LEGO House Opening

This month is going to be a month to remember. Why? Because I’m traveling to Denmark for the opening of LEGO House. I won’t be attending the grand opening on September 28th, but a pre-opening for all the LEGO ambassadors from around the world on September 22nd.

I’m franticly getting ready for this epic adventure that also includes stops in Stockholm and Skærbæk. Everyone I plan to meet is connected to toy photography or LEGO in some way. It will be 10 days of visiting and playing with LEGO friends both new and old.

The pre-function

While in Stockholm I will be staying with my sister in photography: Kristina Alexanderson. She has graciously arranged some photography and art adventures for us while I’m there. I will get to connect with two other Swedish toy friends Christoffer Östburg and David Rasmusson. I always enjoy hanging out with Christoffer and I haven’t seen David since the LEGO photographers meet up in Stockholm. I’m looking forward to catching up over fika and talking politics, toys and photography. There are also visits to castles and art museums planned which will bring opportunities for some toy photography fun.

Why I’m Going

Obviously the big draw for this trip is the opening of the LEGO House. A once in a life time experience to celebrate the LEGO brick, friendships and creativity. I’m excited that Kristina is traveling to the LEGO House opening with me. We will team up to document the festivities and present a full written and photographic account of our adventures there. Since nearly 600 ambassadors where invited to this event, plus the attendees from the Skærbæk fan weekend, there will be no shortage of interesting people to meet.

The first and foremost of these interesting folks is Luigi Priori. Luigi and I share a mutual love for a certain little robot created by Peter Reid. We’ve been friends via the internet for more than a year, he’s written for the blog and he’s also a part of our G+ Community. Luigi is one of the primary reasons I’m going to LEGO House opening . While the opening of LEGO House will be a once in a lifetime opportunity, sharing the experience with my Italian friend, makes it all the sweeter.

An added bonus will be to connect with Julien Ballister again. I had such a great time hanging out with Julien and Maelick at the SF Toy Meet-up. I’m looking forward to sharing this amazing experience with Julien as well!

There are a few other people I’m excited to meet. They are: Kim Ellekjær Thomsen, Community Manager,
 Operations & Community Engagement, LCE for The LEGO Group . He’s my main contact at the LEGO Group and someone I’ve been trading emails with for nearly two years. The super talented Chris McVeigh, who honestly I never thought I would meet in person. Chris is both a builder and a photographer and I admire his ability to wear both hats with an expertise I can only dream of. Recently I found out that Tim Johnson, who I worked with while he was the editor of Bricks Culture, will also be there. While these few are all I know will be there, I’m confident there will be others. I can’t believe this will be happening in only two weeks!

The Other Reason I’m Going

The LEGO Ambassador event is scheduled to precede the Skærbæk Fan Weekend in Denmark. This is a well-attended LEGO event about an hour away from Billund. I was asked by Luigi to help give a talk on LEGO Photography and Julien has arranged for us to have a display of our work at the event. We even persuaded Chris McVeigh to join us for our little exhibition.

While giving a talk on LEGO photography is not in my comfort zone, I won’t let a case of nerves get in the way. I know that toy photography is not the most interesting topic for fans of the brick, but I hope that Luigi, Julien and I can inspire at least one person to pick up a camera and their toys and join us.

Too much of a good thing

I know myself pretty well. And while my time with Kristina will be pretty low key, the events around LEGO will be over whelming. I reached out to another LEGO friend, Julie Broberg, who lives in the vicinity. She has an errand to run in Skærbæk so she will come rescue me on Saturday afternoon and we will go on an adventure together. There is no way I could travel this close to Julie and not see her smiling face. I’m sure I will miss out on something incredible by escaping. But at the same time, I’m looking forward to catching up with the first person I ever met who worked for the LEGO Group.

The Long Goodby

According to Luigi, one of the big highlights of the fan weekend is a chance to visit the LEGO employee store on Monday morning. With some trepidation I signed up for this event. The thought of standing in line to make a dash for sets selling for a reduced rate makes me cringe. But I will put on my festive face and do my part to keep the company in the black. My son has requested that I pick him up a HUGE technic set. Who am I to disappoint one of my favorite people on this earth? My only worry is transporting it home!

