I’ve been photographing big lately. Voltron. Ninjago dragons. I’ve missed photographing small. And what’s smaller than a hand trowel of moss dug up from our backyard?
Over winter, our gravelled backyard gets very little sun and lots of rain. Perfect for moss to take over, drowning out the gravel. But, as much as it makes a perfect setting for toy photos where it grows, the background stinks (unless I use a mirror).
And who wants to lie on gravel to take photos? Not me, we’ve got dogs! Plus, I’m at the age where I not only have to make an audible announcement of my exertion when I get back up from taking toy photos, but I also proclaim the effort it takes to get down in the first place!
Rip n Dig
So, out comes the hand trowel!
Rip and dig
Sit right down
Rip and dig
Taking orders from the old man
Cosmic Psychos – Rip n Dig
As I dug up the green booty, planning to plant it into a tray, a moment of corner cutting, lazy, inspiration struck me. Why bother going to all that effort of finding a tray, filling it with soil, and planting the moss sitting in the trowel? In the time that would take, I could already be taking photographs!
So, with the freshly farmed moss still sitting in the trowel, out came the camera and the toys.
With the trowelled moss resting on our deck’s hand rail, there are two distinctly different backdrops depending on which side of the steps to the background I set up on. One looks onto a grey painted fence that catches the morning sun. The other, onto the garden with a magnolia tree that bounces the afternoon sunlight off its shiny leaves. One great for tones, and the other a wonderful bokeh source.
From little things, big things grow
As I rattled off small photos on my small setting, my small brain thought of adding to the minuscule.
Manual Exposure mode. A fast shutter speed of 1/1600sec. And a spray bottle filled with water.
If it’s water and it’s not wet
It could be ice so heat it and
You can soak me again
The Evens – If It’s Water
Each press of the spray bottle’s trigger resulted in small differences.
As right as rain
Sometimes the background was greyed out with the mist of water forming the haze of a heavy rain.
Small droplets glistened in the sun as they attached themselves to the moss and the figures
Small droplets hung and danced in the breeze as the trigger reengaged.
Vigorous bursts from the spray bottle appeared as teeming downpours.
And then I started playing around with back lighting… but that’s probably worth saving for another post!
So, with just a small piece of moss, some sticks, a spray bottle, the sun, and some camera setting tweaks, my morning of digging lead to some toy photos that I dig.
Have you ever photographed toys in a small scene? What challenges or successes did you experience? Ever squirted water at your toys? Tell me about that too!
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Lazy works for me! For this shot (one in a series) I didn’t even bother looking for moss — I ordered it online. God I love Amazon in the US!
It’s some pixie cup lichen growing on an inch of bark.
Which reminds me, I need to do a few more shots with it.
Yep, lazy is good! I’m too lazy to even log on to order moss. I just sit back and let nature do it’s thing.
I look forward to seeing more pixie lichen photos! Those little lichen cups are so cute. Maybe nature has some of them for me in our paddocks. I might go hunting this weekend…
Lazy is my middle name. Great tip. Time for me to get a shovel and find me a lump of moss too! Thanks for the awesome tip!
Hahaha! Yep, a little shovel and a little clump of moss can lead to some big things. I look forward to seeing the lazy photos that result!
What I love about this post is that sometimes simple beats all. Remember back in the early days we used to talk about K.I.S.S.? (Keep it simple stupid) It seems we have gotten away from that in the quest to one up each other in our technical prowess. I love how you show that sometimes the best ideas the simplest. Awesome job my friend!
Ahh, the good old days!
And yes, sometimes the best ideas are when you stop thinking all together. Thinking stopped as soon as the moss was dug up, and then the fun began! Cheers.
Those shots are amazing and very inspiring too! What a great work!
Definitly have to try something like this!
Thank you. I look forward to hearing how you go and seeing your photos!
Excellent blog post! Once I saw you posting these images on social media, I knew that you’d discovered some cool new trick or setup and hoped that you’d write a post about it. Just another reminder that I need to get myself some moss (whether from Amazon or the wild)!