Regality Through the Ages Photo Shoot (Part 2)

I had the pleasure of working with a number of photographers at the January D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoots meetup. Several of them were folks I had never met before, and it was great to get to know some new-to-me local photogs. (Mike and I hadn’t been able to make a shoot for about a year, due to a variety of scheduling issues. But we’ve been to two shoots so far in 2018, which is a pattern I hope to keep up with!)

The Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery was a lovely location for a shoot, but, because it was January, we had the challenge of harsh winter sun outside. I was interested to see what each photographer was able to do with it. The solution that Mike and I came up with was to shoot with the sun almost behind me, coming across my left shoulder. This gave a pretty halo effect, but I had to be careful about which way I turned my head and body to avoid dappling. I like the results!

I wore an older costume, which was actually only my second 18th century ensemble. I made the jacket back in 2012 for the first Francaise Dinner, and I had not worn it for several years. The jacket is hand sewn from ice blue silk taffeta purchased from Renaissance Fabrics. I only needed two yards. (My blog posts on the construction are here.) I accessorized with a cap from Fashions Revisited, a walking stick from Colonial Williamsburg, a velveteen muff, and jewelry that I made (similar pieces are available in my Etsy shop). My shoes are by American Duchess.

I’ll start with the photos that Mike took and I edited. Again, we were working with some harsh directional light, but I think we made the best of it.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

We took this photo around the back of the winery building, where it was shady.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

The next two photos are by Dan Arango Photography. There was a pretty tiled fountain in the entrance of the winery, and Dan used it to great effect.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Here are two pictures by Mina Habibi. I really like the de-saturated, atmospheric look that she got.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

These two shots are by Lea Sanders. The composition of the first photo in particular is so striking.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

This photo is by Dancing Squirrel Photography. I really like the color profile she chose.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

There are some interesting light and shadow angles in this photo by Memories 4 You Photography.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

A nice seated shot by Picturesque Photography
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

This picture by Donald B. Holmes has an interesting photo-journalistic quality.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

A pretty half-length portrait by Michael Clifford.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

I really like the light and composition of this shot by Van Ngo.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

A nice two-shot of me and Houkakyou by EPierce Photography.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Thank you to all of the photographers that I worked with!

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Regality Through the Ages Photo Shoot (Part 1)

We have this awesome group here, called D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoots. They organize one to two meetups each month where photographers and cosplayers get together to shoot photos. Each time there is a theme that fits with the chosen location. The photographers maintain the commercial rights to the photos, but they must provide two images free-of-charge for each cosplayer that can be shared online. It’s a really neat format, and has given me and Mike the opportunity to meet a lot of great local cosplayers and photographers.

The January theme was “Regality Through the Ages,” meaning historical or couture/detail-driven cosplays. We met at a nearby vineyard, Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery, which had a variety of great backdrops, both inside and outside.

This post deals with the photos Mike took of other cosplayers (and I edited). I’ll follow up with photos that were taken of me.

NatArchaic Cosplay as Fleur Delacour from Harry Potter. She really knows how to work great poses!
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Jennifer Glinzak as couture Cruella de Vil. Check out those sparkles she added all over the gown!
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Rey Dot Ham Cosplay as couture Zoya the Destroya from GLOW. I love all the fun details she put into this costume.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Michelle as Viking Lagertha. She looks ready to conquer the world!
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Erin in her Victorian-inspired ensemble. I love the dramatic black and purple combination.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Houkakyou as 1880s Melisandre, inspired by Game of Thrones. What a great historical/cosplay crossover.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Marianne in her Robe a la “Pea-montaise.” I love a good pun costume.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

And here are a couple group shots of me with Houkakyou and Marianne. I hope to see more historical costumers at future photo shoots!
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Working the historical “big butts” silhouettes
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Three pairs of American Duchess shoes, and … Mike.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Our Costumes at MAGFest 2018

As a four-day convention, MAGFest is a bit of a cosplay marathon. I did a different costume each day, plus Mike cosplayed on Saturday. That’s a lot of things to clean, iron, and prepare. (I don’t know how some people do two outfits a day!) On Thursday I wore Queenie Goldstein, Friday I wore Mulan, Saturday I wore DC Bombshells Batwoman, and Sunday I wore Princess Luna. Mike wore Garfield the Deals Warlock on Saturday. Nothing new for either of us, as I was very busy at work and did not have time to make another costume.

