This Photographer Takes Playing With Toy Monster Trucks to New Heights
'Blaze and the Monster Machines' makes STEM learning fun. This photographer just made it epic.
The following was produced in partnership with Blaze and the Monster Machines, Nick Jr.’s STEM-based preschool series that entertains, educates, and inspires through playful, adventurous content.
In the world of the wildly popular animated series Blaze and the Monster Machines, wild monster truck stunts double as STEM lessons. Kids learn about inertia, velocity, friction, and the joy of Newtonian physics while watching vehicles with names like Bighorn and Darrington careen and carom. The show is educational and, by teaching kids to be thoughtful about their play, ensures that they reap the significant physical and cognitive benefits of playing with toy cars. Like the world of adults, Blaze’s universe is defined by both adventure and calculation. Kids learn to balance the two when they come to see big-wheeled trucks as heroes.
In light of that, Fatherly decided to give Blaze toys the hero treatment. With macro camera lenses capable of rendering a level of close-up focus impossible for the human eye, miniature models, and, in some cases, real world locales, we pulled off a truck-centric photo-shoot from the perspective of a very imaginative kid. Naturally, Blaze, Zeg, and the gang went off road, which meant both creating sets in a studio setting and shooting on location in the wilds of Mexico, where the toys tore across a “desert” as a photographer tried to keep up. The eye-popping results serve as both a reminder that the world is truly incredible through the eyes of a playing child and that playing with cars is — even for adults — a ton of fun. Though this work may not be the best way to teach kids to drive responsibly, it will absolutely get them excited about momentum.
No trucks were injured during the creation of these photos.
The photographer meticulously arranges a square of sod, some wood chips, and some bits of house plants and wheat on a workbench to set the stage for Blaze, Starla, and Bighorn, who were in the middle of an epic wild west adventure.
Blaze puts his suspension and shock-absorption abilities to the test by rumbling over a fallen log while Zeg looks on. After shooting the action in his studio, the photographer stepped outside to capture the sky, which he added later to form the final composite image.
A cluster of mangrove branches form the backdrop for a high-speed desert island jungle escape. On location — on the beach, really — the photographer blows smoke through a tube to create the dust cloud seemingly kicked up by Blaze, Stripes, and Zeg. The cool spark effects come later.
The photographer demonstrates how much mileage you can get out of a patch of dirt and two pieces of bark while capturing Blaze’s flying leap over Darrington, who he strung up to the ceiling with fishing line. The wires were edited out after the shot was captured.
Blaze, Darrington, and Pickle shred sand dunes — only after the photographer modeled them using play sand, styrofoam, and a steady hand. The landscape he created was ideal for capturing experiments in torque, velocity, incline, and how to clean sand out of tiny tires.