Otakon 2012 --- Post Con Report

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WashuuOtaku's avatar
I always hold of doing con reports because, well, I dislike writing them.  There is also the fact I don't do much of actually participating at all the con does, but hang-out all day taking pictures of people and general people watching.  But since I have at least one person reading this, I'll make the effort.

Thursday started early as I drove from my home base in Charlotte to Raleigh, where I met-up with friends that will drive the rest of the trip and back from there.  Stopped at a Panera Bread on the way up; but never been to one, I didn't know what to get and didn't want to hold-up the line, so I ordered a smoothie and danish.  The manager of the store was upset with my weak selection, so he hooked us up on a couple of free sample size sandwiches to tryout.  That was real nice of him, but I didn't eat'em; glad my companions were able to help with that.

After a some delay in Baltimore, we made it to the Hilton Baltimore and checked-in.  We soon went over to the convention and got our pre-reg badges.  Though I rode with one set of friends to Baltimore, I was rooming with another set of friends that split the room with me; two from Baltimore and the always unforgettable :iconbentpic5:.  After taking a few shots outside the convention center, I spent the evening at a nearby pub-like place... only to get soaked by rain on the way back.  End of Thursday.

Friday, woke-up early to crash :iconsoulfirephotography: photoshoot, which included :iconkosuhime:, :iconmelvinopolis:, :icontohma2004: and :iconeveillecosplay:.  I got several good shots from the photoshoot:  www.flickr.com/photos/washuota… and www.flickr.com/photos/washuota…

Soon after, I ran into :iconbentpic5:, who was doing a photoshoot with :iconithlia:, so I got a few pictures of her too, seen here:  www.flickr.com/photos/washuota…

After that, most of the day was spent roaming the convention area taking pictures of cosplayers in the wild.  Ran into a Inu x Boku SS group at the hotel by sheer chance, so got several pictures of that: www.flickr.com/photos/washuota… 7:30pm, I did have an actual scheduled photoshoot with a certain someone, but she became a no show.  She did later apologized for it and hopefully try again in the future.  In the evening, I got a little bored and started playing with the lapse photography option on my camera, seen here  www.youtube.com/watch?v=huQ-AA… , www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj6oXO… , and www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9mCip… .  At 10:00pm, I went to a cosplay photography meetup group, where we hung-out and exchanged cards, it was weird.  End of Friday.

Saturday was much of the same, where I hung out around the convention floor, taking hall shots of cosplayers.  I did make one impromptu photoshoot with two girls cosplaying as Black Rock Shooter, seen here www.flickr.com/photos/washuota… , don't know their names, but I'm sure I'll find out soon by the people.  Ran into the people from M.I.N.D doing a mini-performance at the convention, so I recorded some of that here:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEkYVS… and www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CtmKp… .  That night, I met-up with several friends and went to the Blue Cafe, made famous by their Capt'n Crunch French Toast (as seen on Food Network); it was my only real meal for the day and it was very good.  But after walking a mile and half to the place (took taxi back) and walking all day at the convention, I was tired (you walk a lot at Otakon, no way around it).  End of Saturday.

Sunday, was short because I had to be at work on Monday, so spent a two-three hours roaming the convention one last time and even bought a few items in the Dealer's Room.  Had lunch with friends and left Baltimore before the baseball game ended.  Arrived in Raleigh after 9:00pm, then drove on back to Charlotte, arriving after Midnight.  Spent the next week going through pictures and what not.  On my camera, after I got home and not counting deletes I made on the fly at the con, I had 2,146 pictures and video clips saved.  From there, I literally threw-away over a third of them (i.e. dups, blurs, derps, etc.); reducing it down to 1,325 pics and video clips saved.  From that, I posted 815 pictures and 5 video clips on Flickr.  Some of the picture quality varied because I shot some of the pictures in RAW format, I didn't realize how much tweaking I would have to do because of that.  I finally came to the conclusion that I should simply record both in jpeg and raw format, and edit the raw version when the jpeg looked bad, but was a keeper.  I generally approve how the camera captures the shot; but I do understand that some of the most amazing shots done by more popular photographers do a lot of post-production... I will need to learn more on that aspect in the future.  Another oddity was the simple copyright sig I added on my pictures (a first for me), added some extra weight on my pictures; that again is learning how to use the software probably.  Overall, I am happy of the pictures I took , but sad I still missed several other awesome cosplayers at Otakon... it's just so big.

