San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Final Thoughts

July 29, 2010 by ·  

Toys At Comic Con 2010

Comic-Con 2010

        After attending Comic-Con and taking a few days to think about the experience, in particular how I could have made the experience better as well as things I flat out didn’t like, I’m ready blog about the entire experience. Photographically, it was not challenging AFTER the first day. It was a lot of fun.

Green Lantern At Comic Con 2010

Captain America Tattoo At Comic Con 2010

        The people and their costumes were the highlight for me. After spending time amongst them, I’ve learned there are no levels or degrees of a Comic-Con fan. They all sit at the same tables and wait in the same lines. When you consider that thousands of people rode (in full costume) to Comic-Con on public transportation after flying to San Diego from locales all over the world, you start to realize that the playing field is even for these ladies and gentlemen.
        For the press, professionals and celebrities, it’s a somewhat different story. Everyone there is NOT on the same level and the game is rigged, which is not surprising but still disappointing. The big, well known media outlets like to do stories and shoot video of what or WHO the big, well known studios are presenting. This created two issues for me that I… Didn’t like. The first was that even though I had a press pass, I’m not a big media outlet, so I wasn’t granted any exclusive interviews with any big studio guys or one on one interviews with network stars. The second thing was that the smaller, unknown artists, illustrators, etc. seemed to be ignored by mainstream media. These are the guys that would get the biggest boost from the media exposure, so I’d like to see big media giving more time to small print and up & coming artists next year.

Harry Potter Legos At Comic Con 2010

Costume At Comic Con 2010

        I did not attend any panels, film screenings or have any autographs signed for me. All of those things required waiting in line, and I just didn’t want to wait in line. I spent most of my time roaming up and down the aisles of the convention floor as well as the autograph signing area (The Sail Pavilion), which turned out to be the best place to get celebrity pictures. This is my first tip for better photography next year: After you find out where the signing will be, look around and try to deduce how they will be brought to the signing area, position yourself somewhere along that route a few minutes BEFORE the celeb is due to arrive… And wait. Everyone in the autograph line will STILL be in line 90 minutes after you already got your shot. This method turned out to be very time efficient because you need less than 10 minutes of lead time so you can just swoop in, take the shot and move on to the next thing.

Undertaker At Comic Con 2010

Can Man At Comic Con 2010

        My main reason for attending Comic-Con was to take photos. There are any one of (at least) several common “main reasons” for attending Comic-Con, and that is what I wanted to capture. I was very fixated on taking pictures so I had to make conscious efforts to stop and smell the roses. One of the roses that I didn’t smell enough was S.W.A.G.
        My primary mission was photography so I didn’t want to be fettered down with stuff other than my photographic gear, which was my Nikon D5000, a 55-200mm and a 18-55mm lens, all contained in a Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW. I was also using one of my custom camera straps. I have a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB card, which allows me to take 538 RAW photos. I brought extra batteries and cards but never had to swap out either one (I get over 1500 shots per battery on my D5000). I averaged around 200 shots per day, with 15-20 making it into my daily blog posts about Comic-Con. For the most part, I was at 1000 ISO on the convention floor and 200 ISO and in the Sail Pavilion.
        Next year, I will bring an f/1.8 lens. A 1.8 would have made the shots a whole lot better and required less time in Photoshop. That being said, I’m going to see if next year I can worry less about gear, and more about the show itself. That’s my second bit of advice: Bring extra batteries and cards with you to San Diego, but you probably won’t need them at the show. In the case of my D5000, one battery and one card were enough for each day. Maybe next year I’ll spend some time in panels or try to collect my body weight in S.W.A.G. You never know and a year is a long time from now, but I’ll be back, and I’ll have my camera with me.

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San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Cutting Room Floor

July 27, 2010 by ·  

Jack In The Box At Comic Con 2010

Jack In The Box & A Woman In Red

        This post will contain photos taken throughout the four days of Comic-Con 2010 I attended. These are pics that didn’t make it into my blog for the daily postings I was doing while Comic-Con was going on, but that I ultimately thought people might like to see. I attended the preview night, which was on Wednesday, as well as Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I did not go to The Con on Sunday, the 25th of July.

Dark Clone Trooper At Comic Con 2010

Clone Trooper At Comic Con 2010

        The reason I referenced “the cutting room floor” for the title of this post is because for one reason or another, I feel there is something technically or photographically wrong with the pics used in this post. Composition, messy background, bad exposure or not being tack sharp are the main culprits, so when I was making my decisions about what would make it in to my daily posts for Comic-Con, these pics didn’t make the cut.

Mark Valley At Comic Con 2010

Chi McBride At Comic Con

        I have never liked it when tabloids print embarrassing or bad photos of celebs making a funny face. That being said, after attending Comic-Con this year and taking a bunch of celebrity photos, I think I understand why they do it… Sometimes a bad photo is the best photo you were able to take. With Comic-Con being a mad-house of 160,000 people, sometimes you are luck just to see the celebs with your eyes, let alone through the viewfinder of your camera. Above we see Mark Valley and Chi McBride during an autograph signing.

Kari Byron At Comic Con 2010

Katey Sagal At Comic Con 2010

        Of course, it is next to impossible to take a bad photo of Kari Byron. The photo of Katey Sagal was taken when a security guard actually allowed me within about three feet of her. She was looking at me, but listening to the person that was in front of her, so whatever he told her caused her to make that face, not my camera. She was with Ron Perlman promoting Sons Of Anarchy.

