Creating miniature landscapes

NR Blog Featured Image
In this post Mark White (Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter) describes his unique miniature landscapes

So often, the photography industry is full of secrets – everyone feels the need to come across as a master of the technique. As I write this article, I am proud to say that when I began this venture, I had no idea what I was doing! I had never created any sort of environment before. I had never even built a birdhouse or put up one of those little Christmas villages. I come to you with this project as a completely transparent source, resource, and peer. We are all part of the same race here, after all.

When I got my first camera, I photographed anything and everything; sunsets, pets, and family were my constant subjects, as was the case for most of us. It wasn’t long before I started to research the boundary breaking possibilities of photography and quickly became fascinated by the more alternative techniques that were out there.

NRMacro
Over the years, I have extensively explored the hidden worlds within our own - macro being hardly visible to us, and infrared being completely invisible. I was enthralled from the beginning. It has always interested me to discover the alien views and perspectives gained from being behind the lens. Photographing the hidden realms and microcosms surrounding us has made me feel like an explorer, a pioneer.

NRInfrared
Recently, I’ve been working on something a bit different, yet similar. This time, instead of being a hunter or observer, I have assumed the role of fabricator. This series depicts a set of biomes created out of things we see and use every day, just used in a different fashion.

NRDesert
Equipment:

  • Nikon D800
  • Tokina 16-28mm
  • 2x SB-900
  • 3x SB-700

EXIF

  • 28mm
  • F/20
  • 1/125s
  • ISO640

Materials:

  • 45 lb All purpose flour
  • Plain white paper
  • Polypropylene sheet

All of these landscapes have been conceptualized and created inside a 10x10’ room on a glass-top computer desk. The one above was assembled entirely out of flour. All of the colors seen in the photograph are the result of lighting trickery and very purposeful perspective control.

NRIcebergs
Equipment

  • Nikon D800
  • Tokina 16-28mm
  • 2x SB-900
  • 1x SB-700

EXIF

  • 24mm
  • F/13
  • 1/160s
  • ISO80

Materials:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Water
  • Sugar

This one was created from homemade play dough and sugar glass shards, hand-sculpted and dusted with flour. It was quite tricky to get flour not to clump – especially when using so much of it, and on sticky sugar glass. Once it’s on, it’s on.

NRMeadow_2
Equipment:

  • Nikon D800
  • Tokina 16-28mm
  • 2x SB-900
  • 3x SB-700

EXIF:

  • 16mm
  • F/7.1
  • 1/160s
  • ISO50

Materials:

  • Live Moss
  • Low-Lying Fog
  • 5gallons Mud
  • Raffia
  • Sugar
  • Corn Syrup
  • Salt
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Water
  • Brown Paint
  • Bonsai

This set alone consumed a week of preparatory work, 12 hours of setup, and 3 hours of shooting. It was the most complicated and delicate piece of the set. This one contained live elements that would discolor, wilt, and crisp if left untended a second too long. Articles detailing the specific processes behind each photograph in the set will be uploaded to my blog in the coming weeks.

I ran headfirst into this venture without knowing what I was getting into. What I have come out with is an entire new skill set and an absolutely incredible experience! The series is still a work in progress with a few more pieces in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

For now, on to the next adventure!

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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