Here we are again with a collaborative storytelling! We’ve reached out to a group of talented LEGO photographers in our community to weave for us a visual narrative around one set.
This time, we invited three Spanish photographers @lady_brick, @jcmimoso and @sergi_h2opolo7 to shoot their story around the 3-in-1 set 31120: Medieval Castle with the constraint of using mainly the second build, the tower!
The group spent some weeks pre-planning while their sets arrived, testing ideas and drawing sketches and more weeks shooting. Here’s what they came up with.
Once upon a time there was a kingdom between mountains, Montblanc, ruled benevolently by the good king Aomir.
His most precious treasure was his son Alfred, who lived at the top of the tower. From there the boy enjoyed watching people and their animals go by, while they whistled some popular song.
Like every Sunday, the lively weekly market was held at the foot of the tower, bringing together people from all over the region.
Boys and girls dreamed of one day being brave knights, as they faced each other with wooden swords on toy horses.
There was never a lack of the lady who bought from the wise magician a potion of eternal youth of infallible efficacy and crazy price.
The soldiers also loved Sundays. That day they would gather outdoors to eat, drink and laugh while the veterans recounted their great battles to the novices.
Suddenly, attracted by the music and the crowd, a huge dragon appeared in the sky, terrifying everyone present as it perched menacingly on the tower.
Poor Prince Alfred! He was, as always, watching the market from the window of his secure tower. Realizing that he is in great danger, he calls out for help from his brave soldiers.
The soldiers run resolutely towards the catapult, but upon reaching it they see horrified how the winged beast has captured their beloved prince.
They decide to jump into it towards the dragon to try to rescue him. But after several barrels of good beer, the aim of those brave warriors may not be the best for this task…
Oblivious to the tragedy, Sabina, a young falconer returns from a hunting party, when she sees a grieving soldier who asks for her help. Sword, bow, horse and falcon, what more could you ask for? It will certainly be of great help to the rescue.
Sure enough, some well-aimed arrows manage to bring down the monster.
As the soldiers attend to her frightened prince, the falconer engages in close combat with the gigantic creature. After an epic fight, Sabina manages to defeat the beast, which lies dying at her feet, before the stunned eyes of the locals.
Grateful for the decisive performance of the young Sabina, King Aomir assembles his warriors in the throne room knighting the young girl.
There will be no more boring and humiliating missions for her. The simple falconer has become the best knight in the kingdom.
The young prince, grateful and in love, asks for her hand to be the future queen.
Since then, the story of the humble falconer who with her strength and courage became knight and queen on the same day is told in all the songs of the bards.
Her example serves as an inspiration to the boys and girls of the kingdom, who no longer want to be fierce warriors, now dream of being like her and having her tenacity to achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they may be.
Behind the scenes
When we began to think about the story we wanted to tell with this set, we think that the legend of Sant Jordi fits very well for the dragon, the princess and the heroin, but this time we decided to make our own adaptation and for once, that the girl was the protagonist and saved the prince in trouble.
The first two shoots are an introduction. We present the kingdom on a medieval market day with its usual movement of people. To accompany the tower in set 31120, I created a stand for the blacksmith, another for the wizard and his sale of potions of eternal youth, as well as a shepherd with his sheep and a couple of kids playing swords.
I took the two photos outdoors, playing with natural light and a frame that allowed the tower to be out of focus in the background and an overview of the market as the protagonist of the first scene.
The second scene is simply a detail of the children playing swords. A photograph that I have wanted to take for a long time and that this collaboration has given me the opportunity.
For scene 4 and 5, the tower and the dragon are the protagonists. This time I made some preliminary sketches of how I would explain this part of the story and what composition I would try to do.
To keep the same lighting and background of the first two scenes. These photographs were also taken abroad at the same location.
I was worried about how to hold the dragon on the tower, but in the end I just played with the joints of the same figure with the angles of the tower itself.
This collaboration has been a challenge for me since I rarely take photographs in vertical format and it has made me get out of my comfort zone.
I would like to thanks Brickcentral for the opportunity to participate in this fun collaboration that has also allowed me to meet two great photographers like @jcmimoso and @sergi_h2opolo7.
I want to thank Brickcentral for giving me the opportunity to participate in this project specially to @fourbrickstall and @the_aphol. To me it was something unexpected…I am a newbie in the LEGO world. It was a nice surprise!
Also thanks to my two colleagues @lady_brick and @jcmimoso for their great involvement and support.
The tower was the main building for this story and all the photos had to include it. The big height of the tower fixed the orientation and the size for all the photos.
That was the most complicated to me because I don’t usually use this size in my photos.
All of my photos are indoor with basic and low cost material and accessories as you can see below. This time I used natural light coming through the windows and no lamps were used.
Finally, for the post edition I used Lightroom and LensDistorsion.
First of all I want to thank Brickcentral for the opportunity to participate in this exciting project. It is the first collaboration that I do and it has meant a lot of technical work that I am not used to developing. It has taken me out of my usual photo style (if I have any) and thanks to this it has made me learn new things.
The first photo has been the most complicated to plan because I wanted a close-up of the catapult but without giving up seeing the almost entire tower in the background, in a vertical format.
My computer screen rotates, but it’s not that wide and with the focal length I wanted to use, you could see part of the room. That’s why I set up the diorama in the dining room, and used a photo of clouds projected on the TV (which was turned 90º). I spent a whole Sunday like this while my son protested because he had run out of TV…
To give the catapult more height I used books while the tower was lower, to try to give a feeling of distance. The catapult is an extraordinary piece, it has mobility and a counterweight, so after taking several shots at different moments of the movement I combined them with Photoshop to get a sense of movement.
For my second photo, I initially wanted to do an outdoor coronation, with a canopy that the king would be under, but then I changed my mind. I disassembled the beautiful tower and with the help of pieces from other sets I created from scratch an enclosure that would serve as a throne room.
I wanted to fill it with Falcon soldiers, but I don’t have many, and I’m not good at cloning, so I put a couple near the target to give a sense of depth of planes and the rest on the other side of the throne. The head of the dragon presides over the room, and so that the view does not go towards the bare ceiling, I created a lamp with the pieces that I had. Just building the room and the lamp took me many hours of sleep. Like I said, I usually use a lot of different materials for dioramas but not entire Lego constructions, and I’m not used to designing them and it takes forever.
For the light that enters through the windows I used my humidifier and a Ulanzi VL49 led, in long exposure to give softness.
The third and last photo was faster. I knew I wanted to use the official alternative builds to the tower, so I built the mill, the small tower, and the two shops, but without hinged them together. That way I could freely arrange them to fit the frame.
I created a pedestal in the shape of a small tower to place the statue of the heroine and the head of the dragon and edited it with the gold color to give it more prominence. In stone, which was the initial idea, it seemed more subdued compared to the rest of the figures. In fact I removed some figures from the foreground and changed the initial background image because it seemed to take away from it. That’s why I almost never move the set until I can see it on a big screen. Although, like this time, I had to move my head to see the Photoshop icons, because the PC screen was right behind the set and rotated 90 degrees.