I had an opportunity to do some Cosplay photography at Wizard World Philadelphia and literally had a blast. It is the rare show where all I have to do is run around and take pictures of the cosplayers, and generally get to have fun at the convention. I went as a private person, not affiliated with Wizard World in any way. Surprisingly I found that I didn’t post this set up, and I should have a while back.
Wizard World is one of the larger industrial comic book and pop culture conventions on the planet. They do multiple conventions but this was my first time there. The good part is that the show literally let me run around on the main floor taking all the pictures I wanted. I teamed up with the official photographer group for the Cosplay contest, and the Imperial Star Wars sets. The fun part was that as the show went along it was amazingly cool to run around and just take pictures of people on the floor, some candid’s, and otherwise get involved with the show in a way that was much more entertaining than a general person visiting the show.
The thing I was most impressed by was that the Cosplayers really just owned their own Cosplay. There was none of the snarky BS that I have seen at other shows where purity matters. No these people took the idea, and then made them theirs. From Black Superman all the way through the Doctor Who process, people were dressed up and ready to show off. There were some professional cosplayers there as well to help people feel more comfortable dressing up and showing off, and that made a huge difference in how the Cosplay kept on going throughout the three day show.
In all Wizard World Philly ended up being a really fun event to just go run around and take pictures of. If you are working on getting into Cosplay photography, take a 55-200MM lens with you, and you do want the UV Filter for bump protection along the way. Take a flash but use it as a fill rather than as a primary light source. Your white balance should be set to the incandescent lamps that are used all over convention centers. If you decide to take pictures outside, remember to set your white balance back to daylight full sun. You might also want to take something like an 18-105 lens as well for the larger group shots, as you can see in the pictures, when you get to the group shots of 100’s you want to have the widest angle possible to try to get everyone into the same shot.
Huzzah it is my first showing in many many years, I got invited to RAW Seattle to show off the stuff I like the most. I’ll post ticket information when I have all the data to get it to you. I have been trolling my pictures to see which ones the public has liked the most and using that as a way to determine what non-nude pictures I can use. Racy is cool, but I think in going through their web site that nude/semi-nude is not on the buffet for this one. Not that I mind, I have some awesome non-nude pictures and have been building up the list of interesting things to show off from the collection of 50,000 thousand pictures that I keep on line, winnowing them down to 25 or so that I really love, and the audience loves has been a challenge.
Overall though this one should be interesting to approach. We will be going to the one on the 27th of July at the Trinity Night Club to check it out and see what the show is all about. I’ll take some pictures to see what others are doing and what the standards are going to be like. If anyone knows what passes for cocktail dress now a days please let me know, I have no clue. I am more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of person, heck we are lucky if I am wearing pants some times.
I do think that this will be a lot of fun either way to see what the process looks like, the last time I was at a gallery show was in the 1980’s. I am sure that gallery shows have changed since then, and getting inside the Trinity is just going to be a lot of fun in the longer run. The club is wonderful, and a pretty cool place to hang out. I like the idea that this is a multi-modal show, fashion, art, music, everything, kitchen sink. That should keep things all the more interesting as they go through the process of finding people to show stuff off and add to the collection of artists that they are supporting by offering them an audience, a space, and time to get to know others in the community.
If photographers are not doing their best social media, it is really super important that you do so. The only reason I think these folks found me is that I am posting a lot, and that is what keeps this all interesting, and fresh in people’s minds. Hope to see you there, it should be a riot. September 28th, hope to see you there.
So I got fortunate with my last trip to China to meet up with the amazing people over at Beijing Photo Walks (check out their facebook page if you are in the area). We decided to head on over to Behai Park next to the forbidden city and coal hill to catch the super moon as it traversed the park. The good part is that the pollution was down enough to get some awesome shots of the super moon, and the park along the way. We were not the only people, there were a lot of photographers all over the park, and reaching to the east side of the forbidden city to catch this once a year event.
I took my trusty Nikon 5100, and an 18-105 lens for this, and did not use a tripod to hold the camera still. Rather used the tree or other object to brace myself when taking the pictures. I also had the camera up to ISO 3200 for this to help offset the jitter that is going to happen when you free hold the camera in low light conditions. I really wanted to get good vista pictures, pictures of the beauty of the park, and the super moon at the same time. So the moon does not look huge, nor did I do any special techniques to bring the moon closer by playing around with the F stops on this one. It was really more about catching the beautiful moon at a unique point in time to show off the beauty of Beijing China, and the super moon.
The interesting part was the number of people who were out there with every kind of camera imaginable from the cell phone camera to one intrepid person who had an 8X10 large format camera. I would dearly love to see the pictures that he was taking once they got developed, but we didn’t have a chance to swap photography cards.
I highly recommend Behai Park as a place to visit. Get off at the West Tiananmen subway and walk north from there right from the subway station. Take exit B to get on the right street. There are no people trying to sell the tourists anything, so it is a very nice walk to the park. Beijing has all these special little pockets of space to get away from people, enjoy some amazing history and grab some amazing pictures along the way.
Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Ok, so Ghost Adventures has been there, and a ton of horror ghosty spooky shows have been there to talk to the ghosts that tales tell permeate the Eastern State Penitentiary in downtown Philadelphia Pennsylvania, but when you get into the decadent beauty that is the ruin of the site, that is the time that a photographer can have a blast with the place. I was able to get in there before the tour groups and spend three unstructured hours running around the place taking pictures. I brought an 18-105 Nikor Lens and my trusty Nikon 5100 for this photo shoot.
Honestly the feeling of the place is one of being tired; it is probably the most tired place on the face of the planet that I have been to. There really are no words to describe just how this place seems to suck the soul right out of you. I would probably be insane within weeks without anything to do as I lead a pretty active life. I can’t image being stuck in a 8 X 15 foot cell with a roof window, a single bare light bulb, some prison furniture for company, and little else to entertain you. The ruin in its own right is impressive; it is equally formidable when it comes to seeing this place as a ruin. There are places you can’t go because it is still falling down; restoration is going to take forever. But this is also a place worthy of being restored. It is a testament to a failed experiment in how to manage criminals, along with some of the more striking art installation in the cells. When you realize that the prisoners in GITMO have less space and are in a dog cage, you have to see it to believe it. We are far too removed from the butcher in this day and age to understand the art of meat. We are too far removed from crime and punishment to understand GITMO and places like Eastern State Pen.
Well worth seeing and exploring, I shot these in RAW format, and then processed them in Lightroom 5.4 using some fancy HDR effects I learned from watching YouTube videos. Let me know what you think, as always when doing urban exploration like this, you are bound to find interesting things that are left behind, such as an abandoned shoe in an abandoned cell, in an abandoned megalithic prison complex.
Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia Pennsylvania