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This weekend was the most fun I’ve had in years. I loved every minute of it from the kayaking Ewoks to the dragon priestess on fire! It was an honour to spend the weekend with this gorgeous bunch of crazy people and yes I mean the assistants and the photographers too! I am so looking forward to seeing you all again. I wholeheartedly want to especially thank Beebichu Cosplay for her brilliant idea and for inviting me!

Derek Stevenson - Edmonton, AB

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been sitting here for the passed hour or so just trying to put words to everything I’m feeling. Each and every member that was a part of the Mountain Cosplay Retreat showed such a genuine passion for their art, it was truly inspiring and exactly what I was needing. I couldn’t have spent the weekend with a better group of people and I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. To Beebichu Cosplay, Ellipses Cosplay, Tarah-Rex Cosplay, The Starktorialist, The White Wolf Cosplay and Creations – Derek, Undiscovered Photography, Austin Jeng Photography, Caroline Slade Photography and to all the assistants and people working behind the scenes, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. This weekend would not have been what is was without each and every one of you. I’ll never forget it.

Danny Vanderwel - Vancouver Island, BC

Guys! I miss you all so much! I’ve been doing nothing but sleeping and working since I returned. You were all such wonderful people to spend time with, the instant comradery and support I felt this weekend reminds me of the good things in life, I won’t ever forget it. Not to mention the fun and relaxation was so needed in my life. Thank you all, you beautiful people. The inspiration, fresh perspectives, and new friamily (friends and family!) I have gained is well worth the sore muscles and 100s of bug bites 1000 times over.

Erin Erskine - Vancouver, BC

I just had one of the most beautiful weekends I have ever had in my life. I spent time getting to know wonderful and talented fellow artist a at the Mountain Cosplay Retreat in #‎firkinbirkin. I can’t shake the joy and sadness created by the journey we all partook in. Magical photographs and costumes and so much love. I have rarely felt so accepted and at home in my entire life. It was like a reunion of a long lost family. Thank you Beebichu for making this a reality. To all of you others whom I will tag, you have inspired me deeply and emotionally.

Jessie Pozzolo - Courtney, BC

What an absolutely stellar weekend, exceeding all (high!) expectations.

I figured I’d get to walk away from this weekend with some pretty fantastic photos, but I didn’t realize I’d also get to walk away fulfilled with so many cherished memories from a whole new wacky family who inspired me to no end.

Thank you to everyone who shared their talent, passion, and laughter. You’re all gorgeous creatures who I can’t wait to plan the next trip with

Kat Liffiton - Vancouver, BC

I am at loss for words to describe the beauty, inspiration, passion and compassion that was present during this weekend at Mountain Cosplay Retreat 2016. Not a single beat was missed and I had such an enjoyable time out of this world. #‎firkenbirken !!!!

There was an immensive amount of magic from photographs to costumes over the weekend. You could feel the passion poured into everyone’s work. All the work that everyone helped on making happen over the weekend. There is nothing like the enjoyment of each others companionship of like minded humour, ideas and love. Meeting new people and sharing laughs and moments over and over again!!

After a long hiatus from cosplay related photography. What we created over the weekend blew everything away.

Everyone instantly became familiar with each other, we chatted, we made marshmallows catch on fire, passed wieners, and made camp fires.

We were like an unstoppable force that just wanted to keep on going despite how dried up, burnt and exhausted we were.

We had fantastic volunteers who stepped up and went above and beyond to help everyone!!

Thank you SO MUCH for the absolutely beloving weekend.

Keep your eyes peeled for more!!!

On top of that. Thank you for those that reached out to invite me to this fabulous get together retreat!

Austin Jeng - Vancouver, BC

Photographer Caroline Slade

I have to say, this is one of the best retreats I have been a part of. Being my second year, I was fully aware of what was to come and there was no disappointment again this year. It was great to connect with new and old faces and make deep relationships with such a great crew of dedicated people. Not being a gamer or science fiction kind of person, I have a lot of respect for the cosplayers and the amount of time and effort they put into their costumes. It makes the photography aspect very easy. MCR gives me the ability to take my artistic ideas of photography and play them out with a team that is willing to help do whatever it takes to get the image from my mind into the camera. Sometimes it can be very tricky and that is what I love about the crew at MCR, everyone doesn’t give up until we get the winning shot!! Thank you to Beebichu Cosplay for making this wonderful retreat be a reality. Thank you to all the cosplayers for all their hard work and dedication to their characters. Thank you to the other photographers for being a great group to bounce ideas off of each other. Lastly, thank you to Birken Lakeside Resort for hosting us every year and giving us a wonderful experience.

