Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oakland Outlaws vs the Richmond Wrecking Belles at the Craneway: Bay Area 2012 Season Opener

Ah, it's good to get back to the Craneway to shoot some roller derby.

Jane Hammer leads the Oakland Outlaws in introduction laps to Bay Area's season opener against the Richmond Wrecking Belles.
Jane Hammer leads the Oakland Outlaws in introduction laps to Bay Area's season opener against the Richmond Wrecking Belles.

Now, the light at the Craneway is very dramatic (and interesting and challenging). It's similar to the Santa Cruz Civic, except the light at the Civic is for the most part straight down, so that blown highlights on bright helmets are almost totally unavoidable, unless you're wielding some serious flash fire power.

blown highlights on bright helmets at the Santa Cruz Civic

The lighting at the Craneway is more directional.  It seems to be aimed more at the "end zones" and less straight down from the ceiling to the track.  So, if you're shooting from the end zones you see glow-in-the-dark hair and interesting shadows cast by the skaters. 


I shot most of this set with flash, and when I use flash in roller derby I try to use just a little bit of flash.  In this case I just want to light up faces just a bit on the strongly back lit skaters. And I want to throw enough light out there to shoot at 1/250th of a second instead of 1/125th of a second if I were shooting with available light only.



I've continued my current obsession with shooting flash in manual mode instead of TTL-mode.  I "discovered" the "M" mode on the flash last December while shooting a grom black and white scrimmage.   I suppose it's a natural evolution of shooting with manual focus lenses; shooting  manual flash instead of TTL or automatic flash.  I do a bunch of test exposures and to try to get the flash power about right.  Since I've done all the thinking for the camera, the camera can just be a camera instead of some sort of artificial intelligence camera-bot.  DON'T THINK JUST DO! PRESS THE SHUTTER BUTTON! BAM!


that's how points are scored in roller derby
that's how points are scored in roller derby


Now, in addition to my on-going manual flash obsession (what's that you ask? how many obsessions do I have?  You have no idea!), I've been obsessed in the last few months or years with black and white conversion.  A few months ago, I bought a copy of TrueGrain and a copy of Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro.  I still need to experiment more with TrueGrain.  As it turns out, I can't get Silver Efex Pro to work on my main workstation at home, but I got it to work on my laptop.  I was able to mostly replicate the looks of various black and white films from Silver Efex Pro into Capture One (Yeah, I use Capture One instead of Lightroom. Just like I use a digital rangefinder instead of a digital SLR).

The look is deep blacks with bold whites, driving the heavy noise at high ISO on the Leica M8 into the deep inky black oblivion. 


And then, some where along the way, I tried the experiment, "Hey, what if I  un-check the black and white conversion check-box?"  Deep inky dark blacks and saturated colors.  I particularly like how the red of the jammer star and Murderyn Monroe's fishnets pop out against the black.  And on Razor Grrls' red demon on her helmet too.


I also shot  from the center of the track a little bit (about five minutes each half). First time doing that at the Craneway.




the life of a roller girl is always intense
the life of a roller girl is always intense

The full flickr set from this bout is here:

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