HAPPY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY DAY!! (Mako Mankanshoku Nendoroid Summer Colours Photoshoot)

Hey guys! Happy World Photography Day!

Mako Rainbow Stars_littlecloudcuriosity (1)

I didn’t even know until I checked Twitter but apparently there is a day for every thing now, thanks to social media. In honour of today I wanted to share with you guys a really fun photography shoot I did last month with my Kill La Kill Mako Mankanshoku Nendoroid figure. One of the reasons why I bought Mako was because she is such a fun and versatile character. You can literally set her up in any setting and her personality will instantly add its own charm to the atmosphere. In this shoot, I played around with lighting, props and tons of bright colours as inspired by summer sunshine. This was also the first time I used a full frame Nikon D750, a new camera that was passed over to me by my dad. I used the 24-120 mm Nikkor lens and it was really a trick trying to figure out the angles because the lens wouldn’t focus if I pushed the focal point too close. The only bit of editing done was with contrast and brightness. Overall I am quite pleased with these final shots and I hope you’ll enjoy scrolling through 🙂

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Advertisements

European Discovery!!

InnisbrookHey guys, how are you all? Today I wanted to share with you guys tons of pictures of my trip across Europe. I took a trip with Contiki tours which is an organized tour for individuals between the ages of eighteen or thirty-five. The trip was really spectacular. I went from London to Amsterdam, Rhine Valley, Munich, Innisbrook, Hopfgarten, Venice, Rome, Florence, Paris and back to London again… ALL IN TEN DAYS. Really this was one of the most life changing trips I’ve ever taken. I really didn’t take any pictures in London because I’ve been to the city so many times but here are some highlights from my trip.

My favourite city of the entire trip is definitely Venice with Florence being a close second. I just love how the cities are so warm and exciting. Venice was a dream, really. And we really didn’t get to spend enough time in Florence because we were literally there for less than a day and then quickly hopped back onto the coach bus for France. Rome had been one of my most looked-forward-to destinations but in general the city didn’t live up to the dreamy expectations I had had in my Latin and ancient history studies. The highlight of Amsterdam was the Anne Frank Museum and later in Germany, we took a detour into a concentration camp in Dachau which was a really eye-opening and humbling visit for me. Innisbrook and Hopfgarten were the coziest and sleepiest towns I’d ever been in. We were literally whispering on the streets because of how tight-knit the community was. My favourite part of Rhine Valley was the wine tasting because their white wines and ice wine was just absolutely A-MA-ZING.

On the bus >v<France though was probably one of the most hectic days for me. The night we arrived in Paris, we headed to the Eiffel Tower, went all the way to the top, checked off my bucket list and then ran down EVERY SINGLE STEP back to the coach bus cause we thought we wouldn’t make it in time hahaha. The next morning, my travel buddies and I woke up extra early to get into the city by seven. Since the Metro is so convenient, we got into the Notre Dame on Easter Sunday which was really wonderful. Next stop, I headed to the Louvre while my friends headed shopping. Then over to Angelina’s for some delicious brunch and (famous) hot chocolate of course. Finally, we walked down the Champs-Elysees and hiked up to the Arc de Triomphe. The entire trip ended with a fabulous night at Moulin Rouge with singing, dancing, good food and good wine. All in all, it was an absolutely magical and fantastic trip. If you guys get the chance you should definitely take a tour with Contiki cause it’s a great way to meet new and diverse people from all over the world.

These are just some of my main highlights from the memories on my trip. Hopefully in the next week or so I can skim through my travel video clips and put together one or two vlogs to share on my channel. Till then, I hope you guys enjoy some of these pictures =)

Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Munich in Germany, Innisbrook and Hopfgarten Austria…

Venice, Rome and Florence in Italy…

Paris, France…

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Nathan Sykes Concert in Newcastle, UK

Hey guys! I hope you are all well. Today I wanted to share with you some long overdue concert photography. I had the pleasure of seeing Nathan Sykes in concert earlier in April at Newcastle in England.

For those of you who don’t know, Nathan Sykes was previously a member of the Wanted and is recently pursuing activities as a solo artist now. His new music has snappy brass sounds and immesenyl catchy beats. It was such a pleasure to hear him live because he is SUCH a powerhouse. Shout out to my flatmate Mia who dragged me to the concert in the first place. It really opened my eyes up to a whole new talented artist int he music world.

