Smart Doll road trip

“Every journey begins with packing your dolls.”

This May I took a break from my usual work on background props and figure photos and went on a small vacation instead. I had this urge for quite a while, to get behind the wheel and simply drive places. In the past, most of my trips were convention related, with little to no time to check out stuff other than the venue and the hotel. But this time I simply packed my dolls, a camera and also my bicycle into the trunk of a station wagon and drove aimlessly across my home country.

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Each day I stopped at another destination with the goal in mind to find at least one nice location where I can shoot with my Smart Dolls and also to make a few miles on the bike as well. The overall weather was beautiful and therefore I managed to achieve those goals with ease. I will now present you the “picture of the day” for each leg with a short explanation where and why it was taken.

First stop – Attersee (Lake Atter)

The largest lake in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria.

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Although it was raining all the way to my first destination the sky cleared up once I arrived there and I was able to took this picture of Envisage in the late afternoon. I was kinda nervous to operate my gear on this narrow pier. One carless moment and something could have slipped through the gaps of those planks. But in the end, I guess the picture was worth the risk.

Second stop – Zell am See (Lake Zell)

An important tourist dentation in Salzburg that is beautifully during the winter and also in the summer.

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On my second day I decided to go for a walk and ended up circling the whole Zellersee. With me on this march was Ivory and I found this quiet (and presumingly) private driveway that led to a fancy looking hotel. I do like the small motorboat in the background and how well the doll matches the scale of the scenery. Holding them at arm’s length in front of you, really is the best way if you want to incorporate your dolls into a real-life background.

Third stop – Grossglockner High Alpine Road

Austria’s highest pass road and apparently the second most popular tourist attraction in the country, with about 270,000 passing vehicles every year.

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A group photo of Envisage and Ivory with our tallest mountain in back. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to drive my poor little city car with terrible engine power over the alps but after much deliberation I thought, “I might not get this chance ever again”. In the End I was rewarded with a great view and memorable photos of my dolls.

Fourth stop – Drautal (a valley in Carinthia)

A stretch of land that connects East Tyrol with Carinthia and also Slovenia Styria.

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Admittedly this might be the least spectacular location from the whole trip but as a single photo I really like the mood in this shoot and that Envisage is looking into the distance, like her name suggests. I took this picture with the fleeting daylight in an open field of wildflowers and some sort of castle ruins in the back.

Fifth stop – Mariazell

A well-known pilgrimage town and winter sports resort located in Styria

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The last time I visited Mariazell was a couple years ago during the Christmas season and it was really lovely. But also in summer this place is worth a daytrip. I was very lucky, because not only was the weather beautiful, but also the basilica was freshly renovated without any scaffolding obscuring the view. I bought one of those miniature snow globes that are almost “Smart Doll sized” and took this picture of Ivory on a nearby hill, from where you can see the church in the background.

Sixth and last stop – Hotel resort “Winterbach”

An old hotel whose history dates back to the early twentieth century

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When I was a little child, this place was my yearly summer vacation for quite a while. It might have been here were I discovered my love for hiking and maybe also trains/model making. I took this picture of Envisage on my last day, shorty before my departure. I had to wait for almost forty minutes to not only get the hotel but also the train passing by into the frame. Sadly, it was one of the modern train cars and not the old ones I used to ride. They still have them in service but they only go three or four times a day and I couldn’t wait any longer. 

Ultimately, I ended up driving well over 1.000 kilometers in only six days without any hiccups, while catching a perfect week in terms of weather. Now that I got a bit more into doll photography I will certainly do this more frequently for the remainder of 2022, because my goal is to make a little doll photo calendar for friends and family.

Now it’s back to prop making and indoor shooting. I hope you too have an awesome summer with lots of great vacations.  

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