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2017 Pair Go photo shoot

Hi ho friends.

It’s nearly time for the Seattle Go Center Annual Pair Go Tournament, and for the 5th year, my resin crew have been featured in a pair go-themed photo.

This is a fun photo shoot. I get to play with my dolls, professional lighting set-up, and scale.

The location is the Tatami Room at the Seattle Go Center.  The scroll at the back is human sized.  The dolls, board and laptop are roughly 3 feet in front of the wall with the screen.

The go board is doll-sized.  The laptop is a printable that I found somewhere (of course, I can’t find it now – I’ll post a revision when I find it).  I used the actual Alphago logo and merged the logo and laptop in The Gimp.  I also had to create the laptop screen.  I’m very pleased with the way the laptop turned out.  The soft lights bounces nicely off it and enhances the illusion that it is an actual screen.

I used my trusty Canon Rebel and all my lenses. To get this shot, I used a Canon 24 mm Macro lens. The final poster shot is still being finalized, but here is one of my favorite shots of the day:


The dolls are (from left to right): Elfdoll Smiling Soah, Dollshe Grown Saint, and Dollshe SA Saint.

Happy creating!

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Is it my turn?

Pair Go Tournament Promo photo 2015

For the 3rd year, a photo of my dolls playing go have been on the promotional material for the Seattle Go Center Pair Go Tournament. The Go Center has a traditional tatami room complete with a tiny go set that is scaled perfectly to my 60 and 70 cm sized Asian ball jointed dolls. Today’s post will explore the layers of information contained in this image.

Brian, the Go Center manager, brought his pro photo gear and sage advice. It took about 4 hours to get this shot. I used my Canon Rebel, mounted on a gorilla tripod, on manual so we could use Brian’s wireless flash slave trigger thingymabobber and disabled my camera’s on-board flash.  One light was set outside the tatami room, behind the punch bowl set. The other light was inside the room behind Hiro. Both were triggered when I took the photo.  Brian selected the shutter speed and apeture. On the first try. Because he’s a pro!

The dolls were very cooperative and held their poses, which may make you think I’m a nut. But, seriously, these dolls are strung with elastic and the resin is slick and you have to take steps (like hot glue or heavy gauge wire) to help with posing.  There were many tiny adjustments, from turning their heads so they were looking at something specific to shifting Hiro’s eyes so that he was looking into the camera.  Sticky tack was used on Hiro’s collar (because I forgot to mend it); on the tiny go stone in his hand, and on the punch ladle to hold it in place.

He had the idea to set up a punch bowl to cast a shadow on the tatami room screens.  At the Go Center Pair Go Tournament, we offer desserts, punch, and assorted bevvies to the players between rounds, so the punch bowl shadow offers a tempting distraction to our players.

From the Go Center library, I chose the game to decide 3rd place of the 1997 Women’s World Amateur Baduk Championship between Diana Koszegi from Hungary (black) and Chikchina Svetlana of Russia (white).   Even though the game on the board is not pair go, it is black male’s turn. Playing out of turn is quite problematic during a game, resulting in a 3 stone penalty and the stone is left on the board. The order of play during the game is: black female player, white female player, black male player, white male player. There is no talking during a pair go tournament except for the following questions: “should we resign?” and “is it my turn?”

In this photo are, clock-wise from the left: B&G Rin (Hiro), Elfdoll K (Kane), and Elfdoll Smiling Soah (Ginger).  The fourth doll (not shown) was my Dollstown Arin, but her presence was not contributing to an already complicated image. Although I was sad to remove her from the shot, I liked that the viewer is drawn into the image by becoming Hiro’s partner.

Even though it took so much time, I really enjoyed setting up this shot. Brian is a terrific teacher, providing technical guidance but letting me work through the process of finding the shot.

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Rin & Soah

Hi ho, my lovelies.

Looking through my doll photos recently, I found an old favorite.  It’s a sweet photo of two of my smiling dolls: B&G Rin, called Hiro and Elfdoll Smiling Soah, called Ginger.

