As we’re preparing for our next article for Bricks Culture I thought I would share an excerpt from our last article about how to take your toys on vacation. If you would like to read the entire article and see all the photographs contributed by members of the Stuck in Plastic family, I encourage you to order a digital or print copy of issue #6.
Toys on Vacation
Passport… toothbrush… mini figures. Photography collective Stuck in Plastic explains why you should make your LEGO mini figures part of your next getaway.
When the weather begins to turn warm and the kids start their school holidays, I can’t help but get excited about the possibilities of an upcoming vacation or short road trip. For me, and many of my fellow toy photographers, no vacation would be complete without packing along a few LEGO mini figures to photograph. Toys and vacations are two ideas that fit together like a hand and glove: they add a sense of whimsy to any vacation photo and they can give you an enjoyable excuse to explore your destination in unique ways.
I love taking my toys outdoors and photographing all the beauty that nature offers; I love capturing the different seasons, I love the challenge of quickly changing light and I love seeing the unexpected in my viewfinder. But like most people I’m a creature of habit and I soon find myself gravitating towards the same city parks and the same hiking trails because they have an easy familiarity. For me, holidays are more than spending time with my family away from our everyday routines; they’re also an opportunity to bust out of my safe photographic routine and explore new locations with my beloved mini figures.
As our family vacation plans begin to come together, I can’t help but think about which of my favorite mini figures I want to bring. For me, no vacation is complete without at least a few mini figures packed in my camera bag. No, scratch that, I take more than a few mini figures; I take an entire backpack filled with mini figures, boats, small vehicles and accessories! Not only do I want to cover any situation I think I might encounter, I’ve a very hard time leaving anyone behind. I’m often hard pressed to find room for a camera, much less an extra lens in my camera bag. It often takes me longer to pack my LEGO mini figure friends than it does to pack my clothes.
Besides, isn’t it only fair that we reward our mini figures with a little vacation fun for all they do for us? Since they often help us ‘escape’ our daily routines, it only seems fair that they should come along when we get our chance to ‘escape’. Plus, they fly for free, eat very little and I’ve yet to hear them ask “Are we there yet?” on any road trip!
While I know I can be a little over the top with my vacation toy photography, I have many wonderful memories because I incorporated mini figures into my travels. When I climbed a fourteener in Colorado, USA (that’s a mountain that’s 14,000 feet above sea level), I made sure I had Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf with me. I wanted to capture them on the top of the mountain range as if they were crossing the Misty Mountains. Stopping to take the photo was a great way to create a lasting memory. Another time we were vacationing on the island of Hawaii and I missed every single dinner because it fell right when the golden hour (read perfect light) was happening at our beach cottage. While the family was off grabbing a bite to eat, I would take advantage of that beautiful light and capture one stunning photo after another. We had a fabulous vacation but those few hours hunched over a volcanic wall taking toy photos are the most precious to me.
Taking mini figures on vacation can also get the creative juices flowing. Vacation destinations almost always offer new challenges in terms of terrain and lighting. Photographing in the middle of a rocky desert or on a sunny beach is not the same as shooting in a dark, damp forest. While each situation is undoubtedly beautiful, each needs to be approached differently. The light in the desert, or on a beach, is often harsh during the day so shooting at the hour just after dawn or just before sunset is ideal. Dark forests are great summertime locations for shooting LEGO mini figures. The dappled sunlight, lush moss and small creeks are ideally suited for mini figure scale photography. Plus while on a hike up a steep mountainside, who doesn’t want to rest for 15 minutes while mom sets up a quick toy photograph!
…to be continued
To read the full article please check out issue #6 of Bricks Culture. Don’t forget to get your entries in for our first contest on Robots! Maybe you will see your photograph published in the next issue of Bricks Culture.