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?

Canadian Winter 2013 Ice Photography

Hey guys, it’s been a really busy two weeks catching up on reviews and other otaku features. Today I felt like winding down with some classic landscape outdoors photography. For those of you who don’t live in Canada, this is just how cold it can get…

Taken with my trusty Nikon 3100, Sigma 17-70mm macro lens and a lot of strange photographer positions on the ice and in the snow. Even for Canada, it’s pretty rare that everything gets ice-ified outside so it was a good opportunity to take some interesting pictures.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

New Nikon D610 & D5300 Rant

My lovely photography friends, as you all might know, the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D5300 was recently released in the last week or so. My goodness, that beautiful new Nikon D610… well, it very much resembles its predecessor the Nikon D600, except for a few extra features. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful full frame to get your hands on… If you close your eyes and swipe your credit card without looking. My inner photographer artist aches for a full frame and just as I contemplate trading in my basic D3100 for a full frame, my inner frugal poor university self goes and beats the crap out the head-in-the-clouds photographer artist that’ll definitely leave me broke one day. (◞‸ლ)

Let’s look at the specs…

D610bodyNikon D610:

– 24.3MP Full-frame sensor CMOS sensor

– ISO 100-6400

– Max 6fps continous shooting + quiet continuous shooting at 3fps

– 39 AF focus points, 9 cross type AF points and 33 points available at f/5.6

– Refined auto white balance system

– A 3.2 inch LCD screen with 921k dots

– Dual memory card slots

– Wireless flash control

– 1080p30 full HD video with uncompressed video recording (HDMI)

Retail Price: $1999 (body-only) (;´Д`)

I have to say that I think I’ll really benefit from the new white balance and quite continuous shooting mode so I don’t feel so self-conscious taking a whole batch of photos at quiet formal events. However, id on’t know if the slightly improved shooting speed will do much. The body-only kit is already up to almost $2000 and other upgraded kits with an additional lens and other accessories will amp the price up to $3000. ┻━┻ ︵ ლ(=益=ლ

D5300bodyNikon D5300

– 24.1MP DX format CMOS sensor without OLPF

– ISO 100-12800 (to 25600 expanded)

– EXPEED 4 processing

– 5fps continuous shooting

– 39 AF points, 9 cross type points

– 1.04M dot 3.2” vari-angle LCD monitor

– 2016 pixel RGB metering senosr

– 1080p60 video recording + in-built stereo mic

– Available in Black, Grey and Red

Retail Price: $800

Is there really any change from the D5200? What do you guys think? I was never a big fan of this series, the body feels a little bulky to me but that’s because I have quite tiny hands but I know this is a popular series for some.

Since the D5300 isn’t full frame, the price is just a litttttttleeee bit less than the D610. Well, as much as I would love to get my hands on either of these new releases BUT my wallet and my inner frugal stick-in-the-mud self disagrees with the intense market prices. But have any of you gotten these newbies already? Or are you, like me, waiting for those Christmas sales and special promotions? (*´∀`) hehe

Till next time!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

… I dream of a day when DSLRS may come in pink or pearl white \(*-*\)

T&T Night Market

Hey guys! I got the chance to drop by Cherry Street to check out the T&T Night Market last weekend. I arrived earlier than I did last week for Night-it-Up so the lighting conditions are much more pleasant. With my Nikon D3100 and a sigma 17-70mm macro lens, I lasted with an 800ISO until the full dark hit. Next time I hit a night market I’m going to have to come up with more interesting and unique compositions than the classic angles.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for reading and I will post new content soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

 

Surviving Your First Con

Hi everyone! I’m very excited to be back in Toronto especially because Anime North 2013 is in two days! A lot of my friends are driving in from out of town for this convention and many of them are first-timers (and I’m sure some of you are too). If you are a first-timer, both nervous and excited for your first con, here are some tips and little bits of experience that I’ve learned over my three years of con-going.

anime girl at computer 11) Scheduling- The program for the convention will no doubt be posted online one or two weeks before the actual con. Download the file, print it out and circle or highlight the events you want to visit. Chances are, you won’t be able to visit every single panel or screening if the con is huge and you only have a few hours every day. However, planning out your itinerary for the day will save you a lot of last minute indecision that wastes time during con hours. Planning beforehand will also give you better chance to scope out the con’s hottest events!

