In Memoriam – Laura Fontanilla / AnoHana’s Menma and Her Letters

Cosplayer Larry Bear as Menma from AnoHana

Cosplay by Larry Bear. Character: Meiko “Menma” Honma. Series: あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない (We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day.)

Cosplay and tributes work well together when the context of the show relates so closely to what you are paying tribute to. AnoHana for short, this show touches upon the life of a group of friends who lost one of their own early on in their childhood. Inner thoughts and emotional dissections ensue, and we have a rather satisfying ending. Inspired by a true story? Possibly. Laura was a good friend for many years. And though we lost touch for nearly six of them, we were able to reconnect for two more before her untimely passing. This is an open letter about my thoughts on her young legacy from my viewpoint. May she find peace and comfort in knowing that she was loved and will always be remembered.

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Motivation, Levitation, Persistence, Expectation


You know that saying where you need to fall so many times before you can be successful? What if you could just levitate in the air after you get back up and never fall back down?

When I was in Vancouver back in August, I was fortunate to meet many new faces, make new friends, and have lots of fun. I was also inspired a lot. Take this photo for instance and it actually has an outwardly obvious point of inspiration; the other is something only those that were there with me would understand, which is what I’d like to reveal to you here in this post.

Outwardly, this photo is inspired by none other than Natsumi Hayashi of yowayowa camera woman diary. I’ve always wanted to try what Natsumi-san does with her photos, and I’m glad I was able to have some assistance this time around in doing so. The other point of inspiration is Linda from LindaDProductions (be sure to check out her YouTube channel as well) who was behind the camera to take this image. Thanks, Linda! I’m actually honored to have gotten to know her through the group of people I was with in a casual way. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted if I was a huge fan; speechless and stutter-y all the time, I’m sure.

Having either heard or met these individuals is something really cool and, for the most part, rare to me. They both have amazing talent, have outlets to share their creativity and passion, and do it consistently and persistently. I feel like I’ve been there, but have fallen. Again and again. Recent changes to my lifestyle have helped me get back up and get some more hang time each time around. And now here I am, filled with inspiration to continue setting a new set of expectations for what I want to evolve my skill into next.

Thanks again, everyone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try and kiss the sky some more.

Putting the Media in Pacific Media Expo: An Unofficial Vocaloid Concert

Bunny ears and an eager crowd awaiting the unofficial Vocaloid concert by Synthesized Reality Productions. Pacific Media Expo 2013. [j]

40 days of fundraising and almost $4,000 USD later, we have a Vocaloid concert! And no, this isn’t Crypton Future Media, SEGA, 5bp, MARZA ANIMATION PLANET INC., or any other entity or production studio typically associated with Vocaloid concerts that put this show together. With enough continued momentum, Synthesized Reality Productions could very well be the go-to production studio for local Vocaloid concerts until it gains traction with the likes of larger conventions such as Anime Expo. Anyone who is a Vocaloid fan who knew about and/or was fortunate to attend the 2011 Mikunopolis event in Los Angeles would probably agree that seeing more of Miku, Luka, Rin and Len onstage here in the United States is something we really need to see more often, especially for the efforts put forth at this year’s Pacific Media Expo. Read on for my quick impression of the show and some photos of the concert.

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“There is so much I want to do. I’m brimming with thoughts of things I want to create… I chase after every image that flies out. I catch them, battle them, and consume them after sampling each flavor. I name and return them to where they ought to be [over and over]. It requires so much time.

I want to open all these boxes, but a mortal life span is too short to do such a thing. A single lifetime limits how many boxes you can open.”

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In Memoriam – Johannah Marie Rivera Rafanan

Johannah Marie Rivera Rafanan - In Memoriam, 1 of 16

Memorial services are never an easy event to cover as a photographer, especially if they are for someone within your own family. My sister Johannah fought her cancer bravely for three solid months. And yet it seemed to be over so quickly. She seemed so strong all through the end. These three days of services seemed so out of place that it didn’t feel right to be meeting relatives and family friends under such circumstances after so long in such a quick time frame. None of this made any sense.