Elvira At Comic Con 2010

Elvira Announces Her Return To Television

        Comic-Con is an imperfect place, and I think the photo above may help to illustrate this. Elvira held a press conference inside a room that is supposed to be for press only. Notice that in the photo above, taken just as Elvira’s press conference was wrapping up, there are nothing but people holding up camera phones, not journalists and reporters absorbing a story.

Terminator At Comic Con 2010

Dirk Benedict At Comic Con 2010

        A couple of flashbacks from the 1980’s were present at Comic-Con. To the left we see the metal skeleton from the Terminator movies, one of my favorite movie trilogies. Above is the actor Dirk Benedict, who played “Face” on the awesome, totally radical 1980’s TV show, The A-Team. I will not be watching the theatrical version of The A-Team because I think some things should just be left alone, and George Peppard as Hannibal Smith is the ONLY way I want to see Hannibal Smith.

Star Wars At Comic Con 2010

R2D2 At Comic Con 2010

        Star Wars is another story altogether. I’ll eat up just about anything that has to do with that set of movies, except for that asinine character Jar Jar Binks, of course. Comic-Con really is a natural habitat for Star Wars fans, especially those that want to arrive in costume. The R2D2 you see on the right was brought in by a fan and was operated by remote control. He slyly stayed a good distance away while operating his robot, so most people walking by actually thought there was some one INSIDE, working the controls, just like in the original movie. Someday, I’ll build my own lightsaber and tie-fighter, not necessarily in that order, but someday I’ll build them both.

Fan At Comic Con 2010

Freddy Krueger Female At Comic Con 2010

        It is important to remember that Comic-Con is a place to have fun, meet people, look at costumes, dress in costumes, eat bad food, take pictures and collect S.W.A.G. If you have well thought out plans or an agenda, you will probably end up being disappointed because Comic-Con is a very fluid place, and plans will generally fly out the window once you arrive and hit the crowds.

Just Dance At Comic Con 2010

Just Dance At Comic-Con!

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Comic-Con 2010 Day #3

July 25, 2010 by ·  

Arrested At Comic Con 2010

Arrested At Comic-Con 2010

        It seems to me that fuses and tempers are starting are starting to run a little short at Comic-Con. On the convention floor, fire marshals are actively patrolling, enforcing the “no sitting” rule, security guards are preventing fans from taking decent pictures because we “have to keep moving,” one fan stabbed a fellow fan below his eye for sitting to close to him, and at least one fan has been tackled to the ground by a mob of non-peace officer security guards for apparently cutting in line for one of the discussion panels.
        On top of all that it was SUPER crowded today, so I was able to get only a few good shots. I was just not at the top of my game today. I think we all just need to take a deep breath, count to ten and relax.

An Alleged Line Jumper At Comic-Con 2010

        I mentioned earlier that I was not at the top of game today, and I’d like to elaborate on that point, but first let me explain the video above. I shot it with my keychain camera and it’s about 2 minutes long, but only the first 50 seconds are interesting. At that point, when one of the security guards pulls the kid’s hair to keep his head on the ground, I let go of the video camera, pulled my Nikon D5000 out and took the photo at the top of this post. The reason I didn’t edit the video once the video camera is pointed at my bag is because I want you to hear the audio. At about the one minute and thirty second mark you can hear a guard yelling “STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN! Then another guard comes up to me and another photographer and says, “You guys, will you put the cameras away please?” The guard then says that, “He doesn’t need to be encouraged.” You can then hear me say that we are not encouraging him. Anyway, no one put their camera away, and I got my shot.
        As for me not being on top of my game today, it should be pretty obvious… I was inside the convention center, on my way to the Elvira press conference yet I didn’t even have my camera out yet! On top of that, my big 200mm zoom lens is what happened to be mounted on my camera when I pulled it out, so that’s why the shot is so tight. Had I prepared properly, my camera would have already have been slung on my body with my 18mm lens, so the shot would have included all the security guards that were involved. Lesson learned.

Elvira Mistress Of The Dark At Comic Con 2010

Elvira – Mistress Of The Dark

        Elvira held a press conference at Comic-Con for a very special announcement; Elvira is returning to television this Fall! She has a new Movie Macabre with over 20 films she will be hosting. It is going to be funny and scary and with Elvira bringing her iconic brand of humor to every film in the line-up, I think it is the perfect venue for her to introduce herself to a whole new generation of people. Her press conference was the highlight of my day. She is so beautiful, has perfect comedic timing and told us that she HATES the Twilight movie series. Awesome!

Pauley Perrette At Comic Con 2010

Kari Byron At Comic Con 2010

        The beautiful women were out in force today at Comic-Con. Above on the left is Pauley Perrette from at least two acronym shows: CSI and NCIS. She was very warm and cheerful to everyone that came up to her for an autograph. I said earlier that for some reason security guards won’t let us plant our feet long enough to take pictures of celebs while they are signing, we have to “keep moving” so I had to circle around the CBS booth about a dozen times to get this shot. I mentioned in my last post that planning ahead can help you get some great shots, and my shot above of artist and mythbuster Kari Byron, is a good example of that. I noticed she was scheduled to do a signing at the same table that Olivia Munn had been at the day before. I didn’t get a great shot of Olivia on that day, but I did take note of WHERE security lead her into the autograph signing area. I figured Kari Byron would be brought in the same way, so I went around to the bayside patio and waited. Sure enough, Kari and the security entourage walked right past me so I was able to get the above shot as she was about to walk into the autograph area. Remember, my fellow photographers, patience and planning will help you get some great shots.

