Pat's Dragon*Con 2008 Photo Album

All photos are copyright 2008 by Patrick Sun. Unauthorized use without written consent is prohibited. Now we return you to your regularly scheduled convention.

Thanks for checking out my photo album for Dragon*Con 2008. Below are links for daily collections of photo sets sorted by celeb/guests, panels, costumed attendees, and other main evening events.

Costumed Attendees Day 1
Dragon*Con 2008 Day 1
Costumed Attendees Day 2
Dragon*Con 2008 Day 2
Costumed Attendees Day 3
Dragon*Con 2008 Day 3
Whedon Universe
Dragon*Con 2008 Whedon Universe
Battlestar Galactica / Stargate
Dragon*Con 2008 BSG/Stargate
Guest Panels / Walk of Fame
Dragon*Con 2008 Guests
Dawn Look-Alike Contest
Dragon*Con 2008 Dawn
Masquerade Contest
Dragon*Con 2008 Masquerade
Misc. Photos
Dragon*Con 2008 Misc

This year, like last year, I've decided to host my Dragon*Con 2008 photos on my Flickr account. I've decided to just provide 9 links above to the 9 collections of photo sets for different tracks of interest at Dragon*Con 2008. It is my hope that it'll be easier to navigate, and if you like the photos, you can comment on them, or mark them as a favorite of yours (though you'll probably need to sign up for a free Flickr account to be able to mark them and comment on the photos. If you already have a Yahoo email account, you're already half-way there for a Flickr account).

By uploading the photos to Flickr, I could maintain the original resolution, 2592x1944, for the photo files, and Flickr allows the viewer to pick out various sizes for each photo if they want to see a smaller size, intermediate sizes or the max size.

Dragon*Con's webpage:

Introduction and Overview

Dragon*Con is a 4-day sci-fi/fantasy/comic/gaming/video convention held in Atlanta, GA. This year it was held on Labor Day weekend (August 29 - Sept. 1) at the Hyatt/Marriott/Hilton/Sheraton hotels, all of which are located downtown and right next to each other. The Hilton mainly hosted live game play, and the Walk of Fame. The Sheraton hosted the Star Trek track, and some Whedon Universe (Shindig, Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog, Buffy Musical), and Battlestar Galactica Colonial Fleet parties. The main negative against the Sheraton is that is pretty far away from the Hyatt, and over a block away from the Hilton. The Marriott renovations are finally done, and they provided a huge ballroom that could handle 1700 people. The mega-panels were hosted in the Marriott. The Marriott returned to hosting the Dealers Room, Artist Alley, and Exhibitors rooms. The Hyatt hosted smaller panels in their Centennial ballrooms, but also hosted many of the musical acts, though the Marriott also hosted some of the musical acts as well. I tried beating the rush on Thursday night by picking up my badge with friend Brian on Thursday afternoon, but I did encounter about a 45 minute wait. They didn't provide laminated badges, and I heard many stories of woe where the flimsy plastic broke where the lanyard snap-on connector was attached. I give a big Boo! for the use of the flimsy badeges. I actually went into work Friday morning and laminated my flimsy badge and it made a difference in its rigidity and durability. I would guess the wait for badge pickup on Friday or Saturday had to be long since attendance seemed to be up this year. From what I've read, attendance was over 40,000.

With the Dealers Room and the comic-related artists alley located at the Marriott Hotel, the artists were sort of slummed off in the area around from the dealer's room on the bottom floor (and there was a time where it smelled horribly in their area). Having the Walk of Fame at the Hilton, it was an effort to swing by for some photos, and I was so busy on Saturday that I never even made it into the Walk of Fame. I can't complain about the air conditioning in any of the hotels this year, so that was a plus.

There was a nice turn-out for Stargate actors. Battlestar Galactica also brought in a good-sized contingent of actors from the show (as they head for the homestretch of the show's final season), which made for some good mega-sized panels. The Star Trek track was something I didn't even participate in since it was way over at the Sheraton, and I've read it wasn't run quite as well as it has been in the past. The Harry Potter track was lackluster as only Matthew Lewis appeared as Devon Murray cancelled, and no Phelps brothers attended this year. The Whedon Universe track brought in some last minute additions (Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk to the squealing delight of their fans) to make it a well-rounded cast of guests including James Marsters, along with Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin. Once again, Adam Baldwin's last minute cancellation was a bummer this year, but the others were greeted by another strong turnout by Browncoats who still helmed very long waiting lines which continued to be funneled outside the Hyatt or all throughout the Atrium level of the Marriott.

