I attended the second Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) last April 2013, one of the largest cultural festival in Dubai. A great gatherings where all participants/attendees were fully dressed in fancy costumes, most were geeky adults and some were superhero fanatic kids portraying their fave characters.
You can see a lot of masked and painted faces in one extravagant festivity, the largest of its kind in the UAE, It was an epic event for young and adults. I have covered several events in the UAE but this one is definitely the best and I personally enjoyed so much.
The event was held in the compound of Mina Seyahi in Dubai International Marine Club last 5th and 6th of April. Tents and stalls were scattered around the festival lawn where the main stage can be found. Merchandise and artist's stalls can be found inside the Main Tent, the most crowded spot in the venue, it has an upper floor for the Artist's Alley but I never had a chance to take a peek due to the long queue of crowd along the stairs. I spotted some interesting cosplayers inside the Main Tent but never got a decent shots because the area was dimly lit and my camera mounted flash gives me unflattering images, I forgot my flash sync cord to position a better light on my subjects but even though, it would be very difficult to use it with a massive crowd around me.
A lot of fellow photographers were so confused on who's to capture first due to a lot of fancy dressed cosplayers to choose from. I used 24-70mm lens on a D800 with an SB900 mounted on camera's hot shoe for all the shots taken inside the Main Tent.
As I headed down the exit, I was wowed with a huge crowd in the outdoor area, a lot of cosplayers mingling around everywhere I looked. Since it's a huge open field with enough natural light, I switched to 70-200mm lens and took off the flash. This lens gives me a great shallow Depth of Field (DOF) with a wide open aperture of 2.8 (f/2.8). By having a shallow Depth of Field, the distracting background or foreground is blurred while the subject is sharp.
To obtain shallow depth of field, I considered the following factors:
- Longer focal length, I switched my lens from 24-70mm to 70-200mm to have a longer focal length.
- Large aperture, even though the area has enough natural light I still opt to set my aperture to 2.8 (f/2.8). Smaller the F-number, the larger the aperture.
I used Manual Mode the whole shoot, I used a minimum shutter speed of 1/200s to avoid camera shake while holding the camera. The approximate rules of thumb to avoid camera shake are:
Full frame cameras : min shutter speed = 1/focal length. If you have a 200mm lens, your minimum shutter speed should be 1/200s.
Crop Sensor cameras : min shutter speed = 1/(focal_length x 1.6) for Canon* or 1/(focal_length x 1.5) for Nikon. If you have a 200mm lens, your minimum shutter speed should be 1/320s for Canon and 1/300s for Nikon. Refer to your camera's manual to get the correct crop factor of your camera, Canon cameras have 1.3x or 1.6x crop sensors depending on the model.
I was glad that almost all of the cosplayers that I requested to be captured did not hesitate to pose in front of my camera, I remembered only one or two who refused to be shot. There are a lot of must see activities in the event like the Movie Club, Game Zone, etc. but I only focus on shooting interesting cosplayers. I also have some images taken on Main Stage, I have seen the entertaining Dubai Drums and local band, Nikotin, performed their acts. It was unfortunate to miss the special performances from Alodia and Ashley Gosenfiao, well known Filipino artists and cosplayers.
It was really one successful event, a truly unique experience to be a part of this. I hope that next year will be better and more exciting, see you all next year. By the way, thank you Extra Cake for choosing me as one of the fabulous winners in your photo contest, the goodies are great.
Click here to see the MEFCC Gallery