Author Archives: Don McCaskill

Tsukino-Con 2015 Part 1

Tsukino-Con’s dance always takes place thursday night, before the con, as a place to pick-up badges and entertainment to start the weekend. The last few dances at Sunset Room venue, I’ve discovered that it’s better to take people outside to get shots than inside.

Inside I’m fighting with other people’s movement distractions to the model and house lighting. Outside its me and my camera alone with the subject.

 

 

Continue reading

Tsukino Con 2013

As always Tsukino-Con is a labor of love. In past years I’ve been the Media and Public Relations person for the con, this year I added Webmaster. No easy situation for an Anime Convention with as many staff and departments as ours. The staff and departments though are what makes it easier on all of us putting together a three day convention with 1743 attendees.


The great thing about my job with the con is that all my work is done in advance, giving me the convention to be a semi-official photographer.

Thursday after helping with setup, I attended the pre-Convention dance on getting some great shots of Chelsea spinning her hoops and a good crowd of cosplayers dancing to three different DJs. Anya won best costume for her Vanellope von Schweetz costume.


Friday I got in a little photoshoot with +Alex Rodri and her friend Ali, as they cosplayed Bunny and Jack Frost from the film Rise of the Guardians. I had fun with Ali’s Jack Frost hoodie enhancing the frost detail that she had on it and giving her a paler complexion. As for Alex’s Bunny, I used a contrast enhancement to bring up the detail of the fur and my usual method for giving smooth skin to models.

Saturday saw more Homestuck Cosplayers and I asked Jen if the tricksters were always supposed to be grey skinned, sometimes I saw them with faces and/or hands that weren’t coloured so I wasn’t sure. Once she confirmed, I knew that I needed to work on a post process to fix the tone of some tricksters flesh where the paint wore off, and where some people didn’t paint.


Sunday was another great day for pictures and I got more of Jen, this time as a Gothic Lolita Trickster from Homestuck.

I also met a Tinkerbell who’s an actress and wanted copies of her shots, so we did a set of 22 images and got some great shots. I love it when someone really knows their character.

Published!

Been a few years since I’ve been published off the web. Over the years I’ve been writing and getting pictures printed in various magazines and newspapers in Victoria. Recently I wrote for Absolute Underground, a Canadian magazine that covers Punk, Metal and the¬†alternative¬†lifestyles. Issue 51 dedicated some space to the large Calgary Comic Expo, and I wrote Continue reading

V-Con 37 part 2

Chrissy and Alys
setting up
Csinyos Creations

Set up Thursday was a great opportunity to meet people and make new friends. I really liked the way everyone helped everyone. Giving a hand here, lending something there, all around great sense of community amongst the dealers, and con goers as a whole.

All three days proved to be great for getting pictures of cosplayers. My favourite thing to do at a convention, being a photographer ūüėČ

Friday started with a mini shoot with a lovely Steampunker, Jackie. We got about 20 frames in to the shoot when someone else decided to insert himself into the shoot. I am generally okay with this kind of impromptu addition to the photos, if it adds to it, but I had to constantly warn him about boundaries, as his kept getting his paint-ball  rifle right in her face and blocking me from the shot. All in all I did get some great shots of her.

Jackie the Steampunk Soldier

Saturday saw lots of hallway shots, which can be fun, but usually too quick to really get the essence of the person and persona. Nonetheless I got lots of great shots and met more than a few cool people.

The real fun came when I met a pair of serious cosplayers from Vancouver that I have since had the pleasure to interview and Feature on my Cosplayers of the Week site. They formed the group, Spectrum Cosplay and where playing Ariel from Disney’s Little Mermaid, and Alice from Disney’s¬†Alice¬†in Wonderland. I shot 104 frames with them over the course of the weekend, including a quick set including Mimi’s boyfriend James as a Steampunk Mad Hatter.

Sue, my wife, got a great offer to buy some bodyform dummies from one of the other merchants at the convention. It was really a price she couldn’t refuse, but had to¬†because¬†of our transportation method, SkyTrain on a Monday morning, Coachlines then Ferry and Transit. She got back to our table and told me about the offer, which was overheard by a fellow Victorian at the next table.

“I’ll give you a ride.” All of a sudden new¬†possibilities¬†erupted. We wouldn’t have to go through the chaos of the Skytrain, as I described in Part 1, we would be home a day earlier, it would cost less. How could we say no?

Mimi as Ariel
Emmaline as Alice

The ride was great,¬†thank¬†you Mark and Barbara. We chipped in for gas and Ferry fare and got home late Sunday, so I was able to enjoy a few days of relaxation before going back to work. It’s been a long time since I took a full week off work for vacation, I need to do it more often.

I have a whole gallery of images, some I added today, on my NightShadows web site.

V-Con 37 part 1

A few months ago my wife and I tossed the idea around of going to V-Con or Cos & Effect, two conventions held in Vancouver, BC. As we live in Victoria, on a island, and have no vehicle or drivers licence, transportation was an issue for either.

We have been to Tsukino Con, a Victoria anime convention for the last few years. Her as a vendor of costumes and corsets, me as a Cosplay Photographer and staff member, media relations. Something different and away from home seemed to be in order. Costs were weighed and time considered. It was felt that the late September date of V-Con 37 gave better preparation time, and a venue that may react better to the clothing she creates. Continue reading

For Sale

Gorge Rd. Church

Been a while since I last posted on this blog, but yesterday was a good day for my photography, so I thought I should mention it. I had my first Gallery opening, of sorts. The store that I work in does consignments, and the boss has been accepting lots of art lately, to get the store ready for what we hope will be a busy tourist season.

Portal to Fan Tan Alley

Last week I got a paycheque from Google for ad content on a few different sites I have. Took a few years to build up to the minimum for them to send me a cheque, but it was worth it. I used to money to get some prints done at Blacks Photography, an adventure in its self. I had just enough left to go across the street from work to Opus and get one frame and mat board.

2 signed & numbered

Yesterday I helped a fellow employee find and buy a car real cheap. He sold it today for nearly four times what he paid for it, and threw me a finders few. That was enough to get three more frames and mat boards for the pictures.

So now there are three prints signed and hanging at Barclay’s Exchange, with the prospect of more to come.

Tsukino Con 2012

Victorian Lolita by
Astra Crompton

This year’s Tsukino Con is over, but my editing of pictures is just getting started. I managed to take just under 1300 images over the course of the four days.

Street Fighter by
Tyler Krembrink &
MJ Brown

Day 1 of the con for me was Thursday February 16th with a noon start to set-up. At the end of set-up I helped with pre-reg badge pick-up. Then I got some pictures of DeeJay Yukkuri ‘s Unlimited Dance Works over at Vertigo. Various cosplayers dressed up and dancing to the hard beats.

Day 2, Friday the convention starts in earnest and I get in a series of shots of a Street Fighter duo. Tyler and MJ did a lot of posses and I’m actually still editing a few. I had never met MJ before, but quickly discovered how¬†excellent¬†a Cosplay Model she is.

Continue reading

Adventure in Chapters

Chapters Gift Card

For Christmas I received about four Chapters gift cards. Mainly thanks to my wife telling everyone that she was just getting me a Chapters gift card, so that I could chose my own presents. And in all fairness my procrastination in not coming up with a list of things I wanted for Christmas.

Boxing Day I walked past the store, as I do everyday, to discover it open before work.¬†Usually¬†I start work at 9am and they don’t open till ¬†9:30am. I walked in and the staff were busily putting up signs for the stores Boxing day sales. Huge 30% Off Hardcovers signs were going up everywhere.

In the magazine department I found a photography magazine that I wanted. A British publication collecting articles from past issues, and some new ones, cost is $34, but worth it with 200+ pages.

I walked up to the front counter to ask¬†Chantel, whom I’ve dealt with a few times, if the store wasn’t doing anything special for Boxing Day?¬†Remember¬†that there are Huge 30% off banners everywhere. Without blinking she looks up and starts to say, “Well,¬†there’s thirty-percent off all hardcovers and…” I stopped her,¬†because¬†I was kidding, and told her I had actually seen the signs. Her manager was walking behind her and just laughed, saying “Its too early in the morning for us to get your jokes.”

I proceeded to quiz her about a Sci-Fi book that I was looking for called Fuzzy Nation. She found the name of the author, but because the book is due for a mass-market edition in the spring, Chapters as a whole is sold out of the hardcovers, no saving for me. A few more inquiries and her giving me the scoop on a hardcover Steampunk novel that I may still pick-up, I headed back to the counter to pay for my magazine.

Lisa helped me out with the multiple gift cards by combining them all into one. That saved my wallet some grief. I paid for my magazine and headed for work.

On my way out I saw¬†Vanessa, the store manager. Stopped her and complimented her¬†excellent staff. Every time I’m in the store I get great¬†helpful¬†and insightful service. She appreciated the compliment, as she said it was rare to hear, and as a manager all you ever seem to get are the¬†complaints. Having been a Retail Sales Manager for 13 years myself,¬†I knew what she meant.

Upon opening my bag at work to look through the magazine, I discovered I had the wrong mag. I had¬†grabbed¬†the Photoshop Elements magazine. That does me no good what-so-ever, I don’t have that program and the tips in it don’t translate well to Photoshop CS3.

The store I work at generally¬†closes at 6pm, but things were slow for the later part of the day so, we managed to get pre-shutdown procedures done early and fast. The boss wanted to go home too, so we were able to leave about five minutes to six. I headed straight to Chapters to exchange my magazine, only to discover that they closed at 6pm for the evening. Elizabeth, who was manning the door asked me if knew exactly what I wanted, to which I replied “I know¬†exactly¬†where the magazine is that I want to exchange, I grabbed the wrong one this morning. ” As there was a bit of a line still at the till she let me in. I ran for the magazine section, got the right one, and entered the line. The girl that served me double checked with Elizabeth about the return, just because they don’t¬†normally do refunds on Magazines, but she allowed it.

The next morning I was happy to have a new¬†Photoshop¬†magazine with tips on layers and masks, but (you knew there had to be a but) I was missing my¬†umbrella. On a rainy December day and I’ve left my brolly in Chapters. Their store wasn’t open before I had to be at work on Tuesday. So, once I got to my work I called the store, and talked to¬†Melissa, but when she went upstairs there was no sign of my umbrella. Fortunately I left my name and number and five minutes later she called back to say they had it. On my way home I picked it up and went home under a clear and¬†starry¬†sky.

That was my Christmas adventure at Chapters Books.