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)

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures Giveaway

It’s giveaway time! We’re giving away a complete set of 20 Minifigures from The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures series.

The Giveaway Rules

For your chance to win, simply post a photo of Ninjago, Ninjas, Chimjago (Chima/Ninjago mash up), Dragons, or any photo related to the covert agents of Japan or the Ninjago universe.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures Giveaway Giveaway
Chimjago: an example of a Chima/Ninjago mash up.

The competition is open to all toys, and will run on Instagram and G+. Whether you post on Instagram or G+, make sure to add the #tp_ninjago tag so we can find your entries.

You can enter as many times as you want. The giveaway is open to all and we’ll post the full set of Minifigures anywhere in the world.

As this series of Minifigures is full of creativity and whimsy, we’ll be looking for fun, creative, clever photos showcasing not only the subject matter, but also good photography. Shelly has written some wonderful posts on the basics if you need a refresher or some guidance; the basics part 1, part 2 and part 3. And here’s the link to our review of The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures for inspiration and motivation.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures Giveaway Giveaway
Gingago: an example of getting creative without any Ninjago to shoot

Entries close on Friday the 4th of August, giving us time to select a winner over that weekend and announce it the following week.

Go get creating!

So, get your thinking caps on and get creating. Or should that be your “thinking Ninja Zukins”?

Good luck! We’re looking forward to seeing all your wonderful entries. We’re even looking forward to the usual struggle of picking just one winner that we go through with each of our giveaways!

-Brett

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A New Perspective

“The world sure seems different from down here, doesn’t it, Scott?”

-Hank Pym, Ant-Man (2015)

I tend to spend a great bit of time and energy hunting new sources of inspiration for my photography. I do this by looking at other people’s photos, getting feedback from and interacting with my peers, or participating in challenges.

The easiest way to find inspiration is to simply add a new LEGO set, minifigure, or accessory to my collection. This usually leads to at least one new photo, or I get lucky and it opens up a whole new series for me to dive into.

That’s exactly what happened when I got my hands on Ant-Man.

I liked the Ant-Man film that came out in 2015, but not enough to buy its licensed tie-in LEGO set upon release. It wasn’t until our friends @Krash_Override and @DoctorNvrmore launched the #jANTMANuary contest on Instagram earlier this year that I finally felt compelled to add the bite-sized Avenger to my collection, and boy am I glad that I did!

Since January, Ant-Man has quickly become one of my favorite LEGO minifigures, and has actually opened my mind to a whole new perspective for my photography.

lego-ant-man
Not only is he fun to photograph, but Ant-Man is super helpful in finding change between my couch cushions!

Part of the fun of taking toy photos is that you get to play around with scale. I spend a lot of time looking at the world more closely and imagining how normal, everyday objects might look next to my 4-centimeter subjects.

Ant-Man makes me think outside the box, because his scale is inherently different than his fellow Avengers. Ant-Man is supposed to look small, which means that I’m not necessarily trying to skew the objects around him or play around with forced perspective. Because of who he is as a character, that part’s already done for me!

I’m simply placing him in the real world and seeing what kind of adventures the little guy can go on.

This has been incredibly freeing, and has allowed me to shoot on the fly if need be. Rather than build sets and backgrounds to complete my photographs or scale things down to fit my needs, I can lean on a shrinking superhero instead and utilize the real world around me as-is. Now I’m looking at the world, and at my photography, from a new angle.

lego-ant-man

Has a particular photographic subject allowed you to approach your photography in a new way? Let us know in the comments! 

James

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Making Toys for Toy Photography

There are various way to approach the creation of new photos. Personally, I like to think of an idea then figure out what toys and other props would be best to make that vision a reality.

Sometimes I look through my collection, other times I’ll browse online or in shops, and sometimes I’ll make my own objects. I don’t typically make the precise, detail oriented, gorgeous work you’ll see of miniaturists or customizers, but I do make simplistic models that fit my end goal. I like to think of the camera lens as a tool of transformation. Through it, I can make my simple sets come to life.

