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My WorldCon schedule

clock August 27, 2012 12:46 by author Amber

ChiCon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, is this week. In fact, my plane for the Windy City leaves Wednesday afternoon and I land just before midnight. 

Hmmm. I seem to remember doing this recently when I went to the Steampunk World's Fair in New Jersey. I mean, really, why I do fly out so late? Because I like the night life? Well, there are lots of photography subjects.

Digital Narratives: What Are They, Where Are They, and How the Heck Do I Write Them?
Thursday from 12:00 pm to 13:00 pm
Buckingham : Bronze West
This panel discusses how digital technologies have changed the way we tell stories and explores what the future holds.
Christopher Kastensmidt, Amber Clark, Tom Dowd, Nancy Fulda, Daniel Levin
LARPing: Make-Believe for Adults
Thursday from 16:30 pm to 18:00 pm
Field : Silver West
Do you long for the days when you were a child and you could be a superhero one day and a cowboy the next? Well, you can go back and do it all again with live-action roleplaying. The panel discusses different kinds of LARPS and how you can get started playing in them.
Amber Clark, Norman Cates, Ann Morris, Kevin Riggle
The Ghosts Talisman: A Fumetti in Four Parts
Friday from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Buckingham : Bronze West
Author Jennifer Brozek and photographer Amber talk about the creation of the photographic novel from script and casting to shooting and layout.
Amber Clark, Jennifer Brozek
100 Aspects of a Pith Helmet
Friday from 13:30 pm to 15:00 pm
Wrigley: Bronze West
How the symbols of colonialism inform and undermine steampunk.
Eightball, Amber Clark, Roland Green, Gregory Rihn
Nerdlesque: Filking for Burlesque?
Friday from 16:30 pm to 18:00 pm
Comiskey: Bronze West
The neo burlesque movement seems to be full of nerds and geeks in troupes such from New York's Epic Win Burlesque to Portland's Critical Hit, even individual shows like NERDZ in Seattle and the Hitchhiker's Guide to Burlesque in Los Angeles. Some acts are fun and campy tributes to fan favorites while other numbers offer a serious contemplations. Either way, it's a love letter.
Amber Clark
Firefly Ten Years Later
Friday from 18:00 pm to 19:30 pm
Gold Coast: Bronze West
Browncoats are still flying ten years after the series aired half a season. What's the lasting appeal of this short-lived series?
Bob Devney, Amber Clark, Janice M. Eisen, Lee Martindale, Ann Morris
Digital vs. Traditional
Saturday from 13:30 pm to 15:00 pm
San Francisco : Gold West
Is the new digital process ruining the arts? Panelists will talk about the pros and cons of using digital media and how it effects productivity, creativity and the market.
James Stanley Daugherty, Amber Clark, Kurt Erichsen, Mark J. Ferrari, Jane Frank
Artists Round Table Part One
Saturday from 16:30 pm to 18:00 pm
San Francisco : Gold West
A venue for fans to ask questions of the artists.
Amber Clark, James Stanley Daugherty, Rowena Morrill, Maurine Starkey

If you're at the convention or you are in Chicago feel free to look me up. I'll even have my camera gear with me and 30 Second Portraits will happen.

Frank Wu's Westercon painting shoot

clock July 11, 2012 09:39 by author Amber

This last weekend was the 65th annual Westercon science fiction convention at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport Double Tree Hotel. While the programming department worked me hard with all of my panels I was on I still found time to meet new people, make friends, and have amazing things happen. Here's one such amazing thing.

During the course of my panels I referenced David Hobby's blog The Strobist. (It's a fantastic resource and a wondrous community for learning to light!) In particular, I talked about the idea of using a bed sheet to create a global-wrap-around light for minimizing glare on surfaces you're lighting during the panel "Reproducing Your Art". (David talks about using the sheet in a portrait to create on access light of huge proportions.)

After the panel Frank Wu, the artist guest of honor for the convention, asked if I wanted a fun challenge. And by "fun challenge" I mean to say, he asked if I would shoot his painting in the art show as he had just finished it that morning and didn't have any records of it. 

With the blessing of Westercon's art show staff, Sunday morning I setup my lights.

Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.comWhenever you are shooting on location, your control over the situation is limited. In this case, the paintings I was shooting were hung on the walls of the show in the corner and surrounded by his other works and the works of his wife. In a perfect world, I would set up a sheet on the left and one on the right but with that right side panel, that wasn't going to happen.