The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center provides a lot of interesting places to take photographs. There are areas with bright white marble (the “Katsucon Gazebo”), other areas with trees and flowers, and lots of textured walls (stone, carpet, swirls, etc.). Mike and I took a ton of pictures. Also, due in part to the location, a number of other cosplay photographers were there, which meant I could work with several throughout the weekend. As both a cosplayer and a photographer, I appreciated the opportunity to see how others approach convention photography. It makes shoots a fun learning experience.

On to the photos!

Thursday
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

This photo is by Camera 58.
MAGFest 2018

My dress was made by Helen’s Wear.
MAGFest 2018

Some of the holiday decorations were still up in the hotel on Thursday. Appropriate for Fantastic Beasts, don’t you think?
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

Friday
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

Sometimes you just need to dance in the middle of a photo shoot!
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

I love this action shot by Camera 58.
MAGFest 2018

This photo is courtesy of Just Cosplay Photography.
MAGFest 2018

Saturday
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

The next few pictures are by our friend Beth of Early Bird Photo.

Isn’t this silhouette photo cool?
MAGFest 2018

We got this effect by having me hold a flash with a red gel on it in the small of my back, pointed at the wall behind me. We were working in a pretty busy hallway, but all we needed was a flat wall.
MAGFest 2018

I also really like these photos with their dramatic red background.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

We got this effect by aiming one off-camera flash behind me with a red gel, and aiming another flash without a gel on me. The flashes had grids on them to concentrate the light
MAGFest 2018

And one “normal” photo by Beth. It looks like we’re outside, but we’re actually just in the hotel lobby!
MAGFest 2018

The next few photos are by Dan Arango Photography. He was working in an area with textured stone walls.

I really like the pop of the colors.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

A detail shot, showing the work I did on my bat and shoes
MAGFest 2018

These next few photos are by Jay’s Fine Art Photography. He was shooting in the same area as Dan, but was working a darker look.

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

Jason had the idea to try an action shot, and the result is pretty cool. I had to concentrate on just moving the bat from my wrist, instead of swinging with my whole body.
MAGFest 2018

A behind-the-scenes photo of me working with Dan and Jason.
MAGFest 2018

Mike makes the best faces as Garfield the Deals Warlock.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

Mike also shot with Beth of Early Bird Photo. She switched the red gel she was using with me to orange for him.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest

There was also a fun Adventure Zone cosplay meetup hosted by Onion Cosplay Photography. This group photo is by her.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

Sunday
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

I wanted to see if we could get a fairy light effect with the Christmas lights that were decorating some of the trees. Worked pretty well, I think.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

And that’s a wrap on MAGFest 2018 posts! All of our photos are here.

MAGFest 2018 Hall Photos

Here’s our roundup of hall photos from MAGFest. There was a lot of great cosplay this year, driven in part by the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center being a wonderful backdrop for photos. We’ve been going to MAGFest for three years, and each time there seems to be more and more cosplayers. I’m okay with this trend!

Thursday
Flora in her Shouhou cosplay
MAGFest 2018

RyLax Cosplay as Toon Link. (He had different eyes for different expressions that he switched out throughout the weekend!)
MAGFest 2018

LOL. Mike was wondering whether he’d find a shirtless Kylo that weekend. Box checked.
MAGFest 2018

A PUBG cosplayer out searching for a chicken dinner
MAGFest 2018

A jedi in the tabletop gaming area
MAGFest 2018

Friday
Princess Peach and Lakitu. This is such an adorable idea for a two-person cosplay!
MAGFest 2018

Raven
MAGFest 2018

Awesome Assassin’s Creed III cosplay by Alice S.
MAGFest 2018

I’m not sure what this was about, but it was pretty amusing.
MAGFest 2018

Blackstar Cosplay repping Star Wars in the arcade. He was standing in the perfect spot!
MAGFest 2018

There were a lot of great Adventure Zone cosplayers throughout the weekend. Mike took every chance he got to get photos of them.
MAGFest 2018

More Adventure Zone
MAGFest 2018

Gabi as Casino Lup. Gabi had posted in the Adventure Zone Cosplayers Facebook group that she was at MAGFest, and I asked if she wanted to do a brief photo shoot with us.
MAGFest 2018

She did a great job on her costume, particularly the accessories.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

MAGFest 2018

A really cute Beauty and the Beast couple
MAGFest 2018

Gender-swapped Kylo and Rey.
MAGFest 2018

Cosplay in America featured this photo on his Twitter.

