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2014 Florida State bodybuilding competitor Shots from the 2014 Florida State Championships are up on the site.

I’m quite pleased with the shots overall, as well as how I pushed myself out of my comfort zone– this is the first show I’ve ever shot with fully manual exposure, start to finish. And if the exposures aren’t quite perfect, they’re a lot more consistent than automatic settings can achieve, which helps the post-processing considerably (and it’s still been a fortnight since the show and I’m just finishing).

The venue is a strange setup, where you’re either too low or too far away, but the lighting wasn’t too bad. The show moved at a rather frenetic pace at times, which meant I had to do shots of some entire classes instead of individuals (which I prefer), but with a show this size you have to keep things moving.

Now I’m starting on the Lakeland show shots; I have the next couple of weekends free before the Gainesville, and for that the travel time is negligible (well, usually– the Gators host Alabama that weekend and game time hasn’t been set yet).

2014 Ancient City bodybuilding competitor

Doh!



I’ve actually neglected to make the announcements for most of the year so far. Careless!


Shots from the are up on the site. All the shows ran well.

2014 Gateway Classic women's competitor Shots from the 2014 Gateway Classic are up on the site, which judging by the page counters some of the more impatient people must already know. :)

I like this show. I like the promoter, the venue, the short trip to Gainesville’s nearby northern neighbor. I like the historic downtown of Lake City and the relaxing scenic drive.

I had one issue with the camera: I don’t think it was really designed to shoot vertically, and somehow I thumbed the autofocus selector to the “bottom” position. Not knowing that, it appeared that the camera just started to randomly focus all the way in and all the way out and never trigger the shutter– I thought it had lost its computer brain or had low batteries or something. Anyway I missed some shots and had to manually focus some others (didn’t do too badly there).

I’m also still fighting the fluorescent-jams issue from the men’s physique competitors– the camera thinks there is WAY more visible light coming in than there really is, and compensates unless I override it– which I do, but usually not strongly enough; the shots come unusuably dark for the most part.

However I had an inspiration on the drive home– what if I were to double-up on UV filters? Theoretically it should have only marginal impact on the other spectra but might filter out the UV screaming out of the day-glo jams. I’ll report back on that.

Missed the Galaxy in St Augustine last week due to having some crud that’s been going around– figured I’d keep the germs to myself (you’re welcome) but sorry to have missed the show.

Next up would normally be the Seminole Classic but I have a schedule conflict and will have to miss that one as well. So unless I get a wild urge to shoot one of the South district shows on May 17, more likely I’ll be headed for the Natural Suncoast Classic in Tampa on May 24. After that the NPC schedule gets hectic!

Enjoy the shots.

I’ve finished entering all the available information from the official NPC schedule and the promoters’ show sites into my online schedule. Even with my handy “class typewriter” it was a big job. :)

I also added a couple of features, including adding the venue names to the addresses, making the address info a little smaller, new host hotel information and the ability to click on a promoter’s name to email them. (If an email bounces, please let me know and I’ll validate it.)

In addition I added a couple of “behind the scenes” features for my own use, such as driving notes and whether I plan on going or not and why (usually distance or schedule conflict).

For what it’s worth, I also try to keep a consistent hierarchy in the order of the show classes. Don’t read any implications into the orders.

Class order:
Bodybuilding
Physique
Fitness
Figure
Bikini

Subclass order:
Open
Novice
Teen
Masters
Special categories (First Time Novice, e.g.)

Other patterns:
Men’s classes before equivalent women’s classes (again, don’t read any implications into the orders.)

I think that helps organize a LOT of free-form information into something a little more readable.

2013 Gainesville Classic women's competitor Shots from the 2013 Gainesville Classic are up on the site.

I really love the lighting in this auditorium, despite it being a bit cramped. The secret of course is that the backdrop is not stark ebony, giving me a little room to work with.

The fluorescent colors in the physique guys’ shorts are still causing me grief, as they as reflecting a bunch of light that the camera can see but I can’t, causing massive underexposure; I may have found a workaround for that, in the meantime I converted the “problem children” to black-and-white so there would at least be something to show.

The show was another well-run Tony Curtis production, and as always it was a delight to not have to drive much to get to the show. :)

Enjoy.

2013 Daytona Classic competitor Just finished post-processing on the 2013 Daytona Classic show.

Normally held at the Peabody in Daytona, the show moved to Seabreeze High School this year, and from the audience perspective I think it’s a great improvement.

The show itself featured plenty of excellent competititors and ran as smoothly as you could ask. Great job Tony and Mike and everyone involved.

Enjoy the shots. Next week: Gainesville!

Shots from the 2013 Lakeland show are up on the site.

“Wait,” you cry, “what about the Floridas? And the Ancient City Classic?”

I’ve always heard “it’s a poor workman who blames his tools”, so this is on me, but since having such nice success with the well-lit shots at the Galaxy, I’ve had hard luck trying to get the new camera to behave in the trickier lights. I went back to full manual for the Lakeland, and though the consistency looks bad, it’s actually a pretty good representation– I love that little theater, but the lights were really uneven. I think some of the automatic settings on the old EOS would have compensated for that a bit… Anyway.

The Floridas I pretty much wrote off as an experimentation exercise– it was going by SO flamin’ fast I couldn’t keep up anyway. If I’d have known, I would have just done full-class shots and been quite happy. But I didn’t, and there were at least a couple of other photographers there in any case, so I’m not going to worry about it. If I promised you photos from that show, drop me a note; I’m pretty sure I can post-process some decent shots out of what I did get.

The Ancient City shots just came out a bit over-exposed; I’ll need to set aside some time for post-processing that out and I just don’t have it right now because…

I’ve also had an external drive, less than four months old, crap out on me; and while I have all the originals, it’s going to take considerable time to re-aggregate them (unless against all hope I can repair the drive and pull the data back off). I’ve been trying to avoid investing in a RAID enclosure but the prices keep dropping and it certainly would have avoided this debacle.

So that’s where I’m at right now– still paddling upstream and wishing I’d checked the paddle for termites. Enjoy the shots and stand by for updates.