Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gone On An Adventure...

I am currently out on an adventure!  Updates to this blog may be slow for the rest of the month. 

Happy trails!

My Online Gallery Updated

I've spent some time in the past few days updating my online gallery, which contains the best of my work.  If you haven't checked it out recently, now is a good time to visit

Alternate Realities

With a vivid imagination the imaginary worlds described in books can seem almost real. Be careful what you read, 'cause some imaginary worlds are more real than others.

This is my most recent experimentation with shooting action figures, with a bit of a genre mix to include my self portraiture work as well.
I got the idea for this shot the first time I watched the credits for the totally awesome cinematic event known as Deadpool 2.  The ending credits shows hand drawings of Deadpool interacting with the other characters in interesting ways.  This is how I imagine he'd interact with Yours Truly.

I used my 20" Deadpool figure for this shot, as well as a very temperamental Dave stand in (he's becoming a bit of a diva - it is a bigger problem than you think!). However with some coercion, bribery, and a heavy dollop of Photoshop Magic(tm), I managed to get the shot I wanted.

Maximum effort!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Quick quiz, hot shot!

There is a LEGO model in a blank cardboard box.

The box is in the hands of a crazy man who takes photos of LEGO.

What do you do?

What. Do. You. Do?

Well, if you are that crazy man, you buy it, and let it sit in your basement for a while until you are ready to really enjoy it.


But, what is in the box?

Well, this:

That, my friends, is a minifig-scale Millennium Falcon.

If you have been following me for a while you may remember that I already have a Millennium Falcom model, and I took some photos with it.  This is true, but its not big enough.  The existing Falcon model is not minifig scale.  When trying to take photos with it I was continually frustrated with the fact that a minifig could not stand underneath it (or on the ramp), and the cockpit couldn't support two minifigs side by side.

As soon as I saw this one I knew I wanted it.  Being minifig scale means all of the issues I had with the other model are solved.

Of course, being minifig scale means the set is huge.  In fact its the largest model LEGO has ever produced for retail sale. 7541 pieces (nope thats not a model number, thats seven thousand five hundred forty one pieces).  The finished model will be just under 3ft by 2ft.  Huge.

When it came out back in September 2017 it sold out almost immediately.  I wasn't fast enough to get one, so I had to wait for them to make more.  In January I finally got my hands on one.  At the time I wasn't ready for such a project.  That all changed last weekend when I unveiled it to the family.

My kids were thrilled:
So now I have this model.  It is going to be a project in itself just to build it. Then it will be a prop in photography projects.

Of course, me being me, I decided to make a photography project while I am building it.

So, what it is, is, essentially, a photography project about a build project for another photography projects.  Thats projects cubed!

This is an extravagant model, but it is a model that keeps on giving.

Stay tuned for results from the first photography project, coming to a blog near you in the near term.

Until then, I need to study the build instructions. It is a thick book.  A very thick book.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Deadpool Rocks

This is my latest attempt at shooting action figures.  Deadpool rocking out.

What is notable about this image is that it is the first time I played around with practical effects. 

I wanted to give a smokey effect to add some ambience to the image.  Some smoke effects to go with the rock concert feel.  I started using actual smoke, but my smoke machine, which is perfect for LEGO sized images, wasn't really sufficient for the much larger 20" Deadpool figure.

So I went back to the ol'd standby: water in a spray bottle. 

This is a peak behind the scenes.  Along with the two speedlites at table height to provide side and rear illumination (think stage lights), I also had a speedlite on a stand in front of the figure to fill in the shadows.

I think it turned out pretty good.  I am going to mark this attempt a success.

On to the next image - what shall I do next?  Suggestions welcome.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

New Instagram Handle: TheRealStudioDave

FYI: I have changed my account name on Instagram to be more generic. I am doing more than LEGO now so my old name didn't really apply.

So my new name is TheRealStudioDave. My current followers will get moved over automagically, but new folk can now find me here:

Review: LEGO Creator Expert Detectives Office

Over on the Toy Photographers blog, Yours Truly has written a review of the Creator Expert Detectives Office.

