To the world, she is a mother. To her family, she is the world.
Today’s feature LEGO characters are the Wampa from Star Wars sets 75098 Assault on Hoth – UCS and 8089 Hoth Wampa Cave, and the Yeti from the Collectible Series 11 Minifigures.
Behind the Scenes
I enjoy sharing a look at the process behind my work and my creative journey. Writing about it daily is new for me, but it seems to prompt a level of critical thinking that leads me to a deeper understanding and to new ideas.
Photography has long been my passion. With the level of technology available to us today, it’s easier than ever to take a technically competent photograph. And yet, some images still clearly ‘work’ more than others.
With LEGO photography, where we can often control almost every aspect of the scene, I believe that investing time and mental energy in the creative process can help make that difference. So I consider four fundamental things in making an image:
- The Idea
- Subject Isolation
I decided to create a whimsical Mother’s Day scene, and in scanning my LEGO collection the Wampa and Yeti seemed the right pair to do it with.
I used a piece of black ceramic tile to simulate black ice, and baking powder for snow.
As usual, most of my effort was in the lighting. Given the Arctic-themed setting, and thinking back to my own Canadian childhood living North of 60, I decided to create a northern lights effect in the background.
My main light was a LitraPro with softbox, positioned overhead with a Platypod gooseneck arm and an Ultra tripod base. I folded a recipe card to use as a small reflector to help fill shadows on the Wampa’s back.
I used all of the lights at my disposal for background lighting:
- Litratorch 2.0 with green filter and diffuser
- Two Litrapros with grid
- Litratorch 2.0 with blue filter
Given the minimalist scene, the Wampa and Yeti easily stand out. To further emphasize them, I placed the coloured background lighting behind each.
I placed the characters using the rule of thirds. I used a reflection to help fill the frame without introducing any new element to distract from the subjects. (plus, I just like reflections)
Instead of sharing the exact technical settings for this one photo, I’d rather share my standard operating procedure for LEGO photography, which can be applied to all of my shots with but few exceptions:
- Tripod mounted mirrorless camera set to ISO 100 and triggered with 2 second delayed shutter
- 120mm macro lens shot at f/8 and manually focused using magnified live view
- Aperture priority centre-weighted metering with exposure compensation to taste
- Post processing the RAW files with custom white balance, luma curve, saturation, contrast, sharpness, vignette, levels, and dust removal
Up Close and Personal
Macro photography allows us to see small objects in spectacular detail. For me, LEGO minifigures are perfect subject material.
I’m at the limits of my system here – minimum focus distance with my macro lens, and the only crop is to make the image square. Focussing is a challenge, with depth of field measuring in millimetres.
Time to close out with the before and after shots, showing the result of transforming my idea through deliberate lighting, subject isolation, and composition choices.
Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms in the world! ❤️