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Oct. 18th, 2015


Cosfame vs Creepy Photographer - how do we unbreak things?

There was an incident where it recently came to light that a photographer was requesting some people give him nude selfies. That by itself is lame but not shocking. People get pervy messages from people hiding behind a screen all the time and it's a problem, but relatively easy to blow off.

This case however, the harasser is someone that I feel did a lot positive for the community. If someone asked me about shooting with them, I’d have said go ahead. Yet as it turns out, this person was using their influence in the community to increase his personal porn collection: Promises of fame and money, allusions to everyone else doing it, and with time pressure.

It brings to light two problems to me - the dangers of more socially competent creepers, and the power of cosfame / Facebook's "like" button. Some people followed up saying that girls that got the messages and gave in should have just said no. And yes they should have, but he picked his prey well. People that are relatively new to the hobby who don't know how things usually go. He gave them reasonable-sounding explanations. Of course it would still be easy to say no if they weren't that interested in getting photos. It's like models giving into Terry Richardson for a shot at Vogue. People are measured by Likes and he'll get them Likes.

So how do we fix this? It's not practical to just ban everyone under 20 or 25 or something from the hobby. I think it will be another decade before people learn to be less obsessed with being a brand. So only idea I've come up with is maybe notable photographers and sites post some sort of basic guide / warning label. And this feels like a crappy solution, so I'd love to hear others.

How does this seem as a notice to new cosplayers that photographers can have on their sites (kinda sucks that there's no central resource like cosplay.com used to be anymore):

  • If you’re ever required to do anything alone with someone (or even some group), it’s a red flag. You may be asked to do something one-on-one, but if you ask to bring a friend, the answer should always be yes. And if there’s a problem with that person being a boyfriend or brother or parent, stay away.

  • No is always an acceptable answer. And so is “not now”. If it isn’t an answer they seem willing to accept, that’s also a red flag.

  • Any photographer (or cosplayer or party host etc) should be willing to give references (if not, there’s another red flag). You may even be better off finding references yourself. Talk with those references, even if everything seems fine.

  • If anyone even suggests you do something they won’t share, it’s a sign something is wrong. Even if it is something private, don’t agree to anything you wouldn’t be ok with others knowing about.

Or for photographers' own sites, a flipped version of that pledging all those things? But at the same time, would something like that encourage you to work with that photographer, or discourage you (since it may look like if they need to show they're not a creep, they must be a creep)?

Sep. 28th, 2015


Getting ready to go on a camping trip

About 14 years ago I read an article about a project called the “Talk to God” phone and it was at this event called Burning Man. Someone rigged up a payphone in the middle of the desert that people could use to talk to someone filling the role of God. I read more about the project and the event, and it was fascinating. But seemed far out of reach for me.

Preparations to go (with some pictures!)Collapse )


The journey begins...Collapse )

TL;DR: I made it to something I’ve been longing to visit for a long time.
I’ll leave the rest to another post. This is lengthy enough.

Dec. 27th, 2013

just me

Katsucon and Princesses

Time for another installment of look at what photos Ted took!

about shooting and editing and summary of MuramasaCollapse )

The priciple subject of the shoot was yunaura's Momohime from Muramasa: The Deamon Blade. I posted something from this before to cajole people to vote for her in ACP's Muramasa cosplay contest. Now I finally finished editing.

I had been wanting to shoot her Momohime for awhile, so I'm glad it finally happened. I think it's a cool character design, and probably my favorite of Yun's costumes. She has some more related to making the costume and the shoot itself on her tumblr.

The other subject was Sirian. I was planning to shoot in a Japanese Garden and thought it would be a good place to re-shoot her in the first outfit I saw her in (I've gotten a lot better since then). She wasn't able to find all the parts of that outfit, and instead put together another one, that would probably be even better suited to the location... if we had the location.
 Picture: Sirian

The full set from this shoot is on my site.

I also finally finished Katsucon photos. I had it mostly done shortly after Katsucon, because I was so excited about the Psycho Pass cosplay photoshoot I did.

But then I dragged my feet on the rest of them. The Guilty Crown shoot I finished most of for another ACP contest. But this did involve more editing - cleaning up and even crazy particle system VFX, etc. So the rest I didn't finish until a few days ago.

More crazy shot below cut that I already spammed on FBCollapse )

And then there was the Amnesia shoot. I was hoping I could pawn off editing of this on yunaura since she's such a big fan of Amnesia. But ultimately, I did the edits myself, with her help for image selection.

Amnesia RainbowCollapse )

Dec. 1st, 2013

just me

2012 wrap up?

I was meaning to write about two shoots from last year, but never did...

That summer while watching Fate/Zero, I decided that while Saber is cool in general, nothing is quite as BAMF as her on her bike. So, I had this idea that it would be awesome to track down a Yamaha Vmax...

and I found one!Collapse )

Later in the year, I did a shoot with Twinkleprincess as my favorite character from Magi. And I tried out an idea I had initially been hoping to use for a B*RS shoot (and still to hope to... someday) 3D! In its most awesome form:
About that shoot...Collapse )

Oct. 14th, 2013

just me

Lumberjack Con

Anime Expo Cosplay Photos
are done.

I didn't attend much of the con itself. I'm not much of a fan of AX in general - I go because they have cool guests and lots of people I know. So not feeling very into it, I only attended two days. The Porno Graffiti concert was fun. Waiting over an hour and not getting into the screening of Makoto Shinkai's new movie was not. I did make it to his panel the next day though.

I had just two photo shoots planned. The one that worked out the best was a Diebuster / Gunbuster 2 shoot that teawisp on dA contacted me about. I was tempted to decline it, because I'm more and more reluctant to shoot at cons. But the outfits are fun, and I figured it was as decent a location as I'd find for something like this. I'm glad I did it.

