Feb 12, 2015

Tsukino-Con 2015 Part 1

Tsukino-Con's dance always takes place thursday night, before the con, as a place to pick-up badges and entertainment to start the weekend. The last few dances at Sunset Room venue, I've discovered that it's better to take people outside to get shots than inside.

Inside I'm fighting with other people's movement distractions to the model and house lighting. Outside its me and my camera alone with the subject.

Friday came and the convention started in earnest and I had my largest group shoot. Eleven members of a cosplay group all doing Akuma No Riddle. We shot in three areas of the UVic campus over a hour. I was very happy with the end results.

Friday was also the Lolita Fashion Show, for which I was late, but managed to get some great shots.

Jun 4, 2013

Tsukino Con 2013

As always Tsukino-Con is a labor of love. In past years I've been the Media and Public Relations person for the con, this year I added Webmaster. No easy situation for an Anime Convention with as many staff and departments as ours. The staff and departments though are what makes it easier on all of us putting together a three day convention with 1743 attendees.

The great thing about my job with the con is that all my work is done in advance, giving me the convention to be a semi-official photographer.

Thursday after helping with setup, I attended the pre-Convention dance on getting some great shots of Chelsea spinning her hoops and a good crowd of cosplayers dancing to three different DJs. Anya won best costume for her Vanellope von Schweetz costume.

Friday I got in a little photoshoot with +Alex Rodri and her friend Ali, as they cosplayed Bunny and Jack Frost from the film Rise of the Guardians. I had fun with Ali's Jack Frost hoodie enhancing the frost detail that she had on it and giving her a paler complexion. As for Alex's Bunny, I used a contrast enhancement to bring up the detail of the fur and my usual method for giving smooth skin to models.

Saturday saw more Homestuck Cosplayers and I asked Jen if the tricksters were always supposed to be grey skinned, sometimes I saw them with faces and/or hands that weren't coloured so I wasn't sure. Once she confirmed, I knew that I needed to work on a post process to fix the tone of some tricksters flesh where the paint wore off, and where some people didn't paint.

Sunday was another great day for pictures and I got more of Jen, this time as a Gothic Lolita Trickster from Homestuck.

I also met a Tinkerbell who's an actress and wanted copies of her shots, so we did a set of 22 images and got some great shots. I love it when someone really knows their character.

May 29, 2013


We live in a world of evolving communications, and when we want to leave contact information with someone, we really on business cards, an old standard dating back to the 1600s. I'm not saying cards are a bad thing, just we need to look at the emerging communications. I like the well written article I came across for using QR Codes when bussiness cards aren't an option, you have no pockets.

QR Codes are a two dimensional barcode as opposed to the grocery store styled vertical bars. The most complex QR Codes can contain 1,264 characters, that's half of this article. So what should you put in a QR Code? Business cards are limited in space and while they can be two-sided, you still need to be careful about overcrowding. The same applies to QR Codes, you can put a lot of info, doesn't mean you should.

Options for a single thing on your QR Code are easy, your name, your email, your website or your Facebook. What if you want all of them and a phone number or combination of other info? This is where another technical standard applies, the vCard.

vCards allow for formatted data that can include everything from Name, address and phone number to birthday and geographic location. Once you've created vCard information, it can be put in a QR Code, most modern phones and tablets can get free apps to scan the info and make use of it. On my Andriod phone I use Barcode Scanner by ZXing. I have added QR Droid by Driodla  for creating QR Codes on my devices. Now I can show someone a QR Code on my phone, they can scan it with theirs, and quickly add it to their contacts on the phone or tablet, if its android, it syncs with their gmail too.

There are other ways of transferring this information, Aztec Code, Maxi Code, NFC (near field communications), but none of them are as common and readily available as QR Code. One photographer that I know has taken to sticking removable vinyl to the back of his phone, with a QR Code on it.

Why not get rid of business cards altogether and just flash your QR Code? Even in a technically advanced mecca like Seattle and Vancouver, there are still people that don't have the equipment (smartphone) to read QR Codes. For them, carry a few business cards, let the others scan, then they can't complain, "Oh sorry, I lost your card."

Free resources websites:
Free Online Barcode Generator
Go QR me

vCard Maker

May 6, 2013


Been a few years since I've been published off the web. Over the years I've been writing and getting pictures printed in various magazines and newspapers in Victoria. Recently I wrote for Absolute Underground, a Canadian magazine that covers Punk, Metal and the alternative lifestyles. Issue 51 dedicated some space to the large Calgary Comic Expo, and I wrote two articles on the subject.

On page 19, my article Preparing for a Convention. I realized as I was writing this, a lot of things have changed over the years. I dug up the article I wrote for Attractions Magazine back in 2001 and used it as a guide, but the style of commercial conventions has changed in twelve years and I had to write to the current situations.

My second article, which was originally written for the previous issue to coincide with Tsukino-Con, appeared with a couple of my photographs. A Study of Cosplay, looks at the making and role-playing behind the the most visible aspect of any Gaming, Sci-Fi, Anime or Comic Book Convention.

The picture across the top of the article is actually three images combined of a group of nearly forty cosplayers from Homestuck, a web-comic that just ended a four year run with 6239 pages.

The second image is a local group of cosplayers doing their rendition of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. As a matter of fact, the girl in the green coat, +Alex Rodri, and I are doing a shoot this week.

Absolute Underground, can be picked-up in skateboard shops, record stores, and funky fashion house across Canada.

Nov 25, 2012

V-Con 37 part 2

Chrissy and Alys
setting up
Csinyos Creations
Set up Thursday was a great opportunity to meet people and make new friends. I really liked the way everyone helped everyone. Giving a hand here, lending something there, all around great sense of community amongst the dealers, and con goers as a whole.

All three days proved to be great for getting pictures of cosplayers. My favourite thing to do at a convention, being a photographer ;)

Friday started with a mini shoot with a lovely Steampunker, Jackie. We got about 20 frames in to the shoot when someone else decided to insert himself into the shoot. I am generally okay with this kind of impromptu addition to the photos, if it adds to it, but I had to constantly warn him about boundaries, as his kept getting his paint-ball  rifle right in her face and blocking me from the shot. All in all I did get some great shots of her.

Jackie the Steampunk Soldier
Saturday saw lots of hallway shots, which can be fun, but usually too quick to really get the essence of the person and persona. Nonetheless I got lots of great shots and met more than a few cool people.

The real fun came when I met a pair of serious cosplayers from Vancouver that I have since had the pleasure to interview and Feature on my Cosplayers of the Week site. They formed the group, Spectrum Cosplay and where playing Ariel from Disney's Little Mermaid, and Alice from Disney's Alice in Wonderland. I shot 104 frames with them over the course of the weekend, including a quick set including Mimi's boyfriend James as a Steampunk Mad Hatter.

Emmaline as Alice
Sue, my wife, got a great offer to buy some bodyform dummies from one of the other merchants at the convention. It was really a price she couldn't refuse, but had to because of our transportation method, SkyTrain on a Monday morning, Coachlines then Ferry and Transit. She got back to our table and told me about the offer, which was overheard by a fellow Victorian at the next table.

Mimi as Ariel
"I'll give you a ride." All of a sudden new possibilities erupted. We wouldn't have to go through the chaos of the Skytrain, as I described in Part 1, we would be home a day earlier, it would cost less. How could we say no?

The ride was great, thank you Mark and Barbara. We chipped in for gas and Ferry fare and got home late Sunday, so I was able to enjoy a few days of relaxation before going back to work. It's been a long time since I took a full week off work for vacation, I need to do it more often.

I have a whole gallery of images, some I added today, on my NightShadows web site.