Sunday, November 2, 2008

Worse than a wedding

I woke up at 6, ate breakfast, checked my gear for the gazillionth time and headed out the door.
My back weighed in the vicinity of 40 pounds. I carried a hardcase with an extension cord, powerstrip, misc stuff and a bunch of FOOD.
I biked to the Walkup Skydome on campus. The sun was just rising.

I arrive at 6:40am, say Hi to my boss for the day (Joe Jolesch, a really cool guy), grab my "action pack" and head off to set up my stuff. Once my gear is ready I help Joe and Everett and a guy whose name I never got set up the bleachers for the formal shots. We then spend 10 minutes troubleshooting the strobes.

7:45 rolls around. I am still the only action photographer in the stadium, though there were three of us signed up for the event. Uh oh.
I grab the D300 with freshly charged Energizer 2700mAh batteries, my 80-200mm 1:2.8 and my super-ghetto strap and head to the 30 yard line, praying somebody would show up to cover the other half of the field. I had no such luck.

The minimum number of shots per band was 150. I shot anywhere from 175-240 frames per band. There were 39 bands that performed over the course of the ten hours that I had my camera in-hand. I shot just over 7,000 frames, burning a CD every 4 bands. (to fit 4 bands on a CD, I used Small and Basic JPG file sizing. Jolesch's target file size is "500-900kb" and I fit in wonderfully at about 650kb per shot.)

I had a headache by band number 12. I drank more water, ate some of my food and retained that headache until lunch after band number 18. I ate lunch and sat in the sun outside the stadium for an hour before heading back inside for round 2. None of the bands in round 2 were very good. Round 1 saw songs such as "hey Jude" and "Seasons of Love." Not round 2. I didn't hear a single sing I recognized, but I was so delirious by band 30 that it hardly mattered. I still got the shots, but man I was feeling "the burn."

I finished up the last 9 bands, burned my CDs, burned the other photog's stuff to CDs, got all my gear together and was rewarded by a bike ride up the hill with my 50-some-odd pounds of gear. Ugh. I Entered the stadium at 6:40am and left at 8:45pm. I went through 2 fully charged sets of batteries and then had to jack a set of alkaline to finish off the day. I would have used the internal battery but the framerate slows enough for me to notice, and shooting that much action I needed all the frames I could get. (I shot at ISO 2000, 1/160-1/250 sec [depending on the uniform color] at F2.8 all day.)

Even the weddings I have shot were only 8 or 9 hours in total. 14 hours is freaking nuts!
To be fair, Joe and his assistants had showed up at the stadium at 5:45am and were there when I left, taking down their bleachers. They are paid full time. At the end of it all, I made about $31.24 an hour and my check will be in the mail in 2-3 weeks.

I would post a picture for you, but I was not allowed to keep my copies. Once the pictures went on a CD I was told to delete them, as I have no rights to any of the images I made yesterday.

Today... I will be relaxing and eating and not even thinking about using my camera.
I did update the firmware, because on of the enhancements is single-area focus improvements. I was having some issues yesterday when the camera simply refused to focus correctly, so if the update works I will be much happier :-)

That's all for now!