We bumped into our friend Lady O Cosplay, who was dressed for the wizard party taking place Friday night.
MAGFest 2018

Overwatch group by Lauren, Jennifer, and Heather
MAGFest 2018

Kylo Ren
MAGFest 2018

Awesome Snorlax by Black Meadow Studio. The costume is huge!
MAGFest 2018

Nightwing and Batman
MAGFest 2018

Saturday
A cute Judy Hopps by FrouFrou Cosplay
MAGFest 2018

Marth by Mike A.
MAGFest 2018

Awesome Aloy by Goodbye Midnight Cosplay
MAGFest 2018

Aladdin
MAGFest 2018

Squirrel Girl
MAGFest 2018

Doctor Strange
MAGFest 2018

Kylo Ren (Matthew) and Rey (Jazmine)
MAGFest 2018

Harry Potter and Hedwig. (Which was a puppet! She could move his head back and forth.)
MAGFest 2018

Found another Batwoman (Kristin) in the expo hall!
MAGFest 2018

My friend Rey Dot Ham Cosplay taking part in the Blast-a-Trooper fundraiser at the 501st booth
MAGFest 2018

Doctor Strange
MAGFest 2018

We don’t have any hall photos from Sunday, as it was a pretty short day. Photos of our costumes in the next post!

MAGFest 2018

Somehow, convention season starts in January in the Washington, DC area, instead of spring or summer. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but it means that I usually have a packed spring and a slower late summer. Since it’s always very hot and humid in August, I think I’m okay with this. But the flip side is that I have been super busy and, predictably, have fallen behind on blogging. So let’s rewind to the first con of the year, MAGFest, which took place at the beginning of January.

This post reports on the con itself, while subsequent posts will deal with hall cosplay photos and our costumes.

MAGFest runs from Thursday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, 24 hours a day. Since I’m not a twenty-something any more, I don’t usually have the energy for the nighttime parties. (Although, let’s face it, I really didn’t have the energy for that stuff past sophomore year of college.) Thus, Mike and I drove in for the daytime programming instead of staying at the con hotel, and then left for home in the mid-evening. This year our friend Michelle came with us for Thursday and Friday, while our friends Beth and Darrin came on Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday.

We got to the convention center a bit earlier than necessary on Thursday, in the late morning. I forgot that if you arrive before 2 PM, very little is open. We were able to play some board games in the table top area, though. Once everything else opened in the middle of the afternoon, we wandered around the expo hall and arcade. And took cosplay photos, of course.

After walking for quite a while, we decided to chill in the computer museum area. This has a bunch of older machines playing games from the 1970s to early 2000s.

Jody was trouble, but Michelle beat her!
MAGFest

We finished up with dinner at Rosa Mexicano, accompanied by several college friends.
MAGFest 2018

Friday was more of the same, with lots of gaming and walking around the dealer room.

We got a bit competitive playing Super Smash Bros.
MAGFest 2018

MAGFest

Beth and R2-D2
MAGFest 2018

Somehow Mike always wants to play this skiing game. And never quite wins.
MAGFest 2018

Time Crisis!
MAGFest 2018

We met up with my coworker Dimitry and played Captain Sonar. Plus, it was Dimitry’s first time cosplaying!
MAGFest 2018

Saturday was our big cosplay day. Mike wore his Garfield the Deals Warlock costume and I wore Bombshells Batwoman. Mike had an Adventure Zone photo meetup, and I had planned shoots with a couple photographers. I’ll post photos from those later. In the down time, it was back to gaming.

For some reason the Nando’s mascot was wandering around the table top gaming area. There is a location near the convention center, so I guess it was advertising?
MAGFest 2018

Dimitry in the middle of an intense round during the Killer Queen tournament.
(His team was eliminated quickly, unfortunately.)
MAGFest 2018

Sunday was a chill day. Honestly, I was almost too tired to roll out of bed and go back to the con. But I made a travel mug of tea and got going. At least I ended up having an easier morning than people who were trying to check out of the convention hotel. The on-TV automated checkout crashed about half an hour before checkout time, so everyone had to wait in line at the desk. The queue snaked across the lobby, down the hallway, and nearly into the attached convention center. Again, I was glad we weren’t staying in the hotel.