Sid Haig At Comic Con 2010

Ron Perlman At Comic Con 2010

        Two of Hollywood’s baddest bad boys were on hand today. Sid Haig, on the left played the great Captain Spalding in two of Rob Zombie’s films: House Of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. If you haven’t seen them then you should go out and rent them right now. Ron Perlman, above has a bio sheet longer than my arm, but my two favorite roles of his are as Johner in Alien Resurrection and as Hellboy. To me, he is just one of those guys that is flat out cool, no matter what he does.

Katey Sagal At Comic Con 2010

Katey Sagal

        Katey Sagal was a favorite of mine when she was playing Peggy Bundy on Married With Children and she still a favorite of mine now, providing the voice of Turanga Leela on Futurama.

Mark Valley And Chi McBride At Comic Con 2010

Mark Valley And Chi McBride

        Mark Valley And Chi McBride are currently working together on the TV show Human Target, and they were happily signing autographs today at Comic-Con. For the most part, the celebrities seem to go out of their way to be nice to the fans, smile and pose for pictures. They are very personable, and I’m sure that means a lot to the fans, especially the ones that have traveled for across the United States just to come to San Diego to meet them.
        So… One more day of Comic-Con left. There is light at the end of the tunnel my friends! This week has been exhausting and sleepless, but has been worth every little bit pain & suffering I’ve endured. Cheers!

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San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Day #2

July 24, 2010 by ·  

Comic Con Tunnel 2010

The Second Day (Friday) At Comic-Con 2010

        Friday was the most crowded day yet at Comic-Con, and I don’t just mean the number of fans. There were more celebrities, security, police and handlers then I have ever seen ANYWHERE before, and to top it all off, there is a new “no sitting” rule on the convention floor. The 160,000 fans are now only allowed to sit in chairs and NOT on the floor… We’re gonna need a bigger boat!

Kunal Nayyar At Comic-Con 2010

Kaley Cuoco At Comic-Con 2010

        There were a couple ensemble casts signing autographs today, as well as several individuals doing signings as well. The cast of “The Big Bang Theory” seemed to be the big hit of the day, even though they were surrounded by lots of security, I managed to get a couple shots. It would seem to me that the best way to get a clean shot of any celebrity at Comic-Con is to take a shot while having them sign an autograph for you. The problem with that is that the lines for the signings are long, move slow, take a long time, and even if you are in line, the celebs might bail before you get up there. Above, on the left, Kunal Nayyar glances around during the cast signing, and on the right, Kaley Cuoco reacts to finally being done signing hundreds of autographs.

Jessica Hamby At Comic-Con 2010

Jessica Hamby Is Interviewed

        Directly above the cast signing of The Big Bang Theory, the cast of the HBO show True Blood conducted interviews and milled around with those that were worthy enough to gain access to that upper level.

Stan Lee At Comic-Con 2010

Elvira At Comic-Con 2010

        Comic-Con is not only for the new kids on the block, there are some faces that have been familiar to us for many years as well. Stan Lee, the godfather of comic books was on hand signing posters for a throng of fans. He was very cheerful and even stuck around longer than he was supposed to so that everyone in line could get an autograph. What a classy dude! Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark was also present, sans make-up doing a signing as well. I’m covering a press conference with her tomorrow and we have been told that we must address her as Elvira (not Cassandra Peterson) during the conference, so I think I’ll have some very different photos of her to share on my next post.

Lafayette Reynolds At Comic-Con 2010

Cindy Morgan At Comic-Con 2010

        I am a very big fan of candid, unposed photography. People smiling into the camera while they saying “cheese” is one way to take portraits and there’s nothing wrong with it, but I love it when I can get a shot of someone in a more natural looking way. Above, on the left we have Lafayette Reynolds from True Blood reading a magazine, and on the right is Cindy Morgan, looking at a line of fans in front of her.
        Cindy is known best known for her role as Lacey Underall in the cult movie classic, Caddyshack. Caddyshack was the first R rated movie I ever saw, and to this day, watching that movie is a right of passage for anyone that would aspire to be a movie buff. Just about every line in that movie is memorable, and even today, 30 years later, if you want to distract or mess some one up from what they are doing you just have to shout, “NOONAN!”

Morena Baccarin At Comic-Con 2010

Alison Haislip At Comic-Con 2010

        Morena Baccarin, on the left, even without her long, dark, curly hair is elegant, classy and beautiful. I know her best as Inerra Serra from the sci-fi show, “Firefly” but she is now starring in a remake of “V.” Alison Haislip, above is a member of the ensemble show, “Attack Of The Show.” Morena was not the only Firefly cast member I saw at Comic-Con today. Ron Glass, who plays the shepherd was also there, but I don’t have a photo of him. Want to know why? Because during his signing, he had people around him that held sheets of paper in front of my camera, preventing me from getting a shot. They told me that Ron requested that no candid photography of him be permitted. Can you believe that?!? An actor in the middle of Comic-Con that had people physically preventing photography! Whatever, dude. Morena is way more photogenic then you anyway.

Olivia Munn At Comic-Con 2010

Olivia Munn Is In There Somewhere

        The last two photos I’ll be presenting in this post are to demonstrate just how difficult and time consuming it can be to get a good shot in a room with 160,000 other people. You can’t always get the shot you want right off the bat. You have to be patient and methodical, and even then, you still might not get the shot. So, the shot above, which is the best shot I was able to get of Olivia Munn, was taken as she arrived at her signing table. I was not in the autograph line, so I found a spot off to the side that was about a hundred feet away that I thought might work. It almost worked. Almost.