This collection of photos are the only sixteen of the nearly four hundred I took across three days of services for my sister that I and, I’m sure, my family feel most comfortable with sharing to the world; images of a place seemingly frozen in time where loved ones do not want the passage of time to commence – a sort of limbo from the outside world where the most precious of memories of our own lost loved one linger around the halls of the chapel and the green lawns of the mortuary. And while most of them only show the backs of my relatives and our family friends, I can only hope that these photos do justice to show that my sister was well loved and nurtured, even beyond her life on this earth.

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Megurine Luka: Tony Ver. (Figure Review)

Megurine Luka: Tony Ver. - On-stage

The addition of 1/7th scale Vocaloid Megurine Luka to my figure collection came as no surprise considering how much of a fan I’ve become of the music she has been featured in (Just Be Friends, anyone?). In some ways, a 1/7th scale figure feels like homage to my first ever figure purchase of similarly scaled Saber Lily ~Golden Caliburn~ back in September 2010. Whereas Saber Lily sparked quite the fan in me for future nendoroid purchases, Luka may just reignite it. And where I used to take casual photos of the figures I acquired, I now have a better sense of understanding of how creative I can take those photos. Check out more of them after the break to see whether I really was able to step up to the (in Luka’s case, vinyl) plate.

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New for 2013: Figure Photography [Teaser]

1-16-13 FigureTest-2517

For 2013, I thought it would be nice to re-photograph all of my figures from different perspectives (and hardware) that I hadn’t tried before and never had ready access to. The above shot of this rather famous figure (some of you may be able to figure out who it is right away) is an example of just that, as well as being a preview to something different and fun coming soon. I plan to tie in more background elements with this figure to make the shots more unique and, say, relevant to the subject’s contextual theme. Needless to say, I think the initial teaser results came out great! It certainly helps that she has partially transparent hair.

Having been away for some time with some (positive) career changes and physical relocation, I am now ready to pick up my momentum again with a new season of shows to follow, figure photo projects to commence, and comments to get back to. Stick around for some more posts and feedback this coming week!

Genelle & Peter, Engaged! (And Now Married), 9.9.2012

August and September marked my turning a year older and the announcement of a wedding in the wings. With lots of change going on, I was starting to wonder once more where my photography was going. I’m glad that I was able to explore my creative process once more and discover through this wonderful couple just the type of intimate photography I like: fun, spontaneous, colorful, happy, playful; but most important of all – casual. This couple had all of that and more. I’m proud of the results we had with this session, and I can’t wait for other opportunities with this couple. They helped push my thought process a little further and reminded me of just how awesome love is.

Congratulations, Genelle & Peter!

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U.S. Premiere of Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie, 10.19.2012

Madoka Magica US Premiere Entrance

There is a lot to be said about the commercial success of the Madoka Magica franchise and its progression since it first aired almost two years ago. And if you were lucky enough to secure a seat for the Friday, October 19th premiere at the Downtown Independent in downtown Los Angeles, you would also see how much popularity it has gained, even in the midst of Style Fashion Week going on across the street at the Vibiana. Like the entire week dedicated to the world of fashion, the Madoka Magica movie premiere will take place for a week until the 25th. And while it may not capture world-renowned fame like Style Fashion Week (just yet), it still shows subtle signs of a discreet subculture’s growth into popular mainstream entertainment.

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2006 Toyota Corolla XRS: The Little Sleeper That Could

2006 Toyota Corolla XRS

In 2011, Toyota collaborated with Subaru to design the first front-engine, rear-wheel to join Toyota’s lineup of fuel-efficient, family-friendly vehicles since the turn of the twentieth century. In 2003, I was introduced to the world of drifting through a good friend of mine who went on to write and publish a book based on the popular automotive subculture. And in 2005, I stepped foot inside what I thought was going to be Toyota’s continuing baby step towards what we all came to witness with the unveiling of the GT 86.

Now, nearly seven years and 110,000+ miles after production ceased on this now rare breed of Corolla history, the 2006 Toyota Corolla XRS resurfaces again; this time, in the form of this photographer’s daily driver and closest A-to-B confidant, as well as for an opportunity to glamor up and show online photographer and automotive communities that while the XRS fell short in certain respects to Toyota’s attempt at affordable sport performance in a compact sedan, it made up for with the test of time through proven reliability and mechanical stability.

Check out my photos of the black sand pearl XRS under the proverbial limelight after the jump.

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