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This Toy Photographer Uses Practical Effects for Amazing Action Photos

Jared Middleton (AKA Sirdork) is a toy photographer who brings miniature scenes to life using practical effects. His photos are created by carefully setting up scenes with action figures and then adding in things like water, snow, dirt, and sparklers to complete the look.

“You’re never too old to play with your toys,” writes the Clifton Park, New York-based photographer.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Middleton creates his photos:

And here’s a selection of photos he has made so far:

You can find more of Middleton’s work on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. The photos shared on his Instagram are usually accompanied by behind-the-scenes clips — just click through the gallery carousel. You can also buy prints and merchanise over in his Etsy store.


Image credits: Photographs by Jared Middleton and used with permission

Faking an Oceanside Photo Shoot with a Swimming Pool and a Toy SUV

Earlier this year, PetaPixel featured photographer Kunal Kelker and his inventive shoot involving a treadmill and a toy car. In his latest project, he replicates the classic oceanside SUV shot with a swimming pool, some rocks, and a scale model toy car.

Kelkar tells PetaPixel that after he finished the Lamborghini shoot on the treadmill, he wanted to try something different and slightly higher scale while keeping setup and execution simple.

“It was a coincidence that Lamborghini India had seen the treadmill shoot and approached us for a collaboration,” Kelkar says.

Lamborghini sent Kelkar a 1:18 scale collectible model of the Urus SUV to use as a subject for whatever photo he wanted to create.

“Since we missed an opportunity to travel to Italy earlier this year because of the Lockdown, we wanted to showcase the Urus on the Amalfi Coast,” Kelkar says. “Since the Urus has the capability to go off-road, the idea was to showcase the ability of the Urus to reach a scenic coastal area that is without roads.”

Kelkar and his partner Kanika Sood came up with the idea of using a swimming pool to act as the ocean and using a low angle to make it look like the scale model was right up next to the sea.

“To make it look like the photograph was taken from inside the sea, it was necessary to take the shot of the Urus from inside the swimming pool, which also meant submerging the camera to slightly add the extra depth for the image,” Kelkar explains.

“We needed a clear case to submerge the camera in the water without getting the camera wet and also to make sure that the water is at a distance from the lens so as to be able to capture the wave formation and the scene above and below.”

Rather than acquiring underwater housing, Kelkar made the simple choice of just using the plastic case that usually covers the Urus model.

“The Fujifilm X-T3 sat perfectly in the inverted acrylic cover which allowed us to get great split level images of the water,” Kelkar says. “To showcase the Urus on a ledge we submerged a medium-sized rock on the steps of the swimming pool and placed the Urus scale model on top. This made it look like the Urus was sitting on a rock ledge beside the sea. Multiple images were taken to make sure the Urus scale model was in focus and the perspective matched. On the edit table, we added in the background to complete the mood of the image.”

The second photo Kelkar shot needed to look like it was taken on a sandy beach. To do this, he sieved pit sand onto flat stone to mimic how it might look at full scale.

“Smaller rocks were used to add the element of a rocky beach and the scene was placed on the edge of the swimming pool to give it a coastal feel.”

“The camera was placed in a way that allowed the Urus scale model to look life-size as if it was parked on the beach near the water.”

For more from Kelkar, you can visit his website or follow him on Instagram.

Watch Pro Photographers Try to Shoot with a $22 Bunny Camera

In a bit of a call back to the classic DigitalRev TV “Pro Tog Cheap Camera Challenge,” YouTuber Jessica Kobeissi enlisted one of her professional photographer friends for a special photo challenge: get the best possible campaign/editorial photos using only a $22 bunny camera. Hilarity ensues…

The victim contestant is Detroit-based film photographer Vuhlandes, the model was Bianca LaCroix, and the camera they were using is this little gem you see here:

You can see it for yourself here, but the specs are… ummmm… nothing to write home about.

In the cons column: it’s only 12MP, you can’t zoom, you can’t change lenses, you can’t adjust exposure, and there’s only ONE microSD card slot. In fact, you can store up to 50 photos on the camera without a card, so you could say this is a zero card slot camera.

In the pros column: there are 28 “funny filters & stickers,” it’s drop resistant, and there are “built-in puzzle games like Tetris and Snake.”

Sadly, Tetris and Snake didn’t play any role in the photography challenge (missed opportunity?) but Vuhlandes and Kobeissi did their best to work within the extreme limitations they were given and capture something that looked somewhat “professional” in just 5 minutes.

Check out the full video up top to see how they did and who “won” this challenge. And if you want to see some similar challenges from yester-year, check out some of the DRTV Pro Tog Cheap Camera challenges we’ve featured in the past: like that time Phillip Bloom had to shoot with a Barbie camera, or the time Gary Tyson had to do street photography with a 0.3MP kids camera watch.

Compared to those setups, the specs of this bunny camera seem almost luxurious.

(via DIY Photography)