Pat's Dragon*Con 2009 Photo Album

All photos are copyright 2009 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 2009. Below are links for daily collections of photo sets sorted by celeb/guests, panels, costumed attendees, and other main evening events.

Table of Contents

Costumed Attendees Friday
Dragon*Con 2009 Friday
Costumed Attendees Saturday
Dragon*Con 2009 Saturday
Costumed Attendees Sunday/Monday
Dragon*Con 2009 Sunday/Monday
Star Trek Panels
Dragon*Con 2009 Star Trek Panels
Whedonverse Panels / Events
Dragon*Con 2009 Whedonverse Panels
Battlestar Galactica / Babylon 5 Panels
Dragon*Con 2009 BSG / B5 Panels
Misc. Panels Part 1
Malcom McDowell - A-Team
Classic Actors - Farscape - Heroes
Dragon*Con 2009 Misc. Panels A
Misc. Panels Part 2
Helen Slater - Adam Savage - Stargate
Traci Lords - Twilight
Dragon*Con 2009 Misc. Panels B
Walk of Fame
and
Celebs Photos
Dragon*Con 2009 Celebs
Dawn Look-Alike Contest
Dragon*Con 2009 Dawn
Masquerade Contest
Dragon*Con 2009 Masquerade
Misc. Photos
Dragon*Con 2009 Misc


This year, like last year, I've decided to host my Dragon*Con 2009 photos on my Flickr account. I've decided to just provide 12 links above to the 12 collections of photo sets for different tracks of interest at Dragon*Con 2009. 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).

Though I uploaded the photos to Flickr, I did reduce the resolution to 1600x1200 for the photo files to reduce upload times, 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. If you want a larger resolution of a particular photo, please email me with your request.


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 (September 4 - September 7) 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's Atrium Ballroom again provided a huge venue that could handle 1700 people. The mega-panels were hosted in the Marriott. The Marriott hosted the Dealers Room, and Exhibitors rooms. A significant change occured at The Hyatt, as the Art Show was paired with Artist Alley in an expanded space on the Hanover level of the Hyatt. It made for a more brighter and spacious area, though the foot traffic was hit-or-miss for certain artists who got a lot more foot traffic being stuck near the dealer room at the Marriott in past years. The Hyatt still hosted smaller panels in their Centennial ballrooms (along with the Masquerade and the Dawn Look-alike contests), but also hosted many of the night-time musical acts, though the Marriott also hosted some of the musical acts as well.

My friend Brian was not able to make it to Dragon*Con this year, which broke a good 8-10 year streak for him. That was one main difference for my experience this year. But a local friend, Patrick, decided to join in the fun, and made it down for a few days, though he missed Saturday. Another difference was that the badge pick-up location was changed from the Hyatt to the Sheraton. I tried beating the rush on Thursday night by picking up my badge on Thursday afternoon, but I did encounter about an hour wait. They didn't provide laminated badges, but they lowered the hole for the lanyard loop to ward off broken plastic badges that occured a lot last year. I'm still not a fan of these 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 consistent since attendance seemed to be down this year. From what I've read, attendance was over 35,000.

With the comic-related artists alley located at the Hyatt Hotel, I only made it there on Friday and Sunday, since it was sort of out of the way for my itenerary this year given the panel schedule. Also the habitrail between Marriott and Hilton was finally completed and made it easier to get to the Walk of Fame. I can't complain about the air conditioning in any of the hotels this year, so that was a plus. I think having the convention a week later than usual also made for modest weather, and I wasn't sweating much at all.

The Star Trek track was the big deal this year as they brought in William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, along with John Billingsley, Garrett Wang, Anthony Montgomery and a slew of guest stars from the various Star Trek show. The lines for the Star Trek panels were impressively long. They kicked things off on Friday with the first panel at 10 a.m. with Shatner and Nimoy, and that required the D*C staff to do some room juggling and they hosted them in the Hyatt Centennial I-III ballrooms, and feed the A/V feed to the Marriott Atrium for overflow seating. Originally the panel was supposed to happen in the Marriott Atrium ballroom, but they guessed correctly that being the first panel would bring in the crowds, and it sure did. I managed to grab a seat in the Marriott Atrium ballroom since I got there a little late (and later found out the Hyatt Centennial ballrooms were filled up by 8:30 a.m.). Somehow I managed to miss Patrick Stewart and Kate Mulgrew due to scheduling, long lines, or fate.

I also missed out on Terry Gilliam's panel, which was a shame. But since I bought a dSLR camera this year with a long lens, I didn't worry about waiting in lines this year, and just sauntered into panels that had seats in the back, and then I'd snap some photos from afar, and for the most part, they came out okay. So I got to do a lot more panel-bouncing, and got to sample many more panels than I did last year. Had a great time in Malcom McDowell's panels on "A Clockwork Orange" and "Heroes". Also checked out panels with Helen Slater, Traci Lords, Cristina Rose, The A-Team's Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict, Twilight's Peter Facinelli and Justin Chon, Farscape's Virginia Hey and John Lani Tupu, Skeptec's panel featuring Adam Savage, some super-panels for Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5. Also attended a few of the Buffy/Angel panels featuring Kristy Swanson, Felicia Day, Charisma Carpenter, Julie Benz, and James Marsters. All in all, a much more satisfying panel-going experience this year.

Again this year, there was a nice turn-out for Stargate actors. Battlestar Galactica also brought in a good-sized contingent of actors from the show, which made for some good mega-sized panels. Edward James Olmos had to cancel at the last minute, but Michael Hogan was able to fill in for him, and he appeared to have a great time. I was also surprised by the solid turn-out of Babylon 5 guest, with Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Tracy Scoggins and Peter Jurasik in attendance. I enjoyed their panels, it was like spending time with old friends, somewhat, as it's been over a decade since I was really into B5 when it finally finished up its run.