Kaley Cuoco At Comic-Con 2010

Kaley Cuoco Surrounded By Security

        The shot above of Kaley Cuoco was taken as she was being escorted away from her autograph signing table. Once again, my careful planning did not really pay off. I actually happen to like to photo above, but it is not the shot I wanted. From watching previous celebrities being whisked away from this particular table, I knew the route that the entourage would take when they left the convention center floor. So, I positioned myself in a strategic place along that route, where there were no other fans and patiently waited for them to come by. Unfortunately, she and her other Big Bang Theory actors had about 20 security guards with them, instead of the 3-4 guards that most of the other celebs had which made my carefully picked spot a moot point. Oh well, tomorrow is another day at Comic-Con and there will be many more costumes, celebrities and merchandise to photograph, so until then, cheers!

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San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Day #1

July 23, 2010 by ·  

Star Trek Enterprise Crew At Comic-Con 2010

Captain’s Log: Stardate 07222010, Comic-Con Convention

        The first official day of Comic-Con 2010 kicked off in San Diego today, and I was there with a press pass and my trusty Nikon D5000. As I mentioned in my last post, there would be a lot more costumes, celebrities and events to see, and here they are.

Boba Fett And Tie Fighter Pilot At Comic-Con 2010

Princess Leia Slave Girl At Comic-Con 2010

        Comic-Con means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me it is a photo-op, for others it’s an excuse to call in sick to work, for die-hard fans it’s a chance to see childhood heroes, and for corporations, it’s chance to make money. This is the second Comic-Con I have attended, my first being way back in 1996, and it has changed a lot. I was interviewed by Alan Maloney of BBC News about the changes that have taken place, as was my cousin another, fellow journalist.
        We each had different, valid things to say about the direction Comic-Con has taken. From my eyes, Comic-Con has changed from a venue that brings comic book fans together with their comic book heroes to a platform for corporations to hock their multi-million dollar actors and movies, which I think is… Not what Comic-Con should be about. My cousin’s view was that in order to bring more money into the our city, it is necessary for the big corporations to take part, because that is what draws the crowds that ultimately spend the money. Both points are valid, both points are accurate, so… Where does that leave us? It really is a can of worms that has no right or wrong answer. Is Comic-Con about an annual event that brings fans a little closer to something they love or is it about pumping money into San Diego? Tough to say. Do the Padres play at PETCO park so fans can watch them play or is it because the city makes money by hosting baseball games? It’s seems like it’s six of one thing and half a dozen of the other to me.

Spartacus At Comic-Con 2010

I Am Spartacus!

        Today was a very busy day, photographically speaking, so I’ll try to minimize my text for this post and maximize the photographic content. I got a lot of costume shots, as well as a half dozen or so celebrities, so it really was a very exciting day. Comic-Con really is an awesome event, and there are still three days to go.

Tits At Comic-Con 2010

Female Punisher At Comic-Con 2010

        The costumes at Comic-Con are the best part of the show as far as I am concerned. People go to a lot of trouble to build and don their costumes, so they are very willing to have their pictures taken. Comic-Con is so NOT like the real world! People that come to The Con in costume very graciously pose for photos if asked, so be sure to mind your P’s & Q’s while doing so. “May I please take your picture?” should be immediately followed by, “Thank you very much” after you have taken your shot. If you have a business card, offer it to them so they can see themselves on your blog once the photo is posted online.

Star Wars At Comic-Con 2010

Star Wars Is A Mainstay At Comic-Con

Zombie At Comic-Con 2010

Buddy Jesus At Comic-Con 2010

        Buddy Jesus, with an elegant halo of bright neon blue made his entrance to the Comic-Con, looked me right in the eye and said nothing. That’s OK. After his holiness walked away, a statue of a green female statue caught my eye. Straight up creepy is what this thing was. There’s just something about an undead woman with lizard-green skin that makes me want to not be with her.

Princess At Comic-Con 2010

Captain America At Comic-Con 2010

        I think a beautiful princess and Captain America himself epitomize Comic-Con. Comic book super heroes and mythical royalty are comic book regulars, and there is no shortage of either one at The Con. I mentioned earlier that I saw some celebrities today, didn’t I? Yes I did, and here they are.

Richard Hatch At Comic-Con 2010

Richard Hatch – Captain Apollo In TV’s Original Battlestar Galactica Series

Gil Gerard At Comic-Con 2010

Gil Gerard From TV’s Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

Erin Gray Buddy At Comic-Con 2010

Erin Gray From TV’s Buck Rogers And Silver Spoons

Mindy Sterling At Comic-Con 2010

Mindy Sterling – Best Known As Frau Farbissina In The Austin Powers Movies

Johnny Galecki At Comic-Con 2010

Johnny Galecki – Currently On TV’s The Big Bang Theory

Corey Feldman And Jason Newlander At Comic-Con 2010

Corey Feldman And Jason Newlander From The Lost Boys

Morgan Fairchild At Comic-Con 2010

Morgan Fairchild Is Best Known For Being A Very Beautiful Woman

        Photographing celebrities is just like photographing anyone else, except that their bodyguards and handlers keep you farther away from them. I had a zoom lens, so this was not a problem for me. My random tip for Comic-Con newbies is to wander around the Sail Pavilion, because that is the autograph signing area, which means there will be celebrities up there. Remember to always be polite and say “please” and “thank you”.

