Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Santa Cruz vs Oakland Outlaws and Silicon Valley scrimmages.

Why am I shooting and editing derby photos in January? Isn't this the off season?

Santa Cruz held double header try-out scrimmages against the Oakland Outlaws and Silicon Valley at their new warehouse in Scotts Valley.  So it was good to take a look at the new practice venue and hang out and stuff.

The bouts were during the day and there is a bank of windows facing the straight-away between turns 4 and 1.  I need to re-learn the lesson of Westerns 2012 at the Craneway.  Stop down a little when shooting into strongly lit backgrounds.




The light's not too bad, especially in the day, although I just didn't want to worry about the color too much (let the color be what it is).  The lighting on the straight-away is bright and a bit yellow.  The lighting on the middle is dim greenish fluorescent (although the ceiling tiles are clean and white, good for bouncing flash off of), and of course the day light (when it's "on") is a little bluish.


I'm hoping 18% grey t-shirts become more popular.

I'm in love with Hue's 18% grey t-shirt
I'm in love with Hue's 18% grey t-shirt

The columns are in the wrong places, except this one in the middle.  It sports the last of the mattresses from the old practice venue.  It's still got the plastic wrap on it to ensure freshness.

the last of the matresses
the last of the matresses

And, written on it in magic marker, is the catalog of derby no-no's. 

catalog of no-nos
catalog of no-nos

I hadn't realized that delay of game was a thing.  Delay of game is a thing now? Perhaps, it was always a thing?  I don't know, I'm just a photographer. I haven't taken the self administered WFTDA rule quiz since 2011.

There are columns at each apex, which makes shooting from the traditional photog box located near the center of each semicircle pretty much impossible (refs gotta skate somewhere!).


You can get some decent shots from the middle by shooting next to the white board in the very middle of the track.




There's another pair of columns at each apex in the outside ref lane. One strategery might be to hide behind that column to get really close to the action at each apex.


Although you can still get pretty close from the safety behind that little rubber fence at the end of the track too.



It's pretty easy to clamp remote flashes on the columns.  It appears that the columns are the only thing that can be easily clamped to.  I'd really like something to super-clamp a flash at turn two.  I might just have to experiment in bouncing off-camera flash off the ceiling there.

I haven't been shooting very long with the latest camera that I have (only got to shoot one bout with it at champs before it stopped working for the weekend).  One feature that I discovered is that the remote flashes will fire if the shutter speed is set to a speed higher than the flash synchronization speed (1/180th).  With my other cameras set this way, the shutter will fire, but the flashes will not.

I suppose this is more of a bug than a feature, as with shorter exposure durations the first and second curtains of the shutter move across the sensor in such a way that the flash will not uniformly expose the sensor, and so I got a bright band across the bottom of many of my frames. 



It's a little cold inside the warehouse (cold miser would be pleased).  I may need to wear my gnome hat next time.  Outside, where the baseball trophies play in the sun, it's a nice 77 degrees.

baseball trophy
baseball trophy

Also, the warehouse has a big red shiny button!  Oh! the temptation!


A few more highlights!





The full flickr sets are here (vs the Outlaws)

and here (vs Silicon Valley)