Overlanding is a term I learned not too long ago. “...Self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations… by mechanized off-highway capable transport (from bicycles to trucks)”. (“Overland Journal,” n.d.)
Most of what I’m photographing these days could fall into this category. The area we are currently camped in is the ideal environment to shoot this type of scene. Our location is actually termed as “remote” because we’re using solar as our main power source, water is scarce and we’re without a cell signal.
When we're in the Northern part of the U.S., I dream of shooting desert scenes. When we're in the Southwest, I’m dreaming of greener landscapes. If you’ve noticed that our gallery is filling up with desert scenes, not to worry, we’ll be back shooting in Northern Minnesota in about two months.
On rare occasions, we're fortunate to witness some stormy skies contrasting with the orange sand/dirt. From what I understand, Joshua Tree N.P. has clear blue, cloudless skies more often than not. So this is what makes my image (top right) a little more special.
Kurt and I are currently in Joshua Tree National Park working as volunteers and in our down time Kurt is photographing for our Un Petit Monde project.
Joshua Tree NP is notorious for its climbing opportunities as well as its off-road driving, night skies and of course, Joshua Trees. It’s a good thing that the miniatures in Kurt’s bag are always ready for adventure and exploration.
While exploring a wash in the Southern end of the park, Kurt found a good spot for his 4x4 jeep convoy. The sand was smooth enough for their tires to be able to deal with it. Half hour earlier the sky had the most unique display of clouds, it would have been a perfect addition to the scene!
On a separate occasion, we scrambled up granite boulders so Kurt could document a miniature climber in action.
Towards the end of 2014, Kurt went back to work on the Disney Infinity Project and produced a new Christmas Series.
The release of our Disney Infinity Christmas Series is a bit of an anticlimax for us, now that we are in the 80°s and Christmas is long gone NONETHELESS, we hear that some parts of the world currently get snow (!) so we are pleased to unveil the latest Disney Infinity Christmas Series including: Anna & Elsa, Stitch, Mickey & Donald, Tinker Bell and Hiro & Baymax.
This Christmas series was a challenge as the majority of the photos were shot prior to Thanksgiving, when there was no snow and no decorations up yet. But, amidst a brown Minnesota we found white, powdery snow in Taylors Falls and Kurt photographed Anna & Elsa making Olaf the snowman. In the historic town of Stillwater we came across a window display with the ideal Christmas setting for Stitch to be eating his mincemeat pie. Later in the season, we stopped in the quaint little town of Williams in Arizona on the night of their Christmas parade and found the neatest Christmas tree we'd ever seen for Tinker Bell to perch on.
As usual, Kurt added his personal touch to the Disney Infinity character by painstakingly painting and building props, it turned out to be a lot of fun!
Thank you to Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, Minnesota for allowing us to photograph Anna and Elsa on their slopes, thank you to Käthe Wohlfahrt in Stillwater, Minnesota for giving Stitch a perfect Christmas setting, thank you to Edinburgh USA Golf Course in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and last but not least Copper Canyon Trading in Williams, Arizona for giving us access to the prettiest Christmas tree on Main Street to photograph Tinker Bell. We could not have done it without your gracious help and generosity!
Kurt and I are happy to announce that our new Un Petit Monde downloadable wallpapers are available for purchase in our Etsy Store!
For now, the digital images are available for iPhones only and are made to fit the screen size of the iPhone 4(s) and 5(s). We started the collection with a few images revolving around the themes of travel and adventure and plan to add more in the future.
The digital files are available for $1.99 on Etsy here: Digital Wallpapers
The temperature was cool enough that the smell from decomposing fish was bearable. The Hazmat crew were the only miniatures used at Salton Sea. Kurt found plenty scenes for the crew to investigate.
Yesterday, Kurt got an early Christmas gift: a visit to Old Tucson studios where western movies like Tombstone, Three Amigos and Rio Bravo were shot. We knew it was going to be good we just didn't expect it to be this good!
Prior to our visit, Kurt worked on transforming one of his miniature figures (an auto mechanic) into a outlaw by painting and gluing parts from other figures. The holster and the gun came from a policeman, the hat from a gardener. The auto mechanic clothes were painted over and patterns added to the side of the pants. The miniature sheriff was stock.
The temperature was cool and comfortable. We roamed the old western village so Kurt could look for angles and perspectives. The sun was a challenge at times but Kurt loved the drama added to the scenes by the harsh shadows. Think Old West, it's hot, it's dry, it's dusty and Old Tucson was all of that and then some.
Kurt had more ideas than we had time. We had a lot of fun and never a dull moment. The Old Tucson actors were very talented and skilled. Those guys were not your typical weekend warriors. They played serious roles, humorous ones, perform their own stunts, fell off buildings, these guys were impressive! At the end of the day, Kurt's comment was "I don't wanna go!" I think it's safe to say he loved his Christmas gift.
We spent time in Saguaro National Park to try and capture the saguaro cactus. Pairing the miniatures with saguaros was another one of Kurt's wish for this trip. To him (and to me) the idea of the American West was a mix of saguaros, Monument Valley and friendly road runners. We learned that 1. Road runners are mean 2. Saguaros grow only in the Sonoran Desert 3. Monument Valley is miles away from the Sonoran Desert.
For this project, Kurt was originally looking to capture an orange-sand-blue-sky desert look, similar to the look of the scenes he photographed in Utah back in March 2013. We were set and ready to go to Utah when the weather threw a wrench in our plans. In Moab, the daily temperature highs were in the 50s and the nights in the teens which would make the project very challenging.
So, we looked at our options further south within a 2-day drive from Minneapolis, with reasonable temperatures and striking desert looks. We remembered White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. White sands, blue sky, beautiful weather. We spent 8 days in the dunes so Kurt could capture the different times of day.
The result is a set of still images, including a few stop motion animations to illustrate a day on the dunes. Here are a few behind-the-scene images:
Edwige and I are excited to announce that we have teamed up with the creative minds at MediaMonks to create a watch face for Android Wear™
For some time we've been thinking of a way to introduce our photography in a digital format adding to the more traditional medium of the prints, postcards and books. The digital watch face is a perfect medium to share our joy of travelling and adventures with a broader audience.
For this app I shot extra frames which MediaMonks has developed into stop motion animations. These animations will play as you wake your watch from its ambient state. The app will also feature hand drawn style icons to display the time and date.
Edwige and I specifically chose White Sands National Monument in New Mexico as the location for the scenes. The user gets to experience a day on the dunes with the changes of light while following the adventures of the miniatures through static photographs and stop motion animations.
The environment in which we photographed the scenes was at times harsh and unpredictable. But after seeing the final product produced by MediaMonks, all of the hard work has paid off!
Our app titled "MiniAdventure" is available in the Google Play store today.
Introducing the minis to the Grand Canyon had been a long time goal of ours. Kurt had visions of an airstream parked on the edge of the rim. In his mind, the airstream would be placed on the edge of one of the stone barriers.
He quickly found out that to get the shots that he was looking for, he would have to be on the edge of the canyon, which meant scrambling rocks and walking out above the canyon on narrow ledges. My reaction was a very strong "no way!". I always ended up following Kurt out there anyway. I would stay back to give him room and he would overcome his fear of heights and crawl on his belly to the edge.
Things went well for us but I never grew accustom of the whole process and would go through a mix of fear and awe each time. On our last venture on a ledge, the wind picked up. We both agreed that it would be alright to lose a miniature and not to attempt a rescue under any circumstance. Miraculously, we did not loose any of the figures we had brought to the Grand Canyon!