FurDU this year was very different for me. It was such a departure from previous years. For one I took Stripes Tiger's bus up to the Gold Coast. I also shared a room with three other people Warbrin, Tryo and Roxy. While it wasn't the first time I shared a hotel room with another it was the first time I did so at FurDU. I had to trust my friends this year with my accommodation and travel arrangements.
I wasn't let down. The bus ride there and back was arduous but that was because of my coccyx playing up. Both Stripes and his co-driver got us there and back as fast as they could. I took the train back from Strathfield in Sydney on the return journey. My travel mates were mostly sleepy but we did enjoy each others company.
I stayed at the Mantra on View hotel. Our room was full. We had four people including myself and two beds. We got along with each other with no major blowouts or fights. Next time we need four beds even if they were futons or something. That was the only flaw with the room. I would room with everyone again if given the chance. It's good to have a list of trustworthy roommates for future conventions/events.
The convention itself felt different than last year. It was slower paced and only had two dance parties and less competing events. Friday felt like everyone was lining up for the photo shoot all day after rego. The first photo shoot was very popular and could have been split up into batches. Have a group arrive every hour or so that way fursuiters wouldn't have to stand around in a queue for half the day. The Friday night dance party was good. I made sure to get my drink on and have a good time.
On Saturday morning there was the Lupe Fursuit photo shoot. I didn't get too many good shots and unfortunately, I felt I was wasting my time. In comparison to 2016 were the fursuiters had an opportunity for single shots and jumping poses and 2017 with interesting drone and fursuit interaction, I felt let down. It was made worse by some of the usual people not being there. I don't know if I was overhyping the Lupe suit shoot in my mind or I was in a bad mood but it wasn't as good as prior years for me.
The rest of the day went well with plenty of causal convention space photography and antics. I spent a modest amount in the dealer's den less than at ConFurgence. I got to meet Bowen who had the rest of his fursuit with him making him the first ram fursuiter in Australia (As far as I know). It was good to meet him. I made sure to take heaps of photos of him at FurDU.
For the fursuit walk, I took a departure from my usual activity of chasing the group for photos by setting up my tripod to capture video. I set up in a great spot on the parade route and waited. As I am inexperienced with recording video my end video wasn't that good but I have ideas of what to improve. I should have used a wider angle lens and set my aperture to F/8 and turned off autofocus and set my focus point at a midpoint. There are rumours that this is the last fursuit walk they are doing. I really doubt they would axe the fursuit walk so I just don't believe it.
The group photo I left to others as there were too many fursuiters to capture in a single shot. I did try to get up on the lifeguard tower was but was rebuffed by one of the convention staff. One of the cool highlights of FurDU this year was the Wild-Life photoshoot with Diego and Rocky Wolfdog on the beach just after the beach group photo. We found a patch of beach not in use and I got some spectacular photos of the pair. I really felt honoured to by their special photographer.
That night I went to Waxy's twice to meet up with people before the main event of Draggo and Diego's room party. Draggo and Diego throw the best room parties that you can attend without taking your clothes off. We had the right people attend with no drama or fighting. We fit twenty-five people in the room and we partied hard. I knew we were going to get shut down so I got wasted on black Russians cocktails before hotel security turned up to kick us out.
Sunday was a day of photo shoots first the Lucky Dog maker shoot then the Dutch Angel Dargon photo shoot. These photo shoots were much better than the Lupe suit shoot as I got many more useable shots. I was glad to attend both of the shoots. It was good to meet Skyder in person and he got me into Luketh's room for the Dutch Angel Dragon group shot. I feel sorry for Skyder being under pressure as one of the official photographers. I could just ham around while people are expecting results from him.
With lack of sleep catching up with me I had a chill rest of the day until the dance party. I didn't go the closing words or the charity auction to stave off the dreaded PCD. I went out for dinner to Waxy's again with a small group that night which raised my spirits. On the way back we reunited a lost boy with his mother in the hotel lobby. I went out and took more photos and danced a little bit. Banasu made an appearance you'll have to see one of my shots sometime to believe it.
Shepsky gave me the most hugs out of any fursuiter there. He is such a cool dude I want to aim to be friendly like that when I get Braxton. Zaroski was my personal photographer he took so many photos of me and I don't even own a suit yet. Some Made Fur You fursuiters are elusive. I missed out on getting any photos of Jae and Varhken who I was keen on taking their picture. Don't judge me we all have a fursuit maker we fanboy over.
The main takeaways from FurDU are I can't be everywhere at once and I can't photograph everyone. It's okay to put down the camera and dance and party. Warbin, Roxy and Tryo are top roommates. My body is too old for long car trips. Honey mead is the enemy of sobriety. Diego and Draggo host the best room parties. Good company makes for a good convention.