FYI: My Dragon Con 2006 Photo Album is now up!
Hint: I suggest re-sizing the thumbnail pages to around 2/3 the width of your monitor (if you're running 1024x768 or smaller) so that when you click on your first picture link, you'll see the picture window pop up. Don't close the window,I've designed it so that you can leave that window open, and you can click to your heart's content, and the images will only show up in that one other window. This should also speed up your visit here. So just open up my DC2005 web pages, and leave the picture window open, it'll seem like the photos just magically appear as you click about the photo album here. 99.9% of the photos are 800x600 (or 600x800) in resolution. The other 0.1% are 640x480 in resolution.
Dragon*Con is a 4-day sci-fi/fantasy/comic/gaming/video convention held in Atlanta, GA. This year it was held on the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-Sept. 5) at the Hyatt/Marriott hotels, all of which are located downtown and right next to each other. The Hilton got into the mix by hosting registration this year, and I beat the rush by picking up my badge on Thursday afternoon before the convention officially started. I heard the wait was still over 45 minutes to 2 hours if you showed up on Friday or Saturday to get your badge.
The art show was located in the Marriott Hotel. The Dealers Room and the Walk of Fame were located at the Marriott Hotel once again. The artists were placed on the same level as the Dealer Room and Walk of Fame, but around the corner from the main room. Thankfully there was a big fan that circulated the air around to keep the temperatures down in Walk of Fame area, and it was useful to blow dry the signatures on the glossy photos. Signatures seemed to be around $20 a pop, and many of the guests were donating a portion up to all their proceeds to the Victims of Katrina fund/Red Cross. I thought that was a very classy thing to do.
The bigger panels for the guests are usually held in the Hyatt's ballroom, all underneath street level. While no Babylon 5 guests were in attendance, there were still quite a lot of guests from current or just off-the-air shows to lend a nice sense of relevancy to their presence, plus it's always nice to see guests from favored shows of yesteryear here as well. The 2 big guest cancellations had to be Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon, but the 4 Firefly/Serenity guests (Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, and Jewel Staite) in attendance proved to be very entertaining in panels that were packed to the gills, and set records for longest waiting lines ever at Dragon Con as the lines literally wrapped around the Hyatt down to the Marriott. The Browncoats (Firefly fans) descended upon Dragon Con and made their presence felt all weekend long. The Shindig that the Browncoats put on was very lively and fun and they packed the room as well.
The Masquerade was wrestled back to the Centennial Ballroom in the Hyatt from the previous location - the Atlanta Civic Center. I didn't think the stage was big enough for the contestants in general. The best part of the Masquerade had to be "Grease Wars", which was a parody send-up of Star Wars related songs sung to the music/tunes of "Grease" (a la Weird Al Yankovic). That was the entertainment between contestants and the final judging and vote tabulation, and it was almost worth the price of admission to Dragon Con this year.
It is a treat to meet some of the guests that expressed their gratitude for the support of their fans over the years, and are usually always overwhelmed by the number of attendees, and what they happen to see during their visit to Dragon Con.
For my cameras, I used a Canon A70 digital camera mainly for the costumed attendees because it is lighter and focuses faster in a quick pinch as shooting condition are not ideal, and you just have to go into guerilla mode to snap shots of the costumees. I have thought about upgrading to a Canon A520, but I heard that it takes forever for its flash to re-charge (plus it only held two AA batteries), and I'd hate missing a candid shot while the flash was charging up. The downside to the Canon A70 is that its flash photos tend to be a little too bright or over-exposed a bit.
I also used a Canon S2 IS (upgraded from a S1 that I used last year), which has a 12X optical zoom (4x digital zoom) and Image Stabilization which helped out in taking photos of the guests at their respective panels during the weekend, and at the Dawn contest and the Masquerade. The S2 focuses faster, and doesn't "hunt" as much in auto-focus mode, and uses less battery juice (lasts longer due to the new Digic II processor in this camera model) than the S1. On the flipside, it's a little heavier, and bigger, though. I think I went through about 6-7 sets of four AA NiMH rechargeable batteries on my busiest day, Saturday, but I did carry 10 sets just in case, most ranging from 2000 MaH or 2300 MaH in capacity.
For the Dawn Contest and the Masquerade sections, I have parallel sets of photos that I took with both cameras as I alternated picture-taking with each camera while the flash for each camera charged back up for the next shot. In the past, I would merge the 2 sets of photos into a more cohesive stream of photos, but I'm just too tired to go through the exercise this year, and it would make for pages with over 350 thumbnails, and I didn't want to have more than 200 thumbnails on any page for this photo album.
I managed to take over 4600 photos in 3 days at Dragon Con between the 2 cameras I brought with me. I did my best to keep my flash photography to a minimum in order to not irritate guests as much as possible. This did make for some darker shots of the guests in the Walk of Fame area, but I tried to brighten them up without going overboard. The idea of having unlimited film (more or less) at a convention is truly frightening, and this webpage is a direct realization of that concept.
There are portions of this webpage that incorporate photos from my friend Brian Bailie, mainly in the Costumed Attendee pages. Thanks, Brian! Any photo that has a "BB" somewhere in the file name was taken by Brian.
Note: Like last year, I'm going to incorporate thumbnails, and there are some pages with 200+ thumbnails, so please be patient and let the pages load properly.
I know this isn't the prettiest website out there, but I hope to make it up in content. I think there are just over 3,000 photos on this group of Dragon Con 2005 webpages! Enjoy!
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