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! 

Toy Photographer’s Meet-Up – Italian Style!

I virtually met Shelly on the Internet approximately one year ago and soon discovered her toy photographers’ meet-ups. I’ve definitely wanted to go to one; unfortunately the dates and locations didn’t work for me.

So, I started thinking about how I could organize my own. Well, organize is a big word. My lack of experience unequivocally didn’t help me at all, but the wish to take part in one was too strong to resist.

My original idea was to gather people together at my LUG’s annual LEGO exhibition. Every year Cremona Bricks hosts a big meet up. This year it was the sixth edition of it, with more than 80 exhibitors from all over Northern Italy. If you’re curious about the event you can have a look at this gallery on Flickr. Initially this seemed like the biggest mistake ever! Since we’re all LEGO fans too, we spent a lot of time looking at dioramas and the MOCs. We also spent time buying custom accessories in the market area. Continue reading Toy Photographer’s Meet-Up – Italian Style!

The San Francisco Toy Photographers meet up is one month away!

The San Francisco toy photographers meet up is one month away and honestly I can’t wait! I’m excited to see my wonderful friends that I haven’t seen since September. I also get to meet long time internet friends like Ballou34 and Reiterlied. Plus there are more than a few new faces signed up that I will meet and happily welcome to the madness.

What started out three years ago as a small gathering of friends separated by a move, has grown into a much anticipated annual event. Its hard to imagine that our humble begins in Las Vegas has grown into an event supported by both Google and The Lego Group. Even with this success, our highest priority is the fun factor. Continue reading The San Francisco Toy Photographers meet up is one month away!

Put the social back into social media

Let’s all face it, social media is a double edged sword. On one hand it helps us to make connections and find like minded people around the world. On the other hand those freindships are shallow and fleeting. It’s nearly impossible to take those initial connections beyond a superficial level of likes and brief comments. Continue reading Put the social back into social media

You’re invited to Seattle!

You’re invited to Seattle to attend the next epic toy photography meet-up from May 20-23! My good friend Jon (Dinoczars) and I will be hosting our second US Stuck in Plastic meet-up because like my favorite philosopher said:

“Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

When I posted last fall asking for input to help choose between Chicago and Seattle for our next meet-up, it seemed that Chicago would be the winner. But when I factored in those who had changed their mind or those who were flexible , there was no clear winner, so I have decided to go with what I know. I would be pleased if you would join me and my co-host Jon, in Seattle from May 20-23, for a weekend filled with toy photography and related silliness.  Continue reading You’re invited to Seattle!

I would vote for Seattle

I know that we already had a vote for the next location for the US toy-photo-safari, and we came up with Chicago as the winner (60/40). I really like Chicago, but after a week in Seattle with Shelly as my host, I have to say that you might want to reconcider and put your vote on Seattle instead.

Continue reading I would vote for Seattle