Another season with the Atlanta Roller Girls has begun!
Four years ago, I read an article in Prick magazine about one of the Atlanta Roller Girls, Demi Gore. I had to see this roller derby thing for myself. I grabbed my camera and headed to the very next bout.
I was hooked. Since that fateful day four years ago, I have been a dedicated and devoted fan of the Atlanta Roller Girls, and have become an official event photographer for them.
The Atlanta Roller Girls are a very interesting mix of women – aged 21 to 40ish – straight, gay, and in between – black, white, asian – short and stout to tall and lean – and everyone of them, without fail, friendly, outgoing, and fans of their fans. They have provided me with some great photo opportunities and unique subjects. I am grateful to them for helping me with my creativity.
Shooting roller derby has been difficult at best, and downright brain hurting from time to time. “Spray and pray” is appropriate! The action is unpredictable, and the lighting situation, at least for the Atlanta Roller Girls is difficult. Atlanta Roller Girls skate in the Shriner’s Auditorium, lit with tungsten, a few overhead fluorescent at one end of the track, and a few halogen work lights at the other end. Needless to say, ambient light is questionable.
I shoot with a Nikon D300 equipped with a variety of lenses and an SB800. I use the high speed ISO trick set to 3200 max and set the camera to shutter priority – usually around 125; however, I am a fan of shutter dragging, so I will frequently shoot at a slower shutter, sometimes as low as 1/30. Combine the SB800 set to TTL – and I tend to get some interesting action shots.
My lens choices range from a Tamron 17-35 (great for reportage shots between bouts), a Nikon 85 1.8 (when I really, really want to use existing light), and my go-to lens for 95% of my shooting, a Tamron 28-75 2.8. That lens is just about perfect for me.
For the March bout, I am going to try rigging my Alien Bees (safely out of the way) equipped with ebay triggers and see how that works out for me.