Category Archives: Life

Going Mirrorless: WonderCon 2019 Cosplay Photography

Last fall, I conceded that phones have caught up to casual cameras and I’d have to get a nicer one to get better image quality. Well, I finally bought a mirrorless camera. The kiddo found my old SLR, and we’ve split a few rolls of film (re)discovering how to shoot with it. Then he started asking about a modern digital equivalent. Since it was going to be two of us using it, not just me, I felt like I could justify the expense.

I read a bunch of reviews and asked around for advice, finally settling on a Sony Alpha a6000. It’s a few generations back in their advanced amateur line, making it a bit more affordable.

We brought the new camera to WonderCon, and I made some discoveries:

  1. It actually handles the light level inside the convention center!
  2. I’ve gotten waaaay too used to just capturing costumes when shooting cosplayers, instead of composing interesting shots. Most of the photos I took on Saturday had good image quality, but were ultimately just snapshots.
  3. Because of #1 and #2, I ended up with a lot of busy backgrounds. I tried to cut down on the distraction by adding vignetting to some of the photos afterward.

Originally we planned totrade off who had the good camera, but he ended up wearing his giant Minecraft Spider Jockey costume the entire time, so he didn’t have much opportunity to take photos. In the end, he only took one all weekend…but it was the best-composed shot of the entire day!

Women dressed as Joy, Sadness and Disgust from Inside Out

I took the lesson from that, and while most of my pictures on Sunday were still utilitarian snaps, I did manage to take a few that I think worked out better, like these three:

My full cosplay gallery is on Flickr, including these four photos and all those snapshots.

The Google+ Rescue Mission

In advance of Google shuttering their third(?) attempt at a social network, Google+, I’ve retrieved a full archive, and I’ve trawled through it looking for anything that I want to keep online after the shutdown. Most of them were cross-posts of one sort or another, or (early on, especially) the kind of random social media status that maybe has value in the moment, but not down the line. I found around 30-40 posts worth keeping. Some had their own merits, some fit in with other posts here on the blog.

Rather than just import them verbatim, I’ve decided to do some minimal cleanup. No major rewriting or anything, just the kind of things that I’d be willing to silently change on an old blog post that was already here:

  • Fix up the formatting
  • Fix typos
  • Link to related posts
  • Add a quote to linkblogging posts if they need more context

Yeah, it’s slower than copy-paste or direct import (I never did get around to writing the converter I wanted to), but there’s no rush for old news, and I’ve got copies to work from even if I’m not done by April 2.

Waxing and Waning Moon

Tonight’s waxing crescent moon, taken with the really long telephoto lens. It’s passing in front of the Hyades star cluster right now, which I’d love to get a photo of, but the moon is just waaay too bright to capture the background stars! Plus I’m still getting used to the controls on this camera.

And here’s another moon shot I took in January, about a week after the lunar eclipse. I used a different camera, while it was in a different phase, on the opposite side of the sky…

Same moon, though! 🙂

Supercameratelephotolensisoutoffocus

Blurry leaves on a twig in front of an even blurrier background.

Super camera telephoto lens is out of focus
Even though the tripod’s set, the blur is really bogus
If you use the automated setting hocus-pocus
Still the telephoto lens is slightly out of focus!

(The background is supposed to be blurry, but I had a lot of trouble focusing on the foreground with this lens. I guess it’s just going to take practice.)

An imagined conversation with an email petition

“Please sign this petition about X!”

“OK, I care about X, what’s the petition actually say?”

“It’s about X!”

“Right, but what’s the actual wording? Am I putting my name on supporting a specific action? ‘Cause I’d support some actions but not others.”

“It’s telling them to do something about X!”

“Yeah, I got that. What is it telling them to do?”

“Solve X!”

“Just look for solutions?”

“No, it’s telling them what we want them to do about X.”

“Which is…?”

“Fix it!”

“Sorry, but I’m not signing my name to a blank letter.”

“Why don’t you care about X?”

*sigh* *delete*

I’m totally willing to sign petitions when I can see the actual wording and it’s something I agree with.

But if the petition website doesn’t say what they’re actually delivering? I don’t want to put my name on something that might be advocating what that I consider to be a bad solution, even if I agree on the problem.