Well, writing this blog feels like jumping into the story in the middle of a chapter, because in my mind, my trip to Taiwan, the shoots there and Supanova and its associated shoots are all intertwined. But since I (1) processed Supanova stuff first, and (2) am in the middle of some extended post-process workloads for the shoots in Taiwan, it seems only fair to do an update on what I can, and leave the rest of the chronological explanations for later.
So, like all other interrupted narratives, the beginning is an ending. I awoke from an insignificant sleep to airplane breakfast, and then waited as the plane descended to the cold embrace of Sydney winter weather. No more the humidity and heat of Taiwan – instead, rain lashed the windows of the plane, playing its part in what was to be two weeks of overcast skies and clouds – certainly out of character for Australian winters, which tend to be filled with sunshine and blue skies, albeit with a chilly edge in the air.
In my last few hours in Taiwan, I had packed the photographic gear I would need for Supanova Sydney 2013 into my TrekPak. The lightstands and umbrellas of course, I had put into the check-in luggage, and these I retrieved quickly to complete the “minimalist portable” configuration that I now take to conventions. (That configuration of equipment is something I will cover in a later blog post, as it is basically a versatile yet compact collection of essential items.)
Dropping in directly from the airport to Supanova two hours after the start of the convention, I found it a fairly crowded affair. The sheer number of cosplayers who now go to conventions means I have long given up my previous aims of comprehensively documenting everyone on the floor. Instead, my modus operandi was to do a few rounds of the convention hall to get floor shots and meet new people, then do shoots, then return to the halls, then do shoots again. I don’t even tend to go see the cosplay competitions anymore.
My first shoot was with the group of young people cosplaying League of Legends. The rain had deceptively hid itself, so we went out and played among a patch of bushes and trees. Inevitably, the rain returned, but not before we got a group shot and singles of most, if not all of the group.
The second shoot was with Hehalana and Nabari, who were twinning in GL. We went to a nearby area which had some brick walls a bit more suited for the theme and shot there, but it was quite hard to get into the feel simply because the weather and wider settings were both working against the desired look.
The second day’s floor shots were quite interesting, because I found the area where the signings were taking place actually had really nice light characteristics: a strip of windows at the top of the dome lets in nice light which works as hair or separation light, nicely complementing fill flash.
In terms of shoots, I shot the Game of Thrones group outside, before the rain started pouring down in earnest. But I did finish up the singles and pair shots as required. The last few (Tom and Clare’s Viserys and Daenerys) were done with rain bucketing down a few feet away, as we took shelter in a shaded corridor. We ended up constructing a backdrop by propping up wooden planks against a wall to do those last few shots.
The second shoot was with Minami and Su, for their One Piece Kaizoku Musou Kimono version characters. At this stage, the convention was wrapping up in parts, and the only place we could find to shoot was against a white wall in the lobby area (which had earlier been cleared by staff due to “obstruction” – what?). Since I didn’t particularly want to draw attention to the fact that we were “loitering”, light stands were out of the question. I chose to spice up the background wall with a mixed-gel flash (green and blue) on the ground, then bounce another flash (again, on the ground) off an opposite wall as key.
The green-blue background actually worked really well, especially because of the Japanese umbrellas which provided a nice red contrast to the cooler colours, and aided with composition. And the coloured lights came through the white translucent sections of the umbrellas, to great effect.
Oh! And another highlight for day 2? This guy from the ACT.