Since my friend was super busy fangirling at the front of the stage, I set myself up a little farther back. I’d only brought my Nikon 1 J3 with its original 10-30mm and 30-110mm zoom lens since I was afraid they wouldn’t let big DSLR cameras into the show as all the music featured in concert were completely new songs. I shot in shutter speed priority and manual mode, switching between both depending on the song and how quickly the performers were moving. The J3 did surprisingly well but there was still a lot of post-processing work involved with exposure and lighting. For photos that didn’t quite colour well with the settings, I rendered black and white. The grayscale style also goes quite well with the concert atmosphere I think. Overall I’m quite pleased with how the photographs turned out and though I haven’t shot a concert in over three years, I hope you guys enjoy these photos nonetheless.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Ice & Green (A Winter to Spring Photoshoot)

Hey guys how are you all? Today I’m back with another photoshoot… it snowed and hailed in the UK this week and because the snow is so scarce in the UK, there was still so much green in the grass and trees after the mini snow episodes. I loved the contrast in textures, colours and shapes captured in the gardens and walls around my residence.

I definitely think I pushed my DSLR to the max this time and the closeness of the composition made it painfully obvious that I was reaching the limitations of my basic Nikon D3100. But alas, the prices for full frame DSLR cameras are out of this world and I don’t see myself getting a new camera any time soon… The sigma 17-70mm macro lens did a great job capturing all the finite details of the webs but focusing was a challenge because I actually used an extra macro x10 filter to get in REAL CLOSE with my subjects. The few pictures of the squirrel were last minute decisions because it took quite a bit of creeping up to my fuzzy friend before I got the shots I wanted. My photos with the squirrel made me really want to try wildlife photography one day…

Here are my best and favourite pictures from the shoot. The shoot itself was unplanned but as I shot more and more, a coherent theme for the pictures emerged through the artistic composition. The pictures feature sharply defined subjects and splashes of colour over the UK’s grey  landscape. I shot each subject at least two or three times to get different angles and lines as well as different sources of lighting. I’ve only edited brightness and contrast for some pictures. Others are raw ones just watermarked for artistic copyright purposes. There’s an overall sense of transition in these photos; from winter to spring, wet to dry, light to dark, empty to full. I hope you enjoy.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Time & Fashion~ (A Fall Photoshoot in Manchester)

Hey guys how are you all?

I haven’t done an actual photo shoot in a long while… this was mostly due to summer review schedules, lack of inspiration and a lot of traveling over the summer. Recently I’ve decided to do a year abroad in the UK and where I’m staying, many of the old landscapes and greenery in certain areas of Manchester have inspired me to develop a new creative project using fashion photography as a medium to express visually, through textures and colours, the different periods of time throughout the day.

Our photo shoot spanned around six to seven hours and as you scroll down the post you will probably see the mood of the photographs shift from white-washed vibrant and clean lighting to grungier, darker and sometimes angrier atmospheres. The change of lighting and mood was one intention I had in mind at the start of the shoot but seeing as this was a fashion shoot through and through, I’ve fiddlled with lighting and ISO in the last seven photographs (refer to end of post) to create compositions inspired on the spot by circumstances and setting.

Everything here was taken with my basic Nikon D3100 and Sigma 17-70 mm f/2.8-4 DC macro, a combination of my most familiar pieces of equipment. Though I brought an Sb-400 flash along with me, changing ISO and manually adjusting settings was sufficient for the shots I wanted. Only a handful of photographs (mostly in the evening shots) that lacked sufficient lighting or vibrancy have been modified with curves and brightness on Adobe Photoshop CS4. Most of these are raw shots taken straight from my SD card.

Morning…

Noon…

Early Afternoon…

Evening…

With natural light fading quickly in the early evening, I decided to blend the various sources of light from my camera, surrounding city lights and what remained of the cloudy daylight. The results of the combination of artificial and natural here are the different palettes of colour veiled over each of the photographs. While some photographs can clearly be distinguished as morning or evening shots, others have become somewhat ambiguous. These seven compositions also break away from the initially polished styles of the earlier photographs going for much more artistic and even edgy flair.

