One of the cons I look forward to attending the most each year is San Japan. The 5th year of this convention took place August 10-12, 2012. The location moved from the Marriot Rivercenter to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It connects to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center which is the largest convention center in San Antonio. My boyfriend and I drove to the area Thursday evening to enjoy extra time with friends at the biggest attraction of the city, the Riverwalk.
The start of my Friday morning was easy going as none of my shoots were scheduled till that afternoon. I attained my press badge and familiarized myself with the con location. The convention center seemed to be plenty spacious enough for the major attractions of the con. The weather, however, was scorching hot and humid all weekend with temperatures in the triple digits. Props to the cosplayers that withstood it! I learned my lesson from A-kon and paced myself this time better to keep myself cool and not get dehydrated. My first shoot of the day started with a lovely pair cosplaying Holo and Lawrence.
After taking pictures of a construction site for one of my later shoots, we headed up to the fourth floor of the Hyatt Hotel. The character being cosplayed is Inga. I’m not familiar with the character, but it seems interesting as I loved the design of the costume. I was told it was a futuristic setting, so we went as high up as we could in the convention part of the hotel to get a good view of the cityscapes for photos. The windows covered the entire side of the building so the light was very plentiful. One of favorite pics of the con ended up being from this shoot with the cosplayer standing against the brown paneling of the columns inside facing towards the windows allowing the light to rain on the cosplayer. I used my 50mm f/1.4 lens for this shot and the outcome was just like what I had desired.
My next shoot took me to HemisFair Park. This is home to the Tower of the Americas, the tallest structure in San Antonio, TX. There are artificial waterfalls that made a pretty setting for these kimono Code Geass cosplays. There was one part of the park in which they had these solid cement structures with water raining down. I placed the cosplayers in front of this and it gave a unique rainy background that kept the cosplayers dry so they didn’t have to use their umbrellas.
I took my next shoot on a small bridge over the riverwalk with the sunset in progress. The metal structure of the bridge made it a suitable location for Lin Bei Fong for metal bending of course!
This ended my shoots for the day and it was time to hang out with friends. If you are ever in San Antonio, I would highly recommend Mi Tierra. It is one of the most famous Mexican restaurants in the city with such beautiful ceiling decorations.
Saturday morning and early afternoon was spent cosplaying, but I was able to give a tiny shoot to my cosplay partner during the time. I used the curves in the brick foreground as a guide in composition to this photo. I love the greens in the photo! It must take a lot of work to keep up the vegetation at the riverwalk .
I quickly got out of costume afterwards to go into photographer mode for the rest of the day. I started my first shoot with a Sailor Venus. My favorite shot of this shoot came from her posing on rocks right next to the end of the river. With those GoGo boots I was worried about her toppling over! I’m personally not use to wearing heels so it’s amazing how steady some people are on them.
My next shoot was a unique couple of characters from Naruto that I do not see cosplayed often and they sure did a spectular job. We found a place suitable for the sand location to have our shoot and I was able to get some very satisfying shots here.
We found a fresh new location for my next shoot in the middle part of the walkway between the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The background was made of what appeared to be a unique set of black bricks with a white outline. This matched Marika-San’s costume very well. I loved the shots that came out of this background as well as her expression in this particular one.
I got a break from shooting cosplays for my last scheduled shoot and did a fun small Lolita shoot at the side of the Riverwalk outside.
I got to have a break before the cosplay contest started. I made sure I had enough food and water in my belly before setting out to the contest. I grabbed my 70-200mm lens and made my way there and met up with my photographer buddies Lemon-ikon Photography and FilmShooter. The cosplay contest started on time, but the lighting on stage made it difficult to get some shots by creating heavy dark shadows over cosplayer’s faces and eyes. There were tons of entries and many elaborate cosplays this year compared to last. It makes me really look forward to the next because they announced that a WCS preliminary will be held at this con next year.
After the contest ended and the winners were announced, we joined up with videographer Michael of MLZ Studios to take pictures of the cosplayers while he videographs each group. He made a fantastic video that can be watched here. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH6z8tgADUU&list=PLEB4045DE1BCB9277&index=0&feature=plcp) Saturday night completed my photo adventures at San Japan. The rest were spent having good times with friends and eating dinner at Denny’s after 2 in the morning.
San Japan Mach 5 ended up breaking over 9000 attendees, making it the second largest anime convention in Texas next to A-kon. I had a great experience there. I heard a lot of compliments coming from my friends speaking of how nice and professional the staff were and how well-organized events were held. The next dates for San Japan have been announced for August 16-18, 2013. Their 6th year is bringing a villain’s theme along with WCS preliminary in which the winner gets a free trip to Katsucon 2014 for the final WCS preliminary in the United States.
Below is a gallery of my most favorite pics from the con. If you are interested in following my work, you can watch me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/FallingFeathers.net or visit my site at www.fallingfeathers.net.