Feeling Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward

If you’ve been a reader of my writing for any length of time you know I periodically like to take a moment to pause and reflect on all I have to be grateful for. With the United States Thanksgiving Holiday just passed and the holiday season just around the corner, now seems like a good time to express some gratitude.

Many hands make light work. John Heywood

It takes a lot of work to keep this blog humming. Its not a one women effort or even a team effort…it’s a community effort. There are long email chains, conversations via DM’s, various topics discussed in our G+ moderators group and video hangouts amongst all the team members. These frequent communications are designed to keep us connected and moving forward as a team. I’m grateful for all the regular writers, community moderators and guest bloggers who keep our community humming along.

I’m especially grateful to my partner Brett Wilson who has proven over and over again that he has my back. We meet every four to six weeks for a two-hour chat to catch up and strategize about blog business. We always leave these meetings energized and with our individual list of actionable items. It feels good to have a partner helping me to guide this madness. Especially one that covers for me when I forget to push out blog posts! I’m hoping our paths will cross in 2018. Then we will see who will be crowned air hockey champion of all toy photographers!

The Blog

But where would Brett and I be without our fabulous regular contributors: Jennifer, Kristina, and James? Each of these photographers consistently contributes fabulous posts to the blog week after week. They each have a unique photography style and each one brings a different perspective to the blog.

As I mentioned in my last post Jennifer is stepping back from the blog to concentrate on her own work. We are lucky that Lizzi has agreed to step in and see how she likes writing on a weekly basis. In time you will also be able to read post by Ang Cheng Ann, better known to all of us as Sunny, wha has also agreed to write for the blog on a regular basis. I’m so grateful we have so many wonderful and talented photographers willing to share their creative journeys with our community.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, going to try with a little help from my friends – The Beatles

The G+ Community

As you can see the blog is in good hands. But so is our G+ Community! This community is a friendly and open place to show your photos. Just like the 1980’s sitcom Cheer’s, in the toy photography community, everyone knows your name. In the fast paced world of social media it is not unusual to feel like you’re invisible. Not so in our community. I credit the growth and hospitality of this little community to Tony Tulloch.

Tony is the lead moderator in our community. Through his leadership and guidance he has to set a tone of sharing and community building. Tony has contributed many posts on the technical side of photography as well as his own whimsical toy photography. He’s always on the look out for interesting articles, videos and products to share that would appeal to toy photographers. He has also helped to guide our growing pool of moderators. While Tony may be stepping down as a moderator he has left me with four amazing people who will carry on his legacy. Thank you Tony for all you’ve done to help this community grow.

With Tony stepping aside (but not leaving the community!!!) Jason, Julie, Ryan and Tomas will take over the daily tasks of welcoming new members, creating interesting contests and inspiring us with their own photography. Stop by the community, enter one of our monthly contests (we have prizes!) and say “Hi” to this fabulous team of moderators.

With this exceptional group of moderators keeping our community humming along it has allowed Brett and I to focus on the blog and continue to bring in new and interesting voices to the blog. With long running series like our “Why?” posts as well as the newer “Six Image Narrative” there is plenty of room each week for a diverse set of photographers to be seen. I especially want to thank Joseph Cowlishaw and Tobias Schiel who often surprise me with random posts to publish. I consider these beautiful gifts and they’re much appreciated.

Moving Forward

You have to go fetch the future. It’s not coming towards you; it’s running away.  – Zulu proverb

During our last hangout Brett and I discussed our goals for 2018. So much of what we want to focus on have to do with continuing to support and even grow this community. We want to create a positive space that anyone can come to (or escape to) and find friends from across the planet that think creating photographs that feature toys are fun. A few of our plans for 2018 will feature some of the people I’ve mentioned above. It is amazing the depth of talent we have in our writers and moderators group. I’m continually grateful that when I reach out for help, there is always someone willing to step in and help pick up the pieces.

When I started this blog with the help of Brett and Kristina I had no idea what would happen. I didn’t have a clue where we were headed; I simply took a leap of faith. I’m so glad I did, because what we’ve grown together as a group is better than anything I could have imagined on my own. 2018 is shaping up to be amazing. Our roster of regular contributors continues to grow, we have several exciting projects we’re working on behind the scenes and our G+ Community continues to inspire us with the monthly contests.

 Thank you

If you’ve read this far than I need to thank you too. We wouldn’t be inspired to do what we do without you. Thank you for being such an important part of our community, our blog and the greater Toy Photographers Community.

