The BoxTrolls are coming!

And one of them is living in my house.


Any of you reading this that have kids have surely already heard of the BoxTrolls movie that’s coming out on 9/26/14. If not, take a peak here:

It looks to be a cute movie done in the old school stop-motion style animation, inspired by the book “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow. The plot (as copied from Wikipedia):


The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collecting trolls called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher and Eggs has to save his family from Snatcher.


As a way to promote interest in the upcoming movie, Amazon is holding a costume contest where you have to use either an Amazon box, or an unbranded box to make a Boxtroll costume.

Sure…why not?

I order so much stuff from Amazon as it is (personal and work). Especially with Prime 2 day shipping? It can be addicting…but I’m not addicted…I can stop whenever I want. 😉

Needless to say I had plenty of boxes to work with…

 Contest details can be found here: Boxtroll Contest

Once again, my son Liem was my model. It only took 1 bag of gummi bears to persuade him. 🙂

We drove to Old Towne Petersburg (Virginia). It’s an area rich in history, with no shortage of old abandoned buildings. I wanted a old brick background for the shot. I didn’t want a paved or concrete parking lot, or sidewalk either. Looking at screen shots of the movie (as well as the movie poster), it’s a turn of the century setting, with old cobblestone roads. That’s what I wanted, and luckily, Old Towne Petersburg had just that.

Here is a little diagram of the shot:

 I put a Yongnuo yn560 flash (set to 1/2 power) in the “high voltage” box. The box was lined with aluminum foil, with the flash firing into the box. The foil would reflect the light back out.

My wife was my voice activated light stand. I set her up with a monopod outfitted with a Phottix multi-boom, 2 Yongnuo yn560 flashes set to 1/2 power, shooting through a Phottix double folding 36″ umbrella. Both flashes at 1/2 power equaled 1 flash at full power, but faster recycling.

I really wish I would have taken a picture of the setup, but in my haste, I forgot. I would say my wife was holding the umbrella at about a 45 degree angle 3 feet above my son’s head, at roughly 4 feet away.

The sync speed of the Fuji is only 1/180th of a second. Even though it was evening, the sun was still out, so I used the sync speed to try and kill as much of the ambient as I could.

My Fuji X-T1 was set to ISO 200, and I was using the Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 lens @ f/5.6.


The resulting shot:



As for his costume, I purchased welding goggles and the aviator hat off Amazon for around $5-6 each. I already had plenty of boxes. Amazon was kind enough to provide a download PDF of the labels, which I printed and glued to the boxes. I used black spray paint to make the boxes look beat up. I taped bits and pieces of “junk” to the goggles. The lamp he’s holding is a battery powered LED lamp.

Update 9/22/2014:

Looks like the Flickr group Child Photo Competition liked my photo enough to include it in their Inspiring Monday Volume 44.

Update 10/13/2014:

Looks like my photo was not worthy enough to be one of the finalist in the Amazon contest. Oh well. I still had a good time with the shoot. 🙂


Update 10/22/2014:

Phottix has once again chosen one of my photos for their photo of the week! That’s 3 times now.

Weekly Photo: Box Troll

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