Monday, May 22, 2017

2017 Intergalactic Expo 5.21.17

Author: Luke Cheng

For the third year in a row I made my way to the Intergalactic Expo in West Sacramento. I am so glad that this event was able to take place once again as it is one of my favorite local conventions. As its name suggests, Intergalactic Expo's focus is on science fiction. Fans of sci-fi took the opportunity to enjoy their favorite franchises at this one day mini-con. Check out this awesome family above. Their Star Wars cosplay was so on point! We've got the kids as a battle droid and IG-88 with mom as a droid and dad as the space asteroid monster! Creative to the max!

Free is awesome... and you know what was at the main entrance of Intergalactic Expo? FREE COTTON CANDY! The good folks over at Fluffy Sugar had a cotton candy booth handing out their delicious pink puffs of sugar to anyone who wanted one. It was awesome seeing all the con goers enjoying this sweet treat in the halls of the convention. Huge thanks to Fluffy Sugar for doing this. I hope they got a lot of tips... they deserve it!

What would a sci-fi con be without some awesome sci-fi stuff to look at? Check out these sweet communicators and phasers on display. I was definitely tempted to grab one and ask Scotty to 'beam me up'... but I knew better than to touch something that wasn't mine! Also on display at Intergalactic Expo were working droids like R2-D2 and BB-8. They were rolling around and posing for pictures. I think everybody enjoyed them immensely!

Well look what we have here! It's daddy and the kids! No matter where you turned you got to see some really sweet sci-fi cosplay on display. There were actually quite a few Darth Vaders walking around. If I had to say... I'd say that Star Wars won the day in terms of the amount of people in Star Wars cosplay compared to the other franchises. We had the Skywalkers (of course) but also Imperial and Rebel troopers, numerous Sith, droids, and characters from The Force Awakens! 

Speaking of Star Wars, Intergalactic Expo had a great panel featuring Mark Dodson, C. Andrew Nelson, and Frank Ordaz. Each of these guests played an important part in the greater Star Wars universe. Dodson voiced Salacious Crumb in Return of the Jedi, Nelson has played the role of Darth Vader since 1994, and Ordaz has worked with ILM for many years doing amazing artwork. It was a treat to sit in and hear about the experiences that each of them had with this beloved franchise.

I had to include this photo! Sean Long was cosplaying Han Solo, but this time he brought his cute corgi (Chewbacca) out! I love taking photos of animals, so this was a special opportunity for me to capture the Chewie with Sean. This definitely reminded me of the animal photoshoots I did with the SPCA. If you're interested in seeing those photos, go through my blog archive! Lots of cute cosplay and animals to check out!

Aside from the panels and cosplayers, Intergalactic Expo had a variety of things to do. Outside were local musical artists providing entertainment. Inside there were rooms featuring lightsaber training and trivia. I hopped into the trivia room to see if I knew any of the answers to the questions they were asking. Surprisingly, I did! Now if only I had the courage to raise my hand and give the answer one of these days!

I had such a good time at Intergalactic Expo this year. As always, the best part of the whole thing was seeing all the awesome friends together. Sacramento has such a great cosplay community, and I'm so glad to be a part of it. Can't wait to see everyone at the next cosplay event! Live long and prosper SUCKKKAAASS!!! Wanna see the complete gallery? CLICK HERE!

Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 Grape City Con 4.9.17

Author: Luke Cheng

Two cons in two days! It's been a busy (but fun) weekend! Today I found myself in Lodi, Ca for Grape City Con. I attended this con last year and remember really enjoying it, so I hoped that it would be just as great this year. Long story short... it was! In fact, this year was an improvement from last year. There were a lot of fun things to see and do, all for the low, low price of just eight bucks! And guess what... parking was free as well! A huge thanks must go out to the organizers for making this con very accessible in terms of cost. It's gotta be one of the best deals around.

Right when I walked in I was greeted by beautiful and stunning cosplay. The turnout was simply amazing. I walked about 10 steps past the entrance, stopped, and spent 20 minutes just taking photographs of the cosplayers around me. So I didn't get the chance to enter the hall until quite a bit after I arrived. Same thing actually happened with Perry from G33k-hq! We were both shooting away on our cameras as cosplayer after cosplayer arrived!

Grape City is a family friendly con. Many kids came to check out what it had to offer. It was cool seeing adults having fun with the kids letting them play with the different things that they had. In the photo above a young girl participates in a friendly joust. It was really sweet to see the kids enjoying themselves. Props to the adults who let them participate and feel like a part of the con!

