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Bodybuilding, Florida, life, and beyond


Category: Schedule

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:

Subclass order:
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. :)


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.

I’m still not 100% happy with the layout in the popup, but I can tweak that later if I get inspired. Meantime I think I’ve got the Florida contest schedule looking about how I’d like it to look:
  • The general style fits the rest of the site.
  • The number of clicks required to navigate has gone way down.
  • It’s easier to look at.
  • The ability to sort by column is at least as easy to use as running separate database queries.
  • The upcoming contests (now next three) are easier to find in the sidebar.
  • The contests that are already done are greyed out.
  • The page automatically scrolls so that the first upcoming contest is near the top.
  • The popups are attractive, fit in with the site style, and the maps work.

I’ve also made a minor update to the overall site style, which is working in current IE and Firefox, broken in Opera and untested in Chrome. One of these days I need to give the site a good checkup in Chrome…

Anyway. I learned a lot doing this little project, and the usual hat-tips to the creators and maintainers of code libraries everywhere– I could never have things running this quickly if I’d had to code and test it all piece by piece. Enjoy and let me know if you have comments or suggestions.

Shots from the 2013 Mid-Florida Muscle Classic, held June 15 in Orlando, are up on the site.

This was another big show and though it had a couple of minor hiccups with the lighting early on it ran very smoothly overall.

The early start unfortunately for me meant an even earlier day, and I was having some issues cutting through the fog. Mid-Florida 2013 Women's Physique Competitor

I had to do a lot more straightening and tweaking on the early shots than I normally do, which is one reason it took so long to put them up.

The competitors also seemed to have some issue hearing the judges’ instructions.

The more often this happened the more I began thinking about all the myriad of little things that can slow a prejudging down.

Sure, they are things that only cost two seconds here, four seconds there. There are also times where a delay is absolutely required, for example to give crossover or fitness competitors time to change their suits.

But in general, “dead spots”, times when no judging can occur, really could be minimized– add them all up and they can add significant time to the morning show.

Obviously a big one is the competitors’ ability to hear instructions. Four quarter-turns, seven mandatory poses, swapping competitor order, split-ups, call-outs all add up to a lot of instructions.

Losing 2-5 or more seconds per instruction because the competitors can’t hear them can easily add 5-10 minutes per class.

Easy fix: bring a bullhorn. Not kidding. If the venue PA doesn’t work well enough, use what does.

(In that same vein, could we lose the music during the prejudging?)

Having an experienced stage facilitator is critical. (This is not a knock on any individual.)

He should be in constant standby for judges’ instructions and not afraid to appear on stage to help herd competitors.

A great deal of time is lost in mandatories when competitors insist on performing un-judgeable contortions in preparation to taking the shot.

Well before the show the facilitator should work with the judges to find and mark the best-lit part of the stage and the center of that area.

For shows with large classes, the facilitator should also pre-define the overflow areas so the competitors do not interfere with the judges’ line of sight.

Correcting these issues during the show costs more valuable time.

For classes where individual competitors appear on the stage (e.g. figure), ideally each competitor should be almost on stage when the previous one begins to exit.

This can be accomplished with an assistant, in radio contact with the facilitator, in the audience with a visual signal such as a flashlight to cue the competitor to exit.

A great deal of time is lost in mandatories when competitors insist on performing un-judgeable contortions in preparation to taking the shot.

To resolve this, judges would need to communicate clearly the expectation that when a shot is called, the shot– and not the preliminaries to the shot– should be taken at once.

The absence of that communication over the years has allowed rumors to flourish, including the bizarre concept that “you should always be the last one in your class to take each pose”.

Again, with seven or more poses called in repeated sets per class, losing three, four, five or more seconds per pose can add up quickly.

In summary, I should not be given too much time to think about things like this before I’m fully awake. Enjoy the shots.