Since many panels were filled to capacity, it made it virtually impossible to panel-hop, something I did do a lot of at previous Dragon*Cons, but I guess those days are gone now that much higher attendance has made it tough for everyone to see the panels they are interested in seeing. The hours of waiting in lines are never a fun aspect of convention attending. I was able to make some single-serving friends while in line, and they allowed me to roam around to take photos while keeping my place in the line, so I was grateful for many of these folks who waited with me in the long lines. Next year, I will most likely skip the long lines and do more panel-sampling of the smaller panels, and take more photos of the costumed attendees, I came to this conclusion as my Saturday afternoon was tied up in either line-waiting or actual panel attendance, and I missed out on some choice photo-taking opportunities.

Friday night had 2 events that I managed to miss yet again: the wrestling matches in the centennial ballrooms, and the Masters Level Costume Contest at the Marriott (which was run rather haphazardly, I have read). My friend showed me some crazy photos from the wrestling matches, one of which resulted in a huge dent in the wall of the ballroom they were wrestling in, and I missed the lady wrestlers, which would have been fun to watch. I spent most of the evening taking photos in the various lower levels of the Hyatt (though it's tougher to take photos in the Hyatt during the evenings now on the lobbby and ballroom level, and many costumed attendees were forced to move to the Marriott where the space was great, but the lighting wasn't so good, but you just deal with it.

Saturday night featured the 11th annual Dawn Look-alike contest, hosted by Voltaire, and the contestants did a nice job with their make-up and concept/costumes, as well as their own interpretation of Dawn, and the number of contestants was over 60 once again (I think). Next year is the 20th year anniversary of Dawn, so it should be another good event at Dragon*Con next year. For some reason the high placers/winners of the various categories did not show up the after-contest roll call, so all of us patient photographers missed out on getting photos of the main winners, and that was a disappointment, and hopefully not a trend that will continue next year.

The Masquerade was pretty decent this year, with just a few skits that required the assistance of Stormtroopers to shoo contestants, who overstayed their welcome, off the stage, but there was one really long skit that got shooed off the stage, only to return at the end, and the audience had had enough of that act. Ethan Phillips was the host of the evening, and he kept things fun, light and moving at a good pace.

For my cameras, I used a 4-year old Canon A610 digital camera mainly for the costumed attendees photos because it is lighter and focuses faster in a quick pinch as shooting conditions are not ideal, and you just have to go into guerilla mode to snap shots of the costumees (my name for costumed attendees). I used 2GB SD cards and actually filled one up on Friday and Sunday shooting in 5 Megapixel mode.

I also used a newly purchased Canon S5 IS, 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 (a no-flash affair) and the Masquerade. The on-stage lighting seemed better this year at the different panel locations, so I managed to shot without the need of my flash (plus I was too far away for my flash to produce any appreciable benefit. I think I went through about 4-5 sets of four AA NiMH rechargeable batteries on my busiest day, Friday, but I did carry 10 sets just in case, most ranging from 2300 MaH or 2600 MaH in capacity.

I managed to take over 5,300 photos in 3+ days at Dragon*Con between the 2 cameras I brought with me. My friend Brian also used another one of my cameras, and provides some good photos from the roll call after the Dawn Look-alike contest, and also from the Masquerade contest's roll call. With the Marriott renovations over, the traffic flow was much more dispersed, so we didn't face the crazy Hyatt traffic flow policy from last year. But the Hyatt continued with their policy of no photo-taking in the lobby and ballroom levels in the evenings. Saturday was such a packed day of events, I took less photos on Saturday night. Sunday night was more relaxed and there was plenty of space for everyone to mill around in the Marriott to either take/pose for photos or just people-watch, which is alway fun.

Even though it sounds like I'm griping quite a bit, Dragon*Con 2008 was still fun, though it had a different feel to it, mainly from the continued presence of so many people in attendance this year, like last year. I will make a concerted effort to wait less in lines, and do more walking around and seeing what turns up and surprised me.

The idea of having unlimited film (more or less) at a convention is truly frightening, and this webpage is once again a direct and growing realization of that concept.

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 3,650 photos in the collections of Dragon Con 2008 photo sets on Flickr! Enjoy!

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Last revised on 09-11-2008.

Your fearless photographer.

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