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Thread: Roller Derby with remotes.

  1. #1
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Roller Derby with remotes.

    I'm one of the staff photographers for the Detroit Derby Girls, an extremely challenging position I came across by a combination of luck (someone asked) and hubris (I said I could do it, then learned how ).

    They're letting us use flash this year (booya!), and I just finished my first bout with a single IR-triggered remote. Results were good enough that I grabbed two flash battery packs and I'm in an eBay war for a trio of Pocket Wizards.

    What do you guys think of the results? All but shot 3 used shutter priority at 1/125th or 1/160th with a 100mm f2.0 USM prime at f2.0 to 3.5. C&C welcome, and don't spare the rod.

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    Roller Derby with remotes.

  2. #2
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Roller Derby with remotes.

    Vry nice shots but, I would like to see a bit more separation between the performers (racers) and the background. However there is a "Catch-22" problem. Using a wider aperture will allow selective DOF but, also using a wider aperture will allow the ambient light to illuminate the background... Unless you use high speed sync (HSS) and a faster shutter speed.

    Which brings us to another "Catch-22" problem. HSS reduces the power of your flash to a certain degree...

    If you wwere shooting for the arena, you might be able to mount a few lights above the scaters,,

    I doubt if you will find much Internet information on roller derby shooting. However, I would imagine that indoor basketball shooting would propose the same type of problems and use the same types of solutions...

  3. #3
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Roller Derby with remotes.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Vry nice shots but, I would like to see a bit more separation between the performers (racers) and the background. However there is a "Catch-22" problem. Using a wider aperture will allow selective DOF but, also using a wider aperture will allow the ambient light to illuminate the background... Unless you use high speed sync (HSS) and a faster shutter speed.
    There's actually yet another catch-22 at work. The narrower I can get my aperture, the greater the margin for error in the camera's servo autofocus system, which sometimes has trouble keeping up. I'm already rejecting shots where the focal point led or lagged the skaters. I think a better method would be to increase shutter speed and flash power, as you suggested. Fortunately I'm only at 1/125th, so there's a little room before the 1/250th high-speed sync ceiling.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Which brings us to another "Catch-22" problem. HSS reduces the power of your flash to a certain degree...
    I'm currently planning to bring a second flash to bear if I can get all the bits (radios and auxiliary battery packs) in line before the next bout. The question is, do I use them in the same spot for more punch, or spread them out to cover more of the arena?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    If you wwere shooting for the arena, you might be able to mount a few lights above the scaters,,
    Possible. It'd be fun showing up with a ladder and a bunch of duct tape.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I doubt if you will find much Internet information on roller derby shooting. However, I would imagine that indoor basketball shooting would propose the same type of problems and use the same types of solutions...
    True, but your average indoor basketball arena is much better-lit. The main thing I'm struggling with is getting enough light to the sensor (which is already at a rather noisy ISO1600) while maintaining enough shutter speed to freeze the action. Thus, the remotes.

    There isn't a whole lot of information on derby shooting because there aren't a whole lot of guys doing it. I'm trying like mad to stay at the front. Tricky, since a lot of the other guys are really, really good.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 24th January 2013 at 05:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Roller Derby with remotes.

    Lex, I like the shots. You've done pretty good. My wife plays for the Tri-City Roller Girls team "Total Knock Outs", so I've had the opportunity to go and shoot a handful of times.

    Surprisingly, I found more on the internet than what I'd expected to find on roller derby. Most guys are recommending the 24-70 2.8, which I unfortunately don't own, and which is also unfortunately not in the budget for the near future.

    I know you're a prime lens kinda guy, but I really think the zoom comes in handy. I've been using my 70-200 4.0, and I just can't open it wide enough, so, like you, I end up shooting at ISO 1600 or so.

    I have had luck with multiple flashes remotely triggered on light stands. One usually facing the direction of the girls faces, and one perpendicular to that - if I had more time, I'd make a little drawing.

    Are you using anything to soften the flash?

    PLEASE - let me know if you find any good information. Like you, I'd like to stay on top of this, and get some better shots for the team, and for advertising purposes.

  5. #5
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Roller Derby with remotes.

    PS - there was another guy on here, Kristian from Norway who was a head referee for a league over there. He had taken some fantastic shots, and I got some tips from him at the time, but I haven't seen him around lately. Too bad.

  6. #6
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Roller Derby with remotes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Surprisingly, I found more on the internet than what I'd expected to find on roller derby. Most guys are recommending the 24-70 2.8, which I unfortunately don't own, and which is also unfortunately not in the budget for the near future.

    I know you're a prime lens kinda guy, but I really think the zoom comes in handy. I've been using my 70-200 4.0, and I just can't open it wide enough, so, like you, I end up shooting at ISO 1600 or so.
    Most of the other photogs are using 70-200mm f2.8 lenses on full-frame cameras. I have a 55-250mm f3.5 EF-S, but it simply doesn't have enough aperture for the light. I'd cheerfully use a zoom here, but like you, I'm budget-limited. My 100mm f2.0 USM is simply the closest thing I have to ideal length with an aperture wide enough for derby conditions. It'd definitely not a perfect derby lens, but I get by.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    I have had luck with multiple flashes remotely triggered on light stands. One usually facing the direction of the girls faces, and one perpendicular to that - if I had more time, I'd make a little drawing.

    Are you using anything to soften the flash?
    I've only used one remote so far (both my flashes are 580EX IIs). I pointed it into a turn near eye level to light the skaters' faces (their helmets usually shade their eyes), and positioned myself down-track with a second shoe-mounted flash carrying a large ExpoImaging FlashBender as the fill light and IR trigger. The second flash didn't add much, since using it as a trigger forced me to compromise its position somewhat. The only modifier on the main light was the built-in zoom lens, set manually to 70mm. Both used full CTO gels, with the main set (after much trial and error) to +2 stops and the fill set to +1 stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    PLEASE - let me know if you find any good information. Like you, I'd like to stay on top of this, and get some better shots for the team, and for advertising purposes.
    Most of my shots wind up on Facebook and the Detroit Derby Girls website. I'll PM you my Facebook info, and there's a link to the DDG site below. Photos are organized by shooter - look for Lex Dodson. I'll be happy to talk setups and pass on any good tricks, as long as it's a two-way street.

    http://www.detroitderbygirls.com/gal...p?g2_itemId=86

  7. #7
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Roller Derby with remotes.

    Awesome! Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

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