You can skip my rant and go straight to the pictures, but this event was a bit frustrating so if one of the organizers happens to read this, I hope this helps them for future organization. More pictures on flickr if you just click on a link.
This event made very little effort to make itself appealing to spectators and the host city which is a shame because the participants who worked so hard to get here deserve to have an audience. I cover a lot of events in Houston and in some cases have archives of photographs, but I had never even heard of this event! If I haven’t heard about it, chances are other folks who are not actively looking for events around town have not heard of them. That is a real shame because parents need to know about this event and bring their kids to get them interested in STEM majors. If an event such as this decides to close down city blocks in the 4th largest city, I feel they should make an effort in promoting it and making it feel welcome to audiences. Instead, this event felt like a a private party completely centered around the participants. To their credit, the twitter site answered a question I had about the roster as I like to label my postings on flickr.
It may sound harsh, but for a “public” and “open” event, there were many restricted areas here. I would expect the track and team areas to be restricted, but on Saturday, every patio in George R Brown was taken by private parties – you know, a little wine and a snack buffet and such. On a normal weekend, Discovery Green park has many vendors – ice cream, food, etc. and because traffic was closed, none of them could get there so how can a family bring their kids when on a 90 degree day, there is no way to even get a cold bottle of water? I saw them handing out icecream but it was only for people who had the magic badges. There was not even a way to pay for it! I’m not saying that the participants shouldn’t be taken care of, they are the stars after all, but at least make some effort to encourage people to come and learn something. Have an MC explaining the event, have refreshments, let the audience interact with the students and professors. Otherwise, if you take out the larger audience for this event, what’s the point? All this becomes is a giant oil company paying lip-service to “green energy”.
On the photography side, I never heard back from the official flickr group for the event when I asked for a photo-pass so all these were taken with restrictions on where I could go. As mentioned above, there was very little in terms of an audience who weren’t friends and family so at least the bright side was, I could go anywhere. My lenses of choice were the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 and Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR using the D610 body. Saturday was an overcast day with sun coming and going so it wasn’t the prettiest of days. I really wasn’t too happy with my pictures because I felt motion was not captured enough. so I decided to come back the next day.
Louisiana Tech had the best looking machines and judging by the professional body design along with the fact that they had reserved a balcony, I would guess they were the best funded of everybody. Nice looking machines though.
As mentioned before, I didn’t feel I captured the motion enough. 1/250th shutter speed is just too fast for tracking motion. I’m not dealing with birds after all. That’s why the next day I dropped the shutter speed down to 1/60th! I was worried about camera shake but the VR eliminated most of that so I’m very happy with the results. I’m getting better at this, but I have to admit it’s not a natural motion for me. The idea is to “paint” the moving subject and track it so that it appears to be in focus while the background has motion blur. After that,
It should go without telling but all these are copyrighted and you may not use them in any form other than linking to my flickr page or this page without written permission.