Super Heroes At Comic-Con 2010

        After I wrapped up for the day, I left the convention center and headed toward the trolley. It was in between these two places that I ran into this motley crew of superheros. It is very neat to see entire groups of friends put on costumes and head to Comic-Con. After the last couple days, I can honestly say that life is good.

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San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Preview Night

July 22, 2010 by ·  

The Crowd At Comic-Con 2010 Preview Night

Welcome To Comic-Con 2010

        Preview night for Comic-Con 2010 was very crowded, very big, very colorful and VERY fucking awesome! I walked around for about 2 1/2 hours, but it seemed like I was only there for a few minutes. Once you enter the convention center, time and space become nothing because all your brain can compute is the incredible array of optical and audio stimuli. This made taking photos difficult because I wanted to just walk around like a kid in a candy store, picking up S.W.A.G every step of the way. For those interested in my camera settings, I had my D5000 at 1000 ISO for every photo in this post, except the pick of the Green Hornet’s car at the end, which was shot at 200 ISO. My aperture was always at the largest for whatever focal length I happened to be at, so it ranged from f/3.5-5.6. My shutter ranged from 1/40 to around 1/125 of a second.

The Crowd At Comic-Con 2010 Preview Night

This Is Only The Beginning Of The Comic-Con Crowds

        There were so many people that it made getting clean shots of my subjects just about impossible, but I still managed to get a few keepers. That being said, this post will be heavy on photos and light on words. I’m exhausted from the evening and I still have four days to go, so sit back and enjoy the show, as I captured it.

Peter Meyhew (Chewbacca) At Comic-Con 2010

Deadpool At Comic-Con 2010

        There were not a whole lot of people in costume for the preview night at Comic-Con, but don’t worry because they will be out in force over the next four days. Above on the left is Peter Meyhew, the actor that played Chewbacca in the original Star Wars movies. He walks with a lightsaber cane, which I though was very cool and fitting. On the right is a female Deadpool, the “Merc with a mouth.”

Ghostbusters Car Ecto-1 At Comic-Con 2010

Ghostbusters Car Ecto-1

        There are TONS of movie props at Comic-Con, some actually used in production and some replicas. This car is the real deal… Peter, Ray and Egon all rode around NYC ghostbusting in this actual car.

Lego Hagrid At Comic-Con 2010

Lego Buzz Lightyear & Woody At Comic-Con 2010

        Legos can be used to make some very cool things, as the legos above can attest to. The Hagrid statue was actual size while Buzz Lightyear and Woody were about five feet tall. I’ve actually being trying to find a “bucket-o-legos” for a couple years, but without success. All that seem to be available now are lego kits that are meant to build a specific object.

Mockup From The Movie Avatar At Comic-Con 2010

A Model From The Movie Avatar

        All the big name movie production companies are represented at Comic-Con, which is probably why The Con has become so crowded over the years. I think more people go to Comic-Con hoping for a chance to see someone or something famous than people that go to look at up and coming comic book companies and artists.

Dog Handler Predator With His Hound At Comic-Con 2010

Dog Handler Predator With His Hound

Predalien Predator/Alien Hybrid At Comic-Con 2010

Predalien Predator/Alien Hybrid

Iron Maiden Statue At Comic-Con 2010

Iron Maiden “Killers” Statue

Comic-Con 2010

Comic-Con 2010

        There are some things at Comic-Con that just defy explanation, and what you see above are a couple of those things. A mock-up of a murder scene and a life size statue of a woman with an empty gaze. It takes all sorts to move the world, I guess.

The Exorcist Bed At Comic-Con 2010

The Exorcist Bed Scene

        Of course there are other things that need no explaining at all. The Exorcist still ranks in my top 5 scariest movies of all time

Tron Lightcycle At Comic-con 2010

TRON Lightcycle

        I bet it’s fun to ride one of these! For those of you that didn’t know, they have remade TRON and I’m sure the special effects will be amazing.

Classic Alien At Comic-Con 2010

Bumblebee Transformer At Comic-Con 2010

        While I’m not really starstruck when it comes to movie props, it is always neat to see actual size statues of BIG things from the movies. Bumblebee, the most caring of all the Transformers loomed 20 feet high, standing next to an untransformed Camaro. The first two ALIEN movies also occupy a couple spots in my favorite scary movies. In the second one, I love the line, “They mostly come out at night… Mostly.” And of course the most famous line of all, “Get away from her you BITCH!”

The Green Hornet's Car At Comic-Con 2010

The Green Hornet’s Car

        So, here is a short rant about what I DIDN’T like at Comic-Con, as well as a few tips for people that will be attending over the next four days. First, what bugged me. Groups of 2 or 3 people that form a daisy chain while maneuvering through the crowd, so they won’t get separated. This is SO annoying. It’s hard enough to move through a crowd of individual people, but the daisy chainers create these impassable objects that force people that would otherwise slip between them to have to go around them. It’s very rude, so don’t do that. We all have cell phones, so it’s OK to let go of the apron strings. I also didn’t like that the SMALL PRESS area of The Con was almost empty because most people are in the other areas playing the latest video games or hunting for S.W.A.G.
        Tips for newbies to Comic-Con: Wear comfortable shoes, because you will be on your feet all day. Bring a camera. Bring your own food and bottled water so you can maximize your time inside The Con. If you DO leave to go eat, try any of San Diego’s Gaslamp restaurants because it is some FINE dining. I do not recommend buying food inside Comic-Con because it is worse than food at a ballgame and just as over-priced. Oh, one last thing, HAVE FUN! Cheers!

