to find my two dear friends on the cliffs of Cape North on this truly epic adventure in search of Northern Light! It has been so long since our paths have crossed. If I had only known they where following us, I would have had +Me2 pull over sooner.

 Alas, their time was short so we had to keep our reminiscences brief. After we caught up on the important stuff they informed me my travels would soon encounter another dear friend. They handed me a package and asked me to pass it along to our mutual friend. I knew well enough not to ask any unnecessary questions. I love my green traveling friends, but I know they enjoy their secrecy.

 Even though the package was slim, I held out hope it had something to do with food because those little green travelors really know how to cook. If you ever run into them, ask them to prepare you a meal. You won’t regret it! 
~ xxsjc
Have you looked at a map and seen where these photos where taken
Would you want to travel there yourself?

Nordkapp

The Mysterious Mini Cooper
The mystery of the mysterious green Mini Cooper is resolved when our friends return from a long hike across the cliffs of Cape North to take some selfies and discover that our little green friends used the mini to speed up their way to Cape North with yet another clue to the quest for the Northern Light.
Shelly finally meets our little green friends

Shelly is the first out on the cliffs of Cape North to welcome our little green friends and they spent quite some time talking (*) before they join all together for a group selfie here on the commonly referred most northern part of Europe (**).

 

A quick group selfie on Cape North

Once the selfies have been taken and everyone did a quick check in on their social media of choice (Cape North has a free WIFI zone, special thanks to one of the largest telecom operators in Norway) our little green friends give Julien an import clue that it is not Tutti Frutti on the inside of his life jacket, but actually reads Hurtigruten and the final harbour of the Northern Voyage may very well contain another passenger for the Crew …

Without further ado the Crew packs up their photo gear, heads back to the Camper and starts their travel East …

(*) Will Shelly reveal what she has been discussing with our little green friends out on the cliffs ?
(**) The steep cliff of North Cape is often (mistakenly) referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, located at 71°10′21″N 25°47′40″E, about 2,102.3 kilometres (1,306.3 mi) from the North Pole. However, the neighboring Knivskjellodden point, just to the west actually extends 1,457 metres (4,780 ft) farther to the north and this is where our friends where hiking when they were considered lost or abducted by aliens.
Regardless, both of these points are situated on an island, which technically means the northernmost point of mainland Europe is in fact located at Cape Nordkinn (Kinnarodden) which lies about 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mi) farther south and about 70 kilometres (43 mi) to the east and another beautiful location for photo hikes.

Checking In

I for one have not been lost these past few days, I was merely exploring a different rabbit hole. I am back and caught up on our current adventure. The photos by +Me2 have been incredible and I am excited to see even more as our adventure continues.

Pirate treasure, aliens in hot pursuit, mystical Sjaman and of course our wonderful traveling companions; have all made this a trip of a life time. But how will it all end??

~ xxsjc

Have you been enjoying the quest?
How would you like to see it end?
What images should we ask Me2 to take for us?


Image by +Me2 

Graffiti

The Sjaman in action over morning coffee …

When we woke up this morning in Alta we found a trace of red paint outside the Camper.

An ancient red paint with traces of copper and ox blood mixed into it (did you know that red was the very first color which got its own name ?)

It didn’t take long before the Ladies found a hidden track behind the Camper and took the whole Crew on a morning walk into the protected World Heritage Site of Rock Art at Alta.

Boats 4K years ago …

The Sjaman on duty explained the true secret of of the Northern Light would be revealed if we traveled to a small fisherman village up in the North listening to the name of Geirsver.

Without hesitation we returned to the Camper and continued our quest up to the village completely impressed by this prehistoric graffiti and the promise of getting yet another clue in our adventure.

On the road up North we took a few detours to do a mandatory check in on Facebook in the city of Hammerfest, the very first city in Europe to have electrical street lights and made some stops to collect Pebbles.

Pebbles on the road …

Pebbles seems to be a key ingredient in our quest …

Right now the Crew is out and about shooting some magic in the last midnight sun covering the village of Geirsver.

Lets keep our fingers crossed we can post some stunning HDR over the coffee when we take a deeper look why we are at Nordkapp  …

Me2 and Crew …