Front Page Update!

Well it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated the front page, things have gotten pretty routine over the years to the point where no one’s checking here, they’re going straight to the gallery of choice!

And that’s A-OK, I just figured maaaaybe my head article shouldn’t still be the great PHP collapse of 2019..

Cons are slowly popping back up in our mid-covid world (it is most certainly not post-!) and while it did it’s best to stop my lungs working, I’m still at my nonsense taking pictures of all you lovely people.

Times have certainly changed, the days of running around trying to catch all of the hoardes of roving cosplayers is kinda over, with everyone having access to perfectly capable cameras on their phones, readily available friends, and just in general there’s less call for those like myself. Probably a good thing cause I’ve been doing this for like 20 years now, I’m not getting younger and no one else is signing up to help out!

As a consequence the galleries are smaller, a bit more.. linear? Masquerades and Studio shoots while the random mix of con floor photos are getting less and less, it makes me a little sad since those – along with the outtakes – are my favourites, but they’re not dead and gone yet! I stretched myself a little thin in the past, and I’ve been through a lot in recent times, so please be a little patient with me, reach out if you do want photos taken, it’s not that I don’t want to take them! It’s just my “Hi! Can I take your picture?” game has become weak and feeble!

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Everything UnAsplode

Update: Luck it is! Super thanks to:

For taking the time to have made some PHP7 compatible edits to long-deserted codebases!

I am looking into alternative gallery solutions now anyway, but for now ML is back online! If you run into some long timeouts followed by database errors just wait and refresh, the poor thing has a lot of photos to recache.

One of the issues of doing this for so long is getting complacent – a backend upgrade to the web server highlighted just how old the framework my gallery uses was. Old enough that it has fallen over dead and I’m not entirely sure I can get it standing up again! I have a few options but without a bit of luck, none of them will restore things as they were.

That’s not to say any photos are lost of course, just it’s going to take me a while to either get everything back online, or to redesign how I host photos from the ground up, then upload everything again.

Sorry for the sudden outage, I’ll get things sorted as soon as I can.

– Nert

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MinamiCon 22 Gallery

MinamiCon once more!   Definitely my home convention, as chilled as chilled can be.

On studio duty as usual but not many shoots outside of that – however did cover the live music event, debuting Super Limit Break, a cover band formed of good friends of mine who’ve had this in the works for several years!

Not much else to say except whoops look at my backlog…

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MinamiCon 21 Gallery

The chilltastic MinamiCon hits its 21st year and doesn’t disappoint. It’s been a while since I’ve properly enjoyed a con and not felt I absolutely had to have a camera surgically attached to my face the entire time!

For those who’ve joined UK conventions through the manic MCM ComicCons or the nightlife of a KitaCon might not be well prepared for the laid-back, old-school nature of Minami, it’s a classic convention in the model of days past.  Simpler times with a much more local feel.  Cosplay is often not to the grandiose scale you see at the large events – although that isn’t always true! – but for many of us this is where we started, and it’s the con we wind down at.  Even the Masquerade will have a dozen prizes for categories made up on the spot, specifically to neuter the drama that can spawn from a competitive event.

While large ComicCons will boot you out after a manic day, and while party cons will blare out music until 2 in the morning, what does Minami do?  Sets up a giant room of homemade kotatsus and cushions, fills it with board games and says have at it.  Also karaoke.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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KitaCon Invasion Gallery

KitaCon returns!  Back at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole, across a pond from the NEC I was at the previous week no less!

Kita has made for itself the name of the UK party con, and it lives up to it in full force.  There’s been a  shift from cosplayers milling about during the day making full use of the pretty venue and the lovely outdoors for photoshoots to mostly empty corridors and people crammed into panels or sleeping off the previous night to make way for the next big party!

A combination of that, being busy, and being a bit on the lazy side means it’s a bit light on the floor costume shots, there were plenty of other photographers and videographers around so hopefully no one is going without.

On the other hand if you got on the stage over the weekend then prepare for a barrage of shots.  Pretty lighting and and the lovely Lulu Rose as my glamorous assistant means we’ve got you covered.  Keep an eye out for her shots, this is her first convention properly using a DSLR and I’m proud to include them in the gallery.

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Cosplay Cascade – MinamiCon 7-19

12 years in the making, who’d have thought it?

So I started off with a video camera, just as I started going to cons I’d upgraded to a miniDV camcorder from an old Video8 thingy, so at least we’re spared analogue noise here.

MinamiCon was my first ever convention, Minami 7 to be precise.  I had no idea what I was in for, I was merely told it was a good time and I was too late for the year people I knew were going (6) so I signed up for the following year when they’d all graduated and promptly realised I had no clue whatsoever what actually went on at a con!

It would be a few years later when I made the switch to photography, my video camera had died and photos gave a much more instant gratification, also I hadn’t tried to shoot anything useful and had just swung the camera around at anything that looked interesting – I could edit but was useless at having a purpose to filming.  When I couldn’t get photos I’d switch to video on a tiny IXUS 70, and when I upgraded to a DSLR I would often thrust the IXUS on whoever had the misfortune to sit next to me to film skits with.  It wasn’t until I strapped said DSLR to a steadycam that I ventured back into video proper.

So there’s kind of a few dark years where there’s not much video at all – I was too busy taking photos!  Nonetheless I put together everything I could find, every scrap of useful Minami footage that I personally have over the years.  This means anything prior to 7 hasn’t made it in for obvious reasons!

It’s a wonderful convention if you’re the type to enjoy it, it’s small, it’s quiet, it’s chilled, you’re never far from a place to sit down and socialise.  We play stupid games, go to interesting panels, and just chill out rather than most events where it’s run around like a headless chicken time.  Being my first convention it’s also the one I share the most memories of, it’s where I’ve met the majority of my friends, it’s always the con that sees my new equipment first because it’s the most relaxed, and the easiest to practice at.  It sees a good turnover of new faces every year but still feels the same – in a good way. It’s like coming home once a year.

To that end, to celebrate its 20th anniversary I put this together. It’s not polished, it’s not an exciting beat-filled track, but it suits Minami perfectly.

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MinamiCon 20 Gallery

MinamiCon hits its 20th birthday as a milestone event in UK anime convention history,  and the event continues to improve while still being that same MinamiCon it’s always been.

This year went all out, the hotel itself has had a tech upgrade behind the scenes, the Friday party saw a complete Matsuri theme with game stalls and sweets aplenty, and Sunday night saw the début trial of a new karaoke system built from the ground up.  Yet there’s still all the classic events Minami-goers have grown fond of too, it’s a far cry from the party-all-night larger conventions, a much more relaxed and laid-back affair where there’s never a bar far away.   For most of it’s attendees?  That’s just the way we want it.

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