Shelly

If you would like to be counted as part of our community, please sign up for our weekly email round up or join our G+ Community

If you would like to contribute to the blog please contact either Brett Wilson or myself on the platform of your choice and we can talk about how best to proceed

Failing to focus

I went to visit my family this past weekend, and finding myself with an hour to spare, I dragged my partner to the beach to get a few toy photos.

One of the photos I wanted to take was of Bert, my Fabuland elephant. I had a little trouble getting the shot I wanted, as shown by the photo grid from Lightroom below.

Too much light, too much shadow, not in focus. I could not get it right.

I had a few issues. I was shooting straight into the sun, I was failing to get my camera to focus as I wanted and I was getting the depth of field wrong for the style of shot I was after.

My aim was for a bright and airy shot of Bert at the sea side, with some stoney bokeh. I ended up with both of these, just not in the same shot, and not quite as I wanted!

Autumn toy photography at the beach requires a warm hat!

So what went wrong? Well, my main aim of the day was not toy photography. It was to go to a family lunch. This meant I was trying to remain reasonably presentable, so I couldn’t just sprawl out on the beach! I had to opt for a low down crouch and I just couldn’t see a thing on the screen because the sun was so bright! This resulted in a whole lot of almost invisible Bert’s! (Note to self: make sure any future camera purchases have a flippy screen!)

There’s a toy there, I swear!

Fast forward a little while and I finally had something I was vaguely happy with, but it was still completely over exposed (I should really remember that shooting straight into the sun will do that!), but I did have the pretty bokeh I was after!

But it still wasn’t quite what I wanted, and I was determined to get something I was happy with. So I relocated Bert and decided to try shooting at an angle to avoid the washout. I increased my f stop and tried to get more of the sea in.

The photo at the top of this post is probably the photo closest to what I was after, even there the focus isn’t quite right. The one below is a little better, but doesn’t have the softness I was after. I should probably have taken my light reflector along to help out.

Bert takes in the waves

Photographing Bert at the beach turned into one of those photo sessions where you just can’t quite get the picture you had in your mind. You know the one? The one where you just end up a little frustrated by it all and give up and go for coffee instead. (And that’s not even going into the trauma of trying to photograph two tiny toy ducks without getting my feet wet!)

Secret ducks at the seaside

Have you had any recent toy photography trauma where you just couldn’t get the shot you wanted? How many versions of the shot did you try? I would love to hear your stories about what wouldn’t work! Maybe we can do some team problem solving!

– Lizzi
@stepping_on_bricks

Anomalous Encounters

Anomalous Encounters
by Joseph Cowlishaw

Deep and old - creaky wood
Windy voices of childhood
Shadows play and make a scene
Crunching breaking through ravine
Lungs burning... running, waiting
Ambushed by a bizarre moan
Crushed under a furry stone
Something eerie blurs past
Blackness sparks - eyes of last

Perils of hiking alone 1 Perils of Hiking Alone 2

Perils of Hiking Alone 3

Perils of Hiking Alone 4

Perils of Hiking Alone 6

Perils of Hiking Alone 5

Ready, Set, Edit!

I wrote about why I wouldn’t manipulate my photos beyond the simple edit before. I wrote about how the perfectionist in me would still see me in front of my computer hours later if I embarked down this road.

However, I’ve established a middle ground. And this medium is thanks to my old friend, time.

I’ve set the stopwatch. I’ve set a self-imposed constraint of 20-minutes for photo manipulations. Once the countdown stops at zero, Photoshop stops too!

Setting a limit puts a stop to the procrastination, the over finessing, and wasting away hours at the computer. Who’s got the time to spend hours and hours editing one photo? Not me!

Rest your head on me
I’ll smooth it nicely
Rub it better ’til it bleeds
And, and you’ll believe me
P J Harvey – Rub ‘Til It Bleeds

A shot from April this year was the latest to get the 20-minute edit treatment. Another aspect of manipulating photos I’ve found is the original capture has to lend itself to such treatment. Photos need to be shot with what they are going to endure in mind. I’ve found dark backgrounds lend themselves to this treatment better than light. Sure, we can engineer the background colours and tones, but when we’re working to a deadline, the less editing we have to do, the more time we have for the effects we’re wanting to achieve.

Edit: Original
“Monday” Originally shot 30 Apr 2017

A dark background is great, but it often needs a little work in order for the subsequent layers of editing to stand out. By highlighting areas where the following effects will reside, it’ll save us coming back to do it later, if the alarm hasn’t already rung!

