…and with the Start of July, so is the start of another New Fiscal Year at Sun. That’s the place that helps me pay the bills as my daytime (and sometimes into the night) job.
Tire Rack Test Track
Subtitle: ‘The Anatomy of an Autocross Event Shoot’
June went out with a Bang-up weekend for me however. The CVO Club (Oh Yea, that’s my image on their home page right now!) had their latest Autocross Event at Tire Rack’s test track in South Bend, Indiana. Started out with Showers, but by the time cars started rolling on the track around 10AM, the sky’s had given way to Sun and fluffy clouds. And so it would be I would set up for this event without my Trusty Sherpa at my side… She had a need to check out yet another foreign lands emergency room. My Lead Sherpa would join me just in time as the cars began to roll out for the days racing. In the end, some 40+ drivers all ran 4-passes before lunch and 4 after. I shot over 7,300 photo’s by the time all was said and over. Weeding through this amount to select those to put up on the web for the drivers, their friends, and families can become a real task…
Last year/season I had actually used a number of program/utilities besides Photoshop to end up with a final set of images ready to post in a web gallery. During the off season I worked intensely to create a single action within Photoshop CS3 to do all my post processing accept weeding through them for selection. Well, I do run them through one more process after the PS Action processing just to reset the file “Date Created” entry to be that from the EXIF entry within each image file. From there I use Adobe Lightroom to walk through the thousands of images and select those for posting.
On average I’ve been shooting about 12-15 images per car, per run. Sometimes if I happen to get set-up in a good vantage position and I have multiple good shooting angles across points on the track, I have actually shot 20-25 images per car/per run. The drivers are divided up into two group. So each group will normally drive through 4-runs before switching groups, with a break for lunch. Then depending upon weather, number of drivers, and how the scheduling is flowing, will either run 4 or 5 passes per group in the afternoon. I will set up and shoot from one location in the morning (always fighting with the early day Sun), and relocate and shoot from a different vantage point in the afternoon.
Typical Process Start to Finish
- Shoot all day;
- Upload images from CF cards to Mac;
- Duplicate New Image Directory(s) to external HD;
- Run Photoshop action to process images into web-ready format;
- Separate images into 4-run groups according to days timetable;
- Import these 4-groups into Lightroom;
- Begin review process of all images selecting those for web galleries;
- As finished, upload each whittled down group to web gallery;
- Re-sequence as needed to match running order;
- Post message to CVO forum that images are up for viewing.
The PS Action processing for just over 7,300 took nearly 4-hours. This Action writes additional EXIF data (ID info, key words, copyright info, etc.), places a copyright watermark in the lower right corner, sets color for web, resizes image. Across 3 events this year that I have data for, this post processing is averaging around 30-image files per second.
Next comes the more lengthy part of this process, the manual review of all the images.
So almost all my spare time can be spent in front of the laptop paging through each and every one of the images to select those to post, and those to discard. Since I still have All the Originals, I can actually delete these downsized images which won’t be posted to the web galleries. So by the time I’m done weeding through each group, I know what I have left can be zipped up and uploaded to the web site. The actual time it takes me to do all this weeding out is pretty much dependent upon just how busy or involved I am with project efforts during my day job. This is my primary responsibility, without this I don’t have these other opportunities. Some times I can sort through these in a week or so, at other times it can take me several weeks because of heavier work load responsibilities.
All in all, shooting these guys and gals is generally an enjoyable adventure, even when it’s raining.
Oh did I mention that it has rained at every event in 2008 so far, including one which was canceled and rescheduled due to extremely heavy rains. With 4 more events scheduled for this year it is truly shaping up to be a good finish.