Week 23 – Christopher Lee

For this week of #SiPgoes53, we’re starting the month of June with another movie celebrity, Christopher Lee.

The actor

Christopher Lee has a cinematic career spanning almost 7 decades. He is best known for his iconic roles as a villain. Most notably, Dracula for the oldest ones, Count Dooku and Saruman for the youngest ones. In addition, he’s also known for playing other villains such as the Creature of Frankenstein, Lord Summerisle, Sir Henry Baskerville or Francisco Scaramanga.

One key feature of Christopher Lee such was his iconic strong deep voice which led him to also to voice acting. I can only recommend listening to the beautiful original poem of the Nightmare Before Christmas he narrated.

Although limited by his age, Christopher Lee continued acting until passing away 4 years ago (on Friday) at the age of 93.

I always ask myself ‘well, what else could I do?’. Making films has never just been a job to me, it is my life. I have some interests outside of acting – I sing and I’ve written books, for instance – but acting is what keeps me going, it’s what I do, it gives life purpose.

Christopher Lee

The singer

To me, Christopher Lee is also of importance for his work as a music singer and narrator, and in particular as the oldest Heavy Metal singer. Having grown up with French dubs of Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings, I actually heard Christopher Lee’s true voice for the first time as a teenager while listening to Rhapsody’s Magic of the Wizard’s Dream.

Following this first collaboration with a Heavy Metal band, he continued to do narration work for Rhapsody. (I can only warmly recommend the wonderful 16-minute long “Mystic Prophecy of the Demon Knight” which ends with Lee’s beautiful narration.) Later he also replaced Orson Welles as the narrator of Manowar’s re-recording of their first album. His last musical appearance was as the narrator on the opening track of Hollywood Vampires, a rock band formed of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry.

But next to these collaborations with existing bands, Christopher Lee also ended up with his own personal project and released two concept albums about Charlemagne. He even became the oldest person to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his heavy metal version of Jingle Bell.

My Elven Charlemagne, inspired by the cheesy but never tiresome video clip of the Bloody Verdict of Verden.

Your image

What will you create for this week? Which aspect, or role, of Christopher’s Lee life will you reuse? Let us know and don’t forget to tag your photos on social media with #SiPgoes53 and #SiP_Christopher_Lee.

The Eagle Has Landed

The LEGO NASA Apollo 11 Lunar set 10266 also known as “Eagle” has landed. It is since yesterday available in LEGO stores around the world. A good month and a half ahead of the fiftieth anniversary of Neil Armstrong being the first man to set foot on the moon. This set nicely completes last years NASA Saturn V rocket. One which got Stefan running around in Hamburg with the rocket in one hand and making woosh woosh sounds.

The Eagle is beautiful, fragile and very discreet and has a prominent place on my working desk.

One small step…

And while the detailed replica of Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar module may not be ideal to run around within the fish market in Hamburg on a Sunday morning, it is an epic nostalgic build. I replayed those magic first words of Neil a few times while holding the set in my hand and making touchdown on the Sea of Tranquility. From the iconic “Houston, the Eagle has landed” to the first step on the moon. “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.

One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind …

Now how to shoot this set?

That was the question that ran around my head for a while. First, I was thinking about taking a step back and go analog. Getting some good old film into my Hasselblad. I quickly came to the realization I do not have an analog Hasselblad at my disposal. And even if I had to, I would most probably get frustrated with the analog process of not having instant validation on the digital big screen. For those of you who are wondering what Hasselblad had to do with the moon landing, have a look at this beautiful page over at their website.

A selfie with a Hasselblad (*)

LEGO Space

And while I was contemplating how to get this set on the wet plate, Pink from Benny’s Space Squad came over and had to take some quick snapshots. After all, this felt for her like going back in time. A nostalgic moment she learned everything about in the Space Academy. And while she liked the gold touch on the helmets of these iconic men, she felt much more comfortable in her pink space suit.

Pink (**) is getting some snapshots from the Eagle.

The Golden Van Allen Belt

The Eagle has quite a few golden parts on it. When looking at them I thought that these golden parts were there to protect against space radiation. And while I ultimately was wrong in my assumption(*’), they brought me to the idea of shooting the set with a different kind of camera. An X-Ray camera.

