Monday, August 25, 2008

2008 ECSC Weekend

To say that I was looking forward to this year's East Coast Surfing Championships is an understatement to say the least. This the first chance that I have gotten to attend since I moved back to the area after being out of state for the last 13 years. It is amazing how much this event continues to grow. In addition to the pro/am surfing, there was a skate/bmx demos, pro/am volleyball, pro/am skimboarding, multiple concerts, the Miss ECSC bikini contests, and the Beach Cornhole Championships. The VB Jaycees once again put on a great event.

Friday night we caught the Smithereens (yes, they are still recording/touring) at the 5th St. stage and I was shocked at good they sounded, possibly better than 15 years ago. I guess somethings do improve with age. Saturday and Sunday were spent shooting photos of the surfing/skimboarding action and the Miss ECSC contest. To lighten the load, I biked down with just my camera and single lens - the monster Bigma - so I opted to forego the volleyball and skate photos and concentrate on the surfing. It definitely helped that mother ocean decided to play nice this year providing the contestents with ragged 3-footers on Saturday that cleaned up fairly nice on Sunday, leading to some of the best action that I heard they've had in years.

One shoutout - The band Jack Move played on Sunday. I never heard of them before but they absolutely rocked with a ska/punk sound (think Tweed Sneakers or mighty Mighty Bosstones). Awesome show.

The Sigma 50-500mm is heavy but exceptionally sharp for a lens with that much zoom range. I absolutely love it! Initially I was nervous that the focus wouldn't track fast enough to keep up with the speeding riders but I used it a couple of weeks ago to shoot hydroplane racing and it proved to track just fine. If it can handle boats at 150 mph, then it should manage surfers. Once I loaded the memory cards to Lightroom, I was estatic at how well they images turned out. Very little processing was needed other than rejecting the misses and converting the RAW files to DNGs before then adjusting the contrast, highlights, shadows, and saturation. For the most part, I was able to do this by processing the first image in a set and then syncing the rest.

The images can be seen in the following gallery. Please feel free to comment on them as you please.

The Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon and the Neptune Festival are next two big events in line. I'm going to be running/limping/crawling in the RnR so no photos this year but I'm looking forward to the Neptune Classic surf competition. Later.


Shannon said...

Love the photos Travis!

Jill Beninato said...

Wow Travis...that lens kicks a**. I love those surf shots...the images look really sharp and the color is rich and saturated. I have lens envy...

Travis Owney Photography said...

Jill, if I can convert you to Nikon, I'd share. :-)