Tuesday, April 26, 2005

what a weekend.

thursday night i feverishly packed, ironed some shirts, and headed down to be on the boat for the weekend. via the pub for a case of beer.

we loaded up the customers, complete with camera equipment. although there were only 11 competitors, they had as much gear as a full boatload would have had.

friday morning it was up and at them. all the divers getting in for each and every dive, including night dives which are sometimes not as popular, as often people prefer to have a bit of a drink instead.

the viz wasn't the greatest though. for a while it looked as though they might even take out the wide angle section as it was proving to be impossible to shoot wide angle. friday night we offloaded our first rolls of film to be processed, so they could be picked up the next morning. this way the competitors get an idea of what to concentrate on for the next 4 dives. plus we picked up a few more divers, not competitors though, they were just coming along for the ride. we smuggled on one of the competitor's husband. she was suitably surprised.

on saturday morning we picked up the processed film, and started clocking up some miles looking for clear water. we ended up outside the bay and went south for a dive. i managed to sneak in for a dive, then beat them back to the boat to help get people back on board. the viz was a little better, but still not very good. then we got a message that the water to the north was clear. there was a little swell so we bounced our way up there and were rewarded for taking the trek. unfortunately i'd done my dive for the day and was flat out for the rest of the day so i didn't get to go in again myself.

we did a dive on the wreck that's up there, then over at another site called the "shark gutters". no sharks though, but it's always a great dive, especially when the viz is bad. then we bounced our way back down to the bay to drop off the rest of the film. no night dive that night, everyone kicked back and relaxed instead, although i think some of the non-competitors might have gone for a dive. it's a few days ago now and my brain is mush from the long weekend and not enough midday naps.

Sunday morning is usually a serious time, as the competitors pick their best slides to enter for judging. However, there was a problem with the film processing last night. The guy who has been doing a fantastic job processing our film for the last 8 years of photo competitions, had a power failure part way through processing some of the films. some competitors are unaffected, and others, like the poor dude sitting opposite me, have lost entire rolls of film.

after seeing how hard these guys have been working the last few days to get prize winning shots, in very difficult conditions, and how hard the skippers and crew have been working, dragging them all over the place for subjects and trying to find clear water. it just leaves you gutted. i reckon the guy who did the processing feels even worse though, and it wasn’t even his fault. just one of those things.

this is probably our last, exclusively film only, photo competition. we also have a digital shootout. next year it will be combined, competing against each other. should be interesting. but at the moment, very serious...

on sunday, after a lot more relaxing diving, and the water getting clearer and clearer, 2 dives for me :-) the judges locked themselves away in the conference room for half the day to judge the entries. and that night after dinner we had the presentation on the top deck.

the quality of these slides was just fantastic. i couldn't resist saying (tongue in cheek) that they were all a bunch of whingers. after all their noise about the bad vis and they'd still produced such good shots. hehehe

as the judges went through the entries, they gave a bit of a critique on each one. it's always a very informative night. if i didn't have the memory of a goldfish i'd be a fantastic photographer by now after after all the tips, tricks and techniques i should have picked up.

monday and the pressure is all off, all the competitors seem happy with their results (and cool prizes). a coupla relaxed dives and it's time to get them all off and on their way home.

a coupla beers with the lads at the pub, but i'm too stuffed for a big night, i'm asleep by 9:00

some crappy pics... (some of them are around 300k, so don't click them if you're on dialup, unless you feel like waiting, just click on your back button if you want to come back here)

moorish idol, blotched hawkfish, boarfish, gorgonia and a wobbegong in a bit of a cave. he's about 2 metres long.

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