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.

 

My Top 10 Favourite Anime Openings & Endings

Hey guys, today I’m doing a long overdue post on my favourite openings and endings in the anime world. Honestly it was SO HARD picking ten for the list because there are so many amazing songs out there.

10) Angel Beats Opening – My Soul Your Beats (LiA)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (3)“I felt like I heard it because I felt like I sensed it. Just now, in my heart that’s begun to tremble…”

Angel Beats starts off the list. I have never ever missed an opening of Angel Beats for the entirety of the series nor the second time I rewatched the series to review. I love the concept of Kanade’s name and Tenshi title alluding to the beats of the song. The song goes splendidly with the themes in the story and bring back the feels of the finale. My Soul Your Beats is on almost every top anime song playlist out there and it wouldn’t be an anime playlist without it.

9) Luminous – Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie Opening (ClariS)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (4)“The things I would dream of when I was young are still far away, but when you’re here I feel I’m a little stronger…”

When I first heard Luminous in the theatres I was almost jumping out of my seat because it is just so amazing. It encompasses both the emotions of the story and the thrill and excitement of magical girls. ClariS is disbanding right now because one of the members are taking time off to pursue her studies. I am going to miss Clara and Alice so much! It was really hard to pick one ClariS song on my list this would definitely be the one for me.

8) Hoshizora no Watlz – Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Ending (Kuribayashi Minami)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (12)“There is only one dream I see in the night sky. I want to become your star someday…”

To be honest I have only ever seen one episode of the series and it’s outside my usual genre because the series has a lot of bishoujo drama and tragedy for guys because it is based on a romance visual novel. However, the ending song is absolutely beautiful and I stumbled upon it many years ago when I was still a light anime fan. Now even when new seasons generate new openings and endings, Hoshizora no Waltz remains one of my all time favourites.

7) Sekai de Ichiban Koi Shiteru – Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Opening 1 (Shuuhei Kita)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (9)“I’m in love with you, the greatest person in the world. At the tick of every second, I like you more and more…”

Okay so maybe this one’s a really personal pick because it’s my favourite yaoi series opening but it is just SO CATCHY and it does a great job introducing the story and its characters. It goes through each of the main couples and supporting characters as the scenes pan from one office to the other. The song was written to go hand-in-hand with the premise of the series story. Also, there are so many sparkles, flowers, hearts, bunnies and flower petals in this opening, it’s the ultimate shojo fluff opening and the series is definitely one of my guilty pleasure songs.

6) Bokura wa Ima no Naka de – Love Live Opening 1 (Muse)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (5)“If we try our hardest, with all those things we love, we’ll reach a new goal. If we’re able to believe in all those things we love, we’ll move forward on this heart-throbbing path!”

Let all your idol dreams come true in this opening. I fell in love with it when I watched Love Live. I learned all the lyrics, I’ve seen the voice actresses perform the song live and I have learned all t he dance moves to go with it. I love how it brings out all the feelings and insecurities and confidence of the idols and it’s just a really fun and upbeat song to listen to when you need to give yourself a positive boost.

5) Starlog – Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Opening (Choucho)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (6)“The star brightens up the darkness and night of the changing world. It’s telling me to fly into the guiding sky… For the promises we exchanged that day. I believe.”

This song is probably the newest and most recent on one the list. It came out with the new Fate series depicting Illyasviel von Einzbern as a magic girl. I loved the driving beats of the song and ChouCho’s vocals are just perfect along with the dreamy atmosphere of the song. The lyrics speak of the courage it takes to become a magical girl and paints a really vivid starry sky in your mind.

4) Uta no Prince-sama 1000% Ending – Maji Love 1000% (STARISH)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (10)“DOKI DOKI de kowaresou 1000%* LOVE HEY!!)

Uwaaaaaaa It would not be a favourites list with something by STARISH – the seiyuu singing group formed from the Uta no Prince-sama otome games and anime. The band is named STARISH after taking the first character of either first or last name from each of the characters. Syo, Tokiya, Aijima, Ren, Ittoki, Shinomiya and Hijirikawa all voiced by a group of wonderfully talented seiyuus. Mamoru Miyano among them is my favourite. Maji Love 1000% is STARISH’s debut song and every UtaPri fan who knows it knows it’s the ultimate UtaPri song.

3) Gundam Seed Destiny Opening 2 – Pride (Sung by High & Mighty)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (1)“The fleetingly scattered light wakes us up now. The sadness makes a sound and disappears from that place…”

This was the very first Gundam opening and song I ever watched and listened to. I love how the slow scenes introduce all the different couples and main characters before throwing us into the main mecha action. This is mainly one of my Gundam favourites because the lyrics are so poetic and really reflect a lot of the characters’ internal emotional and mental struggles as they contemplate the true meanings of war, power and true peace throughout the story.

2) Fate/Zero Ending 2 – Sora wa Takaku Kaze wo Utau (Haruna Luna)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (7)“Why is the sky so blue like it does not know any sadness? It keeps crumbling towards tomorrow without hesitation…”

Fate/Zero is one of my favourite anime series out there. I absolutely loved it and it was ten times better than the original Fate/Stay Night. I love the lyrics and the chord progression of the song because it perfectly goes with the atmosphere of the story and sentiment of the characters. Haruna Luna has a really clear and strong voice to bring out the emotion behind the lyrics and it’s all accompanied with a collection of visuals featuring Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel.

