Where has the last month and bit disappeared?
Apologies for not posting anything in the past month, as so often happens - when there are interesting things to write about, you don't have the time as you rush around from one job to the next. But now - it's finally time to take stock of the last few days (whole month would bore most of you).
Weekend gone by was one of those where things just didn't stop at all, it was non-stop all the way through. Here a little write-up about it with some comments from along the way.
Late call-up for Euroleague Final Four in London, shooting for the MVP magazine - as well as doing a Gigapan crowd image from both days. Early departure from WR13 to London, to meet-up with Euroleague and the O2 venue management to clear the use of my equipment at the game. Productive meetings with Carla and James - and all cleared to use the backstage to shoot the image from.
Nice central position for this one, but decided to leave the top-tier out of the image due to it not being totally packed. Image was taken during the second game, between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Only used the 200mm, not with the extender as normal - and I do think the image is a bit clearer and cleaner.
The games themselves - first one not quite up to expectations, second one a nice close thriller. With the games over, it was time for another 2 and 1/2 hours of driving - and a rarity to start with, there was no queues to drive out of the parking lot. Usually one gets stuck after events at the O2. During the drive, laptop on the passenger seats works on the Gigapan - no moment lost! Getting home - continue editing few images from the games and the Gigapan until about 5am.. then crash to bed.
Alarm clock rings at 6am - an hour of sleep!! Back to work on the Gigapan, few adjustments done again and while the computer 'thinks' I head for a quick walk and morning session on Tai-Chi as the sun rises over the hills.. a rare moment of tranquility during the weekend.
Grab my gear, laptop still working on images.. drive to Birmingham to catch the coach to ... LONDON (why didn't I stay there :-) ) with Birmingham City Ladies as they travel to face Arsenal at Borehamwood. Somehow I manage to stay awake and edit the Gigapan during the drive - usually I would get car-sick. Game in London - good pics of Birmingham's penalty and celebration.. only to see Arsenal score twice at the other end. So the best pictures of the game were of three birds fighting by the Arsenal goal. I wonder if I could enter them in a 'wildlife picture competition' ??
Back home around 8pm - and straight to work again, Gigapan uploaded and few footy images edited. Time to relax for a while - before sneaking back to work for few more hours.. finally at 3am it gets too much.
Is the weekend over yet?? Another early departure to London and the O2 - it is Final's day at the 2013 Euroleague Final Four, another roast chicken lunch at the press room, chat with few photographers about the games and all sorts of things.. We then get out photo-bibs.. and Sunday's theme is 'Pretty in Pink'.
The O2 is filling up nicely and this bodes well for the Gigapan image - I shoot the first two quarters of the Final, then dash up on the lift to the higher floors.. set-up my equipment and start snapping. With the game so close, I only spend about 13 minutes taking the Gigapan - must be some sort of personal record in taking an image of that size. Then running back down - and to my delight finding that my seat is still free at the photo-positions. Should really learn to shut-up about the positions until after the event - this time I was afraid that being in the last row, I would be shooting peoples heads in front of me - but when half of the photographers do not turn up for the event.. there was plenty of space. During the 3rd placed game - the second row (which was reserved for photographers) was taken up by the CSKA Moscow fans who wanted a better view of the court.
Mad dash to the court at the end to take pictures of the celebrations - then to the press room to start editing 20-30 pics for the MVP magazine, and.. yes, another drive from London to WR13.
Late night meant that all places to get a quick bite to eat, were closed - even my last hope of KFC had closed 4 minutes before I got there. Oh well - a plain bacon and egg sandwich will have to be enough for the drive home. Engine switches off at 2.20am - and I quietly climb to my 'office' - it's image editing time. Gigapan on the go again - and by 5.30am, it is in a stage I am happy to leave it for few hours.
8.30am wake-up.. a whole day spent on Gigapan - the amount of time it takes to stitch it and just clean-up little bits here and there. You wouldn't think of it, but when the file size you work with is around 5-8 GIGABYTES! Even the smallest bit of 'paint' 'letters' will take few minutes for the computer to 'think' about.
As for the rest of the week ... although the word 'rest' must be a poor joke. Villa Park on Tuesday evening.. Everton on Wednesday.. do I need to go on :-)
So - there was plenty of driving, 1000's of images taken and few of them edited.. old friends seen again, new friends made, there were celebrations, there was disappointments, there was traffic jams, as well as empty roads, nice meals and empty stomachs.. and naturally - very little sleep.