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.

 

Cloudy’s Top 5 Strongest Female Heroines

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Hello everyone, I’m a little behind on world events since I’ve been caught up in my blog bubble and my schoolwork all last week and all weekend but I really wanted to a write a post to honour International Women’s Day last Saturday. I’ve been brainstorming me these for a while now and these are just my top 5 strongest female characters…

WARNING – SOME SPOILERS BELOW!!

Fuuko Ibuki

“This uncute appearance…I didn’t want you of all people to see me in such a state. But…this time I will protect you!” – Lizzy

5) Lizzy from Black Butler- At first Elizabeth Midford doesn’t seem like anything past your noble lady and I really hate how she was portrayed in the anime as a two-dimensional ditz. In truth, as seen in the manga, Elizabeth is actually very capable and talented especially in fencing and she will not hesitate to use those skills when it comes to protecting the one she loves. She is 150% devoted to her fiancé, Ciel Phantomhive despite his somewhat standoffish and workaholic ways and she strives to become his firmest pillar of support in life. Even though she and Ciel are really only teenagers, Elizabeth already has an internal grasp on the aristocratic and political burdens of her marriage to Ciel but she is willing to shoulder his burdens out of love all the while looking as cute as she can in her best dress.

“Of what worth is a king who fails to protect the powerless?

Saber

4) Saber from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero- Who would have guessed that legend of legends, the King of Camelot and all of Britain, was actually a girl? Saber makes the list because of chivalrous code of honour, selflessness to take on the burdens of others and her utter devotion to her kingdom. As the strongest Class of fighters in the Holy Grail War, she’s usually a lone wolf but she grows much as a character when she learns to cherish the bonds of love and friendship with her Master and other participants of the war that she may encounter. Saber is stubborn when it comes to her ideals and will stick by them even when others condemn or mock her for them. Her selflessness allows her to empathize with the weak while her pride as a king reminds her of her duty to Britain. She is truly one of the noblest kings.

“I dream of the day when I can see your dear smile again.” – Homura

3) Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica- Homura is one of the most complex characters I have ever encountered in the anime world. In the very first timeline, she is meek and shy, but by meeting Madoka, she begins to understand the meaning of friendship and selflessness. Seeing Madoka become a magic girl to save the world in the first timeline, Homura also becomes a magic girl to protect Madoka. Homura’s powers to pause, rewind and manipulate time stems from her wish to turn back time to save Madoka from a magic girl’s grim end. She repeats the time loop over and over again, hundreds of times in order to find a way to save Madoka. She becomes obsessed with Madoka enough to discard her life as a human and a magic girl to become the antagonistic force to God Madoka in hopes that she will one day meet Madoka again on even plains. She represents the best and worst in human beings – do we do things out of selflessness or selfishness? Homura’s emotions towards Madoka have become so complex that she herself probably does not even understand the extent of them, making her an intriguing character overall.

“This world is very cruel… but it is also very beautiful.” – Mikasa

2) Mikasa Ackerman from Shingeki no Kyojin- Mikasa lost her family to bandits when she was a child, on the verge of death, she was inspired by Eren to stand up and fight and to win. She’s immensely attached to Eren and her love for her extends so far as to follow him right into the military where she becomes one of mankind’s most powerful and talented soldiers against the wrath of the Titans. Mikasa’s shining moment comes when she believes that Eren has already died and she’s ready to give up her life, but her memories with Eren inspire her to continue living in his remembrance. Even when Eren is persecuted by the military for being a traitor to the titans, Mikasa is ready to give up her life to fight for his. Mikasa reaches third place in my list because she exemplifies mankind’s strength and also its fragility.

“There is no future for those who have died… and what of those who did the killing? Is happiness to be found in a future that is grasped with blood-stained hands? Is that the truth?” – Lacus

Lacus Clyne (1)

1) Lacus Clyne from Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny- No one finishes Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny without falling for Lacus’ charms at least once… or twice. Lacus is a songstress and symbol of peace during the Cosmic Era where different factions are constantly at war with one another through the use of mecha mobile suits. Despite having grown up sheltered in this war torn era, she is fully aware of the political tensions between PLANT, ORB and Earth. She emerges as a pacifist who works towards a peaceful co-existence between the Naturals (who are regular humans) and the Coordinators (a more evolved species of human able to pilot the Gundam). Although Lacus does not enter the battlefield personally per se, she is forever a support to her friends and even treats her enemies with kindness. She initiates a stalemate in the war and coordinates much of the postwar discussion to establish a stable peace among the different peoples.