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2) Packing- I’ve learned that the best kind of bag to have around is a backpack, one where you can throw EVERYTHING inside. You’ll want to carry the bare necessities – wallet, phone, mp3 player and perhaps a reusable bag because if you end up with 30+ volumes of Naruto, that flimsy plastic bag isn’t gonna cut it. If you’re an art collector and Artist Alley is the highlight of your con experience, remembering to bring plastic folders of different sizes to safeguard your purchases in your messy bag. Ziploc baggies also come in handy especially if you’re like me and you spend fifty dollars on buttons and bookmarks every year.

3) Dressing- If your con takes place in the winter, bring a lot of layers on the first day because lining up outside in the snow isn’t fun. If your con takes place in the summer, make sure you’ve got sunglasses, a hat, perhaps an umbrella (or frilly parasol) and sunscreen. For those of you who are cosplaying, pack a change of clothes just in case… especially if you’re making your cosplay and it’s your first time sewing (LOL). Especially if you’ve decided to dress up as someone like Yuuko Ichihara from xxxHolic or a full-on Gundam, you’re going to have a little trouble navigating through the crowds of the con. The most important thing to remember is to wear comfortable shoes because you’ll either be standing in line, walking (or dancing) all day.

Gundam-00-mobile-suit-gundam-00-20740655-1600-1200

Amu_with_Shugo_Charab4) Buddy System- If it’s your first time going to a con, perhaps ask around to see if you have any friends who are seasoned con-goers. They’ll know the best panels, the best stands and are probably the best price hagglers. Conventions can be overwhelming and having a buddy with you can make any experience a lot easier to handle.

5) The Noms- Pack granola bars and at least three water bottles either on your person or in your car. Mealtime will often shift every day according to your con-schedule and you will definitely lose track of time because of all the con-craziness. Bring some snackies, don’t pass out on your buddy! If you’re waiting in line with friends to grab your con-badge, send someone to scope out the restaurants or fast-food stops that are nearby.

Nakano Azusa, Tainaka Ritsu, Hirasawa Yui, Akiyama Mio, Kotobuki Tsumugi Wallpaper

images6) Shopping- Don’t be an impulse buyer. The best deals are usually made on the last day of the con in the last hour or so. The first day of the con is for you to scope out all the things you want that you can possible bargain for later on in the con. However if you’re looking for artist’s work or fan art, those disappear in the blink of an eye so you’ll need to grab (and pay for) what you want from your favourite artists. Think of the set amount of money you might spend and double (or triple) it. Only tables hosted by big stores accepted credit and cash is a must.

glomp-137) Glomping- Some of you might not know what glomping is. To glomp is to run up and hug (or lovingly body-slam) an individual dressed up in your favourite character. Sometimes your inner fangirl just takes over, I know, I’ve been there… At strictly anime conventions, there is usually a no-glomping rule. However, if you ask nicely, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to give you a hug and snap a picture with you… which brings me to my next point, bring a CAMERA, you’ll definitely want to photos of friends (and cosplayers) to look back on after the con is over. Cosplayers spend hours on their costumes because they want to be fangirled/or boyed by other fans who love the anime or manga as much as they do 🙂

Lomo-LC-A-seen-in-Japanese-anime-series-K-ON_01Bonus tip: If you’re bringing a digital camera, don’t forget to bring a spare battery and charger. If you’re going old school and using film, bring a wide variety of film and labeled canisters as well as proper cleaning equipment.

moe

HAVE FUN! At the end of the day, the convention is all about enjoying what you love with people who have the same interests as you. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, a light anime fan or a hardcore otaku, the con will have something for you. I hope you guys liked this little rant. Feel free to like or follow for new posts coming almost every day. I’m so excited for Anime North and new posts will be coming soon! Stay tuned!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?