It wasn't as if the kids just came to see. Many of them came to be seen! It wasn't just the teens and adults who came to cosplay, but kids as well. We had many fandoms represented by kids in cosplay, many of which were absolutely great looking. Check out this Belle cosplay! She has her book and her rose along with her gorgeous dress. Well done.

Some cons showcase wrestling, but it's usually pretty few and far between. Grape City had a huge covered area just for wresting. There was a huge match involving many, many wrestlers. Con goers all came to see this huge rumble take place. I had a blast watching the over-the-top moves being performed. All the guys in the ring did great. This was definitely one of the best parts of this con.

Though video gaming wasn't highly advertised, Grape City Con had a sizable area of retro video games set up for people to play. There was a collection of both older and some newer titles. It was all for free so anyone could just come up, grab a controller, and have at it. I'm always tempted to put my camera down and plays some of the games I grew up with. The temptation is strong!

Here's gaming of the non-electric type... table top! There was a fairly large group playing a Star Wars miniature game during the con. I played a little Hero-clix when it came out, but it wasn't nearly as complex as this. I spent a little time watching the players make intricate maneuvers with their ships in order to gain tactical advantages. This looks like a really involved game that would be fun to get into - if only I had the time!

The panel room at Grape City Con is as large as one of the vendor halls. There is ample space to hold a lot of people. Shown above is the Geek Fashion show crew talking about their show. There were other panels held throughout the duration of the con. 

My only regret about Grape City Con was that I had to leave way too early because of other photography engagements I had that day. Though I didn't spend nearly the time I wanted to at Grape City, I did feel satisfied with the what I had. It was a tremendous amount of fun, and it was really awesome seeing a lot of familiar faces around. For a complete gallery of my photos, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017 Colossus Con (Pleasanton, Ca) 4.8.17

Author: Luke Cheng

Colossus Con was held today in Pleasanton, Ca. It's a little farther than I usually travel for a con, but I felt it was close enough to make the trek... and I'm glad I did as this con was a lot of fun to attend. There were quite a few cosplayers on hand as well as special celebrity guests and plenty of dealers filling up the vendor hall. I took out my trusty camera and got right to work getting photos of all that went on during the day. What better way to start off a post about Colossus Con than to have a pic of Colossus from the X-Men? It was the perfect cosplay to have on today for sure!

The con was held at the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. It was a rather large area, but with the help of some of the parking personnel on hand I was able to find my way to the event location. I arrived at about 11am and there was quite a line to get into the building. I was hoping to get in quickly as the weather kept flipping back and forth from very nice to very rainy! Luckily I was able to get inside just as the rain began to come down again.

Upon entering Colossus Con I was greeted by non other than Colossus Con Girl herself! Rarely do cons have their own hero in costume so I was pretty impressed already. I didn't recognize her at first, but she turned out to be Icha Icha Cosplay. We've known each other for a couple years now and it was good to see her again. It was the voice that gave her away truth be told! 

As people came in they were greeted by a nice Colossus Con step and repeat style banner to take photos in front of. Many people took the opportunity to get a photo in front of it. I thought that was a great idea to help con-goers remember that they were here this day. It's also a pretty nice promotional tool for the con itself. 

The con pretty much was contained within one large hall. The tables were set up so that there was ample room to get around and be comfortable. I never felt that the con was too crowded even though there were plenty of guest on hand checking out all the merchandise. Special guests were located towards the back part of hall where there was even more room for photo ops. That worked out particularly well because some of the guests took some very large group shots.  

It was awesome seeing Elizabeth Rose as a special guest today. We actually met about a year ago at the G33k-HQ gathering. I had taken a photo of her as Link which she had on display at the table. It was great to see her cosplay talents being recognized. Besides getting her own table, she also held a panel on cosplay during the con. Hopefully many guests were able to attend it!

Julie Dolan, who voiced Princess Leia in the Star Wars Rebels television series, was one of the celebrity guests today. She was totally swamped with fans wanting autographs. The areas Rebel Legion group got the opportunity to take a special picture with her. Also at the con were Michael Bell (GI Joe's Duke), Jack Stauffer (Battlestar Galactica), Kathy Garver (Firestar), and more! The line-up of guests was pretty impressive!

I've been seeing a lot of the Cobra 1st Legion recently, and that's not a bad thing! I love shooting with the entire group (as you can tell)! They were on hand to meet Michael Bell, but we also able to take some time and go outside for a few shots.

