Packing Pickle

Yep, it’s that time again. The time I spend hours agonising over what to pack, and what not to pack, for a brickstameet, a LEGO photography trek around the streets of Melbourne.

As I’ve mentioned before, I live near the coast. I know the beaches, I know their tides, their cliffs and their light, and I know what works with them. Packing for a trip to the beach is easy. And even if I forget something, there’s only a short drive back home to gather the forgot, or there’s always the next day.

Travelling beyond a short car trip throws up the added quandary of not wanting to leave anything behind. Plus, I’m shooting in a different environment. The urban landscape of Melbourne presents me with another pickle. “Sorry Dewbacks and Tusken Raiders, you won’t be required this time!” Or will they?

Light up the wheels and go for broke
Stomp that pedal with a sniftin’ stroke
Smack that roadblock caught in a pickle
I’m gonna hit that line like old Dick Trickle
Ween – Stroker Ace

If this wasn’t enough

And if this wasn’t enough, I’m heading to Melbourne the day before to be the “official welcoming party” for out international and interstate visitors. That’s one less day to pack, one less day to agonise over choices, one less day to apologise to those who don’t make the cut! 

Double the indecision

So, with less time to pack, plus having to pack for an overnight stay, I also want to subvert the LEGO regime by taking other toys to shoot. That’s doubled my indecision. Is it possible to be twice as indecisive?

Been so long since I been gone
Ziplock bag holding my comb
Beck – Ziplock Bag

By the time this gets published, it’ll be Wednesday morning here, and with only two nights left to pack before I head to Melbourne for the brickstameet, I know damn well I’ll be no closer to finalising my selections than I am right now. Seriously, you’d think after four of these, I’d know what to pack?

brickstameet: Packing Pickles
Packing Pickles

Wish me luck!

– Brett

How do you choose your travel buddies? Does your destination dictate your choices?

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So long San Francisco, you were great!

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about my motivations to cross an ocean to get to San Francisco for a toy safari. Now that the safari is over, did it fulfill my expectations?


The weekend was a lot of fun. We laughed, we took pictures in nice places with a lot of talented artists. Shelly summed it up in another article, so I will not write about what we did during those days. Instead, I prefer to talk about what I really liked during this safari.


The toy photographers

Almost twenty people attended this toy safari. All of them really talented. There were the ones that I knew from Instagram and the new ones that I discovered a couple of days before the safari (because I looked for them on Instagram when we receive the attendance list).

Except for Maelick that I knew from my past European safaris, it was the first time for me meeting all those people in real life. They were really welcoming and fun. Some were really curious about the French culture and how we called “French fries”, “French bread”, “French kiss”,… in France.

Compared to Europe where most people that have been participating to toy safaris were mainly Lego photographers, here, in the US, I discovered some artists who were playing which bigger action figures. One even brought ninja turtles which were the size of infants (They were soooo big). It was really interesting to see them work with that scale of figures. It’s not always easy for me to work with bigger toy, or at least it requires some time to get used to it. I also watched them do some practical effects for their shots which was great. I may try in the future to throw gravel or sand at my Lego minifigs to see their reaction 😉


The collaborations

During this safari, I had the pleasure of participating in several collabs with some great artists.

As Shelly described me in her post, I am always there to help and I have a lot of stuff with me. So if you need anything I may must have it. That way, I was able to help Shelly with a couple of pictures (such as her x-wing picture) and I provided Fathersfigure with some bees for a really funny collaboration .

But it did not stop here.

Maelick that I have known for almost a year now (since Hamburg toy safari) loves to participate in other’s pictures. While you are focusing on taking your own picture, you will see appear a T-rex head on a raptor body inside your viewfinder. That’s sneaky Maelick. It will surprise you, but it’s really fun. Go back to the hashtag  and try to find the appearances of this crazy dinosaur.

Am I being watched?

I also worked with Doughleyg on making a fun scene. Doug is someone that I had been following for some time and I was really looking forward to meeting him. I had such a great moment. At some point during the weekend, I offered to make a collab with him and each of us selected minifigures and we created a very funny scene. Guess which character are Doug’s and which are mine?

Earth Attacks?!

On the second day, I had some trouble finding creative inspiration. Then, I saw Lego_laws crouched on the ground near a hole setting up a scene. Naturally, I went to him to see what he was doing and help if necessary. A couple minutes later, I found myself creating a larger bunny story with him. I added a rabbit character. Then, Krash_Override came by and he suggested the addition of a new one. The love story became much darker and the story went down the rabbit hole.

Down the rabbit hole

Collaborations are really fun. They make for some really great moments shared with other artists.

Next time, I will do even more collaborations.


The after-party

During toy safaris, you have the opportunity to make some great connections with people. As I said before, you meet people that you were following (like Shelly, Doug, Leila and Cindy) in my case and you meet new people.

What is great with toy safaris is that the connections do not stop only at the safaris. They continue well after the weekend is other. I have a lot of pleasure meeting again my old pals from the other toy safaris.

And here, even as the weekend was other, Maelick and I stayed a bit longer in San Francisco (we could not travel to the US for just a weekend). We continued the toy safari on our own, together (in downtown San Francisco and even on Alcatraz Island) but we were also welcomed by Wikitoybox (who lives around SF). She took care of us during the next days. She brought us to some of her favorite locations such as the wave organ or fort Baker to take pictures of toys and we spent all diners together. The after-party with Kiwi was really awesome. Thank you very much to Dee and you, Kiwi.