I do think these are some of the best pictures I’ve taken to date so a special shout out goes out to my beautiful friend Kenzie for helping me out with these shots. For a first time model, she was one of my most versatile and cooperative subjects I’ve ever worked with. Thank you so much for all your hard work!! 🙂

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Nendoroid After Parts 01 Review + Mako Photography

Nendoroid After Parts 01_CuriousCloudy (1)

Good Smile Company recently released two additional accessory add-ons to bring out my playful sides of their Nendoroid figures. After Parts 01 features two types of looks for your Nendoroid- Angel and Devil while After Parts 02 features an animal theme with spare parts to turn your Nendoroid into a kitty or a bunny. I love the Angel and Devil concept and I think the packaging off the get-go was really clever. Right on your first impressions, the After Parts box features GSC’s beloved Hatsune Miku Nendoroid in the foreground and then uses two of the main characters from Wooser no Sono Higurashi Kakusei-hen to display a pair of girls (Rin, the blonde and Len, the black-haired girl) to show off the Angel/Devil look or the white or black animal furry look. Since Rin and Len are somewhat contrasting characters in the Wooser show, they go splendidly with the duel concept accessories of the After Parts series.

After Parts 01 Rating: 3.75/5 happy clouds Crop_35 Clouds Transparent

Since everything is packaged so tightly with bubble wrap in the box. I had no doubt that the individual pieces would be very delicate. When you unroll the package, each accessory piece is sealed in its own individual slot and this precision is one of my favourite parts of the GSC packaging.  Initially I was really curious as to how exactly the parts would add on. There are tons of extra pieces to hold up the music notes for the daytime-angel scene or the stars for the nighttime-devil scene. There is an extra longer rectangular base piece that will fit everything perfect. The wings fit easily with an extra adapter piece for the Nendoroid’s back and my only issue is with the headpieces. The “item” in the After Parts set that holds/props up the halo or horns is actually just a folded piece of hard plastic. I wasn’t a big fan of this because 1) if you have a lot of Nendoroid parts, these pieces might get lost in the pile  and 2) if you fidget too long with the plastic, it can potentially bend and go crooked.

Where my frontal hair piece meets the back of the head on my Mako figure is where the head piece should be inserted. It actually first like a headband and the plastic is made thin enough to disappear between the Nendoroid parts with little to no gap after the insertion. Mako Nendoroid Angel_CuriousCloudy (5)Because Mako’s hairline is actually curved in a strange “S” shape, it was actually pretty hard to get the halo or horns fitted properly so they would sit perfectly or hover on top of Mako’s head. I have really small hands and it was difficult for me to manage with the parts so for those of you who have bigger hands or generally clumsy fingers, you might want to try tweezers or work slowly and carefully as to not warp the plastic piece. I can understand how the parts were designed to provide universally fitted pieces for all Nendoroids but I found myself having a little trouble managing the delicate plastic.

Overall though I love the design of the After Parts and how it utterly changes up the aura of the entire Nendoroid. Here are the rest of my photographs for Mako. I did a really quick photo shoot this time because this post came to mind last minute. The daytime-angel pictures are taken with a Nikon 1 and the original kit lens. With enough lighting, they turn out fairly decent. The nighttime-devil pictures however required a much more versatile camera so I turned to my Nikon D3100 with my 17-70mm Sigma macro lens to get all the nice lighting in the back. It was pretty fun playing around with the parts so I’m seriously considering getting the After Parts 02 set even with the slight headpiece troubles I had.

If you have a Nendoroid you should definitely consider getting a set. They were about $15 dollars at the GSC booth at the FanExpo Canada convention, $12 at a regular licensed vendor in the Dealer’s room and about 800-950 yen (plus some light shipping) at some online Japanese websites so it won’t make much of a dent in your wallet. Plus, it’s a great way to revamp your Nendoroid and give your old figures a little makeover.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this really long review and post. Hopefully some of you figure collectors found something interesting to check out. If you have any more questions about the After Parts don’t hesitate to comment or tweet me @CuriousCloudy and I will talk to you guys in my next post or video very soon =)

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Spring Light Outdoors Photo Shoot (Nikon D3100 & Nikon1 J2)

Hi guys, today I wanted to share with you a new and fun little photo shoot I did outdoors. Spring is quickly turning into summer but I wanted to bring out a lovely spring green foliage kind of aesthetic. For this shoot I chose anime figures with colours features that both complimented and offset the bright verdant shades of the outdoors. I brought two cameras with me this time – the Nikon D3100 with a Sigma 17-70mm lens and a Nikon 1 J2 with the 10-30mm lens.

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out if I want to invest in more lenses in the mirrorless series with the J’s and V’s of Nikon so I wanted to see how it compared to the usual DSLR I use. Naturally the DSLR proved to be a lot more versatile in all settings and technical respects however I found that the J2 was able to give me some really nice shots as well. I would highly recommend you take a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with you for light travel photography. For the shots from the J2, I found that I had to edit a bit of lighting in every photograph while the DSLR almost always gets the exact lighting and metering I want. I used a Manual mode for the J2 and continuously swapped aperture and shutter settings according to the lighting in each environment. For a mirrorless, the J2 handled the shooting reasonably well.

