The Last Dinosaur at Night

The Last Dinosaur / Re-envisioned at a Different Time

Sunflower / Milt Jackson (Song by Freddie Hubbard)


Have been experimenting with lighting effects in my studio using various lights I have. I spent half the day reorganizing my equipment and taking things out of boxes so that I can see them and so they’re all on a kind of pallet that I can play around with when creating. 

Above is one of the first shots taken with my new new studio set up where I’ve put out my arsenal of lights and equipment that was stored in a number of over-stuffed shoeboxes. It is one of my first dioramas I created around 2018 and celebrates the old tourist traps along Route 66 in the 50s when our family traveled on in. Here, the time period might be around the period of the car or the 50s sometime. A father holds his son on his shoulder as they look at “the last dinosaur” just a few feet away from them. The is high voltage bars at the top of the area the dinosaur is held in. A sign on the bars reads “Malcolm is the last Dinosaur. The world is finally free of these demons we’ve battled for years.”

A little strange for a tourist post but then this is a strange scene. In the hills on the right side of the scene (not in the photo of the section of the diorama below) a sign reads “Repent! The dinosaurs are returning!” And, out of sight to those traveling along Route 66 (a sign reading 300 miles to Las Angeles) in the hills on the right side of the diorama (not seen in the part of the diorama in the photo) two baby dinosaurs are hatching out of huge eggs.

Much drama going on in the scene for those who take the time to put together the “clues” it offers. Visual and word clues are given in the diorama as to the drama taking place. A drama the tourist traps of the 50s didn’t really have. Except for the drama involved with The Last Dinosaur tourist trap. One can see the small souvenirs building in the diorama. The souvenir shop was always associated with the object the souvenirs was created around. In effect, it really sold symbols of the place that one could take with them. This, beyond the experience of a souvenir stop or place. Perhaps the great meteor hole in the desert. Or, the Grand Canyon. Perhaps “genuine” Indians souvenirs. Or really symbols that one could take with them. A piece from the place and therefore trhe symbols of a memory from this place. A particular place along Route 66 for our family in the 50s. My dad driving the black Lincoln late into the night with my mother begging him to stop for us kids.

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Many memories of the up and down the two lane highway through the Americas in the 50s. It was great for me as a collector of Route 66 souvenirs (symbols) during this time. Traveling with my family over Route 66 in the 50s.

An observer of the scene might conclude that the son on the shoulders of his father and looking at Malcolm, might want to take away some memory of this event and that the next actions of father and son would be to walk to the Souvenir Shop in the scene and buy “symbols” of this event called souvenirs they could take with them. These souvenirs always possessed the power of subtext and subliminal communication over rational versions of them.

It is not so visually symbolic as other dioramas of mine. Here, the viewer needs to read the words in the diorama rather than depend just on the images in the diorama. Like my recent one suggesting the symbolism of the new Ohio countryside. In a diorama posted to Midnight Oil this simple symbolism is suggested.

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In many ways, it is a satire on tourist traps along the Route 66 of the 50s. Our family visited a lot of them as my dad was a sucker for them. Of course us kids got a number of Indian souvenirs and other trinkets from places along the way. The tourist trap for The Last Dinosaur is a fantasy of a tourist trap along Route 66 in the 50s that might have been.

Yet, at the same time, it is also a strange little tourist trap. The photo I took of Route 66 in The Last Dinosaur diorama appeared as the photo below in Fine Scale Modeler magazine in 2018. It was shot outside under the noonday sun of an Ohio March. It was a strange scene in the day. And, even stranger at night in the above scene.

A Section of the Diorama in Daylight



See our posts on Midnight Oil in 2018 on The Last Dinosaur. The first LD post was in March of 2018. The second LD post was in April of 2018. See all of our dioramas on the Dioramas Page of Midnight Oil Studios.

Photography notes for The Last Dinosaur at Night. Shot against a black abstract canvas backdrop. Two small Nanolite Tubes overhead are used with a green dialed up for both of them on the choice of 300 colors possible. The overhead green of the Nanolites is mixed with the red light from a Litra Pro with a red filter in the background and under the raised dioramas. The red against the black abstract canvas almost looks like a great fire in the background. The red light was originally far too much color that dominated the background and was finally turned to just 10% power. A spot light beam from an Aputure LS Mini 20c is focused on the father and son. Another spotlight with a snoot on it from Small Rig is focused on the sign. Shot with a Sony 6400 in High Dynamic Range and edited in Photomatix Pro 6. A Sony E 18-135 mm lens is used with the manual focus setting.

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