Is it still a toy if I make it myself?

Well, I’ll leave that up to you in the end. But I’d like to think a small trinket posed with other toy or toy-like items still falls into the range of toy photography.

When I say I make my own toys, here’s what I mean.

First up, I’m sure this is something we all do from time to time, building sets using paper, cardboard, foam core etc.

My other standard supplies include polymer and air dry clay, glue, and odds and ends found around the house.

Then, more technologically, I sometimes design and/or source 3D models to print and paint.

And most recently, I’ve been creating molds for play-doh and hot glue lego mini figures. For years I’ve had the idea of creating an image that shows a figure crumbling. A metaphor of the mind, shown visibly. I never quite figured out a way to do this, and then I thought of play-doh and how it gets all crumbly when it dries. I liked the symbolism of a lego figure rather than a more realistic human for this, an icon of an icon of sorts. As I started the molding process, other ideas came to life for this type of ‘toy.’ And so a short series of images began.

I’m not quite sure this is my end all be all crumbling image, but it’s a start. And the best way I knew how to make it was by making the toy I needed for it.

“With any means available, [tableau photographers] create photographs intended to convey their philosophic and moral views of the world and themselves.”

– Fabrications by Anne H. Hoy

Long story short, I find what I need to make the photo I’m envisioning, and sometimes that comes in the form of creating my own toys.

~ Jennifer Nichole Wells

Do you ever make your own toys or other photo props? Why and how? 

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures

Our friends at LEGO sent us a box of the Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures to review. Here it is…

Lloyd Garmadon

Lloyd (or L-Loyd according to his dad) comes in a green hoodie printed top, with a new headpiece for the hood with his fringe poking out below, which allows for greater head movement.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Lloyd Garmadon

His black jeans are held up with a brown belt. The silver spoon and white bowl with blue trim and dragon motif are great accessories.

Lloyd

What appears to be a standard Ninjago inclusion, Lloyd offers up so much more. His Ninja headgear is two-piece, with the upper piece with a green scarf and golden printed emblem. He also has his blonde tussled hair should he want to reveal his identity from under his mask. The printing on the legs, arms and the front and back of the torso is great.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Lloyd

The gold tasselled, silver sword is another great addition.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Lloyd

He also carries a 2×3 tile with blueprints to a dragon printed on it.

Misako

Lloyd’s mom Misako’s hair and torso are fabulous. Her orange hair is held back in a bun with two red chopsticks. Her sand green jacket has some golden floral motifs added, a name tag with “koko” on it and sits over a white blouse.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Misako

The two gold buttons of her brown are doubled to four with the pant print continuing to the torso, just as the gold floral motif of the jacket does to the legs.

Master Wu

Much of the print on Master Wu’s torso is hidden under his beard, which is a shame. The traditional top includes arm printing and a traditional emblem in red on the back.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Master Wu

The addition of a ‘skirt’ to extend the printing of the torso and add ‘length to the top is a nice touch. His tan legs include sandal printing on the feet.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Master Wu’s breakfast of champions

The Corn Flakes box is a great addition which no doubt will make its way into many LEGO photos.

Kai Kendo

Kai has some pretty standard Ninjago printing under his Kendo armour, which is mostly hidden. Under the Kendo helmet his angry face is scarred on both eyebrows, with one still sporting a Band-Aid, and that impossibly high messy hair.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Kai Kendo

How does he squoosh all that hair under his Kendo helmet?

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Kai Kendo

Zane

Zane comes with a printed backpack similar to the hiker in CMF series 16. A retro 8-bit aliens sweater vest tops his pleated white pants with black belt and black shoes. The sweater vest is so cool. I hope LEGO make these in my size, ready for Christmas!

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Zane

His flat top hairdo is buzzed down to at least a number one with the faded printing on his head. Finally, one of these guys has found a comb!