1) Clannad~After Story Opening – Toki wo Kizamu Uta (LiA)

Top 10 OPs and EDs (2)“You were the one… You were the one who I loved. My eyes start to water from the wind and you become a distant figure…”

One of the best openings in anime in in my opinion. When I heard this in the first episode of After Story, it was like taking a breath of fresh air back in the anime world I loved so much. The opening is a rush of bright lights and as the scenes pan through the city and introduce the different characters, you just get the feeling that there is something magical about Clannad. The opening of After Story is SO nostalgic and you get feels just from watching it.

Honourable Mention (technically #11)

Uta no Prince-Sama 1000% Opening – Orpheus (Mamoru Miyano)  [I couldn’t fit ten in the end and it ended up being eleven so this is sort of my way of cheating around the top 10 list… what? there are too many good songs to choose from >.< the list actually started off as a top 5 list and top 5 was even harder.]

Top 10 OPs and EDs (8)“Sing your song. Even when we’re apart we can understand. “Hear my wind. There is only one sky that connects us two…”

Orpheus is a really beautiful and powerful song about music and love. It’s sung by my all-time favourite singer and seiyuu Mamoru Miyano. If you’ve ever seen Mamo perform the song on stage, he is absolutely phenomenal with it. There’s something really mysterious and poetic about the lyrics that I can’t really explain. It’s one of those songs that keep growing on you the more you listen to it.

So there you have it, my top 10 favourite openings and endings. I know I left out a bunch of really great songs in general. Here’s an extra list of other openings and endings I really love.

Shingeki no Kyojin Opening 1 – Guren no Yumiya (Linked Horizon)

– Shingeki no Kyojin Ending – Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai (Yoko HIkasa)

No Game No Life Opening 1 – This Game (Konomia Suzuki)

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – Rising Hope (LiSA)

Brothers Conflict – 14 to 1 (Asahina Brothers)

Karneval Opening – Henai no Rondo (GRANRODEO)

Kyoukai no Kanata Ending – Daisy (Stereo Drive Foundation)

I hope you guys found something interesting to listen to from this post and I hope you enjoyed reading it cause I had a lot of fun writing it. Let me know what your favourites are in the comments or link me to your video or post on your blog, I’m always looking for new music to listen to! ^_^

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Gundam Seed Winter Ice Photography

Hey guys, so if you’ve known me for a while, you might have caught on to that fact that I’m Canadian. Yeah, that means it snows. A lot. In the winter. But hey that gives me plenty of opportunities to practice lighting in intensely white landscapes or dull grey overcast weather. Today I wanted to share some new figure photography in the winter snow starring Lacus Clyne and Cagalli Yula Athha from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed and Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny. As always, only some of the contrast and brightness is edited and all the photos were taken with my trust (though somewhat basic) D3100 and my favourite Sigma 17-70mm macro lens.

Hope you guys liked this little photo shoot. Got down on my hands and knees in the ice and snow while my dad was shoveling the driveway… the neighbours probably think I’m a weirdo but you do whatcha gotta do for your photos right? More fun winter holiday stuff to come soon! Thanks for reading!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

5 Reasons to Listen to Anime Soundtracks

1) Relive the Story- I don’t know about you, but listening to “Survive the Swordland” on the Sword Art Online soundtrack gives me the tingles when I think back to the amazing anime. There’s a different song for every part of the story and the score on its own expresses the story in its own wordless way.

Sword-Art-Online-12-00

claris-luminous-splash2) New Music- Every time I listen to an opening or ending sung by a certain singer or band, I immediately go look up other songs by the same genre or music style. Thanks to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I own both of ClariS’ albums. Their music is just so darn catchy!

I won’t forget the promises we exchanged

I close my eyes to affirm it

I will shake off the overwhelming darkness to move forward (ClariS – Connect)

3a1c17bf1abc85de24531196fba24d631318107351_full

Tokiya-Ichinose-uta-no-prince-sama-28774326-800-4503) Favourite Characters- Go ahead and download those character songs. Listening to the bonus albums is almost like an anime encore! I absolutely love the songs from Uta no Prince-Sama because each one reflects each character’s personality. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, listening to Ichinose-san sing to me can make me feel better. Hopefully your favourite character can do that for you too!

ichinose_tokiya-04All the things you wish for might not become stars

But if you have a dream you believe in

There will be thousands of the brightest shining jewels in the night sky

(Ichinose Tokiya – Nanairo no Compass)

4) Play Along! – There are tons of sheet music transcriptions compiled by fans for piano players, guitarists, flutists and almost every popular instrument there is out there. I love being able to play and sing to Lacus’s songs on the piano.

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5) Drown out the World – Wherever you are, whatever you’re feeling, there’s probably a song for you. OST’s help you connect to the characters that you relate to and love, their stories stay with you through their music. Slipping on headphones or ear buds, and cranking up the volume is a great feeling on its own.

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Hope you guys enjoyed this review. Thank you guys for reading! Feel free to comment below on YOUR reasons when it comes to listening to anime OSTs. Watashi kininarimasu!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?