Going Out

I’ve been in a “something new” mood lately. I’m a fan of toy photography, but haven’t really done any work in that area. I’m not short on source material as I can’t throw a toy in my house without hitting another toy. I have two toddlers and I’m always finding toys lately in weird, unsuspecting places. It isn’t mess either, these are strategically placed or abandoned in media res when the toddler’s world of make believe switches in an instant. I found this little princess inside my shoe with a tiny, make-shift blanket. I guess she was bedding down for the night. Thinking about this, it made me realize something about perception. Toddlers are just little people. They are mobile, all senses are sharp, and they are decently coordinated (my two year old is pretty decent at Angry Birds). But they see and experience a world that is quite different than ours. We are twice as tall. Therefore, their world is much bigger so they interact with it on a smaller scale than we do. Most everything remains on a discovery level. With us, we can guess what something is based on years of experience, often missing out on any mystery. I find that this translates to photography. Macro photography or simply getting closer to that smaller world brings us to that perception, the world that is always there beneath us, the one that small children spend their days in. I didn’t photograph the princess napping in my shoe because when I found it, I was leaving. In the future though, I’m going to try and capture these little worlds.

For the photograph above, I was playing with my grown-up toys. I put my external flash inside a double-door closet with the flashgun aimed straight up. I put a radio trigger on the external flash and one on the hotshoe mount on my camera, cracked the door, and then posed the princess as “entering.” The triggered flash filled the closet with light, masking its contents, and cast light on the toy. For processing, I did a square crop, and then used the Old Photo filter in Color Efex Pro. The filter features a grain and contrast slider that works excellent for the style.

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9 thoughts on “Going Out

  1. I really love this Brandon, it has a wonderfully surreal feeling to it, the crop,filter and framing of it, makes me think of an illustration of a story from a book of fairy tales. One thing i´ve learnt from macro and closeup, is that you´ll always find something close at hand to apply this type of photography to…that and having a vibrant imagination! You definately have an eye for it…and a vibrant imagination, excellent work, looking forward to seeing some more in the future!

  2. This is great! It’s like a still-frame from an animated movie! I have a tin robot collection and have thought for a while that I’d like to photograph them in a set scene. You’ve inspired me to have a go 🙂

    • Awesome! Looking forward to see what you put together. I wish I had some of the toys from my childhood. Around my house all I have to work with is Polly Pockets, Winnie the Pooh & friends, Barbies and these some kind of gothic, punky, highschool dolls.

  3. The graininess really adds a lot to the photo, more so than a sharp photo would do here. What I like is the effect of the lit room and grain on the princess’ left arm. It almost looks as though she’s reacting to and throwing her arms back at someone she saw in the room. Pretty cool.

    Noticed you said a remote trigger was used for the off-camera strobe. Would you mind telling me what you’re using (Pocket Wizard?) and if you’ve had any problems with it? I’m deciding if I want to make that huge investment or go for an off-brand that may or may not hold up over time. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Steven. And totally an off brand called Yongnuo. They sell them on eBay for about $30 (usd). They ship USPS straight from China so it may take two weeks. I am just starting to mess with off camera flash so I didn’t want to invest fully into the wizard yet. I mainly got them for when I do abandonment photography, having the ability to light up dark areas or rooms down a hallway for instance. I was skeptical, but they have worked surprisingly awesome. I may have gotten 3 misfires since I have had them, tops. The build is a little cheap and their “on” buttons are a bit quirky in terms of location. I’ve used them 100 feet with no problems.

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