Howie photographs the Houses of Parliament

Digging through some more photographs, I found some old snaps of the Houses of Parliament in London, UK.

The second photograph is a panoramic which was composed from 49 different photographs stitched together to form one big panoramic. It took me about an hour to snap the 49 different frames and two police officers actually stopped and searched me. It was the first time I have ever been stopped and searched, and so I asked them, to their utter dismay, to fill in the stop and search form which they have to do if requested. It took them a while to go through every question, which was just enough time by that point for them to have kept me company to allow me to finish the rest of my snaps.

Do click on the panoramic for a bigger version if you’d like to see it clearer.

Howie’s photo session with cosplayer Costumed Hero (part 2)

It’s been a hectic post-con fortnight unfortunately, but having gone through some more photos which I shot at October’s London MCM, I managed to find some more nice shots of cosplayer Costumed Hero, with her partner, Courtney. It was very handy that they were both quite laid back and not serious at all, which made for quite a playful few photos.

Howie’s photo session with cosplayer HiddenRozel

I ended up doing a totally unprepared and impromptu shoot with Fern, aka cosplayer HiddenRozel, on the day 2 of October 2016 MCM London. Fern was happy and bouncy, whilst I was wondering what the hell was going on, or who the hell was she meant to be (although I will add this was not due to the fact her costume was not recognisable – I just had not seen the anime from which she was cosplaying)! I later found out she was cosplaying Suigintou from Rozen Maiden.

With nothing to go on but the big sword which Fern had as a prop, there was only one thing I could think of doing. I did some research as to what this Suigintou was all about, and man is she a dark character! So… sword  play and ominous it’ll be!

Howie’s photo session with cosplayer Costumed Hero

Another of my shoots this year was with Harriet, aka cosplayer Costumed Hero, sporting her Mad Hatter cosplay. Harriet and her cosplays have been featured in NEO Magazine before, so am really happy that I got a chance to have Harriet as a guinea pig for doing shoots. We even managed to drag a White Rabbit cosplayer into our shoot!

I wasn’t too sure where I was going to go with the Mad Hatter set of photos, but finally decided to go for a bit of high contrast high key editing to give it that surreal and dreamy look.

Howie’s photo session with cosplayer Yel Zamor

My attempts at doing photos this year brought me to a cosplayer called Yel Zamor, aka cosplayer Cos Moustache, cosplaying as a post-apocalyptic version of DC’s Captain Cold. To be honest, I was quite nervous when doing this shoot because this was a character about whom I knew very little, and my pre-con research only brought up very limited ideas in terms of putting something together for a shoot. Lucky Yel was more than happy to help me out with more information about the characters and more ideas though, and I managed to get some quite amazing photos back from the Captain Cold shoot with Yel. I gave Yel’s series of photos a post-apocalyptic dusty look. Oh and as a bonus, I’m giving Yel’s series a little animation as an apology for making Yel run about like a crazy person multiple times!

“Yel, can you run along the wall… again.”

Howie’s photo session with cosplayer Little Miss Metamorph

I met up with Kristen, aka cosplayer Little Miss Metamorph, today for a shoot of her Darth Vanitas Sith cosplay. This year is the first time I’ve done any proper shoots from behind the lens, so I need to thank Kristen for being such a wonderful cosplayer to work with, and for being one of my guinea pigs this year. Oh, and sorry for the wait when I got lost trying to find the exact place within the ExCeL car park!

Howie listens to Symphonic Fantasies London

Tonight, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), conducted by Eckehard Stier, played a wonderful concert at the Barbican Centre, titled Symphonic Fantasies London, which saw the world class orchestra perform a medley of pieces from four classic Square Enix series: Kingdom HeartsSecret of ManaChrono Trigger / Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy. The orchestra was joined by the London Symphony Chorus (LSC) with David Lawrence as chorus master, as well as soloists Slava Sidorenko on the piano, and Rony Barrak on the darbouka.

Programme for Symphonic Fantasies London.

Being an avid gamer and a musician, I notice a lot about the music of computer games and how it adds to any given moment within a game’s plot, and having gone to a few video game music concerts already, I always manage to get transported to those iconic moments in any game by the orchestra, and certainly the LSO’s performance of music from Square Enix’s titles were no different. If I thought I was impressed by the LSO’s performance of Final Symphony II at the Barbican Centre on 12 September 2015, I was absolutely blown away by the concert tonight.

The addition of the LSC to the mix gave the performance a lot more depth, and allowed the music to be explored from a totally different angle, for example, using the LSC’s singers to replicate the sound effect of rain and storm for the Secret of Mana medley.

The music of Kingdom Hearts and Secret of Mana, though iconic, was soon over taken in the second half of the concert by the medleys of music from Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy. Being an avid Final Fantasy player, you may all think me to be slightly biased, but I genuinely thought the arrangement for the Final Fantasy section in tonight’s concert was beyond expectations and by far the best arrangement of the evening. It certainly made the musical geek inside me squeal with delight as I sat there in the stalls.

The harp prelude gave way to the ever joyful chocbo theme, which then proceeded to give way to big and bold battle themes, with a hint of the chocobo’s theme in the background in a different key to give some comic relief. But it was the finale of the Final Fantasy section which blew me away, as the woodwind section shared responsibility for the main theme of the series, beginning in a minor key before transitioning to a major key into the recognised version of the theme, then handing the motif over to the violins before the violins gave the main theme motif to the LSC singers.

With an encore of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII medley which was not listed in the programme, the LSO, LSC, and the soloists truly deserved the full house standing ovation which they received at the end of the concert.

Very much looking forward to the next concert!