Thursday, May 27, 2010

for a world less square

Most of my roller derby photos are shot with a digital rangefinder (a Leica M8).  If a rangefinder is an unconventional tool for sports photography (and it is, I just haven't written that blog post yet), then a panoramic film rangefinder is even more so. In panoramic mode, the Xpan exposes a 24 x 65mm rectangle on 35mm film (as opposed to the usual size of a 35mm slide, 24 x 36mm).

for a world less square
for a world less square by nocklebeast,

I know it was a photo on flickr that got me looking for a xpan on ebay, I seemed to have lost that photo, but it was probably of a street or cafe scene in Hong Kong.

red taxi
red taxi by nocklebeast

back in the purse
back in the purse by nocklebeast

I'm seeing a bit more diversity of subjects in the Xpan flickr group than I used to. There seems to be more street scenes, but there's still  a lot of panoramic nature shots as well.

lawn and leaves
lawn and leaves by nocklebeast

But outside an occasional shot of the Boise State smurf turf, you don't see a lot sports shots taken with the xpan, unless you're looking for shots of roller derby!

the sport every town needs
the sport every town needs by nocklebeast

steady by nocklebeast

The viewfinder of the Xpan isn't quite as bright as the viewfinder in the Leica, nor is the focus patch as pronounced, but perhaps this doesn't really matter as I shoot at f4 which allows for a little more error in focus.  I never dial the aperture ring of the Leica above f2.8 at the Santa Cruz Civic unless I use flash. The maximum ISO with the Leica is 2500, while I shoot with 3200 speed black and white film or 1600 speed color film pushed one stop with the Xpan.

I approach the subject a little differently with the Xpan than the Leica.  I pay a little more attention to framing, trying to get as many roller girls in the frame as possible.  I've even given a little stink-eye towards a full penalty box. Get out of the box and skate into my frame!

wall of rollergirls
wall of rollergirls by nocklebeast

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