Not the one used in space guns, but the ones used in Hospitals and Airports around the world to see through the plastic with a different lens. And so I sent the Lunar model for an X-Ray check up with my co-conspirator and operator of big cameras, and the result was special. Very special. Feel free to maximize the video below.

The Eagle for sure had landed.

(*’) The golden parts on the Eagle are not there to protect against space radiation but against the heat of the sun. Technically that is also radiation, but I was more thinking about the evil Van Allen Radiation Belt. The golden foil is actually Kapton multi-layer insulation blankets, and they act as a heat barrier to sunlight.

Worth buying?

Well, every LEGO set is worth buying of course, but this one is special and makes a perfect gift for the upcoming Father’s day (Mother’s day just happened in most countries so you were too late to get it for that occasion, but of course you can still gift it as a late present). The Eagle won’t break the bank as much as the iconic Porsche or Bugatti (another Father’s day present). It sells for a comfortable 89 EUR at the local LEGO store in Hamburg (Stefan, just in case if you want to land in the Fish Market).

The set is great fun to build and packed with nostalgic memories to a time when landing on the moon looked so easy. And with it’s grey and gold Kaplan-like color scheme it nicely fits in any library or office space and it won’t take up too much space.

And for those who are into collectibles, the LEGO stores around the world have a unique LEGO NASA patch available. Limited editions I was told.

Please note that Pink (**) and Hasselblad (*) are not included in this set.
They were added by yours truly as part of the creative review process.
TLG provided the set for review and picture taking.

Week 22 – Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci, another brilliant mind that is so famous it seems pointless to present him. Yet while his “Mona Lisa” could be the most famous painting in the world, Da Vinci was a lot more than a brilliant painter. Inventor, drawer, writer, sculptor, engineer, mathematician, and so much more. Da Vinci is the ultimate example of someone who was truly interested in anything with a neverending curiosity and imagination.

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Week 21 – Anton Corbijn

A Photographer From The Netherlands

It is my very pleasure to introduce you to this week’s person in focus of our #SiPgoes53 series. Let’s have a closer look at the works of Dutch photographer, music video- and film director Anton Corbijn. Should you not instantly recognise his name but have a love for music, you will most probably have seen one or more of his 80+ music videos. Included are clips from bands like Metallica, Bryan Adams, Front242, Johnny Cash and Coldplay, to name a few.

Born in 1955, for more than thirty years now he has been the creative director of visual album design and stage designer for the tours of both U2 and Depeche Mode. He also made the last music video for Nirvana in 1994.

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Week 20 – Florence Nightingale

This week it’s me, @bevvypix, who is helping us out with a little write up for this week’s #SiPgoes53 Human being. This amazing lady is the iconic Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC, DStJ. She was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.

Florence Nightingale was a revolutionary figure in nursing. Her dedication during the Crimean War earned her a worldwide reputation. As more soldiers were dying from infections than from battle injuries. Nightingale and a team of nurses greatly improved the unsanitary conditions at a British hospital, working night and day to reduce the death count by two thirds.

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Meet David

It’s been a while, but today we are having another SiPgoes53 Feature Friday Interview with David Collomb aka David Grafika.

About David

What can I say? I’m almost 40, a cat lover. I started photography when I was about 18. I live in the countryside of France, 60 km from Lyon where I work.

As I try to find photographic subjects everywhere, my eyes go here and there, I stop while walking and take photos… so people sometimes look at me as if I were an alien. Especially when it’s LEGO photography. ^^

I have a few prints of my pictures behind me at the office, both landscapes and LEGO. It’s always a good point to start a discussion with people. With that, I discovered some of my colleagues are enjoying the plastic too. Yet, it’s not Julien’s wall, haha!

I also pinned to the wall a lot of drawings I found on the internet. Some people are not certain of my aim with this, as it is mostly fierce humour (the best being the one claiming that “everybody brings happiness in this office: some while coming in, some while going out”).

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75180 The Upside Down – A Review

Something Strange This Way Comes

Boom! The rumours could be heard here and there- and recently all over the place. Last night rumours became reality, when the new LEGO set 75180 The Upside Down was released exclusively in London´s Leicester Square LEGO store with a release event. Time for us to have a closer look at the set and the story it tells.

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