32 Days Until Oregon

Whelp. My travel and lodgings are all arranged. I’m registered and inside the system. There’s no way to flake out now, is there?

For me, even casually, photography is a really (much welcomed) lonesome activity. The thought of having to meet up and converse with real people fills me with a deep unease only a lifetime of social rejection could groom someone for.

But these toy safaris are life changing. And I say that not with the zest of an overly enthusiastic salesman but with the assurances of first hand experience.

Fueled by a crushing sense of bewilderment at the Seattle meet put on back in May 2016 where I knew no one and nothing, I’ve been practicing outdoor toy photography in near crazed earnestness ever since. With every zest and zeal. And craziness it was. Even my husband who rarely remarks on anything I do had to say how out of character it all was.

You don’t know me but I am the prissiest piece of shit around. I use sunscreen indoors. I do not like bugs or sunshine or nature. And for the love of all delightfully horrible, man made things, I don’t go “hiking”.

I was shooting simple dioramas in the comfort of my pristine hobby room for the past year. Suddenly after May I’m trampling through tall wild grass. Edging up to bushes of thorns for the perfect angle. There is mud on my boots. Rashes and bug bites on my skin. And really, not enough to show for it.

Outdoor toy photography is hard, man.

You think you can find some pretty flowers or rocks or some junk, plant a figure 1/3rd in front of it, and boom you got a kickass picture? No. Fuck no.

Plants you were counting on are there one week and not the next. Some days you can hike around for hours upon hours and get absolutely nothing. Other times you happen upon the most perfect, miracle of nature spot but that accompanying figure? Oh, it’s sitting in your cool house right next to the camera battery and memory card you need eating all your good snacks.

I learned this all the hard way — sweaty and hungry and lost in the goddamned woods.

Whether you’re actively aware of it or not, though, I think everyone wants to grow. To evolve. You can travel the world seeking renewed perspective, but I’ve personally never found it until I hopped across town at the random invitation of an internet stranger with the promise of pizza (who I now know as Shelly lol) who ever so kindly welcomed me into her home. And instead of axe murdering me, she and all the wonderful toy photographers there opened up a whole new aspect of this hobby for me.

So no matter how shy or uncomfortable or weird or new or experienced you may be, come to Oregon. We have toys and pizza.

Eva (aka GreaterBeast)


  1. Thanks to this post I have learned Shelly is not an axe murder, so I feel better about attending this event…

    Excellent post – funny and informative.

    I understand what you mean about the perils of shooting outdoors – it is not that easy. This is why I spend a lot of time in my studio 🙂

    See you in Oregon!

  2. Hahahaha! I love how real this post is – great little write up Eva. I’m always itching to get outside because my day job requires me to sit for lengthy amounts of time staring at a massive monitor and moving a mouse.

    By the time 6pm rolls around I have to race to the hills and hike the rocks and canyons. I love getting out of the noise and sometimes silence of the cubicle. One of these years I’ll make it to a toy safari with y’all.

  3. Hi Eva. LOVED this post. So funny and so true. And if you say Shelly isn’t an axe murderer, then I’ll believe you. I’ve only known her a year or two, but this is relieving. She does SEEM kind and peaceful and much more, I’ll say that much. Looking forward to meeting you and spending time in Oregon. It’ll be fun… and weird, for sure. I love outdoor toy shots… but then I always eat my pizza vegan, so there’s that.

    • Ah hey Doug!! Thanks for the follow today! Your work is really beautiful. I can’t wait to hang out!!

      Lol Shelly… I could not believe she invited so many people into her house. I was a littleeee worried she was a psycho or something but when I got there, I was worried for her! What if we were crazy thieving shitheads??

  4. brett_wilson

    Eva, this is my favorite post of the year so far!
    Pizza, not being axe murdered AND cursing. Three things I hope I get to experience this year in Oregon.
    I was already excited about meeting you, now I can’t wait!

  5. “I do not like bugs or sunshine or nature. And for the love of all delightfully horrible, man made things, I don’t go ‘hiking’.”

    Who knew toy photography had such transformative powers?

    Love the raw honesty, Eva, and looking forward to meeting you!

    Not an axe murderer, either.

    • Nice, Teddi. I’ll add you to the “def not a murderer” side of the list then.

      I still dislike going out there but the results and journey are truly satisfying much of the time. Can’t wait to meet you and maybe pick up some new tips or tricks!

  6. What a fun and real read! My fave bit is the camera battery eating snacks part. Totally picturing that. Lol! Really wish to be able to fly up there and meet up with y’all from the blog/G+/Ig one year especially after all these little bits of interactions online. Would be so cool to hangout for real. 😊

  7. Excellent post, Eva! I love how brutally honest and real it is. I too have struggled with shooting in the outdoors, but am getting a bit more comfortable with it thanks to meetups like this. Looking forward to seeing you and eating pizza in Oregon!

  8. Rebekah

    Hi, I’m into toy photography and I’m really curious about this toy photo safari that is happening in Oregon. I’ve tried searching it, but only posts from here have shown up. Could you tell me more about it, where and when it is. Thanks. Hope you have a great day

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