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Space Toys at the Astronomy Convention

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Posted (edited)

I went to an astronomy convention today -- run by our own Solar Ray! -- and got to hang out in the Big Bang Toys booth. It was fun!

And of course I took some pics of the toys. I should probably point out that I was using a funky lens which is why the depth of field is so shallow and the vignetting around the edges is so pronounced. Photo shop was only used to push the lights/darks and adjust the color a bit. Just having a little fun with photography. :)

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Edited by dratomic

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Posted

More.

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Posted

Last.

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And just to be a little more arty... Lol.

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And that's that!

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Posted

Cool pics !!! :)

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Posted (edited)

Great pics of some classic stuff. I have the LEM in plastic however. Got it from Stan at Botstock six. Cool little toy.

Edited by kennetzel

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Cool stuff! Love that helmet! Were there other toys there other than the Big Bang booth?

You come home with anything?

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Posted (edited)

Well... Actually, I sort of came home with the white space helmet and those Ideal goggles. So yeah... those are spoken for. :)

I also picked up the J & E Stevens Neutron Blaster (see the post in the Ray Guns section), though that was already paid for and I just wanted to avoid shipping charges.

There weren't any other toy booths besides Big Bang's. Lots of telescopes and related equipment, and a few booths selling meteorites and fossils. Fun stuff to explore, even if I didn't really understand most of it. I almost bought another meteorite (to add to my tiny collection of two) but decided to let it pass. I do love looking at them, though. Rocks and metal from space! So awesome...

I might have a few more photos of Big Bang's table... I'll have to see. I posted the best ones, but maybe I'll post the crappy ones just to show off a few more of the toys that were available. (And still might be!)

I was really struck by how many people came into the booth to talk about the toys -- and to share memories of their own childhood toys. One guy talked about owning the aluminum "tin can" helmet as a kid. He said he actually used it for protection -- the place he lived had a lot of birds who used to swoop in low and fast, and he'd wear the helmet to keep from getting beaned!

Another guy told us about his dad's Nu-Matic paper popper. And someone else remembered having a High Wheel robot.

Everyone liked to talk about Captain Video. I thought it was kind of strange that they'd reference that particular show instead of Space Patrol or Tom Corbett, until I was reminded that Captain Video stuff made an appearance in an episode of the Honeymooners -- that's what lodged it in people's minds. Synergy... ha!

One particularly nice moment: A lady whose son just couldn't stop coming back to the booth to drool over the toys eventually bought one of the less expensive Japanese tin litho guns for her kid -- and he seemed thrilled. I thought it was kind of nice -- one of these old toys actually going to a kid! (And yes, he seemed to understand that the toy is old, delicate, and valuable... He seemed ready to treat it well.) Perhaps we've planted the seed for a new generation of collectors! :)

All in all, I had a real fun time.

Edited by dratomic

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Posted (edited)

Wish I had been there, Brian. Love that white helmet. I don't ever remember seeing it before. What is it from? Well I checked it on search and it's listed in your website as an Orbit helmet? So many space toys and so few brain cells. :wacko:

Edited by Phil R

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Phil: Yep, the helmet is called the Orbit Helmet, and you can see an example of it with the box in Blast Off, page 206.

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Posted

I like the effect of your funky lens. It makes the singular item pop out. Cool stuff!

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And of course I took some pics of the toys. I should probably point out that I was using a funky lens which is why the depth of field is so shallow and the vignetting around the edges is so pronounced. Photo shop was only used to push the lights/darks and adjust the color a bit. Just having a little fun with photography. :)

Greate toys and very nice pictures!!, what funky lens do you used to? lensbabys?

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Andy and Maimo -- It's not a lensbaby lens, though it does a lot of the same stuff. (WARNING: GEEKY CAMERA STUFF TO FOLLOW)

It's a CCTV -- closed circuit television -- lens designed for security cameras. It uses a "c-mount" attachment, for which I've got an adapter that allows me to mount it on my Micro 4/3 camera (it's essentially a small, mirror-less DSLR). It's approximately a 25 mm prime (f 1.4 or something -- so VERY good in low-light), completely manual. It's not QUITE large enough to fit over the camera's sense, which is why you get a little bit of dark vignetting around the corners. But what really makes it cool is the crappy, crappy cut of the glass, which drifts so far out of focus at the edges when the iris is wide open as to make the images ALMOST unusable.

But! As you can see from the photos, you can pull pretty tight focus at the center, which really draws attention to the item being photographed. The end result is arty and fun, I think. I love how the edges don't only drift out of focus, but they get kind of swirly, too. And the tight depth of field means that it doesn't take much for backgrounds to lose focus -- another reason the subjects of the photos really pop.

The best part: I think I spent $30 on it. The lens has limited uses, of course... but a lot of fun to play around with. And it does wonders with toys, apparently. :)

(I also used a little bit of photoshop to push the colors and adjust the contrast. This helps make the subjects stand out. But all the cool focus effects are done with just the lens.)

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Posted

Cool experiment with cool results!

It remind me the moment when you see something interesting in a flea market and soon all the senses go there. :)

Thanks for the tip!

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Well... It wasn't my idea to use a c-mount lens on a micro 4/3 camera. It's been done for a while, now... I'm just picking up on the trend.

I think it gets back to the weird, retro-photo trend we've been seeing for a while. Old-school plastic toy cameras, the Hipstermatic iPhone app, stuff like that. As someone pointed out, it's the fun of taking our expensive, high-quality cameras and making them look like crap. :)

But there's something entertainingly quirky about the pics. And unlike photoshop filters, which can give you similar effects with a little work, the lens is organic and you never quite know what you're going to end up getting.

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Posted

Great pick-ups. That helmet is just beautiful and the goggles are just way cool.

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