2015 Ocala Cup female bodybuilding competitor Shots from the 2015 Ocala Cup Classic are up on the site.

Ocala was the site of the last show I competed in, so I was very pleased that Sandy Rivera chose to bring bodybuilding back to this under-represented area of the state.

Despite being an inaugural show, things ran very smoothly, everyone seemed to enjoy the presentation, and as a bonus a nice gift was made to the Special Olympics.

The venue did present some challenges, however. When I first saw the backdrop I was intrigued to see how the background color would work (as a nice change from the customary neutron-star black).

By the end of the evening, though, I had sworn off all things orange, including cheddar cheese, pumpkin pie, sunsets, and Tang.

The venue lighting also needs some attention before next year. Lighting is probably the single most overlooked aspect of any show. For most dramatic productions, having bright oases on the stage is an acceptable, even desirable, condition; but for a competition prejudging it’s vital to have consistent, bright light across the width of the stage. You can see what I’m talking about in some of the prejudging shots.

I also had an issue with a slightly blurry portion of the visual field that I haven’t been able to track down yet. That area of Ocala is supposed to be haunted, so that’s one possibility, but it’s more likely that my UV filter had some fog on it, though I wasn’t able to locate it then and I can’t replicate it now. I’ve tossed that filter in any case, just to be sure.

Normally the shots don’t take nearly this long to bring up on the site, of course; the delay was partly due to not wanting to conflict with sales of the full-size shots (being handled by Sandy), partly because I normally only shoot the prejudging (between the morning and evening shows I took over 3,400 shots (!)), partly because the shots needed more post-processing than usual, and partly because it’s a very busy time right now– the new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu, you get the idea.

jenniferStilson2015After the morning show I also did a quick shoot with Jennifer Stilson. She was a real trooper despite being almost ready to pass out from the hunger and stress of competition (I wasn’t in much better shape by then, but that’s beside the point). Her husband was a godsend, handling the reflectors when the off-camera flash started going balky, she looked great, and the location is a hidden gem (Adrienne Smith showed it to me when we shot there), so we were able to turn out a nice batch of attractive and interesting photos.

All in all, Ocala was a lot of work, but it’s what I enjoy. I hope you do as well.