Spinjitzu Training Nya

On first opening the bag, I thought Nya was a little dull. But I was wrong.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Spinjitzu Training Nya

She’s the strong female character I’ve been craving. A determined look sits under her black hair tied up with a gold band. Her white ninja gi (uniform) has some wonderful black and gold details, including Mater Wu emblems emblazoned on the front and back.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Spinjitzu Training Nya

Brandishing two wooden swords, I wouldn’t mess with her.

Cole

Cole’s angry sneer and cropped black messy hair sit above a muscle top with what I can only assume is a Ninjago nod to ACDC with the four symbols parted by their iconic lightning bolt.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Cole

The back of this muscle top has “World Tour 1985” with a list of venues in white with “SOLD OUT” printed over it in red.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: SOLD OUT

His ghetto blaster is obviously for blasting his favourite tunes from that sold out world tour. 

GPL Tech

With printed glasses that remind me of Robin’s moulded ones from the Batman Movie, it’s a nice tie in with the Batman logo on the t-shirt she wears under her lab coat. The lab coat is printed with a pen in her top pocket and the label “GIT”. The lab coat printing continues onto her legs with another two pockets.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: GPL Tech

Carrying a black laptop and red coffee cup, she’s no doubt wired for some serious lab work.

N-POP Girl

A nod to the Korean K-POP, she is pure pastel cuteness; from her pink and blue Harley Quinn hair, all the way to her heart printed green and blue shoes with pink laces.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: N-POP Girl

She wears lollypop pink and white striped tights are under her pink, green and yellow printed tutu.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: N-POP Girl

Her top is printed with Unikitty on the front and even more love hearts on the back. A pink teddy bear is added just in case you haven’t had enough cuteness.

Jay Walker

What is it with Ninjago? Doesn’t anyone own a hairbrush? Jay’s messy hair sits atop a somewhat embarrassed look on his face.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Jay Walker

Maybe it’s because of the selfie-stick he’s wielding?

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Smile

One thing’s for sure, he can’t be ashamed of that snazzy orange scarf he’s wearing! Hopefully we’ll see some more colour variations of these!

Sushi Chef

I really like this guy. His cheeky moustachioed smirking face is topped with a black and white printed headband similar to the series 16 scallywag pirate. The subtle prawn prints on this uniform are a cool touch.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Sushi Chef

His trusty cleaver has sliced off a bite size piece from his expertly rolled sushi. I can only imagine what he’d make of the Shark Army? Something oishii no doubt!

Gong & Guitar Rocker

I REALLY like this guy! It’s amazing what a different hair colour and headband can do. The series 7 hippy’s hair turned died black and his orange headband exchanged for red, becomes pure metal! His studded belt, chain, ripped jeans (or maybe they’re leggings?) and white high top boots are straight out of a late 80s film clip!

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Gong & Guitar Rocker

His red muscle top is printed with a white skull and crossbones and a black slogan. He’s got a black dragon tattoo and a black sweatband, undoubtedly for wiping the sweat of his brow after slaying another lengthy lead break! He’s the only two sided head print, one pretty neutral, and the other one absolute “rocking out” perfection!

Garmadon

Lord Garmadon developed an extra set of arms in order to possess the Four Golden Weapons.” This, and who Misako was, is the only research I did for this review. It still means little to me, but gee, Lord Garmadon is a cool Minifigure!

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Garmadon

He looms over his enemies, dressed in typical bad guy black with printed armour. His sneering head print is reminiscent of Kabuki samurai makeup, which is cool!

Flashback Garmadon

I can only assume this is a reference to the movie and it will shed more light on this groovy looking version of Garmadon?

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Flashback Garmadon

His brown on brown attire with its collars that threaten take flight in a strong wind, obscenely wide tie and aviator shades are straight out of the 70s. The printed tile is obviously a reference to his “Underworld” kingdom, but in happier times with the white picket fence.