If you haven't already, please check-out my pictures from Otakon 2012 here: www.flickr.com/photos/washuota…

So, after surviving tenth Otakon since 2002, I believe I'm done with Otakon entirely.  I got a lot of friends already saying it too that this year is to be their last as well, for various reasons.  For me, the long travel time and expensive accommodations are taking their toll on me.  Monies that go for this convention could better be served now going to a new con for a change, like Anime Expo.  So yea, this year is probably the last.

Future plans, well I have scheduled trips to two Anime Conventions in Atlanta, Georgia again: Anime Weekend Atlanta (September 28-30) and MomoCon (March 8-10, 2013).  There is also two local conventions I'll probably visit:  Carolina Anime Day (August 18) and Ichibancon (January 4-6 & 11-13, 2013).  As for the ever popular Dragon*Con, I don't see myself going again this year... yes, I know, it's the con to go too in Atlanta, but having no hotel room puts a cramp on that plans.  Also, not a fan of huge crowds in a cramp location, so maybe next year I'll go to Dragon*Con for the first time... if ever.

That's all for now, till next time.
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shiimapan's avatar
I've read a lot of con reports saying this is their last year of going to Otakon as well, yikes. ^^; I only went back in 2008, and it was a pretty miserable experience for me. lol

I'd definitely recommend Fanime over Anime Expo, it's definitely spoiled me when it comes to awesome photo shoot locations and FOOD!! I love that there's a ton of food options within reasonable walking distance, and that the con center is open 24 hours! I really miss AWA, so I'm hoping to return one day when I'm able to afford flying out of state for a con. ;__;
WashuuOtaku's avatar
The problem with Fanime is that it's on the same weekend as Animazement, which is three hours away. I've had some friends go to Fanime and told me good things as well. I haven't committed yet to Animazement, but it's hard not to pass-up an easy accessible in-state convention with friends you know that will be there.

I'll consider it.
sonikku10's avatar
Even with it being my first Otakon, I can kind of see why people are starting to say it may be their last. I enjoyed meeting everyone and doing all these shoots--- hanging out with people I've only known through the Internet... but Otakon took a toll on me physically and mentally... It was a TIRING con. It was frustrating that there weren't many places within BCC to shoot. The crowds and the heat didn't make it as fun as it should have been. Also didn't have much time to people watch.

It wasn't helping that I was staying with friends 30 minutes outside of Baltimore (but it was practically free). I was tied to their schedule, and they were tied to mine. I'm going to try this again next year and do it the "right" way. Get a hotel, less shoots, more time for myself and friends/cosplayers.

And that photographer meetup was a mess, haha... It was nice to finally meet you. I'll see you at AWA.
WashuuOtaku's avatar
Going to Otakon for several years, the weather was more on the excessive end, but it is not considered normal. Two times I went to Otakon and it was lower 70s the whole time; typically it hovers around Mid to Upper 80s. But being as hot as it was this year drove more people inside.

Being tethered to others sucks, but at least your doing things together.

Yea, there was really no leadership at the meetup, just sort of hovering around... but it was amusing that way because everyone there was tired from a long day. See you at AWA.
Tohma2004's avatar
I'll probably be heading to Carolina Anime Day but I haven't figured out what to wear yet. Something comfortable enough to be in a car for an hour on the drive to Charlotte..or else finding a convenient bathroom to change in.

Thanks for all the pictures!

I'll also see you at AWA and Ichiban.
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