We met up with Dimitry again and played a few more table top games.
MAGFest 2018

Then I changed out of my costume, and we walked around the con one more time.

The sign right next to the main lobby of the Gaylord Hotel, where a lot of cosplay photo shoots happen. (If you’ve ever heard of the “Katsucon Gazebo,” that’s where it is.)
MAGFest
MAGFest

The end! An exhausting but fun weekend!
MAGFest 2018

Not a Bad Friday

Yup, I’m a terrible blogger. But I’m also in the middle of a busy con turnaround: Awesome Con this weekend, PAX East next weekend. So here’s a drive-by post. I’ll try and catch up on event recaps once I’m back from PAX.

Yesterday started out pretty boring: finishing my taxes. Then I had to sew the last six inches or so of the second glove for my Bombshells Catwoman costume, which I was going to wear to Awesome Con that afternoon. I always try to finish my costumes with at least a day to spare before an event, in case something goes wrong. (It’s why I have no shame about re-wearing things; I just can’t handle that last minute stress in my life.) But this week I had to stay late at work every day, so there was only so much I could get done. Thankfully, I have sewn a lot of gloves before, meaning I knew how much time it should take. Therefore, even though I was sewing until half an hour before I had to get dressed, it wasn’t frenzied. I was pretty sure I had just the right amount of time, and that turned out to be true.

Then I got dressed and we drove to Awesome Con. I got to the convention center at 1 PM, while Mike went to park the car. I knew Tom King, the current writer on the Batman comic, was signing until 2 PM, so I immediately went to the expo hall to see if I could get in line. When I first got to the signing area, I saw a huuuuuuuge line that snaked around two aisles. When I asked a person standing there whether it was the line for Tom King, they said they weren’t sure, but that they thought it was. (I think they were in line for Scott Snyder, and didn’t care whether it was also the line for someone else.) That line was capped, so I figured it wasn’t a big deal for me to investigate more to see if there was another line. I’m glad I did, because I then found a line that was only about a quarter as long that turned out to be the line for Tom King. I only had to wait maybe 20 minutes to get to the front of that line. As is somewhat common at comics signings (though becoming less and less so), I was one of the few women in the line, and the only woman that was there alone.

Once I got near the front of the line, I could hear Tom King talking to the convention goers. He was asking each person what they did for a living. The person right in front of me was an Orioles beat writer for the Baltimore Sun, and he shared a behind-the-scenes war story about that. I figured I’d seem pretty lame compared to him, but King was very nice and talked to me about my job for a couple minutes. Then, as an unexpected bonus, not only did he sign my books, but the artist, Clay Mann, was also there and signed them too. Overall, it was a very pleasant interaction. It stinks when you meet a creator whose work you like, but they turn out to be a jerk. This was not the case here!

After that, Mike and I went to take a few photos of my costume. I will have full edits later, but here’s a back-of-camera teaser. I am so happy with how this cosplay came out!
Awesome Con

Then we went to a panel given by Paul Levitz, who is not only an accomplished comics writer (he created Huntress in the Batman universe, for example), but also was the head publisher (like the COO) of DC Comics until around 2009. He had a lot of thoughtful things to say about the comic book industry and how it has evolved over his 40-plus year career. (And he started in the industry when he was only in his teens! He’s just in his early 60s now.) It was particularly interesting to hear him talk about the transition from newsstand sales to the comic book shop and bookstore trade paperback markets. And he was very good at answering questions. One person had a paragraph-long question with many parts, and Levitz tried to carefully answer every part. When he got to saying “as for the fourth part of your question,” I was impressed. I would not have even remembered there was a fourth part! Again, it was great to see a creator whose work I like who also seemed to be a nice person.

Then I did several photo shoots. First with Justin of Rich and Strange Photography, who was trying out his new Fuji mirrorless camera. I can already tell that he got some beautiful, dramatic shots. Then we met up with Jamey, who was debuting her Bombshells Black Canary. We shot with Mike for a bit upstairs, and then went downstairs to meet Dan for more photos near the expo hall. Dan was also nice enough to let Mike experiment with his external flash and softbox. I’m excited to see the photos that we got!

We ended the day by watching the costume contest (where Amelia and Lena had an awesome choreographed fight sequence that took second place) and doing a little browsing of the vendors.

