The past year and a half as an AFOL certainly has taught me many lessons in LEGO and more, some of which I listed in the closing words for the Quest for Lion Knights’ castle. Most of this was expected, of course. Getting acquainted with the AFOL side and re-acquainted with LEGO certainly meant learning new many things. I have learned about the bricks themselves, the history of LEGO, all the various Internet resources available and whatnot.

The Transformer

But this journey has lead to unexpected paths as well. Not only has there been lessons in washing and even cooking, two tools have become familiar over the past two quests: camera and multi-meter. I didn’t need a multi-meter with the Quest for Lion Knights’ castle, but 7740 Inter-City Passenger Train project and my excursions into 1960s LEGO electrics have been a different case. Multi-meter is a really useful tool in seeing whether power flows or not and where the breaks might be. With aging LEGO electrical parts this is a must have, because once you know where the problem is, you can often fix it. I have found myself even researching spare bulbs for light bricks…

The tool I have learned most about is the camera. Not only about setting up a scene, although even there I have come across some new tricks (the local crafts store I hardly knew existed has become familiar). The biggest thing has been learning how natural lighting (or lack of it), flashes and various camera settings affect photographing small, stationary targets. The lucky thing about most LEGO photographs is, the targets can be easily setup and once that’s done, they stay still. On the other hand, photographing such small, glossy targets indoors puts extra requirements on lighting, camera settings and various issues related to macro photography – such as extra sensitivity to camera shake and simply the fact that small imperfections become huge ones.

When I started the blog, I was using mostly automatic settings and a bouncing flash, but over time I changed to tripod and without flash, that allow long steady exposures without needing a flash. I learned how important it is to set white balance for the prevailing conditions, use aperture to control how much of the shot is in focus and adjusting shutter time as needed to get the brightness required (and avoiding increasing ISO to accomplish the same, that just adds noise).

Faking 1980s

One of the challenges has been producing consistent photography and colors on the blog, as the place and time of day (thus lighting) where/when I am able to photograph can vary a lot. This has lead me to learn quite a few new things about digital color profiles and image manipulation too. Certainly this process has had positive effects on other ventures in life as well.