Caroline Slade Photography

So, I’ve been sitting here since yesterday evening trying to figure out words to describe this past weekend. I finally gave up and decided to apply sounds instead, soo…


But seriously, as a person who lives in regular fear that I am difficult to like or get along with, I am overwhelmed with the immediate feeling of inclusion, acceptance, love and bonding I received over the weekend. It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt so accepted and felt like a contributing, valuable member of a team. An exceptionally AWESOME team at that. I feel like I left a part of my family behind yesterday morning and the idea of waiting at least another 6 months to a year for us all to be together again makes me wish I could time jump ahead to be there. You are all awesome and I cant thank you enough for making this weekend FAR exceed my expectations (which were already pretty high). I had more fun this weekend than I’ve ever had at any con I’ve ever attended, and this is basically my new go to replacing most of the cons I no longer attend.

Sarah Sasaki - Victoria, BC

Yesterday, I got back from what I think was the best weekend I’ve ever had in my life. I’m still trying to process the fact that it did actually happen and it wasn’t all a dream. Everyone who attended the Mountain Cosplay Retreat had so much passion for their work, the desire to do whatever it takes to get the best shot they could, and just overall positive vibes. I couldn’t ask for a better group to experience it with. My body hurt from laughing so much with these humans, and I left the retreat with a genuine sadness that I had to go home and leave it all behind, but now I’m even more excited to attend again next year!

First and foremost, an infinite thank you to Beebichu Cosplay for organizing and inviting us to come to this event. To everyone else (you know who you are!), thank you for being such an inspiration and a joy to be around. And to everyone who helped out over the weekend, we couldn’t have done it without you. I’m so happy to have the Firken Birken family in my life!

Taylor Hudson - Calgary, AB

OK now that I’m caught up with homework, classes and work.. I GET TO POST MY #‎FIRKENBIRKEN STATUS

I don’t know where to begin on how amazing this trip has been. It was my first time camping in a tent and shooting in crazy surreal nature- BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT MADE IT AWESOME- The amount of talent, laughter and unconditional support everyone shared this weekend was phenomenal.They’re a reminder of why I joined the cosplay community in the first place.
Even though it has only been a day, it already feels like months since we’ve been together


Huuuuge shout out to Beebichu Cosplay for hosting the event! I look forward to next year’s and the new friends we’ll be making!

Sara Law - Vancouver, BC

Photographer Caroline Slade

Thank you all for introducing me to a world I had no idea was so cool! I am still in awe as to how willing and excited you all were at “playing” with me. I have never experienced such a supportive group of people. I learned so much, thank you Jessie and Austin for all the great tips, you helped me bring my photography to another level. I also would like to thank all the players and assistants. You all inspired me so much. I feel like I have a whole other family, it’s FANTASTIC!!

So needless to say, I will definitely be there on the next retreat and if any of you want to come my way, I have a spare room and lots of ideas for more shoots.

Caroline Slade - Kamloops, BC

This past weekend at Birken was probably the best weekend I have ever had! Getting to experience this event with so many awesome people really made me feel so inspired and motivated for the future! It was so nice feeling so much love from everyone and making new friends, and ultimately a new family. I am so grateful to be apart of this journey and I absolutely cannot wait until next year so that I can make new memories and see all these amazing people again! Thank you all for a great weekend!

Jessica Cross

This was my first year going after I had some friends go the past year. I was super nervous but as soon as I got to the retreat I was treated as a welcomed friend. I had a wonderful time and I wish I could go back every weekend. It was so much fun and I can’t wait for next year. Huge thanks to everyone involved as this was probably the best weekend of the year for me. i walked away with not only amazing pictures but amazing people I can call my friends

Cecelia Mabee

There are not enough good things I can say about Retreat. This year was my very first year going. I had never worked with any of the participants before let alone been to Canada, and I\’ve never felt more welcomed. I\’m from Kentucky which is on the other side of the continent, so it was a long trip but completely worth it. The locations are stunning; the lake is freezing and the community is a family. I can’t wait for next year and see everyone again. If you have the chance to go, GO.

Alexandra Brumley