Then I came home and collapsed. Tired, but happy with a good day!

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade!

Over a month later and I’m still jazzed about this event! I wanted to photograph my historical costumer friends in a beautiful setting, and the result exceeded all of my expectations. I couldn’t be happier with how the event went and with the photos we got. Get ready for a very picture-heavy post!

The genesis of the event goes back to October. While a group of us were chatting at Carolyn’s birthday party, several folks mentioned the possibility of visiting Williamsburg in December. I had always heard that the Christmas decorations in Colonial Williamsburg were beautiful, and I had separately been thinking of visiting with Mike. Thus, a plan was hatched. Mike and I could combine a weekend trip (including a visit to the spa!) with a group costumed outing. It would be a great opportunity to use our new camera (we recently purchased a Nikon D7500 and a 16-80mm f/2.8-4 lens) and to take photos with the Christmas decorations. So I organized a meetup for the Saturday before New Year’s, where we could walk through the Williamsburg historic district and do a photo shoot.

Mike and I drove down on the Thursday night before New Year’s and checked in to the Williamsburg Lodge. We started Friday with a relaxing morning at the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg. The spa was pretty quiet for the holiday weekend, meaning we had most of the place to ourselves. A massage and a soak in the whirlpool was just what I needed.

In the afternoon we went to the historic area and scouted photo locations. We noted that when it was sunny, the light on the north side of Duke of Gloucester Street was too harsh for good photos. But there were several spots in semi-shade on the south side that would work. Then we went on a Christmas decorations walking tour, and followed that up with a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, the Blue Talon Bistro.

Saturday was photo shoot day! The weather was a bit warmer than it had been the day before, and, thankfully, overcast. Thus, harsh sunlight would not be an issue. Mike and I walked down to the historic area a little early to test photo locations and to get pictures of my costume, so we could focus on photographing others besides me when they arrived.

I made a new silk mantle to keep me warm. For this event, I cut it a bit closer than I normally like to with the last minute sewing. It was mostly because I did not order enough silk ribbon for the trimming, so I had to wait for more to come. But I finished trimming the mantle the day before we left home, and was able to trim the cap on Friday night.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

My cap is by Fashions Revisited.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

I made my necklace and earrings. There are similar earrings available in my Etsy shop (In the Long Run Designs), here. I inherited the brooch from my grandmother (bubbe)-in-law.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

I also knit myself short mitts. All of my other mitts are elbow-length, which wouldn’t work for a long-sleeved dress. I used yarn from the endless cone of black wool that I’ve had since I knit three shawls for my bridesmaids. And there is still more yarn left over!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Then we went to the meeting spot I had designated for everyone to gather at. It was in front of this beautiful arced wreath arrangement. Mike was trying out a new camera arrangement, carrying the Nikon D7500 and clipping our older D5300 onto his backpack. It worked pretty well, as then he could put our 35mm F/1.8 lens on the 7500 and the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 on the 5300. Those are the two lenses we use most often for cosplay/costuming photography.
Williamsburg Promenade

Once several other people arrived, we started with a group shot.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Elliot and Leia, a perfect 18th century couple
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Carolyn made a beautiful new redingote and hat for the occasion.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Chelsea looked so cozy with her pink mantle and muff. She borrowed a cap from me, which I had purchased from Fashions Revisited.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Katy made a lovely new lavender redingote.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Samantha wore her gorgeous Christmas Felicity ensemble.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Jess had a pretty printed gown and coordinating black hat.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Taylor finished a beautiful striped gown for the weekend.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Most of our group, gathered together.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

A lot of tourists stopped us to take photos throughout the day.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

After finishing photos at our first location, we walked a couple blocks to our next stop.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Our second location was a pretty brick building with a white front porch/stairway. By this time everyone had arrived, so we got a full group photo. I love all the different colors and types of costumes that people wore!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Mike grabbed a selfie too!
Williamsburg Promenade

I love the combination of green and cream on Leia.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Elliot, looking like the mayor of Williamsburg!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Matching redingotes!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Aubry in her beautiful 1790s ensemble
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Chelsea added some more trim to her lovely gold Francaise gown for this wearing.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Everything about Sara’s outfit is so perfectly Christmas!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Then we split into smaller groups to take additional photos. There was an area around the corner with white outbuildings and boxwood hedges that made for a nice background.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Mike specifically wanted to get some photos with Samantha in front of a white building, to make the colors of her outfit really pop.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

