A Taste of Animethon (ATOA) took place this here in Edmonton this weekend and I took this opportunity to try out some event photography. From the last Animethon, I learned that I needed a good flash and a wide-angle lens to better deal with the conditions at Grant MacEwan (the place where Animethon and ATOA is held). I have neither and I didn’t want to spend $500 on them so I borrowed some equipment instead. I used a Canon T2i with a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens and 430EX flash. It was my first time using this set-up so it took a while to get used to and some pictures didn’t turn out as well as I wanted, but some of them still worked out. Anyone who is here just for cosplay pictures can scroll to the bottom.
In case you didn’t already know, ATOA is a mini-convention with almost everything that a regular anime convention has, but toned down.
Despite being a mini-con, the registration desk was still pretty big, which is great since no one likes waiting in line.
The Community Corner was set up in the cafeteria of MacEwan. It’s basically a big gathering place for people.
A lot of people go to anime conventions to buy stuff, so vendor halls/rooms are always popular.
The usual stuff like manga, DVDs, plushies, and posters were on sale. There was also some artwork and buttons being sold at some booths. There was nothing I wanted that I didn’t already have so I left empty-handed (all because of online shopping).
The card gaming and video gaming rooms are always jam-packed with people so it was great that they got such big rooms this year.
I went to a few panels, such as “Name That Tune” and found them entertaining. They generally seemed to get one or two dozen people coming to see them. I also sat through a bit of the showing of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. It was interesting to see all the anime start playing by itself in all the rooms without anyone having to look after it.
The cosplay contest was probably one of the bigger, if not the biggest, event at ATOA. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the number of contestants. I believe there were more cosplayers in the audience than in the contest. I was also frustrated with the lighting in the room where the contest was held. Behind the cosplayers was a bright white light, there was no light above or in front of them, and there was a dim yellow light over the back of the room. That resulted in some pictures where the subject was almost black on a white background. The obvious solution is to get some light on the cosplayers (ie: flash), but having heard that using flash during a performance or presentation is poor etiquette, I was hesitant about turning it on.
I managed to play around with the settings to get something visible.
But changing the camera settings wasn’t enough
I eventually decided to just turn on the flash, but I’m still not happy with how these pictures turned out. I had the light pointing up, but because of the slant in the ceiling, it was bouncing more back at me than the cosplayers and I didn’t want to point it directly at them.
I still enjoyed the contest though. We got to see the bouncer strangle the MC at the end.
Now for what most people are probably looking for: cosplayers in and around the halls of MacEwan. These are just some random cosplayers that I found throughout the day.
Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I didn’t even notice this girl was using a bubble gun when I took this picture.
This isn’t cosplay, but these two asked me to take their picture, so I did. They look like a cute couple.
I think there were a few other Pokemon around, but I couldn’t find them.
I was half expecting there to be a Charlotte cosplayer to go with any Mami cosplay, but I didn’t see one.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone cosplay as Astroboy, which is awesome.
This guy has the best cosplay ever. I love Prinnies and you’ve got to respect anyone willing to wear one of those full body costumes knowing how hot they get inside.
I was surprised to find a Mirai cosplayer here. Danny Choo has gained enormous popularity since 2006, but last I remember, his fanbase was largely based in Asia and the U.S. west coast.
That wraps up all that I did at ATOA. It was fun for the most part, with the only real disappointment being the lack of participants in the cosplay contest. I was happy to see that they had done away with the trouble of having people play DVD’s in each viewing room by having it all done automatically, and that large rooms were set aside for gaming. Looking at my pictures, it seems I still need to learn how to take them under artificial lighting and take a lesson or two on composition. Hopefully I can improve my photography before the big convention in August.