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Annie Are You Okay?

Michael Jackson S.H. Figuarts

As y’all probably know by now, I love action figures and toys.  I’ve always had an action figure in my hand since I was a little kid.  I’m a bit of a pop-culture junkie, and when I was in college, I started photographing some of my toys as portraits, and over the years I’ve done a few series’ and lots of individual images.


(toys hanging on studio wall and displayed on shelf)

For Christmas, Sara got me a few figures that had me really excited.  One was a Michael Jackson figure dressed in his “Smooth Criminal” video outfit, and the second was a Freddie Mercury figure, both by Japanese toy makers BanDai & Tamashii Nations, who also made the totally awesome Daft Punk figures I got years ago.

I spent a little time with Michael Jackson at the studio one afternoon.  It also gave me a chance to try out a can of Atmosphere Aerosol.  I’ve been using and having terrible luck with Fog Machines for years.  I’ve bought three different brands of fog machine and every time I’ve tried to follow the directions exactly as listed in the manuals and these machines would always bind or gunk up after my very first use.  It got so frustrating when these stupid things wouldn’t work any longer.

I was poking around the Interwebz and saw a wedding photographer using this Atmosphere Aerosol for a portrait in a barn.  It was small and portable, unlike those big fog machines, and you could use it over and over without it gunking up.  Cool.

So I ordered a can from B&H and it arrived and I sat down with Micheal and we started taking some images.  For the record, I also had MJ playing on the stereo at the studio.  Just ‘cuz.

Michael comes with a bunch of extra hands in different poses, a 2nd face with a different expression, and he also comes with a second torso (seen in the photo above) in his “Michael-Jackson-arms-stretched-straight-up” pose. Totally awesome.

Eventually I got him posed in the image above and the lighting looked good and I set the timer on my camera, locked in focus and then sprayed a few sprays of the aerosol as the shutter clicked – and I was totally in love with the result.  The aerosol is so awesome and works amazing with small-scale figures; you hardly need any of the spray at all, and it is so much easier to use and store and have on hand.  It’s a tad expensive for a can, but I think it’s worth it in the end for simplicity and it should last me a good amount of time since I’ve only been using it for toy photography.

Here is a behind-the-scenes shot of the image up above:

S.H. Figuarts setup shot

I had three lights set up: one directly above him, like a stage-light, with a grid on it to control the beam and to create a circle of light at his feet.  I had two gridded strobes off to his left and right; gridded yellow and blue, to give some accent colors.  I had him standing on a clear piece of plastic with a piece of black backdrop paper underneath that, to make it look like a glossy stage floor. Not shown is the Atmosphere Aerosol, but I just sprayed it directly down from over his head at the right moment.

I like photographing toys because they don’t really take up a ton of space and you can mostly shoot them anywhere. If I ever had to just work out of my house and not have a studio, I could continue to shoot toys with no issues, as long as I had enough space for lighting and grip.

I’ve spent my whole life appreciating figures and little tiny human-being models.  It allows me to still connect to my childhood joys while being able to create and totally art-direct the action and situations of the toys – exactly the same way I work with real-life clients; in controlled settings where I’m setting up lights and directing them for the sessions.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!  I love sharing the stuff that I’m passionate about.

Toys rule! 😀

 

Star Island Retreat • Sept 7-10, 2017 • The Portable Portrait Workshop returns!

Oh, man, this is going to be awesome.

I’ve been asked to be the guest-photographer at this years Star Island Retreat put on by the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists.  Star Island is part of the Isle of Shoals off the NH coast, and each year the NHSPA gets together to spend four days talking shop, sharing stories, experiences and shooting, and generally has a grand time making photographs and being surrounded and inspiring each other.  Each year they have a “guest” photographer, and I’ve been invited to be the 2017 guest-photographer for this event!  So awesome!

I’ll be accessible for the four days on the Island; answering questions, shooting with others, and anything they need all while making photographs of my own.

I’m also going to dust off the “Portable Portrait” workshop, which has been on hiatus for a few years now.  It will be a more condensed form of the workshop so I can fit a few of them in over the four days.  I’ve never been on Star Island before, so I’m getting excited about being “off-the-grid” for the most part and photographing on a historical site.

The retreat is open to anyone – not just NHSPA members, so if you might be interested or what more information about the retreat, head over to the NH Society of Photographic Artists website, and check out their events page.

I gotta figure out what gear I want to bring! (note to self: don’t bring ALL of it!)

Interview • New Hampshire Homes

 

New Hampshire Homes reached out to me for a short interview for their website that is focusing on local businesses in NH towns.
Sid Ceaser Photography Makes Every Client Feel Like an Action Hero.
If you’re interested in New Hampshire Real Estate, check out some of what they have to offer for Manchester, NH Real Estate.

Thanks for doing a little write-up on me, NewHampshireHomes!

Marion • 45 Second Portrait

Marion

Marion is a student at New England College who was with a group of other NEC students attending a lecture at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  I was sitting in the back row of seats when I saw his hat across the room, and instantly wanted to take a portrait of him.  While people were still finding their seats, I ran out to the car and grabbed my camera bag.

After the lecture ended and as people were standing up to leave, I ran over to him.  “Hi, I’m Sid.  I’m a photographer, and I love your hat.  I’m wondering if you’d allow me to take a portrait of  you?”

“Sure!” he said.

I didn’t want to take up much of his time, and I didn’t want to fiddle around with flashes or anything, so I grabbed Marion, brought him out into the hallway outside of the NHIA auditorium and positioned him underneath one of the ceiling lights.  He tilted his head just so that the light from the ceiling touched his nose and mouth.  I had him close his eyes.  I found my exposure, and grabbed about six shots, and then thanked him and let him go.

I love this shot.  So simple.  So elegant.  45 seconds.  Sometimes everything is pretty much already lined up and all you need to do is arrange the elements so they completely fall into place.

Thank you, Marion.

Squares & Squares & Squares

I am obsessed with things that have my name on them.  Especially square things.  Since making this logo I’ve used it as a watermark, I’ve used it as a leather stamp, and I use it for my business cards and as little square stickers.  I plop this little square logo everywhere I can think of.  For some reason it makes me smile.

A new round of business cards and stickers arrived today.  I wanted to share 🙂