Houston Roller Derby – Ring Of Fire

I was looking forward to this month’s roller derby match as I knew it would be a good chance to put the new lens through it’s paces. Shooting sports in low light presents a unique set of optical challenges and I figured the new toy would be up to the task, and it was. I ended up shooting most of the match with it and only swapping to the wide angle for some experimental shots.

I liked being able to shoot the far side of the track as well as being able to go up into the balcony seats and shoot down on the action. Much more versatile than I imagined once I began to embrace the concept of “being the zoom.” In other words, moving my physical self to change the framing and focal length. Something that’s not always easy to do, but this event lent itself well to the concept.

Houston Roller Derby

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Houston Roller Derby

Houston Roller Derby

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Houston Roller Derby

Houston Roller Derby

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Houston Roller Derby

Houston Roller Derby

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Houston Roller Derby

Houston Roller Derby

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Houston Roller Derby

Houston Roller Derby

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Houston Roller Derby

The rest of my shots are in the HRD Flickr site. Check them out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/hrdart/sets/72157606680709501

Houston Roller Derby – Governor’s Cup

I’ve decided the candid shots are better than the actions shots for me.
I can capture action but it’s just not that compelling to me.
Besides, there’s several photographers there who seem to specialize in the action shots.

The new lens came through in a big way:


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Houston Roller Derby – Jun 17

This past Sunday I was back at Verizon Wireless Theater, camera in hand, to shoot some roller derby.

As I mentioned previously, I wanted to try out the 28-75mm 2.8 to see what results I could get. I had quite a bit of luck, as it turns out. I am still processing the images, so it’ll be a bit before I get those posted.

To slow down the already time cosuming process of going through a brazillion shots, I have interrupted my typical image processing workflow to single out some pictures for a bit of stylizing. I have started working some images in Photoshop with some good effect. Desaturate to take the pic to black and white and adding a bit of grain and then tweaking the contrast to come up with some trading card-like pictures.

This is Dementia 13 of the Psych Ward Sirens.

Dementia 13

This is The Prosecutor of The Machete Betties

The Prosecutor

I love the candid shots, more so than the action shots.
I think that will be more of my focus.
We’ll see what the net results are when I am through working this batch.

Houston Roller Derby

The Houston Roller Derby has been generating quite a lot of buzz lately. Seems that you can’t turn around in this city without bumping into someone who is either a roller derby girl or one of the myriad volunteers, hanger’s on or ever growing minions of rabid roller derby fans.

I work with a roller derby girl, my friend Bill Shirley puts together The Colonel’s Roller Derby Roundup, a combination blog and podcast (of all things) with David Beebe, there’s Myspace after Myspace page for leagues, teams, team members, volunteers and fans. Roller derby seems to be everywhere.

It has been suggested on several occasions, by those who know my love of photography and are affiliated with the derby, that I try my hand at some derby photography. I finally decided to follow up and I contacted the organizers and offered to come out and shoot on spec, the idea being that if I produced pictures they liked and could be used to promote the derby I might be afforded the title of Official Houston Roller Derby Photographer. Basically that would mean that I would have full photographic access to all aspects of the local derby.

This past Sunday I made my way to The Verizon Wireless Theater for the bout. I arrived pretty early so I could get my credentials and get the lay of the land. I wanted to check out the layout and get familiar with the lighting.

After a bit of experimenting I decided to shoot with my 50mm 1.4 lens. I thought this would be the best for no flash and fast action. As it turned out, I got some great portrait shots.

But I struggled with the action shots. Shooting without a flash meant that I had to try to time the shots for when the subject was going to be illuminated. Also, the 50mm lens is challenging at extended distances. I can crop to increase the size of the main subject, but the results are not as good as I would like.

Still, they weren’t all bad…

Houston Roller Derby
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Houston Roller Derby
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Houston Roller Derby
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With a bit more practice I think I can nail it down. I may whip out the Tamron AF 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di lens next time and see how it performs in these conditions.

The response from the derby organizers and the members has been positive. I have been asked to come back and shoot again, not only at the bouts but at other derby events.

We’ll see how the schedule shapes up. I would like to explore this further.

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