The other was for a friend from college. She and her boyfriend were cosplaying from Devil May Cry.
 Picture: Devil May Cry - Dante and Lady 8584

Oct. 7th, 2013

just me

2D becomes 3D and meets 3D CG

Macross World Convention was this past weekend: Cosplay Pictures from Macross World Con. It was bigger and more fun than I expected. I also expected Sirian's singing to easily win the Macross Idol competition, but Jet had an awesome space fishing lesson.

More from Macross WorldCollapse )

Which had me in a bit of a Macross Mood, which got me to finally finishing Japan Expo USA cosplay pictures. Most notably a bit of a project that I got inspired to do as a side effect of SIGGRAPH. I decided to do an experiment with making an HDRI lightprobe environment map for compositing a CG mech into cosplay photo. Perfect for Macross, since the mechs are relatively small (next to something like an Eva). The end result is:

more details of the HOW under the cutCollapse )

Sep. 23rd, 2013

just me

My Photos Are Lies

I do have horizontal blinds in my bedroom. But the windows face North, and so the light from them doesn't really look like that. Some flash trickery however does look like that.

I guess now I need to do a film noir shoot, since that is the de-facto application of light from blinds.

My from the Revy shoot: http://epii.info/anime/2013/black-lagoon/

(I didn't manage to get through Japan Expo or anything else this weekend. Instead I took more pictures.)

Sep. 20th, 2013

just me


I'm trying to work through photo backlog. One of the reasons I avoid processing photos is that it reminds me how far my photos are from where I wish they were. I'm sure that's a factor for many photographers. I am not all that satisfied with either of the sets I just finished - not bad, but not what I want.

In the case of the spring sakura gatherings, I wasn't aiming to take amazing photos - I was mostly just there to hang out. I just sort of took photos because it's something I do. So given I went in with no plan at all, not even knowing who I'd see, I guess the results are OK.

 Picture: D8C_1481

more: http://epii.info/anime/2013/hanami/

On think I feel is the case in many of my photos is that they're too heavy with lighting and crazy angles and such - sometimes that's appropriate, but not always. It takes away any delicacy the image may have had when being so blunt. Working lighter helps not loose that, and so I think this benefitted:

It's still not at the the level of some of what I admire, like this Hanasaku Iroha shoot - particularly this shot. Maybe it's time for me to play with film some more to force a simpler approach.

But then again, there are photographers who do heavy lighting and still seems to capture the right touch in her photos. So I suppose it's less a matter of technique as just application of that technique.

I also processed a Chobits photoshoot I did @ UCLA. There's a specific image Mari wanted to reproduce. I had to edit in the wings since I didn't think we should be drawing on the stones (they should be drawn in chalk to be accurate to the art):

The rest was just filler essentially. My favorite from the shoot seems to only be preferred by me - others feel the pose is too awkward.

Who knows what's next. The Revy shoot I did is 80% done. Japan Expo has so few photos that may be easy to wrap up. I'm not going in any order. Shortest Job first if anything.

Sep. 16th, 2013


Magnetic Fields and Summer

The summer has been an adventure. Visits from Yun, Makoto, my mom, Yeu & Lina. A couple bay area trips: Fanime, visiting my sister in SF, and Japan Expo. Also went to Anime Expo and SIGGRAPH and Labyrinth of Jareth. Did photoshoots with Yun, Sirian, Mari, Miyuki, Makoto, Yeu & Lina. In addition to shooting at cons. My photo backlog is scary (TAT). Beach party, party at my place, a few birthdays. Sunset Strip Music Festival, saw Flyleaf, some other show? (I feel like I'm missing something) OC Fair, Nisei Week, West LA Obon festival, Ramen festival. Board games with co-workers. And then there's that full-time job inbetween, and sometimes even sleep.

In a way, I'm happy for things to be slowing down - I have plans all the next weekends - Hiking, Little Boots @ Troubador, Santa Monica Glow. But they're not full weekend plans. So hopefully I'll have some time to recouperate.

I love doing stuff with people, and especially like having people over - it's sad for me when my place is back to being just me. But... right now I can really use some time to just me.

I had labor day weekend free, but I spent it mostly being frustrated. A tale of ZFS Corrupt Metadata and Desperate Data RecoveryCollapse )

It's a really worrisome feeling to have the past year of photos inaccessable - especially with most still unprocessed. I was pretty sure I could get the data back, but as time went on and attempt after attempt failed, that uneasiness just got worse. Fortunately, eveything that matters is recovered finally.

During the hard drive debacle I ran into a variety of other hurdles - one night my digitally controlled lights just went off mysteriously. I built the device that handles the dimming, so I decided to take it appart. It seems something went wrong with the power switch:

Technology hates me?Collapse )

However... While trying to get data back, that involved running tasks that take many hours, I was able to do some work on the data I did have. As a result, the DJ Miku shoot with Miyuki is processed already:

Cosplay  Picture: Vocaloid - Miku 9782

Cosplay  Picture: Vocaloid - Miku 9891

Both those images are taken in the same room. The full set is here: http://epii.info/anime/2013/caution-dj-miku/

Aug. 11th, 2013

just me

Disk Usage

I'm running low on space on a system with ~3TB of storage across two drives. I set this up last year, with the expectation it would last at least a few years. (previous setup had about 1TB) I now feel I should be looking into 4TB drives. The biggest offender is photos/videos eating 2TB just themselves.

By Year:
2008 21G
2009 140G
2010 243G
2011 198G
2012 638G ... D800 images eat so much disk space
2013 831G ... and only 60% into the year

(these number are disk space usage - since photos are set to be mirrored in case of drive failure. So The actual amount of photo data is half those numbers)

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