Saturday, February 22, 2014

Photoshop Skills

Today I spent some time working on my Photoshop skills, by removing annoying backgrounds from photos and creating collages. I used the photos I took at Katsucon for this exercise since, I thought I took some nice portraits but the backgrounds were distracting and full of random people.  I created my own backgrounds for most of these pictures except in a few cases.  You can see some of the final results here: http://munchkinphotos.smugmug.com/Portraits/Cosplay



I also worked on creating some collages. I made two for my Munchkin Photos Facebook page cover photos. The most difficult part of the process was identifying which pictures to use and showcase the variety of my work. I also made one of compilation of images depicting the same lady cosplayer showing different expressions. This was a simpler collage since it was all the same person, though the sizing of the images was a bit challenging.  Overall I think the collages came out ok. I now plan on updating the collage for my Facebook cover photo on quarterly or seasonal basis to keep it fresh.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Katsucon 20 or My First Con Experience



On Friday, February 14th I went to an anime convention for the first time in my life.  Now a little disclosure, this was my husband’s idea (he is the one who watches anime, I’m usually in the room working on photos so only half pay attention to the episodes) as a way for me to expand my photography portfolio.   I have to say it was a unique experience. 

We showed up at the convention center in the late afternoon of the first full day, and were thankful we got the VIP tickets. We just walked in, picked up our badge and were on our way.  This meant we skipped the hour long wait in line for our badge. From there we wandered around a bit, in the merchant’s hall, outside and in the atrium area before our first event/experience the “Maid Café”.  Yes, we ate at the Maid Café for our special Valentine’s Day dinner. It was a fun experience we had a crossplay maid (guy playing a girl) who was very entertaining, the food was pretty good too.   Then from there it was off to opening ceremonies which was not that interesting, which resulted in us leaving that a bit early. We did some more wandering around till our last session of the day, “History of Martial Arts in Japan” which was interesting and excellent session.  After that we headed home since we were up at 5:00 AM since we did have to work that day.


Our next day at the con started with a 9:00 AM session, “Cosplay and Photography.” I was expecting a little more out of this session since I am a photographer.  I was not impressed with the speakers and was expecting someone who has been doing cosplay and cosplay photography longer than a year to be speaking. From there it was some more wandering till my next session which was “Japanese Folk Dance.” I was expecting a lecture; not interactive session. So I got my aerobic workout for the day learning a traditional dance used to wish the fisherman luck.   From there it was off to lunch, then a lecture on Bonsai. That was an interesting lecture and I might get a bonsai at some point and not kill it.  After that we wandered around a bit and took pictures.  We left around 3:00 mostly because my husband was tired and there was just too much time between the next sessions we had any interest in.  Overall it was a pretty good day.  

 

I used the style of street photographer to photograph the con, and tried to be unobtrusive. During the con I took over 300 pictures which include just random scene of the convention area and portraits of cosplayers.  I enjoyed wandering and taking pictures at the convention and loved interacting with many of the cosplayers.  I’m not a picky photographer so I photographed people in simple costumes to very elaborate costumes.  I started out shooting with an ISO of 400 but ended up switching to ISO 800 an ISO 1600 due to the low light in the convention center after the sun sets.  For most of the convention I shot using aperture priority since it allowed me to capture the scene quickly without a lot of adjustment and not take up too much of a person’s time.  I would love to do a photo shoots outside of crowded convention with all of the people I took direct photos at the convention.    

Overall the convention was a great experience. I met a lot of interesting people, got some excellent pictures. Though, if we go to the con next year I will get a hotel room at the convention center; so we can go to more of the sessions and the late night dances. 

You can see my photos from Katuscon 20 here:  http://munchkinphotos.smugmug.com/Events/Katsucon-20.  I will be editing many of the portraits I took further to add nicer backgrounds and will be posting those with in the next week or so. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Elopement

Happy couple and their dog
Today I got to be part of a beautiful couple’s special moment, by capturing their elopement.  The two ladies
hail from Colorado but recently moved to Ohio for a job.  After being together for several years they decided to take the next step; so, they traveled from Ohio to DC to get married (with their dog).  Sadly the weather in DC was typical dreary cold winter day without snow to make the city look pretty, however, the couple still shined with joy.  It was simple quick little exchange of vows and signing of the marriage certificate.   I got to capture the exchange of vows and some pictures afterward before they got back into their car to head back home to Ohio.  I was happy I could capture the moment for them.

I captured the moments with my camera set to aperture priority set at f/10 and a 200 ISO.  The background for the photos was across from the Archives metro stop across from the Navy Memorial. 

Happy couple

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chinese New Year Parade

Every year there is a Chinese New Year Parade in DC’s China town; sadly, the parade is slowly deteriorating and becoming smaller and smaller.  Also people are just not being courteous, they move out into the street in front of the parade marchers and the security isn’t keeping the parade watchers on the sidewalk.  It is also becoming more and more difficult, to take pictures politely without having people with their phone and iPads jumping in front of me.  So I think this was my last year photographing the Chinese New Year Parade. 

I did get a few nice shots of the dragon dancers.  I shot at ISO 200 at F10 with a 1/160s shutter. You can see all the parade pictures here. 

Trip to Acadia National Park

Stop along the Park Loop Road ISO 400, Focal Length 20mm, Aperture F8, Shutter 1/400s Last weekend my husband and I went up to Acadia N...