When the shopping is complete, the goodbyes will begin in earnest. I know already that our time together will be too short. But I have faith that I will find a reason to journey back to Europe for more toy photography fun. It’s not goodby, its: “I’ll see you on the inter-webs.”

Why I’m really Going

While I’m sure that the LEGO House is amazing (the initial images making the rounds have been super cool), I’m making this trip for the experience. I want to meet the people that bring joy to my life through our on-line interactions. Whenever Kristina and I get together, some quiet magic always happens.  We talk, we discuss, she pushes me in new directions – she opens my eyes to her unique world view. I always come away a little richer and wiser for the experience.

To be able to connect with Luigi and finally hear his voice will be priceless. We have been internet friends for nearly two years. Peter Reid’s robot and our mutual love of toy photography may have been the basis of our friendship, but I know we have more in common than that. We both love the mountains and being outdoors. I look forward to seeing where else we can find commonality and what I can learn from our differences.

I’ve made many fabulous friends through my hobby of toy photography and collecting LEGO mini figures. Attending the opening of LEGO House will be one more experience in this incredible adventure; an adventure I’m grateful for everyday.

Shelly

If you have any special requests about what you would like Kristina and I to write about and photograph at the LEGO House, let me know. We can stalk builders (12 famous ones will be there), we can take photos of some of the cool set-ups, we can take our signature figs and see what mischief that can get into. Tell me what you want to see, and I will see if we can make it happen. Lets have some fun with this!

And if you’ve made it this far I encourage you to sign up for our weekly email round-up. Or join our G+ Community were we hold monthly contests with prizes for the winner! 

2018 Toy Photographers Meet-Up

It’s that time of the year when I start thinking about the 2018 Toy Photographers Meet-Up. Honestly I feel like I’m already behind the eight ball. By this time last year, we already had the city picked out and the locations set. Yikes!

But 2018 is still a few months away, so I think we have time to plan our fourth fabulous and spectacular event. In an effort to create an event that can accommodates as many people as possible, I’ve create a questionnaire for any interested participants. Please take a moment to complete this short survey so we can be on our way to making decisions and planning another fun weekend!

If you’re not familiar with a what a toy meet-up is all about, you can check out posts about San Francisco from:  David Valdez, Julien Ballester, Doug Gary and Lawrence Ruelos. Every meet-up is different so be sure and check out the posts by Mrs Playwell and FathersFigures about Seattle in 2016. In addition there is a short video about the Seattle meet-up created by Leia Chieko you should watch too!

Toy photography meet ups are a lot of fun! You connect with like minded photographers; swap photo tips and toys; exchange photos and take home new toys through the toy exchange. Plus you will receive a custom designed Krash’s Custom mini figure with your registration. I’ve been told by Krash, that the 2018 Toy Photographers meet-up custom has already been designed and is even better than the last three! That’s hard to image, but I will have to trust him.

Sample customs created by KrashOverride for past meet-ups. (Photo by Dennis Taylor, aka Krash_Override)

Does this sound like fun? Do you want to meet up with an eclectic group of toy photographers like these folks?

The attendees of the 2017 San Francisco toy photo safari. Photo Credit: Sandi on Leila’s camera 🙂

Be sure and fill out this short survey about the 2018 Toy Photographers Meet-Up so we know your preference. Once I have your responses, I will confirm the date and location. It’s never too early to start planning travel and scheduling time off work.

I look forward to meeting-up with any and all toy photographers in 2018 for our fourth toy photography meet-up!

Shelly

And if you’ve made it this far I encourage you to sign up for our weekly email round-up. Or join our G+ Community were we hold monthly contests with prizes for the winner! 

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. Continue reading Packing Pickle

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?

Well…

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. Continue reading So long San Francisco, you were great!

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

Brickstameet

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