Mr. Chainsaw, Branch Manager

Just yesterday Tobias M. Schiel gave us a glimpse behind the scenes at creating his wonderful noir setting. Last weekend I too made something to accompany a chainsaw toy photo. Actually, it was more about destroying than creating.

Over on the G+ community there’s a plethora of daily challenges. One that I always forget about is #nofigurefriday, a chance to focus on the accessories that come with our toys, and not just the toys.

I’ve had an idea to shoot the chainsaw from my NECA Ash vs Evil Dead for this for some time. Friday usually slips by me. Heck, it’s Friday and there’s beers to be had! But on the rare occasions that the week hasn’t been a complete jerk and thoughts on Friday afternoon shift from beers to toys, I’ve never been happy with the shots I’ve taken of Ash’s chainsaw. Something hasn’t been right? Something has been missing?

Mr. Chainsaw
Mr. Chainsaw

It wasn’t until last weekend that it hit me what was wrong.


I had my lumberjack on, swinging a chainsaw, cutting fire wood. When I stopped for a break and looked over at the wheezing chainsaw sitting in front of a pile of cut wood, it dawned on me. My shot needed a pile of wood for Ash’s chainsaw to sit in front of too!

But how?

I looked through the carnage my chainsaw and I had left, but everything was out of scale. Any attempts to cut Ash sized logs just ended in a pile of oversized sawdust. Yeah, even the sawdust was too big?

I gathered up a bundle of sticks and introduced them to the chainsaw’s distant cousin, the drop saw. The drop saw did what just what I needed, cutting “little logs” for the scene.* It was also kind enough to give me a little baggie of perfectly scaled sawdust.
*Cutting little logs with a drop saw is sketchy. Safety up guys!

Mr. Chainsaw : We're not out of the woods yet!
We’re not out of the woods yet!
Mr. Chainsaw : Shiver me timbers!
Shiver me timbers!

That’s how!

I remember many things I’ve talked with Shelly about (well, most of them). But there’s one thing that always resonates in my head when I look through my camera viewfinder. We once (or twice, or many times?) have spoken about what order we assess our photos as we look through our viewfinders. First, the background. Then the foreground. And lastly, the subject.**
**I’m 97% sure this is what we spoke about. But sometimes I like to embellish my stories.

As we finished our discussion, a magical dragon arrived, and Shelly and I jumped on its back and it flew us into the sun.

Anyway, that’s what those earlier shots of Ash’s chainsaw were missing. A background of freshly cut logs. A foreground of sawdust. And of course, the chainsaw.

Mr. Chainsaw
Mr. Chainsaw, Branch Manager

My little lumberjack additions are nowhere near as intricate, complex or creative as Tobias’ le bar miniscule. But sometimes all a photo needs is a little extra to add a lot.

– Brett

Do you create objects or settings for your toy photography? We’d love to hear about it, and maybe squeeze a blog post out of you about it!

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  1. Brett, I really love this picture, already did when I saw it on G+ (and the caption is genius!). Now can I see you getting into the groove of building sets. All things considered, it is fun, isn’t it? I actually enjoy the process of finding a way out of an apparent dead end: “Try again, fail again, fail better,” as my favourite quote goes. Your little logs are far from failure though!

    What struck me was your description of the process. It really made me wonder how I proceed…

    • brett_wilson

      Thanks Tobias.
      I think your mantra of “Try again, fail again, fail better” is pretty much my process. Somehow I never want to fully succeed. After all, what’s left to strive for once we’ve fully achieved our goals?
      And yes, building sets is next on my ever growing list of things to do. You’re inspired me to undertake another ‘fail better’ project!

  2. Brett I absolutely adore the image you came up with; its fabulous! And you’re right, the first image without the stacked lumber seems naked by comparison; the final image is perfection! Nice job! I think I need to put my son on making me some small logs. I have a photo I want to create for a greeting card. Thanks for the inspiration and the tools to make my own idea happen! You’re the best!! xx

    ps – its called a chop saw or a miter saw not a drop saw 😀

    • brett_wilson

      Trash can, rubbish bin! :/
      Oh, you’re son would be great as a LEGO prop creator! I’ve seen his workshop and his handy work. Get that boy to work!
      Yes, even though I liked the original, I too thought it felt a little naked. And who wants to chainsaw naked?

  3. “As we finished our discussion, a magical dragon arrived, and Shelly and I jumped on its back and it flew us into the sun” has to be my absolute favorite quote that’s appeared on the blog! It legitimately cracked me up and had me laughing out loud. 😂

    Great post, too. I liked your original photo but it pales in comparison to the shot with the logs. I can’t confidently say it would have occurred to me to throw in the sawdust too. Such a crucial and brilliant detail! It really brings the whole scene to life.

    • brett_wilson

      As I mentioned, I tend to embellish my tales, but I’m pretty sure there was a dragon at the time?
      Thanks a bunch mate. I liked the original too, I still do. But it bugged me. Sitting on a freshly cut log and seeing my chainsaw before a file of cut firewood made me realize what was wrong.
      And the saw dust? I also meant I didn’t have to worry about unwanted dust in the shot. The added authenticity was just a bonus achieved by me being lazy!
      But don’t tell anyone that.

  4. zekezachzoom

    Totally agree on the use of background props and setting the shot in the correct environment. Makes the whole image more layered. I am inspired now to go find some twigs and start carving out some props for a future project!

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