Edit: Background Enhancement
Background Enhancement

With sections of the background lightened, it’s then time to edit pops of colour for the effects to be overlaid upon.

Edit: Background Colour Enhancement
Background Colour Enhancement

Mist and smoke brushes are then used to create these effects, including some feathered erasing to simulate the smoke wafting through the skeleton’s ribs.

Edit: Mist and Smoke Addition
Mist and Smoke Addition

And debris brushes are used to add dust and debris being stirred up with the mist and the smoke.

Edit: Dust and Debris Addition
Dust and Debris Addition

But now I gotta listen to a 20 minute story that’s just a rumor
And I’m sorry but this nicotine and caffeine don’t gimme the same rush
NOFX – California Drought 

Now that we’ve looked at all the components of the edit, let’s see them as they’re layered upon to the original in the slider below.

  • Original

 

*puffs* “And here’s the result of the 20 minute edit.” *pants*

Edit: The 20 Minute Edit
The 20 Minute Edit

Setting a limit to how much time I can spend, I usually end up with something similar to what I would’ve if I’d spent far longer editing. It forces me to focus on the task at hand rather than finessing a blade of grass that no one will ever notice anyway! Spending a fixed time on an edit frees up time for the other things that are demanding some.

– Brett

Have you ever set a time restriction on what you do? Have you limited the number of photos you shoot, or set an alarm when you’re at the computer editing your photos?

If you’ve made through all my blathering and ended up here, you should sign up to our weekly email round up where you’ll get a recap of all the babbling from the week.

And while you’re doing things, you should definitely join our G+ Community where we hold monthly contests with prizes and lots of other cool stuff too.

Why? by Yuri Badiner

My name is Yuri. I’m a 31 y.o. sales manager from Moscow, Russia. I’ve been in love with LEGO since my childhood, but only started shooting it in February 2016 when found some great pics on Instagram. Those pics really inspired me and I decided to try it just for fun… and that fun still doesn’t let me go and it’s became my hobby. I think toy photography is not such a popular hobby in Russia. I’ve met some Russian enthusiasts while discovering this awesome hobby, but there are really only a few here.

Why by Yuri: Where are you, toy photographers?
Where are you, toy photographers?

Not one of my friends and colleagues had heard about toy photography before I told about them about it. But it’s really great that I can tell and show people something unusual. Many of them appear interested and I like it!

– I’m shooting LEGO.

– Great! Wait. You shooting… what?

Why by Yuri

What I do

My own passion in toy photography is natural looking scenes, with characters looking like not just like toys, but like living people with their own feelings and thoughts. When I see the scene and it doesn’t need additional text to tell the story, I think that’s true art, and a direction I want to follow in my work.

Why by Yuri

I never do instant pics. One of my friends on Instagram said “Shoot now, ask later!” That’s not my way. Usually I come up with an idea few days before shooting. It may be recreated a story from real life, or my own fantasy, but it always needs to be created with love to process. I don’t stick to one series or one character, but I try to make my own recognizable style.

Why by Yuri

The main direction in my work today is all about action and flying particles, and there are still a lot of things I must learn. This very meditative and creative process requires a lot of patience and accuracy. And I really love it. The next step would be practicing with natural human poses and cinematic angles.

Why by Yuri: Feel the force of toy photography that unites all of us!
Feel the force of toy photography that unites all of us!

Why LEGO?

When I can’t find good place to shoot my idea, I can just create that place myself. And then I’ll take my camera to take a few shots and share my own story.  Every step, every moment of this process, is all about creating. And creating makes me happy.

Why by Yuri: Just create any place by yourself...
Just create any place by yourself…
Why by Yuri: ... and make your own story.
… and make your own story.

So what’s the point for me?

LEGO photography (as a part of toy photography) is a universal language that I can use to communicate with people worldwide without any borders. It’s the way of self-expression. I want my photos to bring you into their stories; that’s a purpose of all my work.

Why by Yuri: Escape from the cosmic disagreements
Escape from the cosmic disagreements

Today we have so many things that divide the world, and I’m really happy to be a part of this amazing community that unites all of us.

I want to thank Brett for his invitation to introduce my work and myself. It’s a really big honor for me!

With best wishes,

Yuri

Review: LEGO 76085 Battle of Atlantis

When first planning this week’s review, I set my sights on the new LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of NASA kit. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock both online and at my local LEGO store, so that review will be a bit late. In the meantime, I’ve decided to celebrate the release of Justice League with one of the film’s three tie-in sets!

The set in question is 76085 Battle of Atlantis, featuring DC Comics’ iconic ocean dwelling hero, Aquaman. The kit features a small piece of the lost city of Atlantis, where two Atlantean warriors are watching over a Motherbox, guarding it from a Parademon. It uh… all makes more sense once you see the movie.

Arthur Curry, the Aquaman

The biggest draw for this set will definitely be its four minifigures. The obvious jewel here is Aquaman himself, as he’s exclusive to this kit. This isn’t your traditional cheesy Aquaman, either, thanks to a more badass makeover. The minifigure is a spot-on translation of Jason Momoa’s likeness, and sports some pretty intricate details, specifically on his armor and hair.

LEGO Aquaman Justice League

I found the Aquaman figure incredibly fun to shoot. Despite the gritty makeover, this protector of the seven seas is still an easy target for jokes thanks to his long pop culture history.

LEGO Aquaman Justice League
Aquaman was NOT happy to discover this particular surface dweller delicacy!
LEGO Aquaman Justice League
Yes, he can really talk to fish!

His two expressions offer much more versatility than I was initially expecting. One side depicts the calm, stoic demeanor you’d expect from a superhero. The other portray’s Aquaman’s angry side, which looks especially intimidating with his big white eyes.

Atlantean Guards

Joining Aquaman are two Atlantean guards, clad in beautifully detailed golden armor and awesome fish-inspired helmets!

LEGO Aquaman Justice League
“Hey Steve, what do sea monsters eat?
“What, Dave?”
“Fish and ships!”

They both have two expressions as well, allowing them to go from neutral to angry and ready for battle.

LEGO Aquaman Justice League

LEGO Aquaman Justice League

The two guards are armed with white harpoon guns, which look cool but were a bit troublesome to shoot because of their size.

LEGO Aquaman Justice League

The Parademon

The last of the minifigures is the fearsome Parademon, one of the mindless bug-like villains that act as punching bags for the titular Justice League. He too is covered in great details, from his glowing red eyes and gnashed teeth to blue and yellow armored exoskeleton.

LEGO Parademon Justice League
RAWR!

The Parademon gets around courtesy of his four pliable plastic wings, which are adorned with intricate, scaly details. While awesome and fun to shoot, I doubt this minifigure will prove to be a very versatile subject. Such is the nature of being a specific and strikingly different character. I for one am excited to take on that challenge in the future and see what I can come up with.

The Builds

No LEGO Super Heroes set would be complete without some kind of vehicle or structure to offer “playability” for consumers. The builds included in this particular kit are a white Motherbox atop a pedestal, and some kind of Atlantean ruins around it. The ruins consist of two small pillars covered in barnacles, seaweed, and a few glow-in-the-dark pieces. The pillars surround an archway that breaks apart.

LEGO Aquaman Justice League

I love the colors on these builds; the sand green and dark blue perfectly suit the underwater setting. I love the detail on the Motherbox, and appreciate that the top tile has been printed on, rather than placed via a sticker.

LEGO Motherbox Justice League
Ping ping ping

The ruins can be extremely frustrating, as the smallest bump could cause the very top section and two pillars to collapse. That’s by design, which I’m sure is fun for the kids who will be playing with this kit, but it clearly wasn’t made with a photographer in mind. I suggest being extremely careful or making a few sturdier modifications.

The Verdict

All in all, I loved photographing this set. I was surprised by how many shots I was able to capture! In total I spent over four consecutive hours in my studio, gleefully setting up a handful of scenarios. I challenged myself with attempting to make each photo look like it had been taken underwater, and I’m very pleased with the results. I’ll be writing about that experience in a future blog post!

The ruins themselves are a bit tricky to shoot around, but if placed just right they act as nice set dressing to fill the frame and provide a great bit of background texture. The Motherbox and Parademon will likely end up being too restrictive for much use, but they’re wonderfully detailed for anyone that wants to try. The Atlantean guards have very little screen time in the actual film, so the story potential there is wide open.

LEGO Aquaman Justice League
“So long, and thanks for all the fish!”

The Aquaman figure is easily the biggest asset, and I cannot wait to put him in front of my lens again. I do wish that a Mera figure had been included, as she’s heavily involved in this particular action sequence in the Justice League film and at this point does not have her own minifigure. Alas, we’ll have to bemoan the plastic gender gap for another day, and cross our fingers that she’ll star in one of the inevitable promotional sets for 2018’s Aquaman solo film.