Where the hell is Joker? Did he escape from Alcatraz?
At the wave organ (left) / At Fort Baker (right)


The print exchange.

There is one thing from toy safaris, that even my colleagues love (Yes, I said my colleagues). It’s the print exchange. Indeed, all the prints that I receive from my toy photographer friends are hanged in my office next to my desk on what I call my “Wall of friends”. And it pleases me to look at those amazing pictures but also my colleagues who come and see me, sometimes only to discover the new pictures. So if you want to add your art to my wall, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I have plenty of space. 😉

State of my “Wall of friends” while writing this article


So, will I get back next year to the US for the next American toy safari?

Of course, I will. Or at least, I will do my best to come. It is so much fun, I don’t want to miss it. That is the problem with the toy safaris: when you try it, you can’t resist. I don’t want to be like Brett and to have to follow others IG stories. I want to be the story. So, wherever it is in the US, I will try be there.

By the way, I miss you all.

See you next year, if not before (in Paris for example, for a toy safari, why not…)


Me, before the toy safari
Me, during the toy safari

Lego on a road trip!

A behind the lens look at this year’s San Francisco Toy Safari

It’s been a long time since I had taken a road trip. And, I’m not talking about a casual 2-3 hour drive away from where I live.

This one would take 13 hours and some change, cursing through a couple of states, with a few cups of coffee.

But, we were on a mission. Along with Eric (IG:@intangibledandy), we were heading down to San Francisco for the big toy safari photography meet up. Though it was Eric’s second toy Safari, and my first. We were both in much anticipation to meet everyone and start shooting pics. Continue reading Lego on a road trip!

Toy safaris only get better with return visits

Looking back on my second Toy Photo Safari, I’ve realized that the event only gets better with return visits. The first event I attended was in Seattle last year (2016). At that time, I’d say I knew 75% of the people from their Instagram accounts, but had never met any of them in person. We had a great weekend and the newly found friendships were bolstered by social media over the next year. Now when I arrived in San Francisco I was happily reunited with a dozen friends I had taken pictures with before. Continue reading Toy safaris only get better with return visits

5 Amazing Things About the San Francisco Toy Photography Safari

The Lead Up

Ok, so I was super nervoucited. (Thanks to a seven year old at my son’s school for teaching me that awesome word!). I’ve been collecting LEGO minifigures and taking pictures of them for almost two years now, and I was vaguely aware of Toy Safaris from mentions in my Instagram and Google+ feeds as well as a few blogs I follow. I had little idea of what to expect, so my mind was spinning with “who’s gonna be there?,” “what will it be like?,” “which toys will I bring?,” “will I be the only dullard using an iPhone 7 and relatively ignorant about photography?,” and “will this event hit my list of the top ten most awkward things I’ve ever done?” (Please don’t ask about that list… trust me.) Continue reading 5 Amazing Things About the San Francisco Toy Photography Safari

Connecting more than plastic bricks


It’s brickstameet time again! And this time, we’re connecting more than just plastic bricks and taking photos of them. We’re connecting with our friend from across the ditch.

This Melbourne #brickstameet will have an international flavour. Well, maybe a “pineapple lumps” flavour from across the Tasman Sea?

We’re excited to have @harleyquin from New Zealand join us in Melbourne as we wander the streets shooting LEGO. Continue reading Connecting more than plastic bricks

The San Francisco Toy Photographers meet-up has come and gone

The San Francisco Toy Photographers meet-up has come and gone. A years worth of planning, organizing and a fair amount of worry, paid off in another epic weekend. There’s no way I can share with you the many moments, both small and large, that bonded this group together. We laughed, we shared toys, we shared equipment and we inspired each other in so many way.  I will do my best to impart a little bit of the magic of our four days together.  Continue reading The San Francisco Toy Photographers meet-up has come and gone

While The Cat’s Away

While the cat’s away, the mice will play. That’s what they say. Well, that’s what Bernie Horowitz says anyway!

toy safari: Gary Larson
“You, Bernie Horowitz? …So YOU’RE the ‘they’ in ‘that’s what they say’?” – Gary Larson

Toy Safari Blues

This past week, Shelly’s been off, gallivanting around in San Francisco at the Toy Photo Safari. And while she’s been away having an amazing time, I’ve been stuck here, keeping the home fires burning, slaving over a hot computer, looking after you kids!! Continue reading While The Cat’s Away

A Raptor Chapter that we hope doesn’t end

The Raptor Pack Day

April the 22nd, just like every 22nd since 2013 was Raptor Pack Day; a day where the Toy Dino Squad invite us to share our dinosaur photographs.

I’ve played along in the past. I’m a forgetful knucklehead and the 22nd either slips past me, or it’s on 22nd that I’m reminded by seeing someone’s dino post (usually the 22nd for them on the other side of the world so it’s the 23rd for me?), but when I do remember, or I’m reminded, I join in. Continue reading A Raptor Chapter that we hope doesn’t end

Seattle Toy Safari- video teaser

The Seattle Toy Safari was one year ago and the memories are still fresh. As excitement builds for the attendees of this weeks San Francisco Tay Safari, I want to share with you a small taste of last years event.

One of my projects around last year’s event was to create a behind the scenes video. I hired two friends to work along side the talented Leila Chieko to video the entire event. The goal of this project is to create a video that will show why these events are so much fun and to share a little of the magic. We interviewed many of the attendees so they can tell you in their own words why they attend and why they love to take photographs of toys. Continue reading Seattle Toy Safari- video teaser