2015 Botanic Gardens Cosplay

I attended an event hosted by my convention/photographer/cosplayer friends “Cosplayer With A Camera” and Hikikomori Sama at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. They have had the event there for a number of years, but this might be the last. The garden has some pretty restrictive policies on photography, which makes things difficult for us. This year they tightened the policies even more and we had some aggressive staff on carts show up toward the end of the night. The garden itself is really large and beautiful, which is of course great for the pictures we take.

Here are a few highlight photos from the event:

p1288574805-2 p1288569975-2
p1288553273-2 p1288541795-2

All I brought for the event was the Nikon D600 and 50mm f1.8g lens. It’s a nice combination that allows you do a decent amount without the extra bulk and hassles. Along with that, the overcast skies helped a lot with getting nice photos. Shade and uniform outdoor light are great for simple natural photos that don’t need much editing afterward.

Posted in People, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments

June Starved Rock Photoshoot

My friend and fellow photographer Kings Cosplay set up a photoshoot at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL. Though we had our fair share of issues such as part of the park flooding, we did manage to get a decent amount of time to take photos. Besides getting some photography in, I enjoyed the exercise and scenic views!

p1274726163-2 p1274719028-2
p1271972353-2 p1273493391-2

I brought a pretty simple camera kit. The Nikon D600 along with a 28mm f1.8 and 70-210mm f4 lens. I also brought a single flash, but only used that for around 5 photos. My go-to for most of the event was the telephoto. I like the photos out of that ~$200 old used 1980s telephoto lens just as much as anything else. The lens is weirdly shaped, ugly, and with old school screw-drive AF, but does the job well.

Posted in People, Photography | Tagged , , , , | Comments

Motorcycle Model Photoshoots

I recently joined in on a two-day photoshoot Kings Cosplay had scheduled with the local model Ari Jade. The theme was race queen with most of the secondary subject being motorcycles.

Here are a few highlight photos:

DSC_0915 DSC_0606
DSC_0604 DSC_0619

Day one equipment:
28mm f1.8 lens
Two flash with a stand, umbrella, and a 6×8″ diffuser.

The first day was a bit rough photo wise. All we initially had to work with was a home garage and by the time we got out to a downtown parking garage later in the day it was really dark, so the background wasn’t usable. The main issue I didn’t properly compensate for was the sodium vapor lamps the parking garage used, which produces monochromatic light. I also tried gels on my flash, which didn’t have a strong enough orange to match the garage lamps.

The parking garage photos were best in monochrome.

The parking garage photos were best in monochrome.

Day two equipment:
28mm f1.8 lens
70-210mm f4 lens
Two flash with a stand and large 42″ brolly box softbox umbrella.
I also had a bracket where the two flash could be both inside the diffuser.

I would like to use that 42″ brolly box more often because it can produce a nice soft light. It’s a little difficult to use, but it is really worth the effort. I actually have two, but I’d probably need to get more flash to properly use two large diffusers like that. The same goes for the cheap 70-210mm f4 lens that I have. Though it isn’t up to the standard of current glass in regard to sharpness and such, but it has worked well for people photos every time that I have used it.

Posted in Article, People, Photography, Vehicles | Tagged , , , , | Comments

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:

p1193237084-2 p1193211803-2
p1193271265-2 p1193075415-2

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.

Posted in Conventions, Photography | Tagged , , , | Comments

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.

Posted in Article, Help, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments