Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gaslight Gathering 2014

     Well, look at this, it's a rare blog entry. Better late than never! Back in May 2014 there was this Steampunk convention in San Diego called Gaslight Gathering. The theme this year was a "Martian Holiday." Oh yes, Steampunk is alive and well in Southern California. This would be the fourth year that I ran the photo booth, otherwise known as Tobias Eastman's photo booth. I was located at the top of the tower in the Le Chanticleer room. Throughout the years I've had the privilege to photograph convention goers and their wonderful outfits.
    So what happens at a Steampunk convention such as Gaslight Gathering? There is the Junto Academy which organized the demos and workshops, Saturday and Sunday teas, Friday and Saturday concerts, men's fashion show (which I was a part of), vendor hall, tea dueling, numerous panels, art show, etc.
    For my photo booth, I used a simple one light setup on camera right using a 40 inch umbrella. o see more examples please check out the galleries for each day on my photo website. In the meantime, check out some examples below.

Daniel and Tony with one of their quirky outfits.

 Here is Adam, an excellent maker, with his wooden/brass fists. I tried them on and they are HEAVY!
The great thing about Steampunk is that the whole family can participate as you can see in the above photo. It encompasses such a wide array of media that people of all ages can be a part of. From art, costuming, music, making, literature, etc.
 I love the colors on this woman's outfit. You don't have to wear all brown to be Steampunk.
 Here is April in one of her fairy creations. She made the mini top hat.
This is Belle in her own personal rendition of Harley Quinn.
 I was also witness to a proposal! Amber and Daniel have been attending Gaslight Gathering since the beginning. He had approached me about capturing this magical moment minutes before it happened.
 Adam punching out Professor Elemental who was our musical GOH (Guest of Honor). I would guesstimate the wooden fist is around 15 pounds give or take.

 So there was this awesome rum party in the Le Chanticleer. The photo says it all. You had to be there.
Here are more photos from my photo booth. To see all the photos from this awesome weekend, check out my website at Jerry Abuan photography.

Here is a group photo of all the fashion models in the Sunday Tea.

There will be a Gaslight Gathering 5 next year in Fall of 2015. Come check it out and make sure to stop by my photo booth. Check back here or on my website for further details.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seria Star Anniversary at Kava Lounge

     So it has been awhile since I've posted something new here. It's not from a lack of attending events to write about. It's just that I get so dang busy with work, projects and more projects. I am going to make a concerted effort to blog about my experiences (mostly art-related).

     Last Saturday (March 24th) I went to my friend's (Cathie Lucas - see pic above) belly dance event called Seria Star at Kava Lounge. It was the one year anniversary and Danyavaad was playing so I couldn't miss it. I can say with great certainty that Kava Lounge is one of the most difficult venues to photograph in. It is very dark and the lighting is usually mostly red. Thankfully Cathie put up a couple yellow/tungsten lights to add more light. It helped immensely considering that I try not to use flash when photographing dancers. Nevertheless it is still not the ideal situation to shoot in, but you make do with what you have.

      I have several choices here when photographing at Kava Lounge. #1. I could use flash. Simple enough! I could put the flash unit on my camera and shoot away. Or shoot wireless and place the flash units anywhere in the club. #2. I could not use flash and shoot wide-open using my 50mm f1.8 prime or 28-75 f2.8 Tamron. or #3. Not shoot at all. Really, is that even an option?

      So I went with choice #2 since I feel most comfortable shooting with no flash and using available light. My lens of choice is the Canon 50mm f1.8. When I shoot at intimate venues with limited light where I am usually within arms reach of the dancers I will use this lens. There are of course pros and cons to using this lens at such close proximity to my beautiful subjects. Some of the pros are that I can shoot wide open at f1.8 to let in the most light and use a fast shutter speed. The advantage to this is that I can "freeze" the dancer with very minimal blurriness. With that said, I will intentionally use a longer shutter speed to show the effect of motion. Another pro to using the 50mm is composition. I like to get up close and crop my pics tight. Not that I am opposed to head to toe shots because I like those too. But I have grown accustomed to getting in tight now. Perhaps it is from my experience shooting Wild Rose Entertainment (Lauren Grier's group) at Egyptian Tea Room (ETR). So this may come as a surprise when I say that getting in tight is also a con when you want head to toe shots. You would have to step further back from the subject which is just impossible at Kava Lounge when you're in front and the crowd of people behind you are 2-4 deep. Another con is that since I am not using flash, I have to increase the ISO and thus the images turn out to be softer than if I used flash with a lower ISO. In the case at Kava Lounge, I have dialed it up to 3200 ISO.

     In the pic of Julie Wise above, I shot in Manual mode at f1.8 1/60 sec ISO 3200. My white balance was set to Tungsten. I primarily shoot in high burst mode too. I suggest shooting in this mode because it is extremely difficult to "time" the shot with a great pose in low light.

     Above is Kim Pelt, again with the same settings as the photo taken of Julie. I tweaked the color settings a bit in Lightroom 4 to get that effect. In the background are two members of Danyavaad, Gabriel Penix and Sandy Bagri.

     Shey Belany of belly dance group Atash Maya with a snake wrapped around her and Sarah Burgess playing violin. I love sepia and you will see several shots in my gallery with this effect.

                                                Raine Alexandre of Atash Maya.

     Matthias Lauwers from Antwerp, Belgium with Greg Vaughan in the background.

                                             Lesleigh Kent of Iza Moon

        Melanie Dellas of Iza Moon with Sarah Burgess in the background.

     Thank you Cathie for putting on such a great event! Also thanks goes to Danyavaad for providing the music.To see more pics from the show, please go to my gallery on Zenfolio - Seria Star Anniversary.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Steampunks by the sea

                                                      American Steampunk

       A couple of my photographs were featured in a San Diego Citybeat article last month titled "Steampunks by the sea" written by Kinsee Morlan. On the feature of Ingred and Eric Chamberlin (aka Professor J.S. Greyshade) the photo was my rendition of the famous painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. In this case I call it American Steampunk. You can view more pics from the photoshoot on my Agezinder Arts photography site.

       Another photo features Lady Mari who organizes the walkabouts at the Del Mar Antiques Show twice yearly at the Del Mar (or San Diego) fairgrounds. The past 2 walkabouts have been Steampunk themed but there have been other themes such as Venice Masquerade, Summer Darkness and Vintage eras to name a few.

                                                           Lady Mari

      To view more of the photos from the last walkabout please check them out at my April 2011 Walkabout gallery.
       Other friends featured in the article are Kim Hutsell of House of Hutsell, Winona Cookie who is an extraordinary collage artist (Check out her Etsy shop Winona Cookie Creations), Nancy and James Hay, and local pantomime troupe Steam Powered Giraffe. SPG will be performing all summer long at the San Diego Zoo starting June 25th. They are a must see! You won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Digital Collage - Steampunk Lepidopterist

                             The Duchess Lynnewood, Lepidopterist and Traveler

         Tonight I created a digital collage inspired by a photo I took of my friend Vanessa as the Duchess Lynnewood, Lepidopterist and Traveler at Wild Wild West Con in Tucson. It's a western Steampunk convention that was held in Tucson this year. Steampunk is a genre of science fiction, literature, technology taken from a Victorian perspective. Think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and you're on the right track.
          The circumstance on the photo is quite interesting. Vanessa was posing for a photographer who was creating tintype photos from his portable darkroom. While waiting for him to get the chemicals ready I took this shot.
          I applied a color gradient to the original photo in Photoshop. For ephemera I used the back of a vintage postcard which I pasted longways atop the original photo. I played around with opacity until I achieved the desired effect. I combined both images and applied a slight vignette. Here is the original edited photo below.

You can view more of my digital art and original photography on my website at Agezinder Arts - Zenfolio.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Photo booth at Irv's 92nd birthday party - Steampunk themed!

       Last Saturday night I had a photo booth set up on the steam ferry Berkeley at the Embarcadero in San Diego Harbor. The special event was Irv's 92nd Birthday and it had a Steampunk theme to it. The birthday boy had the time of his life. Dancing on the floor and flirting with the girls. I loved it!

       Now I have set up photo booths at events before. Most recently at the Gaslight Gathering convention at the Town & Country in Fashion Valley. More on that in another post on Steampunk. This event was a little different. The organizer, Liz wanted photos printed. But on top of that there were to be 2 photos printed, one for the party goers and one for Irv's scrapbook (Splendid idea Liz!). Now all of a sudden I had to think of the logistics on how to get this done.
       When faced with this request the first question I asked was how many people? You need to know how much ink and paper to get. But another more pressing question was posed. What printer should I use? I had no such photo printer that can do the job, so this meant shopping around online to see what was out there. I went to my tried and true to compare photo printers and whittled it down to 2 printers. One from Epson and one from Canon. Both had excellent reviews, but in the end I went with the Canon Selphy CP800 which was quite compact and for $80 you can't go wrong. The catch was you had to use their proprietary combo ink and paper packs. So I bought 2 of their 108 paper/ink packs along with the printer. Shipping was nice and quick as always. Thanks again Amazon!
        So now I have said printer with 216 photo papers and the ink to print them. The next question was how am I going to take pics and download them into the computer, edit them and then print them while shooting at the same time? I decided to shoot tethered. Which basically means connecting the camera to the computer and the pics download into a program. This bypasses downloading the pics from the memory card. The program I use is Adobe Lightroom 3. If you are a photographer of any level, I highly suggest you get this program. There are other programs out there, but I feel Lightroom best fulfills my needs.
        Here is my setup. The Canon 50D is connected to the laptop via USB cable which has Lightroom open (Go to FILE --->TETHERED CAPTURE --> START TETHERED CAPTURE). Then follow the prompts from there. The Canon Selphy CP800 is connected to the laptop. I am shooting the party goers at my photo booth, the picture appears in Lightroom, my assistant (my lovely girlfriend Cindy) is editing the pics and printing them while I still shoot. One caveat here, you cannot shoot and edit pics at the same time. So once the 2 pics are printed (remember one is for the scrapbook and one for the party goer) Cindy puts them in a 4 x 6 plastic sleeve along with my business card and then hands it over to the scrapbook person. (whenever possible, always have a business card and/or contact info.) We had a great system going on there. The only glitch was that at certain times I was shooting faster than Cindy was able to edit and print the photos from the previous people. So I gave the computer a breaks and took pics of the Can Can dancers and the Charleston Girls.

       Overall it was a great learning experience. I made some contacts and networked with some people. Increased my business presence. And met some wonderful people and even saw several friends from the San Diego Costume Guild!
       To see all the pics from the birthday party please visit the gallery page here