Over the last few months, I’ve gone on a bit of a spending spree. With a new camera body, new lens, and a new bag to hold everything in, I found myself feeling slightly ridiculous at how much I’ve poured into this hobby of taking photos of plastic butts. I was itching to make more use out of the D7000’s advantages, and that itch drove me from my cozy man-cave and into the Canadian winter, where I rediscovered why I enjoy photography.
I’ve tried doing some non-figure photography before, but none of it clicked with me. That’s probably because I didn’t post-process my photos all that much back then. Even if the idea occurred to be back then, I probably wouldn’t have known where to even begin. Thankfully, my good friend Blowfish gave me a bunch of Lightroom presets he had for doing cosplay photography, and I decided to playing around with them by going out and snapping some photos.
These presets are definitely more nuanced than the usual adjustments I use for figure photos. Where as I’ve almost always aimed for a bright and exuberant look in my photos cartoon girl statues, these outdoors photos tend to be sombre in tone, mostly due to the season, and the preset settings showed me a couple of things on how to make a photo more moody and dramatic.
When Hamstercorp dramatically removed his figma Miku from his collection and sent it my way, I knew I had to follow it up with something. The initial idea was to have her hot-glued by Gollum, but upon the sight of a recent snowfall, I decided to take advantage of the weather and do something a little more ambitious by going to the field of a school nearby after work.
The lesson learned that day is to wear gloves. Being an urban hermit who rarely goes out in the winter, the importance of keeping my fingers warm in the dead of winter is one of those common-sense things which eluded me. By the end of the short shoot, my frozen sausages could barely turn the focus ring. There were some missed opportunities with this shot, but there’s no point in crying about spilt milk. After a fiery grilling from Ashlotte, this is what I ended up with — A most bleak fate for a former president.
I also took a couple of self-portraits, which I had not done in a long time. The first one had me travelling to High Park once again, mostly due to the fact that it was secluded enough to make me not feel ridiculous when smiling stupidly at the camera sitting atop the tripod. The Tamron 90mm macro lens made for some pretty really nice bokeh, and I’m loving the subject isolation potential of the lens when it comes to 1/1 scaled figures. Overall I’m happy, as the shots really brought out the narcissist in me — though that’s not really saying much.
The second self-portrait was crazy fun. I took it on my birthday with the aim of creating the most depressing birthday photo ever. It all started when I found in the fridge this cheap supermarket cake my roommate had bought. I thought to myself: “wow, this would be the most pathetic birthday cake ever.” From there the idea just snowballed. The whiskey bottle vase of dollar store plastic flowers, the dinky party hat, the ugliest shirt I have, petit nendo Haku, and a row of neatly-arranged party blowers. The cherry on top is the look in my eyes — I confess I am perhaps a little too proud of that dead expression that seems too convincing to be faked.
My favourite thing about going out with a camera for the hell of it is the fact that there aren’t any expectations. Whereas I would get frustrated if a figure photo idea doesn’t work out the way I had wanted it to (which has happened many times), taking a stroll downtown or in a park has virtually no planning involved. Although most of photos I shot are throwaway garbage, finding the few interesting shots at the end of the day is a very satisfying experience — like this black guy on an unicycle whom I happened across downtown.
I definitely see myself doing more of this in the future, especially when the weather gets warmer. I’ve recently met someone who’s pretty big into cosplay, and with any luck she’ll be my unfortunate test subject for some cosplay portraits. I’m also planning to go to San Francisco at the end of May for a friend’s wedding, and given the things I’ve heard and seen about that city, it should make for a pretty amazing weekend of aimless roaming.
Anyway, that’s enough of this off-topic nonsense for now — I really must finish working on the hobbylink.tv post this weekend. To my fellow figure photographers: do you do much creative photography without figures?