Before going into this year's Anime Los Angeles convention, I knew that this would be my last one.  The past eight years were
fun, but it was time to move on.  There were many reasons for my decision.  For better or for worse, this con has grown.  It's
crowded.  There is a severe parking shortage.  I've never enjoyed being in large crowds and that's one of the reasons why I
avoid conventions like Comic Con International and Anime Expo.  To be honest, that's also one of the reasons why I chose to
spend so much time in the photo studio.  It's one of the few places at this convention that isn't so crowded.  Occasionally, I
would come up to the surface and look around and I never wanted to stay in the crowd for very long.  It simply isn't very
enjoyable to me.  Before the convention, it was announced that Anime LA would be at this location through 2015.  I've been
covering conventions and shooting cosplay since 1998.  I don't see myself doing this for too much longer aside from press work.
 Even if it were to move after 2015, I simply don't see myself lasting that long. With that, I've basically eliminated all conventions
from my schedule where I do not attend as press.

In addition, things have changed a lot in cosplay photography since I started doing it.  There are a lot of photographers out
there.  In the final hours of the convention, after I had packed up my camera equipment, I took one last trip up to the pool deck.  
I saw a group of about 10 photographers taking photos of one cosplayer for what seemed like forever.  As I said before, I don't
like crowds.  This is the kind of photography that happens at conventions these days.  It's crazy, but it can't be helped.  There
are just so many people with cameras these days and everyone wants to take the best possible photos that they are capable of.
 However, it's not something that I'm interesting in doing.  It's another reason why I spend so much time in the studio.  Even at
other conventions, like FanimeCon, unless I'm doing a private photo shoot, I don't really shoot any other cosplay.  It's very
common for me to walk around a convention during the day without a camera if I'm not shooting anything.  I just don't have the
energy to shoot hall cosplay anymore.

It has been a fun eight years at this convention.  A few people knew that it was my last time here and it was fun reminiscing
about the old days at the Airtel, the Burbank monsoon, and other memories of this convention.  I learned so much in the past
few years from shooting in the studio and I use what I learned in the a lot of the shoots that I do these days.  I'm also thankful for
the one photo shoot that I was asked to do this year.  Finally, in my last year, I finally got to do one at this convention.  This
convention location is about a 15 minute drive from my apartment, and it's going to be strange to not attend anymore.  It's so
close, but it's the choice that I've made.

I wish the best of luck to this convention.  Thanks for all of the memories.  I'll be watching.

Nergene Arquelada