Dragon Con 2017

Had the opportunity to cover Dragon Con Labor Day weekend. The crowd was massive, setting a new record of over 80,000 in attendance! The costumes were amazing, some of them had to take hundreds of hours to make, while others were barely there.  Despite what you may think this is truly a family event, and the parade drew out thousands of families. Put this event on your calendar for next Labor Day weekend, I guarantee you will have a blast!  Here are a few of my favorite images from the weekend, to see the entire gallery click here.

Dragon Con drew 80000 plus fans into Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

Dragon Con drew 80000 plus fans into Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

Dragon Con drew 80000 plus fans into Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

Dragon Con drew 80000 plus fans into Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

Dragon Con drew 80000 plus fans into Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

Major website construction!

The website has been in a constant state of flux over the last month while I try to address the coming changes to Google Chrome and the requirements for “SSL Everywhere”. I have the infrastructure finalized and started moving the content over tonight. Things should start getting back to order by the end of the weekend, barring any disruptions from hurricane Irma.

Roaming around in New York with the Olympus E-M1

The family and I headed to New York for the holidays to visit family and I got a chance to go into the city and take a few photos. The main goal was to get a few skyline images from Brooklyn and maybe some from Times Square and just see how the Olympus E-M1 performed in low light situations. Overall the camera did well, the only real issues were related to the autofocus, sometimes it would hunt a little in extreme situations. Photographing a subway train coming at you with the headlights on would cause problems occasionally, but not always. High iso performance is nowhere as good as a Nikon or Canon pro body, but that does not mean it is not good, far from it. The E-M1 is great at 1600 iso and very usable at 3200. Image sharpness is also really good, the images of the skyline show tremendous detail in the buildings, much better than I thought a micro four thirds camera could produce.

The images of the skyline were done at 200 iso and f8 on a tripod, high iso not required here! The images were fantastic and I have no issue with the results. In Times Square I shot between 800 and 1600 iso hand held. The beauty of the colors was phenomenal, and the image detail at the higher iso’s was pretty darn good considering the size of the sensor. I shot some images in the subway as well at 1600 iso hand held and the results were great. Overall, I’m really satisfied with the Olympus system and I’m kicking myself for not switching sooner. Here are a few images to check out.

New York, US - DECEMBER 28, 2016: Vendors selling fruit and vegetables at a produce stand in New York. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

New York, US - DECEMBER 28, 2016: Empire State building in New York. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

New York, US - DECEMBER 28, 2016: Times Square getting ready for New Years Eve. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

New York, US - DECEMBER 28, 2016: Lower Manhatten at sunset as seen from Brooklyn. (Aaron E. Aldridge/Ed Aldridge)

Covered my first cycling event over the weekend.

I had the opportunity to cover the USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships over the weekend (and every night last week) at the Giordana Velodrome for the wire service and had a blast! I was expecting a very boring time photographing people riding around a high banked oval with little excitement, boy did I miss the mark! This has got to be one of the most competitive events I have ever had the opportunity to photograph. The athletes were absolutely amazing, and poured everything they had into it. I look forward to covering more USA Cycling events. I thought I’d use this post to give some guidance on how to cover the athletes at track events, this should apply to BMX and road racing as well. I found that the best vantage point was outside of the track looking in, there were some good shots from inside but overall I thought the angle was better outside. This is one event where spectators can get great shots without being credentialed. The other really important aspect is that you are focusing on the athlete so get in close! I used a 300mm by itself and with a 1.4 converter (420mm) for 90% of my shots. The rest were from an 80-200 f2.8, 20mm f2.8, 24mm f2,8, 35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8 and the 180mm f2.8. By and far the 300 and 300 with 1.4 converter was the goto lens choice. If you get a chance go check out a cycling track event at your local velodrome.

Karl Baumgart, Mens 40-44 Points Race National Champion. Nikon D3, 300mm, ISO 3200, 1/320th and +0.7 exposure comp.
The start of the men’s 50-54 points race during the USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships at the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill South Carolina.