When I first got into the bjd world, I wasn’t very interested in editing a photo to make the dolls look more real by smudging out the joints.  I mention it because I also didn’t have the skillset to made other corrections, like “erase” stray hairs, fix cracks in the face-up, and what have you.

However, I’m beginning to use my doll photos in my mixed media art and leveled up my GIMP skills, so editing the doll photos opens up some new art possibilities. Tonight, I spent as much time as I had patience for tonight fixing Hiro’s hair by smudging it out.   His wig has always been a flyaway mess. I took about a billion photos before I read S Dink’s trick for wigs: she spritzes them with water.  Brilliant.  I’ll have to try it during my next shoot.

Anywho, this photo involves four layers: plasma, my own boccea type filter, and 2 copies of the photo – the original and a version that I Oilified, Clothified, and Cartooned.  I fiddled with adjusting the layers, flattened it and here it is.


I may be sharing a table with a co-worker for the Swedish Arts Bazaar, if the stars line up and the group organizing it puts us down for a 6′ table.  Stay tuned for deets.

Happy creating!

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I love this guy

Besides playing with dolls, we have a small army of Dr. Who figures.  Many scale nicely as toys for my ball jointed dolls. Adipose has to be the weirdest.  It’s a sort of stress toy.  Squishy. You can make an eye bulge out hilariously. You can feel the, uh, globules.

One day, I decided to take some silly photos of Mr. Lysander and Adi.  Lysander has that nice pointy finger and the rest was, well. quite silly.  This is just one of the dozen or so ridic pics I took that day.


Commander Lysander Bowie is my Soom Mecha Angel Sabik, faceup by me, outfit by Ayase.

“The fat just walks away.”

Teehee and ew.

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A Sense of Scale

I took nearly 100 photos on the day of the Tatami Room Pair Go shoot last Saturday. The story itself is still percolating, but I had a comment from someone who was at t the Go Center the day of the shoot.  They felt the charm of the shot posted to the AGA website was to see the sense of scale. I work very hard to shot at a level that fits the dolls into a human-scaled environment. I tend to shoot hand-hand, but when needed, I use a gorilla tripod.

People often ask me about the size of the dolls, so today’s post is going to provide you with, that’s right, a sense of scale. Here is a shot similar to the one posted to the AGA site promoting the upcoming Seattle Pair Go Tournament:

1pairgo_4329_v1I had 4 light sources at work on this shot: the sun coming through shoji-style exterior window behind the camera; Brian’s fill light from the right behind Ginger, Brian’s primary light which was to the right of the foreground couple (I’m guessing the location from the shadows around the goban) and the fluorescent light coming from the other side of the shoji screens in the main playing area.

I like this shot for a number of reasons: the unreal, mis-matched quality of the light; it has a Ukiyo-e vibe to it; there is some tension between the dolls in relation to the room that hints at scale; the replacement mat near the center of the frame that draws the eye around; and the human-sized goban located along the far wall, which look in scale to the dolls.

Looking at the first photo, you would think the dolls are roughly the same size. They are not. Ginger and Tuesday are 59 cm tall, or 23.23 inches. Ethan and Rex are 70 cm tall or 27.55 inches. Here is the gang at the end of the shooting day.  All are shoeless and are flat-foot style dolls. Although they are not lined up, you can see the boys are more than a head taller than the girls.

There are many things I love about the Dollshe boys, but one of them is their amazing ability to slouch. Although you can see some scale clues in the shot, none of the items in the room provide much of a sense scale, particularly if you have never been in the Seattle Go Center tatami room.

1pairgo_4349_v1This photo was taken while Brian shot the scene with his tilt shift lens. The dolls are posed the same as they appear in the first photo. I apologize for the fill light in the center of the frame, but I was standing in the only location for the shot that was not in frame for Brian’s shot. I like the general composition of the this shot; however I found editing the brightness and contrast a bit difficult, due to the fill light. However, for the purpose of today’s post, it suffices.

All of the photos were taken with my Canon Rebel and editing with Digikam.