Tell us, have you picked up this set? What photos were you able to capture? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

-James

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Thinking of photography – What makes an image?

I don’t know how you look at your photography, maybe you are thinking just like me or maybe in a totally different way. Last night when I couldn’t sleep I let my mind wonder away around this question: “What makes an image?”

And thinking of it I came to the following answer. An image is:

• a mix of pixels or grains (I never meant to exclude analog photographers)
• a result of a technical knowledge
• a copy of the reality as it is
• a story about the motive
• or a story about the photographer

What is an image for you? Is it something above or a combination of things above?

Let me rephrase my question: What makes a great image?

Is it the technics, the motive, the photographer or is it a combination of everything above?

Right now much of my work is sketches in which I explores technics, ideas, motives, stories until I through my photography find my story and once I do. I know I get an image.

Absolute Yes

Absolute Yes is not a new concept, I’ve touched on it before. In fact it was my New Year’s resolution this year. My goal was to let five words – wonder, growth, friendship, contentment and giving – define my year. Now I’m paying the price.

Not unlike Brett, I find that life has become far too busy. Too busy in fact to comfortably fit everything I want to do in. I seem to be always working at least several days or even weeks behind schedule. Every day I make a detailed to-do list just to stay on track. I blame my five words of Absolute Yes for this situation. Specifically three of them: growth, friendship and giving.

Growth

This year I wanted to grow my little arts business as well as focus on personal growth. Participating in gallery shows, group shows in art centers or open air arts festivals have been a part of my artistic life as long as I can remember. Not only are they fun, but they also create deadlines that are helpful when trying to complete something…anything! With this new body of work I decided to start with the humble coffee shop. I find local coffee shops to be warm, inviting and the hub of their neighborhoods. I’ve focused on creating contacts at various cafes as well as working to find alternative places to show my work around Seattle. I’m building my show schedule one cafe at a time.

In addition to these public exhibitions I also created a line of greeting cards for my local toy store. This came about in the most random fashion. While I was in the store purchasing a birthday gift I wasn’t happy with their card selection. I asked the owner if I could create a few cards for them. Because they are so awesome, they said sure! The initial test was a success, as was their first order. Now I simply need to find the time to create more cards with diverse images so I can restock their display.

Can you see where this is going? While I’m thrilled to be growing my little business, and I’m excited to be getting my work out into my community, what little free time I had before is rapidly disappearing.

Growth is one of my absolute yes words and I’m grateful I made this commitment to my art. But I also made a commitment to grow myself as a person. I write down three things I’m grateful for every night before I go to bed. I meditate in the evenings and also in the morning when I have time. I’ve been learning to breath and be present in the moment. Walking everyday is part of my process too. I get out and walk three to four miles (5 to 7k), rain or shine, because my life feels like its a marathon and I need to train for it.

Friendship

Life is short and I want to spend more time with friends, family…the people most important to me. As I get older, my friends become even more precious to me. Do I have time to get together with a friend for coffee, engage in a Google hangout, meet up for lunch or even a walk? No. Do I do it anyway? Absolutely yes!

I don’t care how busy my life gets (I know, I ‘m doing this to myself) I will always make time for my family and friends. Maybe not everyday, but there is always time in my life for the people who make my life a happy place. With each passing social encounter I get a little more behind. But I don’t care, I adjust my obligations and I know there is always tomorrow.

“. . . as one goes through life one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe kayak, you don’t move.”Katharine Hepburn
Giving

Have you heard the saying “what goes around comes around”? I think when most people say it they are thinking about negative consequences. I like to think about it terms of giving. The more you give back, the more you get. If you give of yourself, your time, your talents, you will be rewarded in ways you cant begin to image. This has been my experience since I adopted an attitude of giving about ten years ago. I haven’t always been the person many of you know today. Bitter, angry, resentful and selfish are a few of the words I might use to describe an earlier version of myself. Its taken a lot of work to turn into a person that I can both like and respect.

Part of the giving process has been sharing with this community. I also share what I can in our G+ community and with the people who attend our annual meet-ups. I want to nurture and support this community as best as I can.  The toy photography community has given me so much joy and opportunities over the years, I want to give back.

Absolute Yes

Why am I telling you all of this now? I’m telling you now, because change is inevitable. Growth happens, we get busy, we adjust. I’m making these adjustments myself, everyday. I find myself posting less to social media. This is a really hard choice for me. I’ve made many friends through my time online and I feel I’m turning my back on this amazing community. If you don’t see me around on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr or Twitter, its not because I’ve given up on toy photography, its because I’m taking toy photgraphy into the physical world.