Check out Cammie with her retro Batgirl cosplay with amazing parachute! She was just one of many outstanding cosplays I saw at Colossus Con. It was a pleasure getting a chance to see everyone come out with their A-game. See a full gallery of all my cosplay pictures HERE.

I had so much fun at today's con. Though the weather was a bit iffy, it wasn't able to stop people from getting the chance to come together and celebrate their favorite fandoms together. Colossus Con was definitely a con worth attending, and if you haven't been, I suggest you check when it comes around again... I hear there are a few of them throughout the year. Tomorrow I will be going to Grape City Con in Lodi. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see more amazing cosplayers there!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cosplay Photoshoot - Necikait as Harley Quinn 4.2.17

Author: Luke Cheng

It's been a while since I've done a private shoot with Necikait, so I was really happy to get together for one this past Sunday. She had been working on a Harley Quinn cosplay and today was the debut of it. It was definitely an honor to be one of the first people to see it! Places to shoot were a little scarce that day, but we found a little area with a dirty garage door that I felt would work.

Necikait is an amazing cosplayer. She makes all of her cosplays herself. If you're interested in following her work, I would highly suggest watching her Youtube channel and following her on Instagram and Snapchat using her handle 'necikait'! She's always giving behind the scenes looks at what she's working on as well as the fun stuff she likes to do on a daily basis. Check out the amazing hammer she made - it was over 6 feet tall! 

I wanted to change up the scenery a little bit so we took a short walk to a beautiful area in the greenbelt. It had a totally different feel than the dingy garage door so I asked Necikait to have more of a peaceful look at this location. And she delivered! The photos in the greenbelt were of a softer nature. I really like the photo above as it shows a more serene side of Harley.

Though being in nature isn't exactly the city environment that Harley Quinn is usually portrayed in, the greens are a great contrast to her costume. I love how she really stands out in the photograph here. Also, the light was really soft as the afternoon changed to early evening. It was a ton of fun shooting during this time.

Being in Davis, there are a ton of strange things just all around the bike paths around town. I thought this butterfly bench was a bit silly, so I had Necikait get up on top of it and do some fun poses. I really appreciated that she had a bunch of poses ready to go. Necikait ran through multiple poses in each area that we shot in - she's definitely a pro! Check out all of our photos from this shoot by CLICKING HERE.

For the shoot I exclusively went with the Sony camera system. I shot with a Sony A7rii camera with either the 28mm 2.0, 55mm 1.8, or 85mm 1.4 prime lens attached. I typically shoot Canon, but it's hard to deny the amazing image quality that Sony cameras can put out. It worked pretty well, but to be honest with you I did struggle a little with the system. It wasn't quite there in terms of shooting speed and the camera locked up once during the shoot, which was pretty annoying. All in all though, I was able to get some images I really liked from it and will be going with this set-up again soon!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2017 Sac Toy Con 3.26.17

Author: Luke Cheng

The Sac Toy Con isn't an event known for cosplay, but I knew we'd have cosplay representation so I packed my camera gear and headed out to the Scottish Rite Masonic Center to catch all the action going on. I was really happy see some some of my favorite cosplayers at the toy show. Big Trent came as the Red Ranger. I don't have a lot of photographs of him in this particular cosplay so I was happy to get a short shoot in with him. In the picture above his is protecting all the visitors to the Sac Toy Con!

Being a toy show there has to be toys! The main hall was filled with cool toys both vintage and modern. It was really easy to get distracted at each and every booth. I found myself drawn to the dealers with GI Joe. As a kid I played with and collected GI Joe. Those toys of mine got a real beating from the amount of play they went through. Man, I wish I still had them around! I felt really nostalgic seeing all the old figures I used to have on sale. Of course being vintage pieces now they were all a significant amount more than I had originally gotten them for.

Youtube sensation Sean Long had a booth just outside the main hall. I usually see Sean in full cosplay at his table, but today he was going more casual - which is also totally cool. He had a bunch of great toys on sale. I even think some members of Cobra came by to take a look at some of his items for sale! It's always great to see Sean at these shows, he's one of Sacramento's best!

The Sac Toy Con had good attendance with people coming in at a good rate. It was good to hear from on dealer at the show that he was doing good business during the day. Hopefully all the sellers were able to make good money! 

The Cobra 1st Legion was on hand with a nice retro backdrop near the entrance to the convention. People could come and take pictures with GI Joe or Cobra characters. I especially like this backdrop because it is designed after the old GI Joe figure packaging of the 80's. This area was a very popular place to be if you wanted to get in on a picture. 

