In my ongoing attempt to learn more about photography and try new things, Smokes and I set about to try our hand at an action-figure photo shoot. We collected some action figures, some poster paper stock and set up a little studio on our dining room table at the Warehouse. There’s an actual professional photo studio in the first floor of the building and while I considered asking if we could use it for our little project, I decided against it and went for a more DIY approach.
The result is a set of macro photographs of action figures is primarily a series of lighting experiments, humorous expressions and other whimsies and mistakes.
I don’t have a lot of lighting equipment (yet!). Just the camera, a tripod and a Canon Speedlite. I’d received an off-shoe bracket as a birthday present about a year ago. So I decided to use a birthday gift certificate pick up the requisite off-camera shoe cord (thanks Dugie!) so I could finally use the bracket for the shoot. We didn’t have umbrellas or remote triggers. And our key light could only be a could only be a foot or so away from the camera due to the length of the cord. That was our setup. It was enough variables for us to play with. We played with reflecting bounce flash light to backfill and minimize shadows. We used some of scientific equipment Whirl has collected over the years as props. We even deployed a flashlight as a spot to light up the plastic flame of the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bomb.
Of course, the idea of two grown men — now in their 40s — playing with action figures is something that is going to engender some amount of scorn and ridicule. We knew that. We welcomed that. We were not disappointed. Bitsy and Whirl were quick to jump in and start things off with offers to provide appropriate snacks: celery sticks with peanut butter, Fruit Roll-Ups, and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Tea made sure we had plenty of Capri Sun juice pouches.
So it was with the cynicism of our generation that we set about our shoot, finding humor and irony in the mudane. Ideas included:
- Iron Man and Colossus embracing in reaction to the overturning of California’s Proposition 8
- Green Goblin adding pumpkin spice to his homebrew beer wort
- R2-D2 and C-3PO relaxing to some Daft Punk
The highlight photograph came at the end of the second day when Smokes came up with the idea of recreating the look of the conspicuous awkward prom photographs from high school.
See “Green Goblin and Spider-Man Go to Prom” after the break.