At this point we broke into two groups. Several folks walked to the DoG Street Pub to get some food. I tagged along to take a couple pictures on their walk.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Sara stopped for a selfie!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Meanwhile Samantha, Chelsea, Katy, and Carolyn went for a carriage ride. Mike followed them to get a photo of them in the carriage.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

They got to ride in the carriage used for heads of state. Queen Elizabeth rode in it!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

After I dropped the other folks at the pub and Mike finished photos with those in the carriage, we met up with Jess for some additional pictures on the Governor’s Palace Green.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

After they finished with their carriage ride, those ladies joined us in front of the palace.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Mike then got some pictures with Samantha and Jess in front of one of the houses along the palace green. I love this photo of Samantha!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Mike was trying to imitate poses from 1780s paintings (think Joshua Reynolds) with this one.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Meanwhile, I went with Carolyn, Chelsea, and Katy to take photos in front of the Governor’s Palace gates.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Heh.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

After finishing up in front of the palace, we then walked back to Duke of Gloucester Street to visit the Millinery Shop before it closed and to make our dinner reservation at Shields Tavern.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

We got this photo of Katy before being yelled at for sitting on the tree. Oops!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

This is just an iPhone photo, but Carolyn was lucky enough to get to try on a beautiful mantle at the Millinery Shop.
Williamsburg

While we were waiting to be seated for dinner, we admired the gorgeous sunset.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

I really played up the contrast in the edits of these photos. I love how it came out! The first photo of Carolyn shows how things look without the contrast adjustment.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

At dinner
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

After dinner, Chelsea, Carolyn, Katy, and I went to a concert at the Governor’s Palace. On the walk to the palace, we stopped to take photos by torchlight.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

The palace lit up for the concert.
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

At the concert
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Once we got home on Sunday, I couldn’t wait to get started on photo editing. There were 753 shots total, and I ended up keeping 256. A 1/3 ratio is pretty typical for me. Because the light was nice and diffuse, I didn’t have to edit things that drastically. The most annoying part was removing things like modern doorbells and signs from buildings.

A photo of my computer during editing. And yes, I’m upgrading to Lightroom soon. Just haven’t gotten a chance yet.
Williamsburg

All of our photos are here. Thank you to everyone who attended the Promenade! Mike and I had a wonderful time. Not only did we get some great photos, I had a lot of fun hanging out with friends and getting to know some out-of-town folks better. Here’s to more costumed adventures in 2018!
Williamsburg Holiday Promenade

Our Costumes at PAX Unplugged

I wore three costumes to PAX Unplugged: Mulan, Jim Balent-style Catwoman, and Queenie Goldstein. The Pennsylvania Convention Center isn’t the easiest place to photograph in, as everything is structured in long hallways or big warehouse rooms, with few nooks to work in. That being said, we managed to get some decent photos.

On Saturday Mike debuted his Garfield the Deals Warlock cosplay, which is based on a character from The Adventure Zone, a podcast that follows a live Dungeons and Dragons game. I think it came out pretty cute!

Friday
I’m not ashamed to admit that I purchased most of this Mulan cosplay. Leaves me with more time to make other costumes!
PAX Unplugged

The comb is by LHT Creations. I made my necklace.
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I had to get a photo with Mushu!
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And with Cri-Kee!
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This background was just too good to pass up! (It’s rice bowls, spoons, and teacups–A Great Wall of China! It’s part of the piece “China Wedge” by Mei-Ling Hom.)
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Saturday
I debuted an upgraded version of my Jim Balent-style Catwoman cosplay. For this version, I sewed a better-fitting bodysuit out of a thicker moleskin spandex. I learned a lot from my first go-around with this costume, and I realized that it would be better if I used a fabric with more heft and lengthened the body of the unitard. I also purchased a new cowl from ReevzFX. Shawn was able to custom-dye the cowl to match my fabric!
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Mike really enjoyed hamming it up as Garfield!
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On the podcast, Garfield runs the “Fantasy Costco.” Mike was able to replicate the Costco badge in Adobe Illustrator and make his own custom version. Note, in order to prepare for this costume, we did creepily stalk the local Costco and stare at the employees in their uniforms.
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We ran into a bunch of other people cosplaying from The Adventure Zone, which was neat. (Ace is the Merle.)
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One of Mike’s favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss was pretty excited about Mike’s costume and stopped him for a picture. He said he was going to send the picture to one of the people on the podcast. It was a super cool moment.
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Then by chance we ran into a whole meetup of Adventure Zone cosplayers!
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Sunday
Sunday I wore my Queenie Goldstein costume for the first time. The genesis of this cosplay was that I really liked Queenie’s wand, so I bought a prop replica. Then I realized that Hot Topic was selling a version of her coat, and the idea for a costume was born. I commissioned the dress and scarf from Helen’s Wear.
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While we were taking photos of my Queenie cosplay, a nice gentleman walked by and took a Polaroid of me and let me keep it. Neat!
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PAX Unplugged 2017

