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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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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.


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Tamami Room Teaser

I spent the day shooting a photostory with four of my crew: Ethan (Dollshe Bernard), Ginger (Elfdoll Soah), Tuesday (Lilis Liv/Glorydoll hybrid), and my Dollshe IM Hound.

The photos were shot at the Seattle Go Center tamami room.  Brian brought in his studio lights, so it’s my first shoot with lights.  Thanks, Brian. I learned quite a lot today, and might even remember how to access full manual on my camera.

All the photos were shot with my Canon Rebel, although I have to admit to a teensy bit of jealousy for Brian’s shift tilt lens…until I googled the price.

I’ll just admire it from afar.

I need to edit the photos and create the story, but I wanted to throw out a little teaser.

IMG_4313_v1As I was telling folks at the Go Center the names of my dolls, I remembered that Mr. Hound still does not have a name.  Vicki helped with some suggestions.  The leading contender was Callum but as I drove home, I saw a license plate that reminded me of a good name: Rex.

Hey, my doll’s name is Rex!

Isn’t Rex a great name?

Yeah, it’s the best.

But I digress.

Here is my Hound in his outfit of the day.  Rex or Callum? Cast your vote, or offer a suggestion.