These look great! The sandbox is the perfect desert environment! Really fun. And I do a lot of shooting outside, since it saves me a lot of effort with backgrounds, but I totally share your pain about all the points you mentioned..
1. Weather, including the wind that blows down your figures.
2. The amount of stuff you might have to lug around with you.
3. Trying to make sure the figures don't look out of scale with landscape and background.
4. Personal discomfort as one frequently has to assume awkward positions on uncomfortable terrain.
5. Spectators or interlopers if you are shooting in a public place.
I'm sure I'll come up with others as I do more outdoor work. Anyone with experience in this, feel free to contribute.
1. This is always brutal. Trying to get opportunity and weather to line up can be maddening. I've had to just wait through the winter, and it's rained here almost every free weekend since spring hit. And nothing is worse than when you get the perfect pose and shot lined up, and a strong gust of wind knocks everything over. Maddening.
2. Ditto. And then keeping track of any accessories that may fall off when a figure falls over...
3. This is so hard, and one of the main thing I consider shooting outside. I'm always agonizing over finding a spot to shoot some post apocalyptic pics that will have a background that contributes to the photos, but is still fairly private. Because your # 5 is the biggest one for me.
4. Definitely a pain. Although the fun side of this is a return to childlike abandon, where you just lay in the dirt and stop caring.
5. By far, the BIGGEST one for me. I spend a lot of time trying to get a pose just right, and I simply can't handle focusing on that if I feel like people are watching me. It makes me crazy self conscious. I have a decent size backyard, but that's still pretty limited. My family's house is very private, and way out in the middle of nowhere, but an hour away, which also brings us back to # 2, lugging everything I might possibly need out there, as well as committing most of a day off to that.
So far, my partner has been resistant to my suggestions to just turn the whole back yard into a bunch of 1/6 scale environments. She seems to think we need to actually "use it" and "entertain" sometimes. Looks like I won't be building my own Marwencol anytime soon.
1. I can totally relate to your pain. The spring weather has almost invariably sucked here in Montreal so far including this weekend which is a long one. To boot, It's very windy around here though there's a large nature park a few miles away that I could find sheltered spots to shoot from. The problems of course are that:
(a. it's s few miles away and I'd have to bring a lot of stuff there and:
(b. It's a public place frequented by cyclists, nature enthusiasts, and worst of all, families.
2. I think I'm going to learn to lug around only what I have to.
3. I think this is a huge problem for everyone. Using wide angle lenses may be part of the answer as they will make background objects look smaller and farther away then they actually are. That still leaves a problem of foreground objects however.
4. I did a lot of this in the army. I'm getting older and heavier however and this gets harder and harder.
5. The last thing I want is a four-year old "helper." The second last thing I want are fully grown adults asking me idiotic questions like:
(a. Are you shooting photos? (an amazingly frequent question I've been asked when very obviously shooting photos in a public place.)
(b. Is there any special reason why you are shooting photos of this? (No, there is nothing whatsoever I do for a reason. I'm really completely random. Why don't you find someone else to pester?)
(c. Nice camera! Does it take good pictures? (Actually it doesn't take any photos at all. I shoot the photos, not the camera. Thanks for asking)
(d. What do you do with the pictures? (The same thing as you do with the ones you shoot.)
As to not getting to build Marwencol in your backyard because your better half says "no," I think you are far from being alone there. On the bright side, think of how few people would even understand the reference outside of a forum like this but that pretty much everyone here does and feels your pain.