TL;DR version:
Outside:  beautiful, detailed, and great for photography
Inside:  Amazing detail, not so awesome for photography
Minifigs:  Vintage looking, nostalgic but not expressive.
Recommendation: For the photographer: buy it for the outside.  For the fan, just buy it.

Check out the full review here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Good Artists Copy...

One of the phrases often used by artists to discuss the creative process is  "good artists copy, great artists steal." On my personal quest to expand my artistic horizons from LEGO to larger action figures, I am still in the process of figuring out techniques and styles.  As a  result I can't honestly say I am great at it - so I decided to go with the copy route.

Recently I obtained a 1/4 scale Deadpool action figure, and have been working on getting some ideas for how to shoot it.  In search of inspiration I went spelunking thru a Google Image search and came across a promo poster from Comic Con for the movie Deadpool 2.

I decided to recreate it.  This is the result:
It is interesting to shoot larger figures. I have been shooting LEGO figures for so long that it is refreshing to be able to treat my subject more like traditional photography - including using studio lights, soft boxes, and backdrops.

Scale is still an issue tho as I had to make due with whatever stuffed animals were in my daughters toy box.  As a result I had to composite in the bear to get the scale at a proper scale (in real life the bear is almost the same size as Deadpool).

Oh, if you are wondering about the original, it looked like this:

So thus ends my second foray into shooting action figures.  I think things are going well, even if I do say so myself.  Don't you agree?

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, May 05, 2018

The 22nd Round Of The Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt

These were my entries for the 22nd round of the Chrysta Rae Photography Scavenger Hunt, over on Google Plus.

Behind the scenes is here.

Friday, May 04, 2018

May The Brunch Be With You

One of the perks of working for Google is that we are provided free food.  At my office, which is a smaller location, we get breakfast and lunch 5 days a week.

Its not just food tho, it is really good food. Prepared by an amazing, top notch, kitchen staff.  Nutritionally balanced, quality ingredients, and talented chefs.

Today they went above and beyond for the classic geek holiday, May The 4th - aka Star Wars Day.  They cooked up an amazingly tasty brunch with a Star Wars theme - Ham Solo Eggs Benedict, Jed-eye steak, Princess Leia Cinnamon Buns etc.

The image on the left is one of our chefs, Jordan, who had just prepared my breakfast.  (Well, first breakfast.  I did some genre hopping and went all Hobbit today and had second breakfast as well).

Yesterday, when I found out that brunch was going to be served, and what the menu was going to be, I got inspired to create an art piece for the food team.  I worked out the details in my head while biking home, and hit my studio right after kids bed time.

I cooked up the following image:

I printed off a print - 13x19, the largest my home printer can produce - and presented it to the food staff this morning.  Early reports indicate they loved it, and are getting it framed.  Score.

Turns out the way to get art out of me is to feed me first.  Not a bad way to go, really.

Happy Star Wars Day

May the 4th be with you, always.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Where My Bonus Went

You may remember this post about a week ago, in which I got a bonus at work, and spent it in two minutes on an action figure?

Also do you remember I was all coy and didn't say which action figure I bought?

Remember? Pepperidge Farms remembers.

Good news! The action figure finally came in, which means I can finally answer the question that has literally kept us all on the very edge of our seats (work with me here).  So without further ado, if you haven't figured out from the images already, that action figure is...


The model is a NECA Marvel Classics Deadpool 1/4 Scale Action Figure.  It stands 20" tall, which is about 15x taller than a minifig.  He has an incredible amount of detail, comes with several weapons and hand poses.  Deadpool also has a decent amount of articulation so it should be fairly decent for posing.

In other words, it should make a good model to start expanding beyond LEGO.

I also picked up a couple comics to act as inspiration.

It should be interesting to shoot this model of Deadpool as the scale and poseablilty is much larger than the LEGO I am used to.  I am up for the challenge. Maximum effort!

So that is where my bonus went... stay tuned for more images of the Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool.
Pass the chimichangas!