This blog and the G+ Community is a part of my Absolute Yes. I’m not going anywhere. In fact I will be doubling down on the G+ Community as I spend less time on other social media platforms. And as Brett alluded to earlier this week, we have several big projects we’re working on and I want to do my part. In fact I couldn’t be more excited about the projects we are working on behind the scenes. But more on that later. 🙂

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has been making decisions that feel like absolute yes choices. There will be a few changes on our writing staff starting this week. Jennifer has taken a leave of absence to concentrate on her own work. I applaud her for knowing when its time to focus her energies on her own work. She has given so much to this blog and community this year, I encourage you take a tour through her past posts. I’m grateful she was willing to share her process and inspiring the community with her creativity. I will miss Jennifer. But I’m thrilled she’s kept open the possibility of returning when the time is right. Thank you Jennifer for all everything you’ve done to help this community grow!!

What are your absolute yes words?

I believe in the power of words. By choosing five words that represent what is most important to you, decisions can be easier to make. Opportunities arise all the time. When you have your absolute yes words to guide you, you can feel confident you’re making the right decisions.

I invite you to check out this list of value words and choose five words that have meaning to you. Create your own absolute yes words, words that represent your core values, and see how they can guide you. As my mentor Shari Miller cautioned me:

Watch your tendency to choose words that you feel you should choose versus the ones that you really want to choose. Choose five that speak to the essence of who you are (not what others want you to be).

If you would like to share your absolute yes words and why you choose them, feel free in the comments. I’m always interested in hearing the view point of my fellow creatives. And if you see Jennifer posting her images on social media, be sure and leave a comment and let her know how fabulous her work is. She will be missed here on the Toy Photographers Blog.

In the mean time I will be busy behind the scenes and in the G+ Community. Come say ‘Hi!’ and see what all the fuss is about.

Shelly

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All aboard the tin TARDIS

Last week as I was sorting out my handbag I kept finding random bits of LEGO in the bottom. A mug, a wand, the wing of a chimera figure. You know, the normal stuff that lives with the crumbs and crumpled receipts.

It got me thinking about the toys we carry with us, regardless of where we’re going, or what we’re doing. It got me wondering about how many people there are out there with small collections of toys in their bags, ready and waiting for photographic inspiration to strike!

In addition to random toys lost in my bag, I carry a tin TARDIS. A tin that is, like its full sized counterpart, deceptively bigger on the inside.

At the moment my tin contains a bunch of my favourite figures, as well as a select few accessories. I thought it would be fun to see what lives in my bag and to see if there are any similarities with what other photographers carry on a daily basis (answers in the comments, please!)

My sig fig.

Out for a stroll at the London LEGO store

Of course, what LEGO photographer would go anywhere without a sigfig to hand. An essential part of the kit.

Snape.

Snape makes a visit to Diagonally, but it makes him feel a little small!

The Snape I carry varies between classic Snape, and one above that I got from minifigs.me. I love putting Snape in random situations, especially when he just looks so annoyed by it all!

A stormtrooper.

Drink Imperial Milkshake and bring all the Stromtroopers to your yard.

I’m probably not alone in carrying a Stormtrooper around. He can get up to so much mischief, or even just work as a simple photo like the one above. It’s instantly recognisable, and the stories just write themselves around this figure.

Skellewings.

Making some magic in the apple tree

I fell in love with Skellewings this summer, and he hasn’t yet left my portable toy box. He’s here just in case the light is perfect, although as the autumn days get shorter, I think he might be relegated in favour of some Christmas fun!

Pose Skeleton.

He’s such a poser (featuring Greyfriars Kirkyard)

This is a figure that can be both in and out of place, making for some great stories. He is pretty versatile as he can hold on to stuff and maintain a shape really well.

Accessories

Along with the above figures, I carry around a limited selection of accessories. I’m an accessory junkie, so it’s hard to keep this down, and the pile seems to grow if left unchecked. I will, given the opportunity, always look to photograph accessories by themselves in some way.

At the moment my tin contains: a pink umbrella; a camera; a pink wand; a coffee cup; a milkshake cup; a book; a teddy bear, and a magnifying glass.

Magic bear

What toys do you carry on a day to day basis? Do you have any regulars who always come out with you? Do you actually use them, or are they more of a comfort blanket, to know they are there if you need them?

– Lizzi
@stepping_on_bricks

Happiness is a butterfly

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

 

 

 

By Shelly Corbett

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