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!