The wife and I have been FaceTiming with our five-year-old niece over the last couple of weeks. As you can imagine with the lockdown we’re experiencing, she can be a bit bored. She has a great imagination and loves dinosaurs, horses, Chris Pratt and princesses. So we asked her to tell us a story based on a little version of my LEGO city, Fredbricksburg. We FaceTimed the little setup and a bunch of LEGO minifigures so she could see what we had to play with.

Her mom sent back a note with the idea list. So away we went on this Six-Image Narrative adventure: The Quest for the Golden Dino.

Screen shot of Niece's idea for six image narrative.

Based on the above, I put a list together of six frames and then began pulling the cast together.

  • Olaf is retelling the “Quest for the Golden Dino” story.
  • Owen and Claire begin the search.
  • Rex steals the statue.
  • Emmet chases Rex through town.
  • Princesses roadblock Rex with help from friendly dinos.
  • Owen and Claire get the Golden Dino.

Let the quest begin!

Olaf narrating the story
Owen and Claire begin their search for the golden dino.
Rex steals the dino
Emmet makes chase
Princesses and dinos - oh my!
Closing Shot
I could not pass up the chance to use the little blond girl for this set. We’ll order some prints and make something fun for our niece’s room.

When I was done shooting, we called her again and “read” the story back to her via FaceTime. The whole experience was super fun and memorable, and a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

My collaborator-niece

Camera and image info

I dug my Lensbaby kit out of the closet and got reacquainted with it. Only one of the images has any Photoshop work—that was to insert a right-side-up view of the Golden Dino head in the magnifying glass (shot 2). All six images were shot on a Canon 5D Mk III and the behind-the-scenes (BTS) shots below were done with a Canon G7X, a handy little point-and-shoot camera.


Behind the scenes.
Supervision provided by @mllegabbythefrenchie

Shooting in a smallish space has its challenges. The town is normally stored in a cabinet. For this six-image narrative, each piece was moved from table to cabinet to desk to shelf and back many times. No broken buildings—YAY!

Two tips:

Makeup brush works great for dusting LEGO
The wife’s old makeup brush works great for dusting LEGO.
Have some neglected camera gear sitting in the dark? Bust it out! I had to reacquaint myself with the unique nature of working with a Lensbaby. Also in the case are a pair of tilt-shift lenses that need to see the sun soon…

More reading:

Shelly Corbett‘s photos inspired me to break out my old Lensbaby kit—she’s a Lensbaby Trailblazer for a reason. You can find more Lensbaby images here on Toy Photographers.