Author: Luke Cheng
This past weekend I went down to the Bay Area to attend the 2016 Summer NorCal Gathering that took place at Coyote Point in San Mateo. It's can be hard for me to venture out of the Sacramento area to attend cons and gatherings because of my schedule, but I've been really wanting to! Saturday was totally open... which is rare... so I went ahead and made the drive out of town. And I was totally glad I did! The gathering was a lot of fun. I saw a lot of new faces that I hadn't met before and enjoyed doing some shoots in a location that I had not shot at previously.
Being in the Bay Area, I had to take advantage of the different scenery I could capture. The gathering was very close to the bay, and the rocks near the water made for some pretty great shots. This was something I definitely couldn't get back in the Central Valley so I made sure to do some photos there. My first shoot was of two Vocaloid coplayers dressed as Vocaloids dressed as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell... yep... exactly! I didn't even know there was such a thing! But their cosplay was perfect to shoot near the water so we went ahead and did that. I loved some of the images we were able to get - especially the ones that had a bit more of a wide angle that captured more of the scenic background.
But of course I had to shoot a bunch of shots that were closer in as well. For those familiar with my photography, you'll know that I generally like to shoot in closer and tighter like the photo above, but I've been trying to widen my range of styles. Shooting in close does give that dreaming blurred out background that I love so much though. Today I came armed with a nice lens that could easily blow out the backgrounds as well as my trusty one-light set-up. I was very happy with the results of the shoots today. For you photography nerds out there, I was using a Canon 5d mark iii with a 24-70 2.8 version ii lens. For lighting I had a speedlight mounted on a stand with a small and light Westcott softbox. I try to use as little as possible, but whenever you have a light with you it can be a bit cumbersome. But it's still worth it in order to get the best photos possible.
This gathering was not without SacTown representation. Actually, I saw many familiar faces from Sacramento. Sacramento has an awesome tight knit cosplay community that is really dedicated to the craft. I loved seeing all the Sacramento folks come out to this Bay Area gathering and kill it with their cosplay. The photo above is @radioactivenightskies on Instagram in her Ponyo cosplay blowing bubbles by the bay. We've shot more than a few times at SacAnime and at Central Valley gatherings and it was a pleasure to shoot with her again this past weekend.
Here's a shot of @lunalocked on Instagram in a sweet Summer Hilda cosplay. Pokemon Go has been taking over the world so this cosplay is definitely relevant for the times. She was looking great with her little Pokemon in tow. This shot was not taken with my Canon, actually it was shot with my Sony a6000 with a new 35mm 1.8 lens I just got. I like the pic and think it looks pretty good. I could say that the gear was nice, but I'm pretty sure it's Luna that makes this photo really pop! Hopefully I can get more shots of her in the future!
Now here's a fun group! It's the Sailor Moon crew in a fruit maids theme. You might recognize Carla and Cassie (left side of the group) as we shoot together quite often. These girls are always getting creative with their cosplay ideas and always have a really fun and unique take on the characters they cosplay as. I really enjoyed taking photos of this group as they were all really easy to work with and came with great posing ideas.
This cosplay was really awesome to see - it's a cosplay of the kid from the movie Up! I think it was really well done, especially the balloons. They really make this cosplay stand out. It's always cool to see people of all ages in cosplay. I just had to get a photo of him. This was definitely one of my favorite cosplays at the gathering.
Here's a shot of @mayhemcosplay on Instagram as Mirai. I've shot Mayhem as Mirai before, but this was an entirely different look. Back in Sacramento we did some photos with her rolling around on the green grass. Those shots were amazing and if you look hard enough you can find them a gallery on the main site. The grass was all dried up at Coyote Point so we definitely didn't want to replicate what we did in our previous shoot. I think we still got some spectacular stuff this time around though!
Though I arrived early to this gathering I had to leave as things were really picking up. It would have been awesome to stay a bit longer and get more shoots in. I really wanted to! But I did leave with a good feeling of the photos I was able to capture in my time out in the bay. I can't wait for the next gathering. Every time I shoot cosplay I just want to keep shooting more! If you'd like to see a complete gallery of the shots I got at the NorCal Gathering CLICK HERE.
Watch some video of the gathering too!