“Shall I take you away, to the place where dreams come true…” – Nagisa

Nagisa Furukawa

*Honorary Mention goes out to Nagisa Furukawa from Clannad and Clannad after Story- Although Nagisa does not go through any death defying, humanity-testing quests of strength or skill, she is still an admirable character in her world. Having been born sickly and physically weak, Nagisa has been forced to repeat a year in her high school. Still, she is neither bitter nor resentful of her lot in life but faces her studies with a determination to make the best memories during her time at the school. She becomes an inspiration and source of hope to Okazaki Tomoya who has been jaded by his family situation. In After Story, Nagisa displays an overwhelming amount of bravery and resolve to bring Ushio into the world despite the very imminent possibility of death due to the strain of child birth.

Well, there you have it. My top 5 strongest female heroines. I hope you guys liked this post and like I said at the beginning, these are just my personal picks. If you have your own favourite kickass heroine you would like to share, comment below because I would love to read about her. It is always so hard to narrow down a top 5 of ANYTHING so I hope you guys enjoyed reading this!

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

– 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?

Gundam Through the Ages

DSC_0192My favourite part about going to Japan is probably the intensity of its social culture, it’s where all my anime dreams come true. If you’ve watched any of the Gundam series or you’re into the mecha genre, you should totally go to Diver City in Odiba. Just across the Rainbow Bridge is the Diver City mall… and the giant Gundam. Stare in awe as all your Gundam fantasies come true.

Aside from all the staring and the picture-taking with the giant Gundam, there’s also a Gundam café where you can get a haro latte or zaku smoothie. Inside Diver City, at the uppermost floor is Gundam Front, an all things Gundam floor with figurines on display, a multimedia lights show and a museum of Gundam history and animation. The multimedia lights show was one of my favourite parts of Gundam Front because it took you through a history of all the different Gundam series and the developments of Gundam design from beginning to present.

Of course, there’s tons of merchandise available at the gift store for you to unleash your inner hobbyist 😉 Also, you can get your photo taken with Kira’s Strike Freedom or any of your favourite characters from any of the Gundam series at the photo hotspots.

The train ride across Tokyo Bay on the Rainbow Bridge is spectacular on its own. But for anime fans familiar with the Gundam series and looking to check out some really awesome mecha, this is a MUST SEE on your trip to Tokyo.

– 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.

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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?

 

 

Manga Versus Anime FIGHTO! – Gundam Seed and GS Destiny

Everyone2Hi everyone! Welcome to the second Manga Versus Anime FIGHTO! Today’s battle is between the manga and anime of Gundam Seed and its sequel Gundam Seed Destiny. These two animes are quite a few years old, but classic. Gundam never goes out of style (Haha, see what I did there?) But in all seriousness, the legacy of the Gundam animes, manga series, light novels and figurines is a long lasting culture of its own that’s quite a distinct aspect of Japanese culture. My dad watched and loved the original Gundam series and years later, I’m also quite obsessed with Gundam.

Manga Rating: 3.5/5 happy clouds35 Clouds Transparent

Kira & Lacus (37)I love the GS and GSD series, however I was thoroughly surprised when I first picked up the manga because the art style in the manga was completely different from the anime. The storylines of both the manga and anime parallel except for the extra OVAS and special edition endings added to the anime. The manga is getting harder and harder to find these days, but it’s not impossible and you can read the story online.  I feel that the art is very shonen compared to the brushed up pretty boys of the anime adaptation and as an arts student, I feel that the proportions of quite a few of the characters and frames are out of perspective. Being distracted by the art makes it harder to enjoy the plot.

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GSD (25)

Anime Rating: 5/5 happy clouds5 Clouds Transparent

This anime gets a full set of happy clouds because of the deep philosophical thought and pervasive themes of war, love and tragedy that are brought up by the struggles of power and resistance taking place in a world hanging precariously in peace. The anime paints a very three-dimensional landscape of the war and the events taking place because of the omniscient third perspective that it’s told in. Every character represents a different archetype in stories as well as personas you so often find in wars. The soldier, the general, the pacifist, the reluctant hero, the reckless fighter, the embodiment of hope… I picked up this series years ago and I’ve recently re-watched the re-mastered version that includes a few new scenes.

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Rereading or re-watching this anime is like coming home. And yes, you might bawl at the end depending on how much you empathize with the characters and how deeply you feel immersed in the plot. I highly recommend you watch these two series one after the other because GSD takes place two years after GS and a lot of recurring characters appear. For one thing, the main characters in GS play a much more prominent role in GSD which is great if you’re favourite characters are among the main cast.

Kira & Lacus (40)I feel like this is one of those series you either love or hate because I get a lot of mixed responses when I bring it up amidst otaku discussions with friends.  I found the story and its themes insightful and thought-provoking so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Thank you very much for reading! I will talk to you guys soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

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