Volcano Garmadon

Gone is Garmadon’s sneer, replaced with a grin. And why wouldn’t he grin? He’s got his comfy volcano patented pyjamas on, and a bowl and spoon for his late night snack.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Volcano Garmadon

I don’t know how comfortable that headpiece is for his slumber party, but I still want to be invited!

Shark Army General #1

The General’s worried look might because she’s worried the N-POP girl is eyeing off her pink milkshake?

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Shark Army General #1

Or perhaps it’s a look of concern that her scaly double cape is about to be caught in the wind? Or perhaps it’s the strain of having to wear all her accolades on her uniform? I don’t know! I do know that the fish scale printing on her legs is cool though!

Shark Army Great White

This Great White has copped a battering (no pun intended). His dark blue uniform is fantastically adorned with gold medals and chains, many with underwater motifs, but the singed marks on his legs, torso and arm show signs of battle. The black shark headpiece also bores some scolded battle scars.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Shark Army Great White

And his scuba tank’s battery life is critically low. No wonder he looks so grumpy! But how can he be grumpy, he’s brandishing a flaming new black fish!

Shark Army Angler

The Anglerfish headpiece is super cool with its hypnotic eyes and dangling lure. Underneath, there is scarred female Shark Army member with lipstick and eye shadow printing.

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Shark Army Angler

A single scuba tank body wear also the printed battery life on the front it. The fishy mace is a cool little weapon.

Shark Army Octopus

Another scarred head sits underneath the wonderful octopus headpiece. Man these Shark Army guys have some war wounds! Although, I can’t help but wonder where the eighth octopus leg went. There’s only seven?

The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures
The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures: Shark Army Octopus

Like the Angler, the torso is standard and the scuba tank’s battery life is OK. He’s armed with a silver fish and a shooter (the first of these in a CMF series?).


As someone who has never really been into Ninjago, I was dubious about a Collectible Minifigure Series I didn’t really know about. I was wrong. Even to those like me that know little about Ninjago, this series offers so much. There isn’t one Minifigure in the series that disappoints.

Thanks to our friends at LEGO, especially Kim, for giving us the opportunity to review this wonderful series of The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures. The series is due for official release on August the 1st.

Stay tuned for details of the upcoming giveaway where you could win a complete set of 20 Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures!

– Brett

Who is your favourite from this upcoming series? What about accessories? What has caught your eye?

If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community.
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Recovering From Your “Best” Photo

Earlier this week, Brett discussed what it’s like to chase after your “White Whale” shot, that one perfect photo that’s been floating around in your head for a while and sometimes feels completely unattainable. It’s something I resonated with deeply, as it’s a struggle I face all the time in my own photography. Then it got me thinking…

What happens when you finally take that shot? How do you recover from your “best” photo?

Photography is, of course, subjective, so how you define your “best” shot may vary. For me, my “best” photo is the one I take and think, “Wow! This came out exactly how I wanted it to, and might just be the best picture I’ve ever taken!” Continue reading Recovering From Your “Best” Photo

Shooting someone’s shtick

When it comes to shooting someone’s creation or the subject they are known for, the challenge morphs into an exercise of respect. The outcome, after all, is a homage to their shtick.

shtick
/ʃtɪk/

noun informal
1. a style of performance, etc. associated with a particular person

2. a person’s special talent, interest, or area of activity

Last week I was given a gift and a challenge resulting in a couple of predicaments. I was sent a #krashes_kustom from the recent San Francisco Toy Safari. I was also challenged by Shelly to shoot Chima after using one for my last post. Continue reading Shooting someone’s shtick

The Great Indoors

It’s now officially summer (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), and like Brett and Shelly before me, I’ve been inspired by the change of the season. However, the sunshine has taken me somewhere I wasn’t expecting it to…

Back into my studio.

That’s right. While the rain clouds that cover most of the Pacific Northwest have subsided and the world is in full bloom, I’ve actually opted to stay indoors to take my first summer photos, thanks to a new find on Amazon: fake grass! Continue reading The Great Indoors

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