Friday night, I managed to check out a wrestling match, which was fun, and just a little bit of the Masters Level Costume Contest at the Marriott. On Saturday night I checked out the Shindig at the Sheraton around midnight, and couldn't even get into the Battlestar Galactica Colonial Fleet party due to the long, long lines to get in at 1 a.m. in the morning, it was crazy popular! Totally spaced on some of other parties, like the Pirates party, the Mad Scientist Ball later in the weekend. Was able to take a small peek at the Burlesque show at the International ballroom in the Hyatt, but again was met by line lines, and it seemed a little tame, anyway.

There's just to much to check out during the evenings, and most of it does require commitment to stand in lines, and I wasn't too keen on that activity this year. But I did stand in line for the Dawn Look-alike contest on Saturday evening since I like getting a decent seat to take photos of all the contestants, which is a tradition for me, going on 10 years strong. Anthony Daniels was the MC for the Dawn Look-alike contest, and he's always a fun MC for the contest. We were lucky in getting the winner of the contest to come out during the roll call (they call it The Gauntlet), so that was a nice reversal of a trend of not getting to see the winner come out for the Gauntlet in previous years. There were some really nice costumes in the contest, and I was shocked when some didn't even place in certain categories, the ladies are upping their game each and every year.

I also waited in line on Sunday night for the Masquerade (we were treated to Peter David and George Perez as the MCs for the evening, along with some puppets), but have decided that I will most likely skip the Masquerade next year, and do more photo-taking over at the Marriott as I noticed I missed out on seeing a lot of costumes Sunday night since I was at the Masquerade.

I think the less I say about the price of autographs and glossies that the celebs charge, the better. Most celebs don't charge for the glossies that they sign for you when you buy an autograph from them, but the JCB-contingent were charging an extra $20 for the glossy photos themselves on top of the $20-$40 being charged for the autographs. It's gotten far too high for casual fans to plop down some cash for a quick scribble by a celeb. The Froggy photo-ops with the celebs has squashed a lot of spontaneous photo-ops with their fans at their tables in the Walk of Fame, and that's too bad. Sure, there are some celebs who are more than happy to take photos with their fans, but they seem to be a dying breed.

For my photo-taking gear, I had a major overhaul since my house was burglarized over the holidays in 2008 (camera-wise, they stole 4-5 cameras from me, including a Canon S5 that I used for long-range shots), so I'd been replacing stuff as the year went along. For my point-n-shoot camera for mainly for taking photos of the costumed attendees, I used a Canon A650 digital camera (left my trusty A610 at home this year), and the A650 did a good job for me. It's just much easier to use a point-n-shoot in weird shooting angles and positions for these types of photos. For the longer-range photos, I used a newly bought Canon XSi dSLR digital camera and a 55-250mm IS Canon lens, and it did a good enough job so that I didn't feel like I needed to stand in long lines to get up-close seats for decent photos. I got a lot of practice with the new XSi over the weekend, something I couldn't get anywhere else in terms of a crash course of grokking a new dSLR. Of course, being up-close at the panels is preferable, but I think the trade-off was worth it for me, and relieved a lot of anxiety of waiting in long lines and missing out on other stuff going on. Next year, I will make an effort to get a better/faster wide angle lens for the closer shots of costumed attendees photos with my XSi, just to see if I can pull off some interesting headshots and full and half body shots that best present the efforts of these wonderful attendees who keep Dragon*Con so interesting to attend and people-watch, and celebrate their sense of humor and ingenuity.

For the Hyatt Centennial ballrooms, the on-stage lighting seemed very good, just like last year, so it helped in taking photos from afar inside the room, even along the sides of the room. Didn't really need my flash, except in smaller panel rooms. The lighting in the Marriott Atrium ballroom is good from up top, but it produces deep shadows for eye sockets of whoever is on stage, so I'm not too crazy about taking shots in that ballroom. I think I went through about 2 sets of four AA NiMH 2700MaH rechargeable batteries on my busiest day, Friday, for my A650 with 95% flash photos, and I never exhausted the 2 LP-5 batteries I used for my Canon XSi. I still carried 4-5 sets of AA rechargeables, just in case. If I use my XSi for costumed attendees next year, I'll need to bring more AA batteries to feed the external flash unit, as I think I can get about 225 flashes before killing each set of 4 AA batteries. I managed to take over 7,500 photos in 3+ days at Dragon*Con between the 2 cameras I brought with me. I took a lot of shots with my new XSi just to learn from shooting in difficult lighting conditions.

The Marriott is now officially the place to take photos of the costumed attendees as the Hyatt continued with their policy of no photo-taking in the lobby and ballroom levels in the evenings, which really did curtail a lot of the fun that used to occur at the Hyatt from 2003-2007, as there was nothing more entertaining than to watch who would roll into the Hyatt's front entrance all through the evening during the weekend nights, but with all of the over-crowding and fire marshall dictates, the Hyatt is now almost a ghost town on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Dragon*Con 2009 had a different feel for me, due to my increased level in walking and photo-taking, and the economy took its toll on some of my friends not being able to attend this year. I'm glad I was able to stand in less lines and experience more panels this year, something I hope to continue next year unless more weird changes are afoot.

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 3,400 photos in the collections of Dragon Con 2009 photo sets on Flickr! Enjoy!


Back to Table of Contents



Last revised on 09-15-2009.

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