Its official! The next big toy photographers safari will be held in San Francisco, California, May 11 -14th. This will be four days of fun, friends and toys. We’re proud to announce that this years event will be sponsored by Google! You don’t want to miss what’s shaping up to be an epic event!

I’ve been working with my co-hosts Dennis and Melissa Taylor all year exploring photographic locations and working out logistics. We’re now ready to announce our plans so you can start making your plans to join us.

We’re looking forward to exploring the greater San Francisco Bay area with you and your toys as we venture to such iconic locations as Fort Baker, Sutra Baths, Golden Gate Park, the Albany Bulb and if there is enough interest we will take a day trip to Angel Island.

Sutra Baths

Like past toy safaris there will be a Thursday evening meet and greet, a photo swap and a white elephant toy exchange. This year we’re adding a new wrinkle with several photo competitions to encourage collaborations, general silliness and social media interaction. (Prizes will be awarded throughout the weekend.) You can join us for one day or all four days. All types of toys are welcome, all levels of photographers will be in attendance and all types of image capturing devices are encouraged.

I love In-n-Out burgers, but their even more fun with friends!

We’ve made a few changes to help manage the increased interest in this years event. We will be offering two levels of participation: registered and non-registered.  If you choose to pay the $45 registration fee (limited to 50 people) you will receive a custom lanyard, a unique Krash’s Custom toy, you will be eligible to participate in the toy and image swap and you will receive swag generously donated by the lovely folks at G+, you will have access to bottled water in all designated shuttle cars plus maps and directions to all events. Registered uses will be invited to a G+ Community where they will receive assistance with ride sharing, lodging and I will answer all the usual questions: What should I pack? What toys should I bring? Where should I stay? Can you find me a roommate to share costs, I don’t have a car, can I share a ride? I’m flying in, how can I meet up with everyone? I’m driving from ______, does anyone want to carpool? The registration fee will be fully refundable up to 25 days before the event.

Dennis and Melissa setting up their toys at the Sutra Baths

Don’t worry, if you would like to join us as a non-registered participant, I will post the event itinerary to G+, IG and FB so you won’t be left out of any of the fun! This is an all inclusive event and we don’t want anyone to feel left out. If you’ve been to any of my past meet-ups, you know that we will role out the red carpet and its well worth attending, at any price.

Formal registration will open in February so keep an eye out for my next blog post. I’m so excited that the lovely folks at G+ are helping to sponsor and promote this event! (If you’re still on the fence about G+, this will be a great time to check out the platform and see what all the fuss is about.) We will be offering additional prizes for images posted to G+ using hashtags that will be announced soon.

Gollum loves his G+ swag. – photo by Dennis Taylor

I’ve been to two large “toy safaris” and both were amazing experiences. I’ve heard other toy photographers refer to these events as life changing. I know I’ve come away with friends that I will have for many years, if not a lifetime. The joy of talking, photographing and literally breathing toys for days – is a real treat for any toy photographer. You will learn tricks by watching your fellow photographers at work, you will make friends and you will be introduced to such a variety of toys your head will spin and your wallet will cringe.

To help you with your plans and to have a place to discuss your questions and concerns I’ve started a G+ Community. This community will be a great place to plan ride sharing, arrange roommates and coordinate travel plans. It’s also a great place to coordinate all manner of toy silliness. (Martian Attack anyone?) If you’ve been to one of these events before, you will know what I’m talking about.

The Albany Bulb – photo by Leo Deegan

I have no doubt that this event will be as amazing as past safaris and with the support of the G+ Team, we’ve added a fun, new wrinkle. I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco May 11-14th!

~ Shelly

Dennis, Melissa and I will be staying at the Four Points by Sheraton in San Rafael. They’re currently running a pre-paid special, three nights for the price of two. If you don’t want to stay there, you at least know what neighborhood you should be looking for your Airbnb or alternate hotel. This is a limited time offer – so book now if you’re sure you will be attending!