Posts Tagged event photography

Robo, Robots, Robotics

Dragoncon is a multi genre event with something for just about everyone and not always about cosplay.  Well Robocop here might beg to differ but who has the nerve to argue a point with him?

 

There were also robots there.  I only saw these two fully functioning robots from the Star Wars universe although there surely had to have been a K-9 from Doctor Who there somewhere.   What was humorous about R2D2 here pulling up to have a “seat” with the humans is that he was there to watch Battlebots.  Somehow that felt a bit odd.

 

The battlebots were ranked by weight from 12 pounds on up; not sure what the largest category was as we had to leave for another event.  Unlike battlebots you may have seen on television, these mostly grabbed and shoved each other until they fell off the stage.  No flame throwers or chainsaws were allowed.  One bot that normally had a machete protruding from its front for this event replaced it with a pool noodle.  I don’t recall the name of the first bot here but the second one with his handlers is named Dandelions Revenge.  They said they were there for comic relief 🙂

Here is a video of one battle featuring Dandelions Revenge.

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A big announcement for foodies

Alton Brown, surprisingly, was one of the guests at Dragoncon.  After his loyal fans (I being one of them) stood in line for quite some time (see below) we were treated to a panel that featured Alton and those who worked with him on the show Good Eats.  What you can’t see from this photo is that as much as there were a lot of people in front of me, there were at least as many behind me; wrapping around the hotel.  That frequently happened for certain panels.  Hearing “who are you in line for?” was common.

They had some funny and informative stories to tell and then he made the announcement that sometime in 2018 he’s getting the band back together and Good Eats will once again air on Food Network TV.  The crowd rejoiced!

 

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Stan Lee, Kane and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Mr. Marvel comics himself, Stan Lee, was the Grand Marshal for the Dragoncon parade again but I heard that this was to be his last one; I was thrilled to see him!  Nerds of the world thank you Mr. Lee for all you’ve given us to read and watch and cosplay as.  Now the other two gentlemen in the parade I had no idea who they were but DH geeked out a bit over them.  He explained to me who they were and my response was a flat oh.

We all have our fan favorites and there was something and someone for everybody at Dragoncon.

 

   

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Today in history – Star Trek premiered in 1966

While it only lasted three seasons and that was mostly due to the petitions of fans, it has since gone on to become an iconic and very popular science fiction show that has inspired many that have come behind it.  At Dragoncon it was well represented by cosplayers portraying the series/movie characters in their many incarnations from the original series on up to current movies.  This gentleman portrayed James Doohan/Scotty so incredibly well many, including myself, did a double take.

Live long and prosper!

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Dragoncon 2017 – The Parade

According to Wikipedia:  Dragon Con (previously Dragon*Con and sometimes DragonCon) is a North America multigenre convention, founded in 1987, which takes place annually over the Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. As of 2016, the convention draws attendance of over 77,000,[1] features hundreds of guests, encompasses five hotels in the Peachtree Center neighborhood of downtown Atlanta near Centennial Olympic Park, and runs thousands of hours of programming for fans of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and other elements of fan culture. It is operated by a private for-profit corporation, with the help of a 1,500-member volunteer staff. Dragon Con has hosted the 1990 Origins Game Fair and the 1995 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC).[3]  

Dragoncon, unlike some conventions with set hours each day, seemed to be pretty much 24hrs a day at all five of the host hotels.  There was always something to do be it see a celebrity panel, watch robots battle, learn how to make your own foam armor, play games, go to themed dances and more.  Of course part of that ‘more’ included thousands of people dressed as their favorite anime, cartoon, television, movie, and so forth character.  The big highlight of Dragoncon – which brings in attendees as well as locals – is the parade which shuts down a big part of downtown Atlanta as people line up along the streets, parking garages and anywhere else they can find to get a good view.

The parade starts at 10am but many had staked their claim along the parade route since before dawn; get there early or be prepared to stand behind a lot of people.  Fortunately I found a spot and wriggled my way to a place on the curb which was ideal for capturing all of the groups that were part of the parade.  As previously described, Dragoncon is a multi-genre convention and so is the parade.  Everyone cheered and waved at their favorite group and yelled for them to come closer for a picture.  The parade participants were especially nice to the children there; those little faces beamed when Spiderman or a Disney character would walk over to them and give them a high five.

The arrival of the dragons signified the beginning of the parade and as the saying goes, the crowd went wild!

The Grand Marshall and more from the parade next…

 

 

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A Big Event

I’ve been gone for awhile attending and covering another event that was 5 days of non-stop walking, talking, screaming, dancing, eating and more; I’m still trying to catch up on sleep.  Just last night I was wondering why I was on the wrong side of the bed even though it was the side I always sleep on.  I’ve been in Atlanta, Georgia attending my first (probably not my last) Dragoncon.  What’s that? Oh it’s a lot of things which I will share with you as I get caught up with being home again.

