Anime Central 2015 Photos

I attended Anime Central 2015 on May 15th and 16th. I have a few general hallway style photos as well as quite a few from photoshoots.

Photo links:
Facebook Gallery
Photography Banzai Gallery

Here are a few highlight images from the convention:

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I tried to stay pretty mobile camera equipment wise as usual with conventions. I brought the Nikon D600, 50mm f1.8g, and two Yongnuo i-TTL flash with wireless triggers. I used the flash quite a bit, mostly when I had helpers to hold them. Lightstands would have been helpful, but it’s added bulk I don’t want to carry around. In the future, I’d like the find something even smaller than those mini-lightstands, but so far I don’t see anything on the market that would fit the bill. I think the photos turned out pretty decent considering the limited equipment and time. I hope everyone who attended ACEN had a fun time.

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Getting photos organized into date specific folders.

It’s difficult dealing with a large number of photos. Over the years I have accumulated a lot and I’ve also deleted a lot. Though I’m sure not as much as some people, right now I have around 1.25TB. Before I go into more specific details about my personal quest to get things organized and backed up to some degree, I wanted to mention the main purpose of this article.

To get things organized into the most logical format possible, it was difficult finding something that would work, at least on Windows. After some experimentation and searching I wound up using Exiftool. It’s a somewhat simple command line tool that can do batch processing on images and source EXIF data in that process. Other tools I found didn’t work as I had expected, or were a hassle to use.

In Windows, you download the standalone EXE from Phil’s Exiftool website, extract the EXE, rename it by removing the (-k), and copying it to the C:\Windows directory for ease of running from the command line, because no path to the EXE is needed if it is in the Windows directory.

I’m still unsure on what everything means in the command line here, but here is the process I’m using right now to get things ordered (Windows 7):

exiftool -r -d F:/IMAGES/%Y/%m/%d/%Y%m%d_%H%M%S%%-c.%%e "-FileName<CreateDate" "-FileName<DateTimeOriginal" F:\PHOTOS

The gist here is that my photos are in a jumbled mess in F:\PHOTOS. The tool takes those, and in the process of moving them it renames them and places them in new folder structure F:/IMAGES with further paths for the year, month, and day based on internal EXIF data. The main details on how to write calls to the application can be found here.

In my case:
%Y = 4 digit year
%m = 2 digit month
%d = 2 digit day

%H = 2 digit hours
%M = 2 digit minutes
%S = 2 digit seconds

%%-c = When photos have duplicate timestamps, this will give them a unique batch number, so it is an important step.

%%e = the original file extension

The other parameters “-FileName<CreateDate” “-FileName<DateTimeOriginal” (and “-filename<filemodifydate”), are related to what tags or information about the file it pulls from to form dates values.

That’s it. Running the line from Window’s CMD.exe with administrator privileges should result in a reordered file structure. For me, it’s running as I write this and appears to be working.

I started with most of the photos duplicated manually over two disk drives. Recently I purchased a second 3TB drive and set that up as RAID 1. Copying the photos, just barely, onto a 1.5TB external drive I had. I eventually got them back on the new RAID1 setup and have been trying to get them organized. Even though the photos are technically on 3 disks now, it still feels like bare minimum in regard to backup. I’m not too worried if someday I lose everything, because they are not that important (“I can always take new photos”) and I have a good deal of them on in my Zenfolio gallery as high resolution JPEGs as well as sprinkled around social network websites in smaller format.

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RedBull Battlegrounds Detroit 2014

Two friends and I recently attended a gaming tournament that centered around the game StarCraft II. We were only able to attend that Saturday and Sunday, driving all the way from Illinois. StarCraft II is a real-time strategy game that is popular in the professional gaming scene. This is the first gaming tournament I’ve been to and I feel it was worth the trip to try something new and just see what professional gaming is about first hand.


This specific event was connected to the company RedBull that are famous for their energy drinks and sponsoring of non-traditional and extreme sports. The event location was well laid out and the live video production team they had was impressive. From a convention photographer’s perspective, I really enjoyed the high production values of the tournament. I also thought that the event staff I had interacted with were friendly, polite, and helpful when I had questions or needed something. Overall, it was a worthwhile experience for me even though I don’t personally have much of a connection to the game or the StarCraft II scene in general.

I was able to photograph some of the event along with a number of photos of my friend who is really into the StarCraft II scene. His game ID is illestkid if you want to hit him up for a match. Mine is DWW, although I rarely play as of the date on this article.

You can see my photos of the event on Facebook as well as my personal gallery website.
Facebook Gallery (tag-able after liking the page)
Personally Site Gallery

Here are a few highlight photos from the event (the reoccurring person in the photos is illestkid I had mentioned before):

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If you haven’t seen a professional gaming tournament event before, I’d suggest checking one out. I’d consider attending another one in the future. RedBull did a good job hosting the event, so they are worth checking out.

If you have any questions or comments, message me through here.

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Anime Central 2014 Photos (ACEN)

I was able to attend Anime Central on the 16th and 17th. Most of my time spent was with private photo sessions, but I did take some hallway cosplay photos when I had free time.

General Gallery
Lolita Fashion Show Gallery
Photo Session Favorites Gallery

Facebook General Gallery
Facebook Lolita Fashion Show Gallery
Facebook Photo Session Favorites Gallery

Gallery Site General
Gallery Site Lolita Fashion Show
Gallery Site Photo Session Favorites

A few highlight images:

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I decided to focus on camera equipment and not lighting for this convention. A Nikon D600 with a 28mm f1.8 lens and a D7100 with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I also used a small reflector a small handful of times when I was able. The vast majority of the photos were taken with totally natural light and edited in Photoshop to my preference.

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My Photoshop tips when editing cosplay photos.

Though I’ve used Photoshop in some fashion since the early 2000s, I’m always learning or re-learning things about it. To improve the speed of editing, there are a few things that make a big difference. I’ve been trying to incorporate the keyboard more into the editing process because it does speed up editing a lot.

– Holding the space bar down will allow you to drag around the photo while keeping your current tool.

– There is an application level setting that you can change to have the scroll-wheel perform zoom and it doesn’t change your current tool selected. I always enable that whenever I need to (re)install Photoshop.

– The clone stamp tool is my go-to tool for editing cosplay photos. It’s easy to clone out harder to manage spots and areas with this tool compared to the others I’ve used. It takes more effort to use than the other related tools, so I try to use the others when I can to speed things up.

– The spot healing brush is good for quick removal of most moderately sized things you don’t want in the photo as long as the image around it isn’t too complex. This tool works best when editing inside something and not edges of things. The healing brush tool is a quicker alternative to the clone stamp tool as long as the surroundings are not complex.

– The patch tool is good for changing big areas as a starting point. It’s also good for under the eye darkness.

– To change brush size or hardness, hold alt+right mouse button and drag the mouse either up/down or left/right to change things.

– The blur tool is good for a number of things, especially making your larger edits look more natural by blurring the edges of what you added.

– The sharpen tool helps fix some of the blurriness that some of the other tools like clone and heal result in.

– Dodge and burn are just generally good and adding realism to major edits or changing things like shadows to make them less harsh.

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