This is the second series of images from my recent adventure to High Park. I'm not quite sure where this idea came from, but I've known for a while I wanted to do a series of Jane reading. For whatever reason, autumn seemed like the perfect time to shoot it.
Unfortunately, Jane is a rather uncommon sized doll: she’s too big for the standard dollhouse scale accessories, but not big enough for other sorts of props. The only remotely interesting prospect my Google search turned up was a tutorial on how to make miniature books for necklace charms. This seemed like a more than reasonable compromise - we all know I’m not one to balk at the opportunity to try something new, so I hauled out my craft supplies and set to work. The tutorial is pretty wonderful, actually; the binding technique is fairly straightforward and works quite well to create realistic looking books. I replaced the suggested leather binding with fimo in order to get more detailed (and sturdy) spines for the books. As a first attempt, they're a bit rudimentary and there’s definite room for improvement. The polymer clay does more closely resemble the surface of a hardcover book, and it's much easier to paint details on, but I don't think I quite got the details well, detail-y enough. Despite the fact that I wouldn't give them away or show them off as examples of my amazing crafting skills, I think they work quite nicely as photoshoot props.
Shooting Jane in the Park presented a series of unique challenges to overcome. There was less danger of Jane falling into a stream in the locations I had planned for her, and her first setup at the base of a tree (my first for the day) was shot without incident. When I found a glorious yellow willow tree down the path however, I discovered the joys of posing a doll with a serious lack of joints. It turns out, balancing a doll with only the most rudimentary hip joints on a slender twisting branch is no simple feat... Particularly if you're going for a remotely natural pose. It was probably pure insanity that I also tried to include the open book in the shot (which had even fewer joints than the silly girl.) Somehow I managed to get a few images snapped, in between picking Jane and her book off the ground and dusting bits of dried leaf off them both. If there wasn't a couple having a picnic on the other side of the tree I might have tried a few more angles... But I suppose one of the joys of toy photography is being that weird girl who keeps rustling around in the tall grass to find her fallen doll.
Apparently I'm a bit more efficient at shooting Jane than Winslow and his monsters, because once again I had much less trouble picking my favourite images for this series. Perhaps it's because I'm a bit more familiar with Jane's story after years of working with her. As usual, I could probably stand to cull a few of these (some are a bit similar) but for now I think they're all pretty lovely. The willow tree images also benefited from what I'm calling my "lazy hdr" technique (using a lower exposure edit of the image to calm the highlights). I'm finding it quite handy, although I think I'd much prefer to shoot slightly more even light to avoid the issue in the first place. So, without further ado, here are the results!
This series gets me nearly caught up on my editing. I suppose I'll need to start imagining scenarios for my toys for the upcoming winter months ... I just hope that Toronto graces us with a few lovely snowfalls accompanied by reasonable temperatures (or that I can sneak away and make some magic happen during our Christmas adventure to visit family in BC!)