Posted in Buu, Ester, Jinjur

How much is that doggy in the (browser) window?

or how many 1/6 scale bulldogs does it take to fill a diorama?

I’m generally pretty thrifty in my doll and diorama purchases. With the exception of the main character dolls, I get almost everything else on the way cheap – Dollar Store, Goodwill, and Aliexpress. But, sometimes, I get some jones for a particular thing, and I just start buying them in crazy, inexplicable multiples.

That’s what happened this week with bulldogs.

I love dogs – both real and 1/6 scale. My rule is: a dog for every doll, and a dog in (almost) every shot. But my tastes in dogs run towards herding dogs (I have a cattle dog, the dog before that was a cattle dog, a collie before that, and two Belgian sheepdog, in sequence, before that.) The bulldog is not a dog I’ve given a great deal of thought. I like them, in principal, in the way that I like every dog, but they’ve never really held my attention.

Then, the other day at Goodwill, I got a little ceramic bulldog in a dog bed.

The dog looked great with Jinjur, who is decidedly dog lacking.

But, this dog can only sleep. For a doll that lives on the street, that seems like a big disadvantage. Surely, at times, the dog will need to stand up.

So, I went looking for 1/6 scale bulldogs. I looked first at ball joint dolls, but they’re just crazy expensive. I’m not gong to spend $400 to get a standing version of a $3 ceramic sleeping dog.

Fortunately, it turns out that bull dogs are very popular in the 1/6 scale action figure world. If an action figure has a dog, and that dog is not a German Shepherd, then it’s a bulldog. I guess it’s a guy thing. So, well, I bought a few bulldogs.

I got two sleeping french bulldogs (yes, I know they’re not a real bulldogs, but they were so dang cute.) These ones are magnets, and they were $2.50 each (and free shipping) on Aliexpress. (How Aliexpress vendors make money, I will never know.)

Since the two French bulldogs were still sleeping (exactly the problem I was trying, and failing, to solve) I had to get a standing French bulldog to go with them (still, not a real bulldog, but still pretty darn cute). This one was $4.20 on Aliexpress, also with free shipping.

So, now I’m only out $9 and, even though I haven’t actually solved my problem, I’ve not solved it very cheaply. Anyway, I saved so much money on the non-solution that I figured I could (kind of splurge) on a bulldog. I had about 4 different choices, so, naturally, I chose the cheapest one. Here’s the bulldog I got for $25.

I love his big glistening, begging eyes.

There are still at least two more bulldogs I have a wistful eye on, but I figure this ought to hold the girls for awhile. I’m going to give the bulldogs (lying and standing version) to Jinjur and give the smaller Buu the two (or really, three, with two different lying positions) french bulldogs.

I’d get a dog for Ester, but, first, she kind of has a friend coming (fingers crossed – her companion is several months overdue, which may mean some problem with the seller). And, for some reason, she just doesn’t strike me as the dog type. However, she has struck up a friendship with one of my Breyer horses.

Watching over all this dog-buying madness is my real doggy, in her window seat.

Posted in diorama, doll photography, Fashion dolls, Rosie, Wildflower dolls

My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad photo shoot

The good news: Everything turned out OK (but not great) in the end.
The bad news: I’ve never had more trouble doing a photo shoot

Last week’s shoot with Camellia gave me a ton of false confidence about my ability to just dash together a set. This week, with Rosie’s bird adventure, I learned that that opinion was based on anecdotal, and not scientific, evidence.

What went wrong:

The weather: When I planned for this photo shoot, I had the idea that I’d shoot in the park out behind my house. On the weekend, when I went to do my shoot, although it wasn’t actively raining, the grass was far too wet to do my setup outside. So, I had to move everything inside.

The backdrop: But, hey, no problem, I thought. I’ll just use that backdrop I put together for Lily’s set. I’m sure it will be just perfect. By itself, the backdrop seems fine:

Here it is, with it’s subtle blue and it’s fluffy clouds. You can probably see a hint of one of the problems, but let me show you one of the photo shoot shots so that you can see it more clearly.