Shots from the Nikon D3100 (absolutely no editing done on photoshop; only text was added) There are a lot more shots with the D3100 because when I do any sort of photo shoots I move at a lightning fast pace and only a DSLR can keep up with the lighting conditions and the speed at which I shoot. I really enjoyed a lot of Lacus’ final shots because her pink hair really pops against the green background. As well, her character has one of the most natural poses and expressions which makes her a great model for lazy spring afternoon settings.

Shots from the Nikon 1 J2 (edits include contrast and curves on Photoshop CS4) The hardest photos to edit were the Miku Vocaloid ones because all the green in Miku’s hair and the green around her reflected and bled into the light giving some of the shots a greenish hue which was difficult to edit. However, the greenish hues in the lighting reflected beautifully with Saber’s green eyes creating a pleasing balance to the overall composition. Any sort of mirrorless camera will end up flattening a lot of the colours and shapes – I felt that really challenged me as a photographer to find and create depth by changing the positions of the subject along with the sun.

 

Toronto Auto Show 2014 Photography

Hey guys, yesterday I went to the Canadian International Autoshow. I’m not a huge car buff but I do go to get some sport or industrial photography done under fantastic spotlight lighting. I really think conventions are really great environments for beginner photographers to hone their skills. I’m not a super professional photographer but I do remember getting bringing my first DLSR, a Nikon D60, to the auto show in 2010. You cannot work with Program automated settings at an auto show, the lighting just doesn’t permit it. Each area is lit according to their own exhibits and cars, as well, each colour reflects light in its own way. As a result, I was forced to switch knobs to Manual mode… and that’s how I learned how to adjust my own camera settings.

I hope you guys like these photographs, I tried to be more selective this year with what I was photographing but you can only find so many interesting angles at a convention while avoiding all the heads and random photo-bombers. This was taken with my trusty Nikon D3100 and a Sigma 17-70mm macron lens and nothing was edited.

Hope you guys liked this post and I will talk to you all soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Just Kidding Films in Toronto 2014

DSC_0244c

Hi guys, earlier tonight I got to meet three of my favourite Youtubers from Just Kidding Films. Bart Kwan, Joverdose and Geo Antoinette visited the University of Toronto and held a meet and greet with a bunch of their Canadian fans. The event was brought to us by MTM Productions and three videos were shown. The first being “Crazy Asian Parent,” one of the much older but really hilarious shorts from two years back. The second was the first part to “Gun Fu” that was previously promoted in a teaser trailer and the third was a sneak peek of this Sunday’s new video, “Secrets.”

I always love meeting Youtubers because unlike many celebrities, they’re actually reachable and relatable people who are pretty friendly and down to earth. Plus, they vlog so most of their lives are already on the internet for everyone to see. Although the gathering was of a relatively good number, there wasn’t as much as hype as there is with Youtube musicians who hold an entire concert. Still, the Q & A session was probably my favourite part of the Live. Of course, there the meet and greet was a highlight as well…

I actually bumped into Geo while I was in the bathroom and had a Youtube Star-struck moment haha but she was super nice about meeting me 🙂 and I just realized that I look super tiny next to Bart LOL

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Nendoroid Petite Mami and Homura Photography

Hey guys, HAPPY NEW YEAR and for the first day of January 2014, I wanted to share with you some figure photography. Here is Mami Tomoe and Homura Akemi from the Nendoroid Petite Puella Magi Madoka Magica Box Set. I bought these two figures while on vacation and I spent quite a bit of time trying to guess my way into my favourite figures or at least two that weren’t identical. This collection is pretty much sold out now so I’m glad I picked up two when I got the chance.

Here is the full set, photo courtesy of the Good Smile Company online site here.

Here are some New Year’s evening themed photography done with Christmas lights (and sparkles). I just wanted to glam up these magic girls for the holiday. I picked up some decorations on sale after Boxing Day and everything was actually set up at home on top of a box and in front of a white wall so I really focused a lot on setting up in order to blow up the white lighting in order to set a snowy bright wash over the scene

Again, taken with my Sigma 17-70mm on my Nikon D3100 😉

DSC_0165c

I hope you guys enjoyed this photos. They were just taken yesterday a few hours before the new year so they’re hot off the SD card 😉 I also wish you all a wonderful rest of holidays and safe winter with your family and friends. Cheers to a great new year!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?