Eclipse Xmas Show 2017

Ismae playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

Ismae playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

Well the plan for the weekend was thrown out slightly on Friday and the usual Eclipse Xmas Show dress rehearsal was regretfully missed but I arrived bright and early at the Pemberton Centre in Rushden, East Northants on Saturday.  I’d been invited back to photograph their latest show and it would prove to be a massive hit.

Now that Ellie is not part of the Acro squad and only gets to the club when she can, and under her own steam (Dad’s taxi service is no longer required), I don’t get to see the practice sessions so learning that the format this year would be brand new was a surprise.

There would be no breaks between squads performing, no breaks in the audio track, just one track for part one and another for the second half of the show.  So, no chance to rethink camera settings, no chance to check memory cards, it was just a full on session x 3.

Anyway, the show was a massive success and congratulations to everyone that helped to prepare and stage the show and a huge well done to all of the gymnasts who put on a wonderful show yet again.  I only hope that I have done the club justice in the photographs captured during the three performances.

All of the photographs are now available on www.m4photo.co.uk in the Eclipse Gymnastics club photo gallery.  You’ll need the username and password which is only available from the club’s officials.  Sorry, but my own child protection policy does not  permit me to supply the login details to anyone.  If you are associated with the club, you’ll know who and where to ask for the details.

I hope that you all enjoy the images.

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Eclipse Gymnastics Xmas Show 2016

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Firstly, to everyone that has been waiting, the show gallery is now online for viewing.  Go to www.m4photo.co.uk and click on one of the Eclipse icons on the home page to go to the Eclipse Gymnastics page.  Then click on either the rehersals picture to view the Friday night images or the picture of Terry and Shoney to see the full show gallery from Saturday.  As usual, you will need the username and password from a club member, I’m not permitted to give this out, so please don’t ask me.

A quick note about accessing the galleries on mobile phones.
I was fortunate to experience the issue on a customers Samsung at the show.  It would seems that if you click through from Facebook, the blog or even Google, the phone seems to try to circumvent the login and you get a 401 Unauthorised error.  This is as it should be to protect the kids.  Instead, you should open up your devices browser (Safari in most instances) and manually type in http://www.m4photo.co.uk.  You will then get the username and password prompts and then access to the gallery without any issues.  Laptops and desktop computers don’t appear to be affected.

Also, a quick note about the quality of some of the images.  Some images will be a little noisy (grainy) and this is because the gymnast was standing at the edges of the mat and in very poor light.  The image taken was therefore practically black in most instances and I have had to work on getting something reasonable.  I therefore apologise to any gymnast that i was unable to capture during the two days and to anyone who only has a noisy image.  I’ll try harder next time, I promise.

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Well what a longgggg weekend that was.  Friday saw me down at the Pemberton Centre for 18.00 for the Eclipse Gymnastics Xmas show rehearsals and the pressure of capturing photographs to sell at the actual show on the Saturday.  My nerves were growing throughout the day, so I was pleased to have had my camera gear ready on Wednesday evening, leaving a final check and battery charge for Thursday evening.

I arrived in good time and it was not long before the gymnasts began to arrive and many of them went straight into their warm ups.  This gave me the chance to grab a few casual shots and as the lights were dimmed for the lighting crew to begin their checks, I was then able to check my camera settings.  I’d already guessed at three settings which had been pre-programmed into the 5D MkIII and thankfully experience counted and I was pretty much spot on with my choices.

The evening began with some of the younger gymnasts, a wonderful 12 minute routine which all of the gymnasts took part in (150+ boys and girls) and then the remaining routines would be rehearsed leading up to around 9.00pm.  With around 700 shots in the bag, it was home to process them and get them onto the website for the parents, grandparents and friends to view before and at the show.  Once uploaded to the website at a little after 4.00am, I fell into bed for three hours sleep before showering and heading back for the full day.

eclipse-xmas-2016-2I was without my helper this morning owing to a good night out the night before but the stand went up well, the table was set and we were ready for business.  Today would be a case of catching some initial shots during a couple of additional routines being practised and then I’d settle into shooting the three two hour shows, one at 13.00, one at 16.00 and the last show 19.00.  With only a short time between shows,it was going to be busy.

Whilst interest at the show was steady, purchases were very slow but I have numerous expressions of interest.  I’m not concerned though because the parents know me now and they know that I like to process my images before selling them and they also wanted to choose the best of the best from the rehearsals and the shows.

With nearly 2,000 images currently uploading to the website, they’ll be in for a treat.

Why so many?  I usually over shoot on the assumption that I’ll deleted half to two thirds owing to poor framing, focus and other issues associated with this kind of frantic shoot.  However, I have found that I have deleted less than 5% of the images taken and this has lead to a massive number of images for the club and longer than expected post production phase.  Now that it is done, I’m really happy and I hope that the parents will as well.

I’ll be heading into the club on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening for people to view and purchase prints.  I am also planning a very special offer for parents to buy a DVD with digital files with reproduction rights  (the benefit of using M4Photo) .  This DVD can be filled with images from any of the clubs galleries published on www.m4photo.co.uk.  I’ll create a flyer with more details for the club members and this will be given out at the club.

Anyway, the show itself was a massive success.  A 3 year old stole the show with her own take on the choreographed routines and the gymnasts of all ages showed what great talents we have here in Rushden.  I’ll be working on the DVD shortly and reliving the show just once or twice too many times, but I’m privileged to support the club and in my own small way, become part of this amazing family of like minded individuals.  I just hope that my images do the club, the gymnasts and their show justice.

eclipse-xmas-2016-4Ohh, and yes, I do tease the older gymnasts about some of their technique, lack of pointed toes, bloopers on the video and the like.  For that reason, here is one of my bloopers from the photo shoot.  I also have my own problems taking the photographs, as this image shows when I got my timing just a little out when capturing one of the tiny tots.

