Hey peeps, time for photo number 2: Brandon Mull in ‘Dragons for Sale’:
I was so excited to have Brandon for this project, as hisÃÂ FablehavenÃÂ series is one of my all-time favorites. The gypsy salesman idea came to mind with Brandon’s friendly, all-american face. I was like yeah, most people would buy something from this guy (this is made even more true if you ever talk to him, he’s super nice). So I started trying to figure out how the heck I was going to make this happen. Honestly, the way things lined up was nothing less than magic.
I used to live in Salt Lake City, near where Brandon lives, and I have a good friend named Rhonda who was going to let me build in her back yard a set to look like the inside of a gypsy caravan. For inspiration I randomly googled gypsy caravan to get ideas, and I discovered that there are people who make modern gypsy caravans that pop up and are totally a real trailer, but look old-fashioned. And they happen to live in Salt Lake City. This was a wonderful coincidence, and they happily got on board with the project.
The caravan guys (Brad and Dave Atkisson, father and son of gypsycamers.comÃÂ andÃÂ the nicest, coolest people ever) were happy to help however they could, and Dave happens to be friends with a Salt Lake big wig who owns pretty much all the property in the mountains around the city. We went to private land, to a field up one of the canyons which was filled to the brim with yellow wildflowers. It was absolutely gorgeous (As you can see in the photos!), and I couldn’t have been happier on the location.
Something you’ll notice about each calendar photo ÃÂ is that there’s something birdy in each one. For those who don’t know me, I used to train birds for years, doing bird shows and education. I am a hard core bird nerd, and when I was putting this project together I wantedÃÂ something ‘bird’ in each photo (Lauren Oliver has peacock wings, for example). Brandon got Henrietta, Rhonda’s black and white striped chicken (you’ll see her in the cage hanging from the caravan)! I thought it was appropriate, since Brandon hasÃÂ a magic talking chicken in his Fablehaven books, so it made me happy to add her to the photo (there are also birds on the box he’s holding, in case she wasn’t cooperative).
The initial plan for the box was to put my flash in the box with a colored filter, so Brandon would be cracking this box which was leaking a mysterious colored light. But that was an epic fail, and I was at a loss as to what I could do to make it look magical. I had a few boxes of sparklers left over from one of the other photos (you’ll find out who in a week or two!), and on impulse I clustered them and lit them, and they flared up looking like a baby dragon expressing severe frustration at being stuck in this box. So the magic light box became a baby dragon box, and I couldn’t be happier. We need dragons in this calendar in some fashion anyway.
I may tweak this photo some more, I’m currently having a severe debate with myself about photoshop effects and layers and things that could make it look more fantasy but may pull from the authentic integrity of the photo. Not sure, we’ll see. But in essence, this is the photo, and I hope you like it. It was a blast to shoot. And support Brandon, he’s great! He’s on twitter and has a cool website. Don’t be shy, tell him how awesome he is and that he should take up selling baby dragons as a side-job. Also, don’t forget to check out the other photos in the calendar, and be sure to pre-order the calendar here!ÃÂ