Sunday, December 31, 2017

The 21st Round Of The Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt

The 21st round of the Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt over on Google Plus is just wrapping up right about now-ish.  These were my entries:


This image got a Dream Team pick, and an honorable mention.

This image got an honorable mention.

Decisive Moment


This image got an honorable mention.


This entry got me a dream team pick, an honorable mention, and two first place nominations - by far my best entry (judging-wise) to date.

Window Light


This picked up an honorable mention.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The 20th Round Of The Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt

More catchup for Scavenger Hunt posts. This one is my entries for the 20th round of the Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt over on Google Plus.  This hunt happened over the summer of 2017.


This round was notable for the many ways I used to create mist/snow/rain type atmospheric effects.  In this case it was by using an actual can of bronze-y coloured spray paint.


This entry got a second place nod by one of the judges.


The rain was created with a spray bottle full of water. This shot got an honorable mention.




The snowy atmosphere here was created by using flour.  This shot got a Dream Team mention, an honorable mention, and a third place nod.

Zig Zag

The mist here was created using dry ice.  This image also got a first place nod.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The 19th Round Of The Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt

These are the entries for the 19th round of the Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt over on Google Plus. 

Note:  These entries were actually for December 2016, however I've been lax in posting them, so this post is playing a bit of catch up. On the other hand, one can consider this one of those "What Was Dave Doing This Time Last Year" retrospectives that are so popular this time of year.  I, on the other hand, just consider the delay in posting a mark of personal laziness.

These are the images I submitted to the 19th round of the hunt:



This entry got a 3rd place nod by one of the judges.





Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukah, or whatever your particular holiday tradition may be. Whatever gives you the warm and fuzzies during the winter solstice, I hope yours is the fuzziest.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Backyard Bounty Brought Me The Great One

This is a story of Netflix, nostalgia, and hockey. Hold on to your butts, it's gonna be a ride.

Not a wild one... not even an interesting one... but a ride.  Keep your arms inside the bus at all times.

So 6 months or so ago my wife stumbled across a show on Netflix called Backyard Bounty.  Which is an American Pickers style show where a couple dudes wander the countryside in search of found treasures in old barns, garages, and various hobo infested places of the world.  The boys from Backyard Bounty do their hunting in Ontario (which, being Canadian expats, is the first wave of nostalgia).

One of the guys from the show has a store in Ingersol Ontario.  When I was recently back up in the Great White North I found myself with a few hours to kill, so I went on a road trip (90 minutes from where I was based) to check out the store:  Modern Hipster Antiques.

I'm not much of an antique guy, so I didn't expect to find a lot.  The store does have quite a bit in it, and its worth the stop by if you're in the area, but it wasn't really fueling my lust for objects. Then I looked in the last display case in the store.

I stopped suddenly. A twinkle in my eye... nay, a gleam.  Heck, a beam of freakin' light shone forth, for what presented itself upon my vision  was no less than The Great One?

Jesus? Mohammed?  Martin Luther King Jr.? Patrick Stewart? William Shatner?

No.  The actual Great One:  Wayne Gretzky.  Well, his hockey card at least.

The 1984-85 season no less - the team that was recently voted the best team in the history of the NHL.

Wayne frickin' Gretzky.

So backing the bus up a bit... when I was but a wee lad - grade one/two-ish,  I watched a lot of hockey, and my team of choice was the Edmonton Oilers.   Many evenings my dad and I would walk, - nay, this was Canada in winter... we trudged - thru the snow to the local convenience store to pick up a pack of hockey cards.  Over the season I collected every single Oiler there was... except Wayne Gretzky.

Time after time I lovingly looked thru my ever expanding deck of collected cards, reading every stat of every Oiler, except the stats of the Great One.

Until...the very last pack of the season. With the Oilers in the finals I eagerly cracked open that last pack of cards to fine... 3 Wayne Gretzkys!

Joyous bliss!

Now.  I was in grade one/two-ish, so naturally I lost all those cards... but now, in the case in front of me, I could obtain the holy grail from  my youth. The card of the best hockey player in the history of the world, and my childhood hero: Wayne frickin' Gretzky.

But now I had the chance to grab hold of some serious childhood memories and hold it as my very own... this is the heavy nostalgia stuff.

It may not surprise you to learn that I immediately bought the card. Here it is:

And thus ends the story.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Let It Snow!

Ever since I started shooting LEGO minifigs I've used snow as a background.  Snow is great for many reasons, the most obvious being the background for most of the action in Empire Strikes Back, but it has other uses as well.  Snow scenes can being a sense of fun (snow ball fights, winter sports etc.) a sense of nostalgia (Christmas scenes), or a sense of cold and foreboding (a frozen winter storm). 

Since I live in North Carolina, which sees little snow that is useable for photography.  As a result I've come to use fake snow quite heavily in my work.  However fortunes favour has recently found Yours Truly in a land of snow, so I was able to get several shots using actual real life snow.

Here are some examples using fake snow (baking powder), and real snow (frozen crystalized water).  First the fake:

And then the real:

As much as I love snow,  I actually don't think the real snow works nearly as well as the fake stuff.  Normally a photographer loves to get some fresh falling snow into a scene.  It is hard to beat the real stuff for normal sized photos.  However it all starts to fall apart in the close-up details.
Real snow clumps together, and melts in ugly ways on minifigs.  Up close, which is required for LEGO shots, the snow becomes transparent, and the flakes comically oversized compared to the subject, and ends up looking fake, even tho it is actually the real thing.

The fake stuff doesn't melt, and doesn't clump together nearly as much. The grains of powder are closer in scale to a minifig as a snow flake is to a human, so it "feels" right.  Not to mention, as the photographer, I don't need winter weather clothing in order to work with it. 

Scale is always an issue when shooting LEGO, and that goes double for snow scenes.

So while I still love snow, and I am sure I'll make many more real snow images in the weeks to come, I suspect my important shots are still going to be re-created with fake snow in my studio.

I'll just save my winter wonderland activities for full scale projects.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

For The Birds

It is kind of amazing how close one can get to wild birds.
So yesterday afternoon a snow storm came in, which is a big deal for North Carolina, so they closed the schools. Since I was the parent oncall for the day, I ended up home early that afternoon.

I found myself staring out the window, and saw a male cardinal sitting on a snow covered branch. It was rather pretty, but the window had screening so it wasn't conducive to good photography. so I decided to go outside and shoot it from there.
The tree is in our side yard, and I was standing in our front yard under another tree, along side some bird feeders. As I was standing waiting for the cardinals to come back to the side yard, I noticed that many birds were coming around the feeders - just 10ft away.

So I turned around, leaned against a branch, and over the next hour or so got up close and personal to many birds... these shots are some of the results:

OK, this one isn't technically a bird (or even non-technically a bird), but he came close to, so I took his portrait.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Meet The Press

They say one should never believe their own press.  Wise advice.

However it also means I have press to disbelieve, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

The local newspaper, Lenoir News-Topic did a write-up on me and my LEGO photography.  I got front page, above the fold - not bad for my first time out, eh?

I posted photos of the paper as the article is behind a paywall.  You may want to embiggen to read it.

You can see all my public work at or my collection on Google Plus: