LEGO Elves 2018 – The Fire Lion, the Wind Wyvern and the Earth Fox

Today is #ElvesDay

After the Eagle and the Water Turtle, we’re continuing our journey of exploration of the creatures from the new LEGO Elves sets. The stars of this week’s #ElvesDay are the Fire Lion, the Wind Wyvern, the Earth Fox.

The Fire Lion

The lion is found in set 41192 Azari & The Fire Lion Capture.

I had high expectations for this one. Although the lion works well against a warm sunset backdrop, I’ve often struggled with getting the photos I wanted. When it comes to photography, I’d rather choose the Fire Dragon over the Lion.

The Fire Lion enjoyed the snow in Oulu

Continue reading “LEGO Elves 2018 – The Fire Lion, the Wind Wyvern and the Earth Fox”

Sharing the Adventures in The North of my Plastic Friends.

Fun

Toy Photography and Fun

At first, fun seemed one of the easiest words of our little project. For me, fun is the main reason why I started both photography and toy photography. Some four years ago, I was looking for a new creative hobby. I ended up buying a camera, and after, I eventually went into the attic looking for my old LEGO collection. It’s been fun since the beginning and only keeps on getting more fun over time.

But because this word is so important to me, coming up with a single photo that best represents it appeared to be more difficult than I thought… Continue reading “Fun”

Sharing the Adventures in The North of my Plastic Friends.

Gathering Assets

In this blog post, I want to continue to talk about the lessons I learned from my summer project. This blog post is also largely inspired by my recent reading of Todd Hido’s  “On Landscapes, Interiors, and the Nude”.

After my summer road trip, I had to take some distance from taking pictures.  Then, for the past four months, I’ve been taking photos at the same spot, with a very limited number of figures.

This is what I call “gathering assets”. (This term is borrowed from a few recent podcasts from Brooks Jensen.)

So what does it mean? Continue reading “Gathering Assets”

Sharing the Adventures in The North of my Plastic Friends.

Building a book

The book project

Back at the beginning of the Summer, Boris challenged us with making a book to show to our friends during our Scottish Adventures. More than four months later, I still haven’t really reported about it. I gave some hints about its content in my last blog post but that’s nearly all. Now that the amount of daily daylight is getting real short here in the North, it’s about time I reflect on it. (Moreover, this month’s word is “book“, and October’s month was “printing”.) Continue reading “Building a book”

Sharing the Adventures in The North of my Plastic Friends.

My own “Escape the slug” picture

I am back from a well deserved vacation far from home and work. And I am happy to see that a new photo contest is in progress with #SiPgoesJedi.

When we received the news that TLG (read, The Lego Group) was sending us three sets numbered 6176782: Escape the Slug, for the challenge, I was excited and sad.

I was excited because it is an exclusive set which was only available in 2016 during the “May the Fourth” event and it depicts one of the most iconic scenes of the original Star Wars movies.

But at the same time, since I am part of the jury, I was sad because I will not be able to win one. But I am happy that three lucky and creative winners will receive this awesome prize. Continue reading “My own “Escape the slug” picture”

Aeronautics engineer by day, toy photographer by night.
Exploring the world with his plastic figures.

A Review of the LEGO Elves Dragons

As soon as the winter started to reach its end, I began to think I should focus on a project during the summer. When Boris announced his plan of making us work on a summer project, not only I already had a few ideas, but I had already started to work on some of them.

Up to now, I’ve been quiet about these summer project ideas. I wanted to take the time to let my ideas mature before releasing anything publicly. The only persons who have seen the result of my summer photography are the old and new friends I met last month in Edinburgh.

But I think it’s about time to give a glimpse of what I’ve been doing for the past four months through a review of 3 LEGO Elves sets. Set 41172 The Water Dragon Adventure, 41175 Fire Dragon’s Lava Cave and 41179 Queen Dragon’s Rescue. (Moreover, last month’s word was LEGO after all!) Continue reading “A Review of the LEGO Elves Dragons”

Sharing the Adventures in The North of my Plastic Friends.

What Is Your Inspiration?

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information. – Man Ray

I could spend my time explaining photography technique, talking camera gear or trading tips on editing apps…but I think a more interesting question is why do we (all of us toy photographers) take photographs of Lego mini figures.

I did not grow up with the toy, it is not a part of my history, it is not a big part of my cultural heritage. In fact I am probably one of the most inept brick builders on the planet. Think Emmet at the beginning of the Lego movie. My greatest skill I bring to my family’s Lego obsession (their’s not mine) is my impeccable sorting skills.

So what is so attractive about these little plastic friends? Is it our ability to project our own thoughts and dreams on the many different characters created? Is it a need to revisit our child hood and rediscover the joy of play? Is it sheer boredom? Is it a release from the stresses and pressures of life? Is it simply proximity and easy access?

What is your inspiration? What keeps you motivated and moving forward photographically?

Once you know this, life will not be able to side track you, no matter how hard it tries.

~ xxsjc

Instagram as a Tool to a Better You!

Some times when Me2 and I debate we have to agree to disagree, but we rarely disagree on the value of Instagram. Of course Instagram will always have a soft spot for me because I met many great toy photographers, like Me2, on Instagram but I also developed my own voice and personal vision.

There is something thrilling about posting images to Instagram and getting instant feedback from your peers. For almost two years I was posting daily pictures to Instagram, participating in the toy photography community, looking at others peoples feeds, trying lots of different styles and generally playing around in a no pressure environment. I have posted comics, interior studio set ups, quickie iPhone photos and over edited shots as I have experimented finding my personal voice. I have also experimented with a variety of Lego mini figures to find the ones that convey what I want say. All this intense editing, shooting and looking helped me to narrow my choices and find my place within this community.

Recently I was asked how I created the image below. The hope was that I could quantify the image into a f/stop, a film speed and an ISO to show others how it is done. But really, the secret is pretty simple: take lots of photographs. Did I say lots of photos? I mean A LOT of photographs, hundreds, thousands, whatever it takes. Of course luck has its place, but with more shooting this becomes less important. After you take a million photos you will know what works and what to avoid.

Sure, knowing the rule of thirds, how to control focus, depth of field and basic editing skills are also essential, but shooting thousands of photos will get you their even faster. And having a place like Instagram to post them is a wonderful outlet to all this content you have created along the way. The feedback (or lack of feedback) you get on your photos is essential. Having a supportive community to cheer you on as you struggle with your personal vision is a pretty heady experience.

So utilize the heck out of Instagram, get involved, share your passion, meet new friends and watch your photography improve along the way. Because Instagram is a great tool to finding your personal vision, becoming a better photographer and improving your editing skills. Plus, its lots of fun!!

-xxsjc