If you look towards the right of the photo, where the light source is coming in, you can clearly see one of the black bars that the fabric is affixed to. A second one is visible above Rosie’s head. So, I couldn’t take any shot that included the areas with the black bars. Problem 1.

Problem 2 I’m not going to be able to show you, because I corrected for it before I took any shots. But, because the fabric is so close behind the set, if the light is shining directly on the tree, the tree casts a shadow on it. Not so good for a realistic sky.

Problem 3 Finally, and this was obvious in every shot I took, the sky is simply too close to the set. Even in the better shots, it just feels like the sky-fabric is smothering the world. It made me feel claustrophobic.

So, anyway, I went through the entire photo shoot before I realized the the whole night’s work was wasted. I couldn’t keep any of the shots, because I was going to reshoot under completely different lighting conditions. Which is too bad, because I had some pretty cute shots, like this one.

Anyway, the next day I tried again, same set but using the daylight and the sky from the window behind the set.

Balancing: Most of the shots involved a lot of balancing – the bird had to balance on the fence, Frank had to stand while holding up Rosie, the larger bird had to stand still. Mostly, by the time I got everything exactly how I wanted it, something fell over.

The tripod: I love my new(ish) DSLR camera, but it’s so heavy that I have to use a tripod for every shot in any but the very brightest lighting conditions. I’m used to my Canon Powershot, that I can move around freely and examine the scene from all angles. With the DSLR, every time I need to adjust height or angle, I have to fuss with the tripod.

Grass everywhere: I love the realistic look of the groundcover that I use in these shots, but it gets absolutely everywhere. So, as soon as something falls over (see “Balancing” above) you have to pluck all the ground cover off the object. At the end of the shoot I had ground cover all over my carpet:

on the bird’s feathers:

and in Rosie’s hair:

Aptly summing up my feelings about the whole shoot, here’s the (newly named) Frank in deep despair on the set

Posted in doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, photo novel, Rosie, Wildflower dolls

Episode 22 – Rosie and her bird adventure, part 1

Frank takes Rosie to a park to look at clouds and help her feel better after Daisy’s departure.

Looking at the clouds
Rosie notices a bird in the trees
Frank lifts Rosie up to get a closer look
Rosie and the raven
The raven flies onto Rosie’s arm
Rosie and Frank rest, while the raven comes over to investigate
Rosie and Frank take a nap, and the raven flies down
As Rosie sleeps, a visitor arrives
Posted in Camellia, diorama, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Photography, Wildflower dolls

Rearranging an Island, or how I moved Camellia to a smaller set

As part of moving every object in my house to a new location, I had to move Camellia’s set.

Here’s the old set, on top of one of my workshop tables

The full set

And here’s the new set, in the wire bookcase that used to hold my indoor sets.

Since she’ll be changing her set again next week, I didn’t give it a ton of thought. I just moved over what I could.

As I was moving the set, I realized that anyone who recalled the old set might wonder how two enormous palm trees had suddenly disappeared from Camellia’s island. Windstorm? Tsunami?

What I didn’t think about was the change in the depth of focus. On her old set, there was much more physical distance between the front and back of her set, which gave the background a pleasant blur when I zoomed in on the foreground. In the current set, there just isn’t enough distance front to back to achieve the same result. That means that every little crease in the backdrop now shows up with crystal clarity.

The view from the side is much better, since there I have enough space for some good depth of field effects.

. . . but it’s the panther returning

But, straight on, it looks very much like what it is – a very narrow shelf with some plastic flora and a photo backdrop.

Camellia works on binding the wood together

If I’d been thinking clearly (which I wasn’t) I would have tacked the backdrop to the wall and moved the shelf a foot or two away from it. But I was in a huge rush, having missed my normal Monday deadline by two days due to a distinct lack of electricity in my workshop. Once I got that sorted out on Tuesday night, there wasn’t much time to play around with the set.

On the bright side, I’m totally in love with Camellia’s face. She manages to express an enormous range of emotions without being able to change her facial features at all.

She changes into the new dress, while the dog sleeps