Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BlizzCon 2015

I went to BlizzCon this year.

It was awesome. I was able to watch the majority of the StarCraft events as well as some other things. My wife and 1 year old came out to California with me so it could be a bit of a mini-vacation for us all, and it ended up being a really, really good time!

I went to provide coverage for The Weekly All In, naturally. We didn't have press access so I mostly contented myself with getting good photographs for the articles that would eventually be written for our BlizzCon Special issue.

It was awesome to really get behind the camera again. I took a photography class in high school and dabbled with it and photoshop a little here and there for the following few years. This was the first time in years I really made an effort. I was using a borrowed camera (my wife's grandpa's digital Rebel). and really did my best to get in there to get the good shots. I figured this may be my only chance to got to BlizzCon, or do press coverage of an event, or get photographs in a magazine (even a digital one), so I should really go all out. 

While I am definitely an amateur, and my shots reflect that, there were a few that turned out really well. I'm putting some of my favorites here. There is (or will shortly be) a link to the rest in the sidebar.

You watch BlizzCon at home on twitch (or maybe you don't, it could go either way) and it's really fun and exciting. But when you're there, in a room with tens of thousands of nerds and  you're 15 feet from the stage, it's incredible. One of the single coolest experiences of my life. More fun than turning doughnuts in the snow as a teenager. More exciting than the time I possibly caused  increased security on the Haitian-Dominican boarder. 

Mike Morhaime, Founder and President of Blizzard and all-around good guy. This was probably my first photo of the event that was actually in focus. Such a cool guy. Glad I at least got one good shot.

Eric Dodds, lead designer of Hearthstone.Again, I'm just so happy that it looks half decent.

Chris Metzen. VP at Blizzard. All around bad@$$. Possibly a pirate.

The Future of StarCraft panel, with all of those guys that people like to threaten on forums. A pretty well-framed shot, if I say so myself.

Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen. One of my StarCraft heroes that is now a commentator for Heroes of the Storm. Such a nice guy. Really happy with the lighting and the pose on this one.

Lim Yo-hwan, or "BoxeR" as he is often known, is something of a StarCraft legend in the professional scene. He dominated competition for years back in the Brood War days. Very exciting to get to see him in person.

Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski and Nick "Tasteless" Plott. The bromance between these long-time StarCraft nerds runs deep. I wish there had been an opportunity to met them personally, but I'm glad to have gotten a few good shots all the same. 

Chris "HuK" Loranger (center) and Jang "MC" Min Chul. Huk was my very first StarCraft hero, and one of the few that still actively play. The only problem is that he usually looks kind of pissed, for like the last three years. I was really excited to not just see him (and MC!) in person up close, but to get a pic of him looking genuinely happy about something.

The stage for the StarCraft competition was awesome beyond words. Three screens (two for a POV of each player, and one for an observer's perceptive). The stage was mostly just a white, blocky, frame. However, ~40 projectors would simulate an animated stage that changed for each map and each race, complete with victory animations. This is a shot where Life, a Zerg player, won a match, so the stage exploded with a green acid effect. 

Kim "sOs" Yoo Jin kissing the trophy after winning the tournament. Possibly the best photo I have ever taken, or will ever take. This shot is completely unedited.. I'm super proud of it. I also had to kneel on the cement floor in front of the stage for about an hour to be up close for the opportunity to get it. Worth it.
My editor and one of the other writers really drilled the importance of getting good photos of the eventual winner into me. After about 100 shots of sOs right here up close, about two feet away, I realized that I hadn't actually had a fan moment yet. I hadn't given him a high five or get anything signed or anything. So I stopped taking photos (and got the camera out of his face) and got the high five and got my badge signed.  Such an incredible day.

Between games, I would check in with the rest of The Weekly All In guys to say what pics I got and ask if there was anything I should be looking out for. Near the finals, they started to say that they could see me on the stream (!!!). I haven't gone through and watched all of the event just to look for me, but I knew I'd definitely be at this part and one other. Can you see me? 
This one's a little easier.
But this one's my favorite. LOL!

No comments:

Post a Comment