We had a trip to London Olympia to Walker Stalker Con – not quite a convention for fans of The Walking Dead, but almost. Most of the stars there are from TWD, but there were people from a few other shows too, including Breaking Bad and the Boondock Saints films. We started, as we often do with trips out, with McBreakfast.
We were only there for the Sunday, but we drove down to London on the Saturday, and met up with friends for the afternoon and early evening, eating a lot at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. I wouldn’t say the food was good, but there was a lot of it, and Chinese food is pretty delicious even when it’s not the best, so we enjoyed it.
On the Sunday morning, we got up and headed out. It wasn’t too early a start, as the doors did open until 10:00. We didn’t want to be at the back of a long queue, so we aimed to get there for around 09:00. We ended up being even earlier than that, and we were at the back of a long queue.
Fortunately, even well before the event was due to start, watching the crowd was fun – lots of people, and a good proportion of them were dressed up for the event, cosplaying as various Walking Dead characters, including a lot of dead people. Well, they weren’t dead, exactly, just… rotting.
Once in, the queuing started again, with Sam needing to queue for a photo with Andrew Lincoln. Again, there were people around to see, including a great cosplay of Tyreese.
Queueing was the theme of the event. We had to queue again for the panel discussion with Andrew and Norman Reedus, and Sam queued again for her photo with Josh McDermitt. All the queueing was quite well organised, though, with one exception. The queue for the panel upset a few people – everyone was told to queue towards the back of the panel area, and after people had been standing there for quite some time (probably at least half an hour in some cases, maybe an hour), they were told to turn around because the queue was going in the other way. People who had queued to be reasonably near the front (after the VIP and higher priced tickets, anyway) were suddenly near the back. We were in the middle either way.
People seemed to take the news ok, though, and we were soon heading in.
We had tickets for the panel discussion with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus – Rick and Daryl from The Walking Dead. Sam had managed to get tickets, which were quite sought-after, having been reasonably cheap by con standards. The discussion was interesting and fun – after working closely together for so long, the pair clearly had fun together, and got on well. Someone worried Andrew by knowing where he lived, which rather threw him. He’d just invited them over, and didn’t expect them to reply that they lived five minutes from him, so that would be nice. When someone else wanted to know which limbs he’d choose to have damaged, he was quite relieved that they didn’t live near him.
I took quite a few pics of the panel, but as usual with me, my interest was more taken with the people around watching the show, especially the others photographing it.
It was a tiring trip, and a very expensive one, and I won’t be doing it again, but it was always for Sam, not for me, and she had a great time.
The Best Photos
Before we get to the album of what I think were my best photos from Walker Stalker Con, we’ll have this big pano I made – it’s made up of a lot of photos, including quite a few of the other good ones, and opening it large and scrolling around will hopefully give you a bit of a feel for what the event was like:
(It’s a large image, so depending on browser/device, you should be able to zoom in, or open it in a new tab to see it better.)
Now, here’s an album of the best photos:
You’ve seen the best, now try the rest. If you still want to see more photos, I don’t think these were the best from the day, but they did turn out well, or showed something interesting:
Before the panel, they showed a video they’d put together to beg Andrew Lincoln to come to the show (yes, probably all set up, they probably wouldn’t have done it unless they knew he would be coming), with contributions from fans. They’d asked people to hold up signs, and I took a few shots of the video, including Sam and D from the Christmas Cosplay Cabaret they performed here in Tiverton:
A couple of very short video clips:
- The crowd queueing up waiting for the gates to open in the morning (6 seconds):
- Norman Reedus making his own video of the crowd, from the balcony, before his panel appearance (11 seconds):
I travelled light for this event, leaving my MacBook at home. I have an iPad Mini now, which is great for travelling, and with the SD card reader, I can get stuff from camera to iPad on the go. As it turned out, that’s not quite what I did on this trip. I actually transferred photos from camera to my iPhone, using the same adapter. It’s a bit easier to use an iPhone in the crowds, and a bit easier to post stuff online directly from there, so I could tweet photos very quickly after they happened when I wanted to.
By the end of the trip, I’d already copied almost all the photos to my phone, so they were in two places, which is good for extra safety. I only formatted the card once everything was copied off and uploaded to iCloud (I use Apple’s Photos app).
I was using my Sony NEX-6 camera, with only Leica-mount legacy lenses. For wandering around, I mainly used my usual favourite, the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4, sometimes swapping out for my Leica Tele-Elmarit 90mm. Unusually, I actually did use a little bit of autofocus, using Sam’s camera for a few shots of the celebrities at the panel – some of the photos of Andrew and Norman were taken with her NEX-6 with the Sony SEL55210 lens. I didn’t use any tripod or other support – it would only have been in the way.
In the end, it was a big event, with lots of queueing, and it was expensive – not worthwhile for me, and I won’t be going again. Sam loved it, though, and has already booked tickets for next year – a few seconds for a photo with Andrew Lincoln means a lot to Sam, and just doesn’t to me. The panel was fun, and watching the crowd was great, but not worth the money and effort for me. If it sounds like something you would enjoy, though, go for it – it was well organised, and there was plenty to see and do – as long as you don’t mind spending a lot of time in a queue!