Saturday, May 28, 2011

SCDG Boardwalk Bombshells vs LA Derby Dolls Ri-Ettes

Last weekend Santa Cruz hosted the LA Derby Dolls travel team at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

The full set is here:

My primary camera was a digital rangefinder, but I also brought my old Minolta X-GM with a ridiculous lens attached (a 80mm f2.8 medium format lens with a tilt adapter). The Minolta was loaded with some 1600ISO fuji color film from Hong Kong.

here's some photo highlights:


poised to re-enter play

on the jam line

Liv and Angelina

Shamrock poised on the jam line

There's Maiden Hades, getting in the way again.

Pippi Hardsocking

Cleopatra Catastrophe

we are not men, we are devo

lots of girls in the penalty box



poised on the jammer line

Refs gotta learn all the players numbers?


flash attack!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sin Sisters Burlesque vs Santa Cruz Derby Girls and....... Beaver Fever!

Last week, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls teamed up the Sin Sisters Burlesque for a performance to raise money for SCDG the travel fund.

And Beaver Fever opened.

When I got the invitation to take photographs, it took me a day to work up the courage to say yes.  What sold me was a youtube video of Patty Cakes off of the Sin Sisters' facebook page, because it made me laugh. 

I've never shot any sort of concert or performance photography before... but then again, I never shot roller derby, before I shot roller derby either.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how to approach this.  The two most recent influences were Egor's blog post about using rangefinders for concert photography and some of Johnny Crash's amazing photos I found off the Sin Sisters facebook.

Early on I assumed that flash photography would be discouraged. But, there was some uncertainty about this, even leading up to the day of the event.  I decided not to bring a flash.  That way, if flash was not allowed, I'd be following the rules.  And if flash was allowed, I'd be making an artistic choice.  Sometimes these sort of constraints bring some a little bit of freedom with them. Now, this wasn't really a hard decision. After all, I shot my first one and a half season's of derby at the Civic without flash.  And even now, when I use flash at a derby bout, I prefer to use just a little bit of flash.  Also, I have some fairly fast lenses.  I figured the stage would dark and lit at the same time.  There should be enough light to capture a gesture, an expression, or a shape, and this was more important than capturing a well lit scene.

The next decision was to not use any automatic exposure program. I figured the camera's strongly centered light meter just wouldn't be up to the job, and trying to compensate with some sort of EV setting would be kinda pointless.  The goal would be to try to not to overexpose the highlights... too much.  Just dial something in that was kinda of close and correct in post. Now given my two primary influences above, and my experience with trying to reign in out of control exposures with roller derby,

liv and glitter

this meant that most of the photos would be black and white. 

The last decision was lenses.  I ended up taking two bodies with one lens each. A 35mm f1.2 and a 60mm f1.2 on a 1.33 crop camera. I didn't want to mess around with changing lenses.

One thing I didn't anticipate was shooting straight into the stage lighting. Now, I think that lens flare can be quite delicious. Kinda like Patty Cakes Delicious.

Patty Cakes!

But one thing I forgot about the Leica M8 (because it's almost never an issue) is that if a very bright light happens to land on the very edge of the sensor frame, sometimes a dark horizontal band shoots across the frame from the light. This isn't lens flare . This is purely a response of the camera's electronic sensor.

Maybe I should have used the 50mm 1.5 lens instead of the 60mm lens.  Because of the inaccurate framing with the 60mm lens and 50mm frame lines, I had a tendency to chop off people's heads, just a little bit.

Bella wants a diamond

Okay, here's a bunch of photos from the rest of the night.... I'll let you follow your nose to the full flickr set.


Beaver Fever at the Catalyst Club

beaver fever

beaver fever

beaver fever

Balla Fire

she plays a mean air guitar

Rizzo Rogue



Cyanide Cyn


If she were a president, she'd be Babraham Lincoln




Dorian Faust


Jimmy Smooth


nerd alert!


feathered wings







Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monterey Bay Derby Dames Beasts of Eden vs Santa Cruz Derby Girls Seabright Sirens

Another evening of good derby hosted by Monterey's travel team, the Beasts of Eden, at Water City Roller Hockey Rink in Marina, California.  I think this was Monterey's first "home game" and they've played a couple of bouts on the road before this.  This was my first time seeing the Seabright Sirens of Santa Cruz (a "C-Team"), and this may have been their first public bout ever.  (Also, Santa Cruz borrowed a few roller girls from Silicon Valley to round out their roster).  Anyway, it showed that Monterey has had some experience skating as a team.  I think when Santa Cruz first got points on the board the score was 58-10.  The halftime score was 127-27.  And Santa Cruz was able to make some adjustments for the final score of 224-70.

Here's some photo highlights. The full flickr set is here:

the starting whistle


dragon contained?


racing Taraism

making sure the laces are tight

snarls darwin


stretching and clapping

Tay Tay watches her team skate


roller derby mayhem!

trying to make it thru




who would win in a fight?