This is a story about toys, rain and friendship. This is a story about the most unfavorable toy photography conditions imaginable, but fun and excellent photos where still to be found.

Back Story

Part of planning a toy safari is making sure we have suitable locations for photography. I would never take a group of people to a place that I’ve never been. This stems from my experience of landing in Las Vegas for the first event and not having a clue where to go. We wasted a lot of time finding the perfect location. Time that would have been better spent photographing. That first year taught me to make sure I knew where I would be taking my guests. Even though I partner with a local toy photographer, ultimately the responsibility will fall on me.

Last year Dennis, Melisa and I scouted the San Francisco area together. We managed to avoid at least one snafu because of this scouting trip. While the Redwoods seemed like a great idea on paper, in reality the location was completely inappropriate. Fast forward to 2018 and the meet-up is only a few weeks away and I still didn’t have a good idea where we would be photographing. While Janelle, Cindy and Leila have been sending me photos and ideas for several months, I knew I needed to see these places for myself. Luckily we were able to coordinate one day in our busy schedules suitable for a scouting adventure.

We chose a prophetic day, Aprils Fools Day to be exact. I was watching the weather, knowing it can be dicey on the coast. I was hoping for the best.

Rain Rain Go Away

I drove down to Portland the day before our scouting trip. While Portland is close, I didn’t want to do this adventure in one day. The sky was blue, the weather balmy. It was a beautiful day for a drive, or a toy photography adventure. Unfortunately the next day had a forecast of 100% chance of rain. I didn’t despair, because even I know this could change. Plus there’s rain and then there’s rain. No need to panic just yet.

We had an enjoyable car ride to the coast. We chatted and Cindy and I built LEGO set 31079. The rain was falling and the sky was a solid mass of grey. No sun, or even the hope of sun, was in sight.

Our first stop was Hug Point State Park. I had heard wonderful things about this location and it was high on my list. When I got out of the car I was greeted by rain and wind. I was glad I remembered my rain pants and that I ‘d borrowed a hat from Cindy. I was ready! No way was a little (ok a lot) of rain going to put a damper on this adventure!

Hug Point / Arch Cape overlook

We walked down to the beach and we were met by a blast of wind. The conditions couldn’t have been worse, but we persevered. We rounded the cape and we were greeted by the most beautiful site – a water fall on the beach!

Did you know that Dewbacks love the rain?

Despite the wind and the rain this location is so inspiring! The wet sand, the rock formations in the background, the seaweed covered rocks and the small streams heading out to sea. Did I mention the waterfall?? πŸ™‚

toy monkey looks at camera with waterfall in background

Scout Monkey approves.

A Magical Day

At every location we went, Oswald West, Battery Russell, Cannon Beach and Arcadia Beach we were greeted with the same wind and rain. But this didn’t stop us from having fun! We laughed at the rain, we got our toys out when it let up and we imagined our friends playing in these same locations in just a few short weeks. The excitement was building and we could feel it.

In short, the weather couldn’t have been worse for this scouting trip. Yet, despite the unfavorable conditions, Janelle, Leila, Cindy and I had the best day ever! If you don’t believe me you can check out Leila’s fun behind the scenes video posted to Instagram.

Toys in the Rain

Obviously this is not the ideal toy photography environment. Sure I would have preferred a sunny day, or at the very least a high overcast one.Β  But when you go to the coast, you take a gamble on the weather. The locations are stunning and the weather is unpredictable. As Janelle kept repeating to us: “We’re at the coast, not the beach.” But there’s an upside to this experience: we now have a solid game plan if the weather is this ridiculous for the #ORToyPhotoSafari.

Of course the biggest payoff to this crazy day was spending it with three good friends. Sharing adversity, adventure and toys with these three talented ladies made for a very memorable day. It was a day filled with toys, rain and friendship. And even a few passable photos taken with my phone; just to prove it can be done in the rain! If you’re already signed up, don’t panic!!

I know I will never let the rain stop me from a toy adventure. I now know that a day filled with toys, rain and friendship is a truly winning combination.


Β ps – I want to thank Janelle, Leila and Cindy for helping me scout locations! There generosity of time and spirit are what make these yearly gatherings so special. If you would like to join us for what is going to be one long, memorable party, sign up here or ask me questions here.Β