Hopefully the gymnasts will not be too hard on me and remember the good photographs and not this slightly amateurish attempt <rofl>.

Below are just a tiny taster of some of the images that are coming to the website over the next hour or so.  I was really pleased with my timing on some of the shots, not least the two with the gymnasts flying through the air.  The thumbs up from Shoney (Head Coach) summed up the success of the day and the coach in the black and white was not praying for a miracle, she was actually using hand gestures with great skill to help the youngest gymnasts through their routine with pom-poms.  To her credit, it worked really well for all of the shows.

Well done to everyone at Eclipse and role on next year.

 

Nerves, Nerves and more NERVES!!

Eclipse 2014 Festival Rehersals

So that’s another nights sleep lost to nerves and a totally restless night and this morning is not a lot better with butterfly’s growing as the day progresses and this evening’s shoot with Eclipse Gymnastics draws closer.

It is the clubs 10th anniversary and I’ve been invited back to photograph this years Christmas show and I’ll also be producing the annual show video again.  Goodness knows why I get so nervous though, I love photography, I adore making memories for people and supporting the club is just a privilege.  The kids have all the hard work to do during their performances and not one appears to show any nerves at all – it’s just not fair.

However, one this this week put everything into context.  I put a lot of pressure on myself throughout my daily life to do the best that I can and especially with my photography.  I want to get better and better and, above all, I want to get good results that capture that special moment for people and when you have just one chance and usually in a low light and manic environment with way too much going on, this can be a real challenge.  This results in huge anxiety on my part and, some say to me, needless pressure.

So what happened this week to put this into context.  Robbie Williams was on the television for his Icon Brit Award and he was talking about the tough times he had when young and how he gets hugely nervous to the point of being ill before going on stage.  He also indicated that one of his talents was the ability to turn those nerves into an amazing performance, something that he does in spades in my opinion every time he goes on stage.

For someone that feels the same before a live and unrehearsed photo shoot of the type I’m off to in a few hours time, I’m going to take heart from an truly professional icon and I’m going to use those nerves to produce some nice images for the parents over the weekend.

Let’s hope I can pull this out of the bag again and get some wonderfully positive comments like last year – The words of one guy walking away from my printer holding an image of his granddaughter and saying that it was “one of the best photographs of XXX that he’s seen” was enough to make what I do very, VERY worthwhile.

If all goes well, I’ll have a set of images available to purchase at the show tomorrow and then a more complete set following the show.  The full set should be on www.m4photo.co.uk sometime during Sunday afternoon/evening.

Finally, they will not need it but, I’d like to wish the whole of the Eclipse Gymnastics Club the very best of luck for another amazing performance.  Sitting in on one of the practice sessions last week, I was amazed to see some of the moves that the Elite Squad are now doing and which were the domain of Lucy, Ellie and just one or two others for the loongest time.  This is one club that raises the bar year on year on year.

Good luck guys.

Eclipse Video Preview

EclipseXmas2015

As usual the Eclipse Xmas Show video has taken longer than anticipated to produce, mainly because it has been produced around paying work during my evenings and most of last weekend.

However, the first proof DVD has been given to Shoney and Terry for them to check for errors and spelling mistakes and then we should be good to go once the DVD label has been designed.

In the meantime, I am pleased to announce that the preview video is now ready and uploaded to my M4Photo video channel and it an be found here – https://youtu.be/of5evvVFDoc.

This has been a labour of love and I have really enjoyed putting this show DVD together.  The more that I watch it, the more I appreciate the skills and acting talents that are to be found within the club.  All of the kids did themselves proud and I hope that most families will support the club by buying one of the DVDs and keeping a lasting memory of the performances.

The DVDs will only be available through the Pemberton Eclipse Gymnastics club, so please enquire at the club or through the club’s Facebook page.

I;d like to extend a big thank you to everyone involved in putting on the show and to Bob Grant who captured the footage for me on the day.  I hope that everyone enjoys this years DVD.

Eclipse Xmas Show

2015_12_12_IMG_0000141One word sums up yesterday with Eclipse Gymnastics in Rushden.  The club has become very well known in the region for some great competition results and they are fast adding stunning performances to their wealth of talents.

My day began with a run up the M1 from London and the rehearsals were just about to begin when I arrived.  Grabbing my camera whilst Lauren set up the M4Photo stand, I grabbed a number of images of the rehearsals and tried hard to memorise some of the routines and things to watch out for.

Well, I can forget that because the routines were action packed with over 145 gymnasts taking part in the Pemberton centre’s main performance hall.

The kids put on the best show of the seven undertaken.  Bob ran the video throughout the three main shows and I’ll be putting the annual videos together as soon as possible.  In the meantime, the still images are about to go on line and with over 1,000 images, some of the parents are going really struggle to pick which ones they would like printed.

Because of the nature of the show and the decision that some people will have to make, I have decided to put together a very special offer to hopefully make that decision slightly easier for some people – watch the Eclipse Facebook page for more details.

Anyway, thanks to all of the kids, coaches and helpers for putting on a great event and thank you also for inviting me along again to photograph and record the event.  Thanks to Bob for running the video camera for me and I’ll be getting into the footage and building the DVD very soon.

The Eclipse Gymnastics 2015 Xmas show is now available here.