Last November, Mike and I attended the inaugural PAX Unplugged convention in Philadelphia. The concept is similar to the other PAX conventions, in that it celebrates many types of gaming, but here they exclude video/computer games (hence, “unplugged”). The focus is shifted instead to board games, card games, and tabletop role playing games.

The experience was good for a first-time con, although there were some hiccups. The two biggest issues were having enough activities to keep attendees busy (cutting out video games really decreased the amount of programming and things to do relative to what I’ve seen at PAX East) and traffic control/communication (some of the signage was confusing or missing, and it wasn’t always clear where we were allowed to go or what entrances we could use). Both of these problems can be fixed, so I’m optimistic that the con will improve.

Unfortunately, there was not a ton of cosplay to see. The PAX conventions are never the most cosplay-heavy, but the lack of cosplay at Unplugged was noticeable even relative to PAX East. I also hope that changes, as part of the fun of a convention, even if it’s focused on something specific like gaming, is seeing people express their love of nerd culture through cosplay.

Here I’ll share the photos we took other than the formal shots we got of our costumes. I’ll follow up with another post featuring those.

We played a number of board games throughout the weekend. We started with an old favorite, Colt Express.
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After that we played Letter Tycoon, which was a new game for us. I am terrible at spelling games, but I still enjoyed it.
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For some reason the person who goes first is denoted by this airship. Airships have nothing else to do with anything in the game, so I’m not sure why that was chosen as the token.
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As I mentioned before, we didn’t see that much cosplay. But what we did see was pretty cool. Here is Anne as Keyleth from Critical Role.
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There was a giant-sized version of King of Toyko!
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These figures are normally only few inches tall in the board game.
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Game demo
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Me and Michelle learning a new game called Veggie Garden. I liked it!
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More cosplay
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Nora as Julian and Kayleigh as Lucio from The Arcana
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Cute display in the expo hall for the game Shiba Inu House
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The tabletop gaming area
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Philadelphia sunset
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Pretty colors at Level Up Dice
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A cage die at Level Up Dice. The center part moves separately from the surrounding cage.
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Nick, Michelle, and me deciding our strategy for Codenames: Pictures
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A tabletop miniature setup
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“Old school” games in the classic board game area
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Dimitry and Gus playing Concept
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The board for Concept
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The tabletop game lending library
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Playing another new game, Celestia. We liked it so much that we bought it.
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Pumpkin Tea 2017

Returning to event recaps, when last I left off, I had just posted about Stephanie‘s Pumpkin Tea Soiree. The day after the soiree, Stephanie hosted her annual Pumpkin Tea. Just as in past years, it was a wonderful time. It’s always a treat to spend an afternoon with so many friends from near and far.

On to the photos!

Jess, Glynnis, and Judy
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Stephanie always does such a wonderful job with her table settings.
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Maggie and I wore matching American Duchess Manchester boots.
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Seated for tea
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Jess and Kristin
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Glynnis and Kat
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Ashley and our hostess Stephanie
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Judy and Carolyn
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Maggie and Janine
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Jessica, Linda, and Rebecca
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Me and Jessica
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Group photo
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Group Regency Wedgie Shot
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Shoe shot
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We are in the midst of a costumer baby boom! Featuring Jess, Rebecca, Maggie, and Kristin.
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Maggie
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Carolyn
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Check out the beautiful draping she did on the back of her open robe!
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Kat
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Stephanie
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Stephanie and Kat
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My cap is by Virgil’s Fine Goods.
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Ashley
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Kristin
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All of my photos are here.