A dialog between a toy photographer and himself

Great! I’ve found a place that looks like a forest! Look at that moss!
What could i place here?
Why not a minifig riding a motorbike?
Ok, sounds reasonable. 
Why don’t make it a sidecar?
Ok, let’s do it. Who will be the passenger?
Why not a rabbit?
Ok, let’s do it.
Why don’t cornering the sidecar to make it looks taking a dangerous turn?
Yeah, a more dynamic pose, let’s do it.
Why are they together?
Don’t know. Strong bond like friendship?
Ok, everybody should have a rabbit as a friend.
Where are they going? What is going to happen?
Don’t know. Let’s take some pictures to find it out.

1-Friendship

2-Friendship

3-Friendship

4-Friendship

5-Friendship

6-Friendship

~Marco (The APhOL)

Raging Rancor Deconstructed

When I present or post an image like this I get a lot of questions on how I made it. So I’ve made an effort to take a few behind the scenes photos as I shoot or prep a shot. Here’s my first attempt at deconstructing an image and the process that led to the final result. Hopefully, this will help answer a few questions regarding my editing process.

ELEMENTS

  • Rancor
  • Flashlight
  • Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector
  • Light Painting Brushes 9 inch White Fiber Optic Tool
  • Red gel (dollar store gift wrap)
  • Canon 5D
  • Canon 50mm Macro f/2.5
  • Manfrotto 190X Pro B
Tools for the shoot.
Assembled Light Painting Brush + Universal Connector +gel and flashlight
PROCESS
  • Set up the scene.
  • Place camera on tripod.
  • Attach fiber optic brush to the Universal Connector.
  • Place gel over flashlight and attach the Universal Connector and brush to flashlight.
  • Prefocus and set to manual focus -don’t bump the camera or lens!
  • Turn room lights off.
  • Trip the shutter and paint in scene:
  • The tip of the brush was pointed towards subject and camera for ~20 seconds.
  • The fiber optic brush was removed for the last 10 seconds leaving the gel and Universal Connector on the flashlight to paint in detail on the Rancor.
EXPOSURE

ISO 100 | f/4 | 30 Seconds

The Edits

Editing was quick and limited. A Virtual Copy of the Digital Negative (DNG) was created in Adobe Lightroom. A simple and basic clean up was applied by adjusting the shadows and highlights, adding a slight crop and sharpening. After exporting as a full resolution TIFF, color grading was applied in the Mextures app with my CETISLW Formula.

RAW file imported into Lightroom as Digital Negative.
After Lightroom edits.
Final Image exported from Mextures.
The Rejects

This was my first shooting session with the Light Painting Brushes White Fiber Optic Tool and it quickly became my favorite. However, like most first runs with light painting, it took a little practice to achieve results I was happy with. All these images had issues I wasn’t pleased with, but they were quite useful in figuring out what I did like. So don’t be afraid to experiment and just try something.

Reject #1. The Rancor’s is too dark. I was still figuring out how long to light him and the background. While I could play with the shadows in Lightroom, I find the right side of the frame distracting and the image as a whole doesn’t interest me very much.
Reject #2. I am happy with the exposure on the Rancor, bit the top right of the frame is distracting.
Reject #3 I tried a second light source to light the front of the Rancor. I left this light on for too long and the color just didn’t work for me. However, it led to deciding to light the rancor for 10 seconds with just the red gel, universal connector on the flashlight to paint in his camera side a little more.
Reject #4. This was just overkill. I used the fiber optic tool for too long on the Rancor. His back and shoulder are just too much.

WARNING

Attempt this at your own risk! Light Painting is easy, fun and addictive. You will need an extra bag just for the collection of tools and brushes. For example, I only used the white fiber optic tool and I now I realize I need the black version.

So, go grab some light sources (or don’t, you were warned) and get to playing. Tag me on G+ or Instagram and show me what you come up with.

Action Figure Workout

Foolish Lego

First off, I’d like to introduce myself; In the real world, my name is Danny. Yet, ever since my first steps on the Internet – somewhere in early nineties – I am Dwaas. I am the keeper of foolishlego.com, the home of my Lego photography and webcomic. ‘Foolish Lego’ and Dwaas are special to me. Both partly born out of the feeling of wanting to escape (or make sense of) reality and for the other part born out of wanting to share stories.

Have you ever felt the desire to do something whilst knowing you just couldn’t do it? I used to feel like that. I had many shards of stories in my mind; images, words of wisdom (or quite the opposite), small scenes, undefined thoughts, etc.

As a kid, I got the ideas out of my head by playing in my own little childhood world. As an adult that world broadened and I couldn’t figure out how to give my ideas form anymore; I’m not a gifted writer, nor can I draw any good. I tried a personal blog (in Dutch), talking about all kinds of things that were on my mind but it just wasn’t it. Continue reading Foolish Lego

Hey Ho! Let’s Go! [Outside]

Taking pictures outdoors is a great and funny thing. You choose from the seemingly ordinary reality the pieces that are becoming new worlds through camera lens and thanks to your imagination. It could be another planet, the Wild West or other exotic place. Besides, you can catch some sun, breathe fresh air, meet other people… erm, wait.

Yeah, meeting other people. It’s difficult to avoid them when taking pictures outside, unless you shoot in the Death Valley or in distant areas of Antarctica [I’m sure there may be some people to be found there though]. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a misanthrope [or at least I’m in reasonable proportions] and people do not bother me unless they go through the frame. However, both the toyphotographers and passers-by have different sensitivity. And that sensitivity does not always overlap. Continue reading Hey Ho! Let’s Go! [Outside]

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!

Art of the Blur

Even before Shelly asked me to provide my own two pennies worth (I am British after all, cents just wouldn’t do) I had read many of the previous ‘why’ articles and considered what answer I would give. And now to have been so kindly asked, I wanted to provide something new rather than covering similar ground to the past entries of others. You see I’ve always had a problematic need to seek my own uniqueness. 

From my point of view, I’d assume as photographers we all reasonably know or can at least to relate to the reasons why each of us does what we do. We’ve come together from all over the world after all, through the Internet because we’re likeminded people. And for me this means it seems a little too obvious for me to tell you all how I’ve lived with Lego all throughout my life, or profess my undying love for Star Wars and how I’m influenced by movies and the great Hollywood machine. I’d hope (rebellions are built on that by the way) that my photography would showcase these things without a need for any explanation. Continue reading Art of the Blur

Selling My Art by zekezachzoom

“Badly made is better than never perfectly made”. I read this somewhere and it was this one phrase that motivated me into trying to sell some prints of my photos.

Prior to that, I had lingering doubts:

What if my photos are not sharp enough? What if the exposure is not correct? What if the composition is not right? I had so many doubts, but decided to take the plunge anyway and hoped at least one person will buy the prints. Continue reading Selling My Art by zekezachzoom