Now since this weekend Stephen King’s It the remake comes out (not going to see it – too scary) I will share with you this photo of a cosplayer that was wonderfully creative but creepy as heck!  Dragoncon isn’t just about cosplaying and cosplayers but I will share them with you first because there were some amazing works in attendance.  Might even share my cosplay… then again maybe not 😉

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Flying in the Nelly-B

Every morning, contingent upon weather conditions and the number of pilots who had volunteered to give rides, if someone in media wanted to experience flying in one of the balloons they would sign up in the media tent, give their total weight (including equipment) and wait to – hopefully – hear their name called.  You didn’t know if your name would be called or if called what balloon you would be assigned to.  I hit the jackpot!  Not only was my name called but I was placed with the absolute best balloon, pilot and day for flying.

This was the morning of the flight of the nations mass ascension where each balloon that flew hung it’s nations flag from the side of their balloon.  It was my great fortune to fly in the Nelly-B.  A big pink elephant with her pilot Peter Van Overwalle from Belgium and Albuquerque crew chief, Paige Stubbs.  He has been flying this incarnation of Nelly for 15 years but sadly this is her last season.  She will retire in May of 2017.  He didn’t know yet what her new look would be; I suggested something in my favorite color purple.  Nelly and several other balloons at the event were made by the Cameron Balloons company out of Bristol, England.

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They were quick and efficient getting this huge elephant with floppy ears and waving trunk up and going on this early chilly morning.  It was nice to be near the burner since mornings out on the field were in the mid to upper 40’s!  Once inflated it was time for me to climb into the basket, smile from ear to ear and await our turn to launch.  Even though the balloons seemed to be practically on top of one another, the inflating and subsequent launches were well choreographed routines.  Balloons may have touched one another on the ground but there was never any danger and we took off on cue.  As our balloon rose into the air I felt like that scene from the Wizard of Oz where the Wizard’s balloon took off leaving Dorothy behind.  It was a smooth and graceful ascent into the air and the next thing I knew there we were floating gently in the sky.  The weather that morning was perfect with a soft gentle breeze.  It was so peaceful being above the crowds and noise.

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By this time the sun was coming up over the Sandia Mountains which was in and of itself a beautiful thing to see from the altitude we were at.  We couldn’t contain ourselves and started to sing Here Comes the Sun.  While I was going, carefully, from side to side in our basket of three to capture these images, our pilot was always on duty keeping us afloat and communicating with his ground crew via radio.  I’m not quite sure how they tracked us but occasionally looking down I could see them on the roads bellow.  The balloons that were once so huge as I looked up at them from the ground seemed like children’s balloons that had floated away from where I was in the sky.  Perspective!

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We flew over some homes where the dogs would go crazy barking and the residents would come out to take pictures.  We waved at them and shouted hello.  That was so cool to do.  Flying over the Rio Grande I watched other balloons do a “splash and dash” which is lowering the balloon just enough to touch the water and then go right back up.  The most a pilot has control over is up and down – the wind rules otherwise.  I was told how many knots we were flying and I learned that besides making sure another balloon doesn’t get too close to you and vice versa, watching out for power lines is interesting because you cannot see them when high in the air.  I looked down to test this and it’s true! I could not make them out from the air.  What you can see are the poles and the spaces between them which is where the lines are.  Peter said you learn to see the poles, know that the wires are in-between and adjust your flight pattern accordingly.

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What goes up must come down and it was time to start looking for a place to land.  We eventually settled on a residential area (people seem to be a bit used to balloons popping up in their subdivisions during this time of the year) and landed with just two easy bumps upright at the end of a cul-de-sac.  A couple of the residents who were home at the time came out to take pictures and ask questions of the crew.  Just as smoothly as the balloon was set up to fly, the pilot and crew broke it down and put it away.  In order to facilitate the deflation of the balloon the pilot releases the parachute at the very top of the balloon and it begins to come down where the crew grabs it, squeeze the remaining air out and tie it off like a long braid.  It then gets folded and put into it’s own carrying bag which is placed into the back of the trailer along with the basket and then it’s back to the launch field.

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When crews return to the launch area they head for the refueling area for their tanks before everyone begins to set up for the after flight ritual of tailgating and there was some seriously good tailgating going on too.  I was given a collectors pin of the Nelly-B and a certificate which states that I took a historical flight in her launching from Albuquerque and landing in Rio Rancho at a maximum altitude of 6300 feet with a flight time of just over an hour… a perfect experience!

(Click on images to view larger)

 

 

 

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