I set up the bed sheet from my hotel room hung it camera left, using one light stand the left side panel, and used it as my giant light. My initial set ups were too close to the painting and I would get hot spot reflections. I moved the flash back as far as I could go and dialed down the power on it until that hot spot was gone.

I didn't have the same luxury on the other side because of that panel on the right so I had to use a SpeedLight and a white shoot through umbrella but I couldn't get the flash far enough away to light the right side of the paintings without a hot spot. What was the solution to this problem? I bounced the light off of the ceiling in the room.

Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography.

If this picture isn't clear enough, here's a diagram.

Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography.

The final piece of the puzzle was to open up the aperture to an f2.8 to let a lot of light in and reduce the power output of the flashes down. Both flashes were set to  1/64 power.

Here are the three finished images of the painting.

Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography. Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography. Copyright 2012, Stopped Motion Photography.

Gorgeous, aren't they?

These paintings are copyright 2012, Frank Wu and are used with permission.

Where to find me at WesterCon 65

clock June 29, 2012 09:52 by author Amber

Next week will be busy on many fronts with call backs for The Ghosts Talisman models, a couple of book cover shoots, and WesterCon 65 at the SeaTac Double Tree Hotel where I will be speaking on a variety of subjects, some art related, some horror, a little make up work, and more.

Gaming: Gender Issues In Tabletop & Video Games
in Cascade 3-4 at 7pm on Thurs
What are the gender issues currently portrayed in tabletop and video games? Come and discuss these with our panelists.
With: Brianna Wu, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Mickey Schultz, Miss Amber Clark

Speculative Photography
in Olympic 2 at 10pm on Fri
There are many kinds of photographic techniques being used today for surreal, fantasy, horror and just plain strange themes. Some work is digitally produced and manipulated, some is still being done completely on film either staged or with darkroom effects, and some combines more than one medium and technique. Our panelists will share examples of their own and their favorite work and discuss techniques and materials.
With: Gadget the Emperor, MaggieD, Miss Amber Clark

My Favorite Tool
Copyright null, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.comin Olympic 2 at 11pm on Fri
Our intrepid artists share about those one or two items that they couldn't live and create
With: Arlin Robins, Frank Wu, Jeff Sturgeon, Miss Amber Clark

E-Books, Cover Art and Illustration
in Cascade 3-4 at 1pm on Fri
Will publishers continue to invest in cover art if the art is only available in digital media? Will there still be a market for interior illustrations? What about children's literature and picture books? How can we get publishers to recognize that this is still important, or is it?
With: Anna Sheehan, Frank Wu, Jeff Sturgeon, Miss Amber Clark, Tod McCoy

The Horror of Things
in Cascade 7-8 at 3pm on Fri
Monsters are inherently scary. But what about everyday items? How can the horror author turn the mundane terrifying?
With: Gadget the Emperor, Gwen Perkins, Jennifer Brozek, M Todd Gallowglas, Miss Amber Clark

Photoshop and You!
in Evergreen 2 at 5pm on Fri
Whether you are a beginner and want to know what a pixel is or are an advanced user and want to plumb the depths of layers and clipping masks, this is the place to be to find out all about working with Photoshop.
With: Miss Amber Clark

Monster Archetypes
in Cascade 3-4 at 8pm on Fri
Vampires, zombies, werewolves and ghosts are just some of the monster archetypes. Why do they stick around in our subconscious? Let's see if we can figure that out.
With: Anna Sheehan, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Jessica K. Sklar, Kat Richardson, Miss Amber Clark

Special F/X Make Up on the Cheap
in Olympic 2 at 1pm on Sat
Whether you're making a Klingon, a demon spawn, scarred zombie hunter, or even a paranormal investigator who has lost an eye, there are inexpensive ways to do it. We'll offer tips and techniques we've learned through the years to help you come in under budget.
With: Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Miss Amber Clark, Wolfcat

How to Reproduce Your Artwork
in Olympic 2 at 3pm on Sat
You have finished your masterpiece. Now how do you make the prints? What reproduction options are out there and what works the best for what?
With: Jeff Sturgeon, John R. Gray III, Margaret Organ-Kean, Miss Amber Clark

