Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day of remembrance for the men and women who have served in the military. Spurred on by Alter’s recent unveling of a Yoshika Miyafuji figure, I’ve decided to pay homage to the combat veterans of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing by watching the first episode of Strike Witches.
The opening story reminds me a lot of the beginning of Robotech (or Macross, if you prefer); you’ve got enigmatic, technologically-advanced alien invaders, a young, innocent civilian who shares a tenuous yet deeply personal bond with a high-ranking member of the military, and a wacky, wildly-impractical aviation system. One difference is that Yoshika does decline a chance to take a spin in the Striker Unit, and another departure is that the 501st’s pilots are loli girls. Who wear no pants. In fact, none of the girls in the episode wear pants, it seems. This prohibition on wearing pants is definitely a policy initiative that I can get behind.
One reason that I hadn’t watched Strike Witches when it was first aired are the animal ears and tails. I really don’t like them, and I’m sort of hoping that Alter’s figures have the option of removing them without me having to resort to a Dremel. It’s kind of like when I cook gumbo, I usually add whatever I’ve got. Celery? Sure. Seafood? I never have it around, but if I do, it’s great. Garlic? Absolutely. Baker’s chocolate? Hell no. You can have a great gumbo cooking with a variety of flavors but if you add one wrong ingredient, you’ve screwed it up. That’s how I feel when it comes to shows like this which try to pander to a multiplicity of fetishes; if you don’t like one aspect of the show, it makes it difficult to watch the whole thing. It’s a bit of a shame, as I like a lot of things in this show, such as how they placed the Akagi’s island on the port side and how they based the characters on combat aces, but man, I wish they didn’t have the ears and tails.
On a completely unrelated subject, I’m slowly going through and re-doing some old photos. I’ve got Cammy re-shot, and I’m probably going to re-do Sasara’s gallery next. I’m concerned the whites in my photos are excessively blown out, so I might have to revise my processing techniques.
I started this blog in February to motivate myself to learn more about photography. I had picked up a new camera shortly before that to replace my seven year old, two-megapixel Canon A40, which sadly wasn’t up to the task of taking pictures at the size and quality I desire. As I quickly found out, my photographic knowledge and abilities weren’t up to the task either, and after looking back at my earliest sets of pictures, I think I’m going to re-shoot them. I’ve already taken some pictures of the Dark Magician. Here’s an old picture of her:
Yucky. The cloth background just doesn’t work. New picture:
I’ve been playing with the lightbox a bit more, having added another lamp, and while the results aren’t entirely what I’m looking for, I think they’re an improvement from what I had. I also came across a useful article on lightening the background using adjustment layers in Photoshop. I’m not sure if this is the best way to do it – my guess is that it’s not – but since it’s an improvement over what I had before, I suppose I’ll keep using it.
I was going to shoot Kokoro’s set and then I realized that one of the string ties on her bikini had fallen out. That’s the problem with cast-off figures, I wind up losing the parts that come off and I can never find them when I need them.
I’ve only been taking pictures for a few months, so I’m not all that expert at photography. My photoshoots are mostly trial and error (a lot of trials and almost as many errors) as I shoot off a few pictures, change a setting, shoot more pictures, and then transfer them to my computer to examine what’s different.
I’ve wanted to experiment with a light-colored background as an alternative to the black cloth that I use for most of my pictures. I tried using a sheet of white muslin as a backdrop in some of my earlier pictures, but the results were so poor that I’ve stuck with the black background. Years ago, I read an article detailing how to build a lightbox, and I tried it out then and it didn’t work too well for at least a couple of reasons: one, I only had one lamp, and two, I had no idea what white balance and exposure were.
Like many figure collectors, I own one of Ikea’s Detolf display cabinets. It’s a popular choice, and for good reasons; it’s compact, shows off figures very well, and most importantly, it’s ridiculously cheap. That’s not to say it’s perfect, however. It’s rather heavy, somewhat shoddily designed (like most furniture from Ikea, I find), and it doesn’t have lighting. While I can’t do anything about its weight or construction, I can do something about the lack of lights.
Because the economy isn’t going to just save itself.
In the past, I have sometimes been asked, “What were you thinking?!” In this post, I reveal just that, without organization or coherence.
I got new stuff today. I’m hoping Star Ocean is as good as Tales of Vesperia, but I have this feeling that I’m going to be disappointed.