The Best Camera

You’ve probably heard the quote:

The Best Camera Is the One That’s with You

This quote became ubiquitous when Chase Jarvis used it as the title of his 2009 book on iphone photography. His goal was to legitimize mobile phone photography. The idea being that it’s better to take a picture with your phone than to miss out on capturing an image because you left your bulky DSLR at home. 

I like the idea of capturing images using my phone. In the past, I’ve even challenged myself to only capture toy photos using my phone. But honestly, I prefer my bulky DSLR with its dedicated macro lens.  This is my comfort zone, this is what I’m used to.

So image my surprise when last week I ended up on a beach with a backpack full of toys, accompanied by friends, no rain in sight and no CF card in my camera. Continue reading The Best Camera

Aperture science

Authors note: Before going any further, you may like to play this great song whilst reading. We do what we must because we can. I am not responsible for any earworms that may occur. 


One of the best books I have bought for understanding some simple things about photography was ‘Read this if you want to take great photographs’ by Henry Carroll. It’s a very clear look at lots of different ideas and techniques through the realm of photos by inspirational photographers.

I know Shelly mentioned it last year in her book blog post last summer, but for me, this is one of only three(!) books about photography that I own. I wanted to share a little about how it helped me understand aperture in a very simple way.

Please keep in mind I’m the least technical photographer out there, so you may know better, and you most certainly want to get hold of the book to get the full picture! However, quickly, and very simply put, aperture is about making the hole in your lens smaller or larger control to the amount of light entering your camera. Continue reading Aperture science

Ready, Set, Edit!

I wrote about why I wouldn’t manipulate my photos beyond the simple edit before. I wrote about how the perfectionist in me would still see me in front of my computer hours later if I embarked down this road.

However, I’ve established a middle ground. And this medium is thanks to my old friend, time.

I’ve set the stopwatch. I’ve set a self-imposed constraint of 20-minutes for photo manipulations. Once the countdown stops at zero, Photoshop stops too!

Setting a limit puts a stop to the procrastination, the over finessing, and wasting away hours at the computer. Who’s got the time to spend hours and hours editing one photo? Not me!

Rest your head on me
I’ll smooth it nicely
Rub it better ’til it bleeds
And, and you’ll believe me
P J Harvey – Rub ‘Til It Bleeds

Continue reading Ready, Set, Edit!

Taking on Tips

I don’t just write posts. I also read them. And then I write about reading them. Today I put some of Shelly’s tips into practice. And wrote about it!

Beating Baader-Meinhof to the punch!

I’ve written about Baader-Meinhof before, the term coined to describe a concept or a thing you just found out about, suddenly popping up everywhere. When I did, it was about a photo I took that I noticed a lot of Shelly’s “the basics” contained in it when I was editing.

Shelly has recently shared her tips about photographing toys in water, and written about turning any lens into a macro with close-up filters.

So, before I weirded myself out by discovering Shelly’s tips jumping out at me from my photos again, I decided to take some of her recent tips and purposely go out and put them into practice. Take that Baader-Meinhof! Continue reading Taking on Tips

The Basics – Photographing toys in water

I’ve been taking photos in and around water for as along as I’ve been a photographer. There is something magical about water; the movement, the sound, the reflections. Being in and around water feeds something basic in my soul. Because of this, it’s only natural that water would make it into my toy photography. Some of my favorite toy images have been taken in water.

While water is beautiful to photograph, it’s not easy to work with. It can be unpredictable; water can steal your LEGO and it can leave you soaking wet. But even with these hazards, the final results are often worth it.

I prefer to photograph in the great out doors so when I talk about water I’m referring to rivers, lakes, puddles as well as the Puget Sound. I have found that the edges around any body of water is usually rocky, muddy, sandy or all three. Not exactly an environment that invites getting down on your knees or stomach for your typical toy photos. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks about working in and around water plus a few tips to make my life easier. Continue reading The Basics – Photographing toys in water

The Basics – Selective Focus

Selective focus is another tool you should add to your photographic tool bag. When you’re a landscape photographer being able to focus to infinity is important, but is that skill really important for toy photography? What happens when you play with the focus point on your toys? Can you tell a better, or different story? In the fast paced world of social media, can you create an image that stands out when it’s initially hard to read? Lets find out… Continue reading The Basics – Selective Focus

The Basics – Your Own Web Site

Do you have your own web site?  I was recently surprised by the number of toy photographers in our community who don’t. I feel strongly that in the shifting quicksand of social media platforms every semi-professional photographer and artist should have a personal home on the internet. A place where you can control how your work is viewed, present a carefully curated representation of your work as well as supporting information. A personal web site can also act as a central hub for all your social media accounts and can grow and change with your own artistic needs. Continue reading The Basics – Your Own Web Site

Who is your audience?

Who is your audience seems a rather silly question to be asking. Obviously if you’re posting your photos to social media your audience is your followers. Two years ago I wrote a post called An Audience of One. This was a post reaffirming that the most important person that I’m taking photos for is me.

In that post, I also gave a passing nod to my followers who enjoy my photos and comment on them. But honestly, I would not have considered the reactions or needs of these fans when I set up my photos. Recent events have made me reconsider this position. Continue reading Who is your audience?

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

Continue reading Raging Rancor Deconstructed