The Fab 5

Mike Stimpson’s five was a fun and interesting piece a while ago, we decided to steal the idea from him and post our own. Shelly did hers just yesterday and that was a swell group of pretty items. I’m not going to shy away from this challenge and took a moment to think this through too. Here’s my fab 5 not in any particular order.

#1 Indiana Jones
The man with the hat. Indiana Jones is a nice figure to shoot from time to time, I like it a lot. But, as it happens, my favourite Indy is not necessarily any of the official Indys, my favourite is a custom one. Mark Holden, a.k.a. Smokebelch, once posted a very nice photograph of his Well of Souls Indy custom and I loved it. I bought the necessary bits from Bricklink and made my own.

This indy should have had a set of it’s own in the Indiana Jones LEGO line. Imagine, the tent with Marion Ravenwood and René Belloq (maybe even Toht to boot), or a Well of Souls set with Sallah and the miniature of Tanis. Classic stuff! Perhaps there is still hope if the Indiana Jones franchise gets a reboot under Disney’s regime.

I haven’t photographed this one much but I think it’s very cool.

The Well of Souls Indiana Jones custom minifigure on the left. I think it’s pretty marvelous. I like to keep these two Indys with me on travels just in case. I usually don’t even shoot them but I know I’ll regret if I leave them at home.

#2 Snowtrooper
When thinking about my favourites, there is no way around the snowtrooper, probably the most common minifigure in my photostream. The snowtrooper has no spinning head, only arms and legs move, I like the challenge the limited range of movement brings to photographing it. There is also no expression on it’s face, the featureless helmet just has black eye slits with no pupils in sight. To me that is very amusing, there is something that reminds me of Buster Keaton’s comedic quality.

White also looks great on white.

The snowtrooper in my very first snow photograph (that didn’t even work).

#3 Batman
This is a new contender in my selection of items to shoot. I have had the Bats with me on a trip abroad a couple of times now, first was the trip to Seattle earlier this year, and I’ve grown to like it a lot. Especially the one with the Keaton batsuit. I have not photographed it with a DSLR once, only with point-and-shooters that are easy to carry around in pockets, but still, it works for me.

Batman checking the sights in Rome, Italy.

#4 Ewok
I like minifigures with sculpted heads, Greedo, Leia as Boushh and Max Rebo for example, they are very interesting to photograph, but my favourite of this lot is the ewok. Even though the ewok minifigure has only four points of movement, the face sculpt makes all the difference, there is as much soul in the ewok minifigure as a plastic figure can possibly have.

I originally struggled with photographing these but I really like them now.

An ewok minifigure closeup. Took me a while to figure out how to shoot these guys.

One more, huh? This was not that easy after all. I find I do not have favourites that much. I like minifigures in general, I photograph them according to my ideas, not necessarily because of I like any of them in particular. So, as a final favourite I include one simply because it surprised me when I photographed it.

#5 The Teddy
The little teddy bear from collectible series 6 sleepyhead minifigure. Granted, this is technically not a minifigure at all, but I don’t care, I’ll choose it as my #5.  I have used the little teddy as an extra in some photographs (one with Indiana Jones) and I think it’s the cutest thing. I shot a portrait of it a while ago and I was very happy with how it turned out.

Teddy bear LEGO minifigure accessory, is that cute or what?



Summer is peculiar thing, it’s the season of no-time days. You know, the days when you lose the track of time, spending time without plans, just going with the day as it unfolds.

I am hoping to experience one of those days this summer, that’s all it takes for my summer to be perfect. Continue reading “Summer”

Looking Beyond Still Images

In retrospect it’s probably a good thing for me and the movie going public that I never made it to film school. The dreams never truly went away, though, and one of the places they still take over is on family holidays. One summer I had fun shooting our holiday video thinking what it would look like if Douglas Slocombe had shot it. Our holiday video certainly turned out a little different than usual and the family still talks to me, but who is Douglas Slocombe? Continue reading “Looking Beyond Still Images”

Confessions of an AFOL – Part 2

Now that I have confessed my feelings about the new licensed Lego themes, let’s take a look at the old ones, shall we?

Let’s start with Star Wars. Now we all know how great the films are and how revolutionary they were, especially the first three. I watched them for the first time in 2003 and I liked them but never had the opportunity or the desire to watch them again. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know everything about the films including memorizing the music and all the characters; I just played the Lego Star Wars video games instead. I played them on multiple platforms: PC, PSP, Mac or whatever I had whenever I could. Now I am the proud owner of four Yodas, three Han Solos and three Luke Skywalkers!

Other licensed themes I have enjoyed more through video games rather than the original movies include: Indiana Jones, Batman, and Harry Potter. I love the backgrounds and how they recreate the entire film using Lego. I am often sad when the game ends and can’t wait until the next one comes out.

If it is a movie I thought was ok, like Harry Potter, the games give me a chance to rediscover the movie in a different way. If it is a movie I already love it gives me such a joy to see all my favorite characters come to life once again in Lego form. The best examples of this are the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings video games. I had enjoyed the movies and seen them several times, but when characters actually talked in the game, rather than gibberish, this made it possible to make jokes as well as re-live those films over and over again!

Now the newer games (Batman 2, Marvel, the Hobbit) have all gotten better and funnier because of all the speech included. So I have enjoyed the games for the games they are, even though the sole reason I played them originally was because of Lego.

So where does this lead us?

Lego video games helped me be interested in the films and I watched them again. As I watched, I thought about how certain scenes were integrated into the films. As I played, I learned more about the characters and liked them even more, which resulted in me wanting to get the mini figures (or the sets). If anyone told me that I would get an AT-AT set, the first thing I’d say (before playing the game) would have been “What’s an AT-AT?” Now it’s a bit different, to say the least.

Maybe this is marketing at its best: watch, play, get the set, play more, watch more, like more. It seems to be working well for the producers and the fans alike. After all, who wouldn’t want a Jack Sparrow she can carry with her all the time?

Maybe Lego needs to take a page from it’s own book and think about how they can cross promote these new licensed sets so I will become as big of a fan of Scooby Doo and The Simpsons as I am of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. Although I can’t promise this about Simpsons… oh well, we’ll see!


jack sparrow

Is their life beyond Instagram?

Yesterday, I was out taking photos with my good buddy Mr. S (the genius behind Bricksailboat) and we had an interesting conversation regarding our involvement in Instagram and if there is life beyond Instagram for our photographs. After some introspection (not my strong suit), I realized this is what Me2 and I are trying to find out. He is currently attempting to move our mutual fans from Instagram to Facebook or Google+ and ultimately to this blog, through his generous print giveaway. He of course has had some initially success, but I began to wonder what the ultimate end game was? 

Through my professional career I have watched photography become embraced by the masses with the advent of the phone camera. Many of these photos are distributed through social media sites like Facebook (350 million per day as of 2/2/13) and Instagram (55 million a day as of 3/6/2014) and many more never even leave the phones or cameras they are taken on. That is one hell of a lot of photos per day!! How does one even get noticed amongst this fire hose of images? Is it even necessary to get noticed? Why do we take photos in the first place? 

Me2 mentioned a Pandoras Box when we talked earlier about editing apps, but to me this might be the ultimate question: Why do we do what we do here? Or more specifically: Why do I take photographs that will (realistically) only be seen by a few friends and my family? 

Below is my most liked photo ever on Instagram and it makes me wonder if getting 500+ likes is about as good as it’s going to get? What do you think? 

– xxsjc