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A Taste Of San Diego Comic-Con 2010

July 21, 2010 by ·  

Comic-Con Costume Contest

Comic-Con Has Just About Arrived In San Diego

        SDMTS and a local San Diego radio station, Rock 105.3 teamed up at the Gaslamp trolley station to hold a Comic-Con inspired contest where the prizes for every participant turned out to be passes to Comic-Con! How awesome is that?!? There were only 12 entries, so each and every one of them got their 15 minutes.

Comic-Con Costume Contest

Comic-Con Costume Contest

        The best thing about Comic-Con is the people. Lwaxana Troi, mother of Deanna Troi of Star Trek: The Next Generation was on hand with Super Rocky. These two were the most energetic of the participants and really knew how to work the crowd. Super Rocky has a great pair of gloves doesn’t he?

Comic-Con Costume Contest

Comic-Con Costume Contest

        Above we have a Death Eater from the Harry Potter franchise and The Scarecrow, which debuted way back in 1941. The Scarecrow is the only participant that I actually talked to, and it was a very good conversation. We talked about costume shows being very under-attended. The grand prize for this costume contest was a 4 day pass to Comic-Con, and there were only 12 entries! A one in twelve chance to win tickets to the sold-out Comic Convention?!? I like those odds!

Comic-Con Costume Contest

Comic-Con Costume Contest

        By far, the creepiest thing pedaling around the Gaslamp trolley station was a child, dressed as Jigsaw from the SAW franchise. This kid had it nailed… He pedaled around randomly and never spoke to anyone. It was creepy and it was awesome. The weird Spiderman, above on the left was a different story. He actually wasn’t Spiderman, he was something else, which he explained which I have since forgotten. He had silly string for webbing and “accidentally” sprayed all over the contestants waiting in line. It was a sorry attempt at subterfuge that was noticed by everyone, including his fellow contestants.
        Being a photographer, Comic-Con offers you a lot of lee-way. It’s OK to not get a perfect shot because when people are in costume, there is no perfect shot. All the photos in this post were taken at the Gaslamp trolley station with a radio station broadcasting and hundreds of people around. There is almost no way in Hell to get the perfect, clean shot you want, so you have to learn to incorporate a million people into a shot where the subject is a single person. No problem. Use your widest aperture and then work some magic in photoshop. It takes practice, but you’ll learn. If you keep in mind that you are infinitely more aware of imperfections than than ANYONE else that views your pics, you will be able to see just how great your photos are.

Comic-Con Costume Contest

Erica Fox Interviews Comic-Con Superheros

        People get get their news from independent bloggers these days because we are the ones that dig and speak plainly. News crews at comic book conventions are not reporting news, they are entertaining municipalities, and people are starting to realize that. The ironic thing is that what Erica Fox is seen reporting above is what bloggers should be doing, and the in depth reporting that bloggers do is what mainstream media should be doing.

Comic-Con Costume Contest

A Taste Of Comic-Con 2010

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Technomania Circus Time Travel Show

July 19, 2010 by ·  

Technomania Circus

Welcome To Technomania Circus

        Technomania Circus is a law unto itself. Before the show started, Dr. Techno read our minds, entertained us and most important of all, made us laugh. We all knew from the title of the show that we would be traveling through time, but when you are at Technomania Circus, most things are not always as they seem.

Technomania Circus

Technomania Circus

Technomania Circus

Technomania Circus

        That being said, I once again I found myself in the audience of Technomania Circus and once again I was amazed by what I saw. For this performance of the Technomaniacs, we took a journey through time, a journey that went through millions of years of history, and we laughed the entire time. We, as Americans do not have a sense of history that that goes beyond 1776, when we became a country. Most of us have no idea what the world was doing before that, but Technomania Circus does, so they educated and entertained us by reminding us what happened before, during and after the mighty United States of America was an idea, a reality and a ghost.

Dr. Techno At Technomania Circus

Dr. Techno At Technomania Circus

        Something I’ve never mentioned before is the personal guarantee that Dr. Techno gives each and every member of the audience: “You will enjoy the show or I will clean your house.” There are never any takers because everyone always loves the show.

Technomania Circus

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth

        Our journey begins somewhere around 25,000,000 BC, when dinosaurs and talking Tyrannosaurus Rex’s where a force to be reckoned with. Just look at his tiny little hands!

Technomania Circus


        Depending on who you ask and what part of the United States you are standing in when you ask, dinosaurs and people either co-existed OR where separated by millions of years of evolution. This particular dinosaur spoken fluent English, so right now I’m thinking that people and thunder lizards were contemporaries of one another. Of course, biblical scholars would disagree, but they disagree with everyone.

Technomania Circus

Technomania Circus

        As we continued to move forward through time at Technomania Circus, we met some familiar faces. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble demonstrated the the first automobile and the need to invent a back seat for a car. Wasn’t the Flintstones an awesome cartoon? What a great concept. The cartoon came out in the 1960’s and applied 1960’s technology to the stone age. I would be very interested to watch a remake of the show that is updated to for 2010 technology. I think watching the the Flintstones deal with stone age computers, social networks and coffee shops would be incredibly funny. Anyways, after the Flintstones came the Egyptians, and King Ramses. As you can see from the photo above, Ramses was very pleased with his volunteer on his blue ball.

Technomania Circus

The Pharaoh Ramses Balances On His Big Blue Ball

        As we progressed through time we learned that even pharaohs like to have fun. Time travel aside, this really was quite a feat of balance and concentration. Walking on top of a giant rubber ball back and forth across a see-saw is a very exciting thing to watch!