Thinking Outside the Art Box: Mixing Media
in Olympic 2 at 5pm on Sat
Don't be daunted by the high cost of conventional art supplies. There is a great deal of art to be made out of humble household products and inexpensive craft supplies. Even when you are working in conventional media, don't get hung up on sticking to one medium. Mix it up! This panel will discuss ideas about mixing different art media and using unconventional materials for the creation of art. Audience participation is encouraged!
With: Jeff Sturgeon, John R. Gray III, Margaret Organ-Kean, Miss Amber Clark

Collaborating With Artists
in Cascade 7-8 at 1pm on Sun
Authors frequently collaborate with artists from other media: Painters, photographers, and prop makers. Collaboration requires excellent communication between creators who speak different languages. It's not as easy as most people think, especially when both sides can be temperamental. Panelists will give their tips on effective communication for artistic collaborations.
With: David Brin, Jennifer Brozek, Michael Ehart, Miss Amber Clark, Solarbird, the Lightbringer

Cherries von Pinn

clock November 26, 2010 17:45 by author Amber

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography. www.stopped-motion.comLast weekend was SteamCon 2, a gathering of steampunk affectionados who on the whole are a lovely collections of nerds, geeks, and other assorted cool people. Really, this is genre in fandom with a flair for Science! (Note the capital S and the exclamation point.) While steampunks come in many different shapes, sizes, and ages--my youngest counts herself amongst their numbers--they all share the same sense of the visually amazing. Let me show you one such cool person.

She goes by the moniker Cherries Jubilee amongst the local Steamrats and even does dance classes with a distinctly steampunk flare to it. What's not to like? Perhaps if you're Agatha Heterodyne and you're trying to stay out of the way of Madame von Pinn you may not care for her. Now when Cherries came to me asked for a quick photoshoot to capture the von Pinn inspired costume how could I say no? Besides, silly ideas to present themselves from time to time. What could be sillier than a construct like von Pinn contemplating the day with a glass of wine? [more]

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography.

Copyright 2010, Stopped Motion Photography.

The SteamCon Fashion Show

clock November 21, 2010 21:35 by author Amber

I just finished up a weekend at the 2nd Annual SteamCon, a steampunk exposition of the amazing! Amazing was a good word for it. For the most part, I spent my time in the photo salon photographing dashing men, beautiful heroines, innocent babess, and a fantastic mechanical universal tracker! M.U.T. was very impressive!

I had the oppurtunity to shoot the fashion show for SteamCon again and this year, I was able to make some additions to lighting arrangements. I am very pleased with the results, but don't take my word for it. Here are a few images from the hundreds I shot.


Keep an eye out on the gallery for all of the photos as they come online.

Foolscap 12 - A very productive three days

clock September 28, 2010 13:57 by author Amber

Here I am on the back side of a convention that has just wrapped up. Perhaps I should mention that this is my first Foolscap ( and really kind of snuck up on me. It's a small convention down in the Redmond Town Center Marriot with a focus on writing and the visual arts.

"Her Return" (C) 2008 Stopped Motion Photography
"Her Return" for the "Reunions"
by James A. Sullivan.

Friday's first panel, "New Types of Artwork", put me into an interesting position. Especially when you consider this was my first time being a panelist. Out of the three other people who were panelists with me, I was the only one there. On the bright side, I only had one attendee, so it was all good. ;) We actually had a really good conversation about the creative process I utilize and how I've built some of the more complex images, such as "Her Return". For being a two woman show, so to speak, it went well.


Friday night, Becca, a fabulous cook, friend, and owner of the Night Kitchen in Seattle, introduced me to Emma telling her that I was the one who took all of those photos in her restaurant. That lead to a find meeting of collaboration after the panel about collaboration. I'm actually very excited about this project and have already started laying the ground work for it.

"On Edge" (C) 2008 Stopped Motion Photography
"On Edge"

The second Friday panel, "Biology of the Undead", was much better attended. In addition to all of the panelists showing up, we had 10 attendees and the discussion was lively. We established the different kinds of zombies we seen in zombie fiction. Romero zombies, named after George Romero, are slow and shambling and first showed up in Night of the Living Dead, while Boyle zombies, named for director Danny Boyle, are fast moving, chaos and destruction on two legs. We even had the discussion of whether or not Boyle zombies counted as zombies, as they weren't dead, though the type still stands as other directors, most notable Zach Snyder used the fast moving zombies in his Dawn of the Dead remake. Of course, we gave some love to the classic voodoo zombie. Mention of a new type of zombie even came up: the Grant Zombie, named for author Mira Grant. Grant Zombies start off fast when they're freshly dead and get slower as their bodies begin to break down. Of course, we also talked about where zombies come from.

