I shoot outdoor toy photography and walk around with a steady stream of picture possibilities in my head all day long. So when the weather decides to deliver the best of what winter has to offer and I get stressed out, I get antsy, anxious and angry! I take it as insult straight from Mother Nature herself.
I’ll be inside looking out the window and feel the anxiety begin to build. Is the wind really blowing sixty miles an hour? Why does it have to rain on the day I don’t have to work until six p.m. and I have plenty of time to go shoot beforehand? That thermometer can’t be right. The worst thought that does laps around my skull is WHAT IF I FORGET ALL OF THESE PHOTO IDEAS? So usually the anxiety wins and I load up to head to the beach and take some shots.
When I do venture out into the frozen tundra that is Eastern (far, far far Eastern) Long Island, I’m faced with plenty of challenges any good toy photographer with their salt has faced. Such as . . .
How will I ever get this friggin’ stormtrooper posed correctly when I can’t feel my fingers and the snot is running freely from my nose as if I were some sort of human snot production factory? Furthermore… now I have aforementioned snot on my hand from unconsciously wiping my nose and it has inevitably transferred to the stormtrooper! So there I am. Laying on the beach in January and I have a snot covered stormtrooper, snot covered fingers and a soon to be snot covered shutter release trigger. I haven’t noticed that my glasses have inevitably slid off of my head and into the sand (grind – grind – crunch – crunch) and wait. . . did the sleet that wasn’t supposed to start until this evening decide to make an early appearance?
All of that makes for a good shoot during the winter out here. If there’s no camera damage, frostbite, snow blindness or the always horrible “catastrophic loss of figure due to wind, tide, seagull or stupidity”, then that photo session should be considered nothing short of fantastic. Of course, the feelings of elation may decrease significantly after you get home and see you also managed to get snot on the lens somehow and all of your photos look like you were trying to get “artsy” with the vaseline.
Why? Why do I take a bunch of stupid toys in a cardboard box to a remote beach in the dead of winter to take pictures of them? Because I’ve got to get those shots OUT of my head and INTO my lens. I have to see if I can make the idea I have rolling around in my head appear in picture form. Sometimes I get it, many times I don’t.
But you know how it is when you nail a picture. Satisfying, cathartic and even . . . magic. I’ll take frozen snot covered magic over not shooting every time.