Technomania Circus

Jesus Hubert Christ!

        Jesus Christ arrived 2000 years or so after the the golden age of Egypt, and when he did arrive, he rocked the house. What was his first number 1 single? Stairway To Heaven, of course.

Technomania Circus

Henry VIII Is Entertained At The Palace

        Henry VIII had 6 wives, two of whom were beheaded, so it is easy to understand why the court musician would try very, VERY hard to keep the King of England entertained. After all, if Henry would lop off the heads of his wives, what would he lop off a lowly court musician?

Technomania Circus

The Wild West

        After Henry VIII came an American gunfighter. This particular gunfighter chose to balance on a ladder and shoot balloons from a hand-held target. He had a very steady hand and never missed.

Technomania Circus

Technomania Circus

        The photo above, on the left reminded me of a line from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, spoken by Chevy Chase, “That’s a great place for a pearl necklace.” Ahem, as we continued forward through time we got to hear a remarkable song by Albert Einstein that ran through every element on the periodic table. It reminded me of the Nations Of The World song performed by Yakko Warner of the Animaniacs.

Technomania Circus

Space Pirates!

        Dr. Techno, the leader of the Technomaniacs was the operator of the time machine throughout the show. The time machine was a gigantic, mechanical contraption that only had enough juice to take us BACK in time. However, Albert Einstein produced an unspecified quantity of OBTAINIUM, which allowed the good Dr. Techno to take us into the FUTURE with his time machine. The first thing we encountered where space pirates.

Technomania Circus

At Some Point In History We Discovered Fire

        I began to lose track of where I was and WHEN I was, but The Welderman jumped out on stage to show me the light. I was at Technomania Circus, and I was in the very distant future. I have mentioned many times in previous posts that fire is my favorite part of the show, so I like to think they closed out the show with fire just for me. I know that’s not the reason, but it could be. It could be!

Technomania Circus Presents The Time Travel Show

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La Mesa Police

July 14, 2010 by ·  

La Mesa Police Officer

La Mesa Police Officer Performing A Routine Traffic Stop

        La Mesa is an eastern suburb of San Diego and it is a great place to live. As the crow flies, La Mesa is about 13 miles from the coast so it is not a proverbial “beach town” like Pacific Beach Imperial Beach or even La Jolla, but to me that is a good thing. People don’t come to La Mesa to party their asses off, get drunk or cause trouble. People come to La Mesa to shop for antiques, play around Lake Murray, hike at Mission Trails, experience fine dining or attend our weekly classic car shows in the summer.

La Mesa Police Car Lights

Lights On A La Mesa Police Cruiser

        Besides location and demographics, La Mesa’s police officers do a great job of maintaining a general feeling of safety in the city. They are professional and are always quick to respond when called upon, whether there is an emergency or not. I think that most people living in or visiting La Mesa know that crime and bad behavior stick out like a sore thumb around here, and will immediately draw the attention of our boys in blue. All of these things make La Mesa, CA a great place to live.

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July 10, 2010 by ·  

The Cure For Unemployment

Numb With No Income

        The problem with being a freelance photographer is also the greatest thing about being a freelance photographer, and that is that you are technically unemployed most of the time. You are only as valuable as your last photo, you are only as good as your last award and you are only as rich or poor as your last gig. It is a rough life, but it still beats working in a warehouse or an office for 40 hours a week.

        That being said, the photo above shows one of the greatest components of solace ever produced. A shot consisting of 1 part cherry vodka and 1 part cran-cherry juice is a remedy that every sick, Ni-Quil addicted fiend AND every unemployed photographer can easily understand.

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Waiting For The Trolley

July 7, 2010 by ·  

SDMTS commuter waits for the bus

At The Bus Stop

        There are some people that, while waiting for a San Diego bus or trolley have a very distinct, unhappy look on their faces. That heavy rainbow frown that is usually reserved for cartoon characters and Disney actors can be seen with regularity on a few public transportation commuters. I really don’t know why because riding the bus is not always torture, in fact it’s usually nice to be able to zone out or listen to music instead of having to drive.

70th St. Station San Diego Trolley

70th Street Trolley Station

        Riding the trolley is especially pleasant. They are just all around nicer and faster than buses, coming as close to the pacific ocean as Seaport Village. There’s just no reason for these frowns, not when we live in San Diego. San Diego is a great place to live and has an award winning public transportation system. Smile travelers! Both of these pics were taken with my D5000 sitting in my lap, with the LCD flipped down, enabling me to use live view to compose the shots. I don’t use the swivel LCD that often, but when I do need it I’m glad I have it.

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Keychain Spy Camera vs Nikon D5000

July 5, 2010 by ·  

Keychain Camera Opened Up

Keychain Camera After I messed With It

        Yesterday was the 4th of July and San Diego held their annual BOOM ON THE BAY last night. I was there, and SDMTS, which is San Diego’s public transportation system was flawless in getting me there and back in just over 3 hours. I had about 10 pounds of photographic gear on my person, but managed to forget my camera. Yes, I went to the largest fireworks display on the west coast and forgot to bring my camera. ‘Nuff said.

Keychain Camera 1280x960

1280×960 Resolution Video Camera

        Since I have no fireworks photos to work on, I had to find another way to occupy my time. I decided to modify my new keychain spy camera to be even better than it was when I bought it. The problem was that the camera was at the bottom of the fob. This meant I had to hold it like a wand, which is not spy-like at all. I really wanted the camera to face 90 degrees to the front or the back so I could paste the keychain camera to something, without it sticking out.