Saturday's panel, Collaborating for Fun and Profit, was a lot of fun actually. Cory and Catska Ench provided a great deal of feedback about how they work together. Nate Crowder spoke to his efforts to collaborate, including work he's done with editors putting together anthologies. Will Shetterly and Emma Bull talked about what it was like to work together as husband and wife on a project and then Emma regaled us with stories of her work on Shadow Unit as executive producer of the series. We talked tools and methods, from wikis to hand delivering fictional letters to your collaborator.

Saturday was a day of discussion and debates, some good and some that I'll just say happened if you get my meaning. This isn't to say it was a bad thing, but it was a bit intense at times for a two hour chat in con suite. But I can't complain too much as I had an invite to a scotch and chocolate tasting party with pushed friendly conversation for the next couple hours. I discovered that I don't really car for scotch (not a big surprise) but I do love my dark chocolate (you can at least act surprised, right?). In spite of my whiskey revelations, I had fun and I'm glad I went to the tasting.

"Emma Bull at Foolscap 12" (C) 2008 Stopped Motion Photography
"Emma Bull Hiding Behind David Howe" Shot with my sketchpad.

Because life is cruel sometimes, I was awake by 6:00 am on a Sunday and up getting ready to go by 6:30 am. This was not a bad thing in its entirety; I did get a nice piece of street parking right next to the hotel. This also afforded me time to sit in on other panels and network. The panel was "What Do Editors Do", which was some invaluable insight into the publishing industry. With both Tribal Markings in the beginning stages and Over the Edge, Year One mostly in a finished state, I feel a little more knowledgeable in what I'm going to have to do to see these forward.

My last official panel was Packing Your Sketchbook. I presented my iPhone and said, "This my sketchpad." This was the panel that I contributed the least to. I think I was one of the few if not only professional photographers there, but I got a lot out of the panel and had a lot of fun with the conversation.

After Nanobites, the traditional brunch at Foolscap, I hung out in the common area, chatting with Kat Richardson about many and sundry things. She had some excellent practical advice for Tribal Markings which made we really happy. (And I acted on that advice last night.)

I had a wonderful time and would certainly go back again in the future if they'd have me. I got to meet a lot of cool people like Kat, Emma, Sue, Sara, David, Nick, Jana, Eleanor, and many more who I cannot remember right now.

Edit: David Howe's name is actually Dave Howell. I've fixed that.

Foolscap 2010 Schedule

clock September 17, 2010 08:04 by author Amber

I will be at Foolscap, September 24th-26th, and here is the schedule of panels I will be on.

  • Friday, 4pm (Alder) - New Types of Artwork – New media, new materials for creating art, etc.
  • Friday 10pm (Alder) - Biology of the Undead – Theories on the mysterious inner workings of the zombic community. Where do zombies come from? In most works of SF, it's not a mommy and a daddy zombie. Sometimes it's occult powers, but sometimes it's a virus, or radiation. Prepare for the uprising now!
  • Saturday 10am (Alder) - Collaborating for Fun and Profit – In the age of the Internet, collaboration is easier than ever. Should you collaborate on a project? What tools should you use? What are some of the common pitfalls and benefits?
  • Sunday, 11am (Alder) - Pack Your Sketchpad – Drawing anywhere and other means of refreshing your art.

I'm really excited and looking forward to it. Will I see you there?

Into the Weird Weird West of Fashion!

clock June 3, 2010 09:52 by author Amber

Last October, I shot photos of the SteamCon Tea and Couture Fashion Show. I had a lot of fun taking the photos. You can view all of the photos here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by the coordinator of the SteamCon 2 fashion show asking if I'd be interested in doing it all over again. It would be an understated to say I agreed to do it again. No, this year, I have ideas on how to improve the lighting and get even better shots than some of the awesome ones below. To celebrate this occassion, here are some photo's from last year's fasion show, Tea and Couture.


SteamCon this year will be November 19th to the 21st at the SeaTac Marriot and Hilton. For more information, check our the official website at

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