Be­hind the lens

FIND OUT WHY TOYS ARE NOT JUST FOR CHILD'S PLAY IN THIS LAT­EST PROJECT

Digital SLR Photography - - Snapshots -

If you like Sta r Wars and pho­tog­ra­phy, we're sure you’ve seen the work of Felix Her­nan­dez be­fore. He shares with us the se­crets be­hind the mak­ing of his lat­est toy se­ries, War Wings.

“While I do en­joy photo ma­nip­u­la­tion, I en­joy get­ting it right in- cam­era. Since I was a child, I used to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment for my toys to play in; now that I’ve grown up, I re­alise I never stopped play­ing – the only dif­fer­ence is I have a cam­era in my hands to bring those scenes to life. For my lat­est se­ries, I’ve used wheat flour for snow and blown a cig­a­rette for the back­ground smoke for added at­mo­sphere. In the past, I've also used corn flour for deserts, a wa­ter spray for rain and corn syrup for rain droplets. If I want to freeze some­thing, like I have here, I use bu­tane gas – ob­vi­ously I don’t mix the gas and blow a lit cig­a­rette in the same shot as it’s highly flammable! I use stu­dioflash to light my mod­els – a beauty dish or snoot, and two more lights for the back­ground. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less; there’s no recipe.

“Scale is one of the most im­por­tant el­e­ments to give the scene a sense of re­al­ism; you have to get close with a macro lens, but that means you have to fo­cus- stack the shots. By merg­ing shots at dif­fer­ent planes of fo­cus it ex­tends shal­low depth- offield for a more re­al­is­tic scene. If my mod­els are big enough, I don’t al­ways have to fo­cus- stack – I use a lens in the re­gion of 24- 105mm set to f/ 11- f/ 32. The tech­ni­cal side can be learnt and is easy; the hard part of toy pho­tog­ra­phy is stay­ing child­ish, fool­ish and dreamy. You have to learn how to play again – or in my case, never stop play­ing.” To see more of Felix’s work, visit: www. face­book. com/ Her­nan­dez­dream­phog­ra­phy/

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