Keychain Camera Opened Up

Keychain Camera About To Be Modified

        I disassembled the keychain camera and found the lens to be held in place with glue. I removed the glue and repositioned the camera 90 degrees so it would be pointed out the back of the fob. I drilled two holes to accommodate the new position of the lens. Yes, only one hole was necessary but as the photo below shows, I misjudged the first time.

Keychain Camera Modified

Modified Keychain Camera

        Now I can wear this keychain video camera as a necklace, rather than pointing it like a laser pointer at my subject. The only reason I bought this keychain camera was so I can record people and events without me having to use my hands. The position the lens was in when purchased pretty much makes it necessary to hold the camera in your hand while extending your arm. My mod allows the camera to be used as a necklace.
        The two videos below compare the keychain camera to the Nikon D5000, in terms of video capability. The keychain claims to have 1280×960, 30fps resolution, while the D5000 is 1280×720, 24fps. I think the videos speak for themselves. The D5000 has FAR superior video capabilities than the keychain camera, and the keychain camera’s claims of being HD are false.

Keychain Camera From The Trolley

        Above you see footage taken with a 1280×960 resolution camera encoded at 720p. I have footage from the same trolley ride taken with a Nikon D5000. The D5000 video is much better than the keychain video.

Video Taken With My Nikon D5000

        The video footage above is superior to the keychain camera. I’m not saying that the keychain camera won’t help you out in a pinch, I’m saying that it is not an HD video camera. I’m going to wear it with a lanyard when I go out shooting from now on though. Hands free video recording of any person that challenges me while taking pictures is worth it’s weight in gold for me.

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I Found The Hawk

July 4, 2010 by ·  

A Hawk Cries In La Mesa, Ca

La Mesa’s Resident Hawk

        I am writing this at 5pm on July 4th, 2010, so I have less than two hours to get downtown to watch the fireworks display in San Diego Bay. I plan on capturing some amazing images. The OTHER thing that happened today was me snapping a couple pics of the very outspoken hawk that has been in my neighborhood for a month or so.

A Hawk Cries In La Mesa, Ca

A Hawk Scratches In La Mesa, Ca

        I readily admit that the pics for this post are weird, but I am in a hurry because I am going down to San Diego Bay to see The Big Boom fireworks show. I am going to attempt a complete guerrilla photo shoot for this. It will all be on public transportation so wish me luck.

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Inline Skating On Vacation Isle

July 3, 2010 by ·  

Vacation Isle Landmark

Vacation Isle

        There is a short inline skate trail that runs around Vacation Isle, in the middle of Mission Bay. It’s a smooth, concrete path that follows the eastern and southern shoreline of Vacation Isle before swinging back around the model yacht pond, past Paradise Point Resort Spa and over to Ingraham St.

View Larger Map

Vacation Isle in Mission Bay

Vacation Isle In Mission Bay

        As I sat on a bench while lacing up my skates, I thought about just how lucky I am right now. Even though I spend four hours dedicated to looking for work every day, I am still able explore San Diego’s inline skate paths during the middle of the week, so the crowds are at a minimum and in some case, like in the photo above, non-existent.

Model Yacht Pond On Vacation Isle

Model Yacht Pond On Vacation Isle

        The model yacht pond is a rectangle shaped pond that is for model boaters only. A few times a year there are model boat races in the pond and they always draw a crowd.

Sea Cats On Vacation Isle

Sea Cats Of Vacation Isle

        These stray cats live at the southern end of Vacation Isle, where Ingraham St. crosses over. I was really surprised to see cats that lived by the sea, right next to a skate path. I didn’t try to approach them, but they seemed to be doing all right and since there was a plastic food dispenser nearby, I think that some good Samaritan feeds them at least somewhat regularly. I’ll bring some cat food with next time, because feeding some beach-bum stray cats before inline skating around Mission Bay sounds like a wonderful idea to me.

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Yellowjacket Wasp

July 2, 2010 by ·  


Yellowjacket Wasp

        This yellowjacket wasp was grooming herself when I ran into her. I was taking pictures of some construction in the road when she landed, had a quick bath and left.

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Walking Around La Mesa

July 1, 2010 by ·  

Summer Beauty In San Diego

Jacaranda Tree

        The sky was completely overcast, so I went walking around La Mesa with my Nikon D5000 in tow. I wanted to take photos of my area is if I were a tourist, and everything was new to me.

The Price Of Gas In La Mesa - June 28, 2010

Price For Gas In La Mesa, CA – June 28, 2010

        Of course, I mean that I wanted to take photos as a tourist that happens to also be a photographer. If I was from some far off land, there would be a lot of things I have never seen before in La Mesa.

Replacing Roof Tiles

Fixing The Roof Of La Salsa Restaurant

        I think I would photograph a lot of signs if I didn’t speak the language or couldn’t read their alphabet. Regular people doing regular things would be another thing that would interest me as both as a photographer and as a tourist.

Walking The Dog

Walking The Dog Across El Cajon Blvd

        The above shot was taken right where El Cajon Blvd ends and merges into I-8 heading east. Downtown La Mesa is about a 7 minute walk from here.

Tree Ornaments

Tree Ornaments Hang Peacefully From A Tree

        I found these to hanging decorations to be very Zen and very clever.

The Bridge Over I-8

The Bridge Over I-8

        The high fence on the left is very sturdy and in intended to keep things from falling or being thrown off the bridge onto the traffic of I-8 below.

construction barricades

Construction Barricades

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