One of the main attractions at the show was Morgan Lofting. She was the voice of the Baroness on the old 80's GI Joe cartoon. Just about boy had a crush on the Baroness back in the day - me included! It was an honor to meet her. She signed a sweet 8x10 picture for me. Morgan also took the time to pose for some photos with the Cobra 1st Legion. Here she is in front with a rather large weapon!

Look at this absolutely incredible Beast cosplay! The make up and details that went into this are really stunning. Aside from Beast, there were other Marvel characters roaming around such as a great X-23 and Captain America. Check out the full gallery later on in this post.

My other short shoot of the day was with Lexi as Wonder Woman. I've seen Lexi continue to improve this particular cosplay over time. Lexi is stunning as Wonder Woman and I was so happy to see her at the event today. Lots of Wonder Woman hype is building up as the movie is set to release later this year. Lexi definitely picked the right character to cosplay at the right time!

Drewski's food truck was on site to feed all the hungry toy shoppers. As it turns out Cobra Commander is also a fan of Drewski's! He took some time out of his busy day to grab a bite to eat. If you'd like to see a full gallery of photos from the Sac Toy Con, CLICK HERE and check it out!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Cosplay Photoshoot - Steven Universe 3.25.17

Author: Luke Cheng

I was contacted a while back to see if I could do a group photoshoot. It's pretty rare to do a big group shoot outside of a convention so the prospect intrigued me. The group in question was cosplaying Steven Universe at the UC Davis Arboretum. Being so close to me, I just had to do it. I met up with the cosplayers at 4pm on that Saturday and we started shooting!

As you know, I'm always at the UC Davis Arboretum shooting photos. Recently I've done many fashion photoshoots with November Cosplay here. The Arboretum is very large and I typically shoot on the east side of the location. Today I went to the western part of the Arboretum where there were some very interesting locations to shoot at. This particular shot was a small clearing with beautiful trees in the background. I thought it was a great spot to get some portraits done.

The colors of the cosplayers really stood out among the green natural tones of the Arboretum. The Sailor Moon style Steven Universe cosplays were full of vibrant reds, purples, oranges, and blues. The contrast worked really well here. I was very impressed with the amount of detail and work that went into each cosplay. In talking with the group, each member contributed to different parts of the cosplay. 

The group had some very young but enthusiastic cosplayers. It was a great to see these guys really get into their characters. I have to say that sometimes it can be hard to get people to pose and do things in front of the lens, but these two really just went for it. It was very easy to get great photos of them because of their willingness to just put their all into the character that they were cosplaying.

Chloe, shown above, organized the group photoshoot and was my contact for this shoot. A huge thanks has to be given for the invitation to shoot the group. I ended up editing a good amount of photos from the weekend session. If you're interested in seeing them all, CLICK HERE to go to the full gallery located on my main site!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2017 Winter Central Valley Cosplay Gathering 2.25.17

Author: Luke Cheng

Last week was the Central Valley Winter Gathering, and I had the chance to attend it for just a very short while. I had many commitments that Saturday, but I didn't want to miss out on this gathering! The CVCG is always a ton of fun. The people are great and the atmosphere is relaxed. I, sadly, was only able to stay for an hour before my next shoot, but I was thankful for the little time I had. I didn't get a ton of photos, but I'll share with you a few that I was able to take!

A year ago there had to be two Winter CVCGs because of rain and bad weather. We've been having a lot of rain recently, but thankfully the weather today was perfect. There was blue sky and scattered clouds with a nice temperature. Everybody was hanging out, having a good time on the grass, and enjoying the food provided by the organizers. The photo above was one of my first shots of the day. For this shot I chose to go with some off camera lighting. She and her cosplay look fabulous!

One shot... one kill!!! It's Widowmaker from Overwatch!!! I'm definitely bias towards cosplayers from this game as I absolutely cannot stop playing it on a daily basis. I totally suck at using snipers like Widowmaker, but I still love her. This photo was taken without any special lighting, it's all natural light with a little post processing in Lightroom. 

Probably the most intricate cosplay of the CVCG was this Magitek soldier by Broken Blade Workshop. Not only was the cosplay spot on to these freaky soldiers from Final Fantasy XV, but the movements were also completely on point. I was totally impressed with this cosplay and others that have been done by Broken Blade. After this photo I had to leave for my next session. I really didn't want to go! Hopefully my next event won't be such a short amount of time!