Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Roller Derby All Access!

I have a friend who has been doing roller derby for a few years, and I asked her to get me a media pass for one of her bouts this year.  I've shot a roller derby event before, and it's a lot of fun.  This time, I didn't just bring my dSLR cameras, but stuck a GoPro on the helmet of one of the skaters.

The Quad Squad is a team on the Madison Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby league, and they asked me to follow them around before the event and capture their routine.  The GoPro HD Hero 3 footage was easy, as that was recording almost non stop for the entire day.  I knew that I'd be putting together an Animoto video of the images, video, and time lapse sequences, so I always reminded myself to get as many different angles as possible.  Here is the result:

Still Images:

Derby women are creative in their uniforms and style, so capturing their persona is key for good images.  


Skaters are almost always in motion.  You can set your ISO high and try to get a crisp shot with high shutter speed.  I tend to experiment and get the girls in motion.   You don't always get a clean shot, but the ones that come out really give that sense of speed.


Having a long lens on a cropped sensor is also important to get great actions shots.  There is a lot of rough action in Roller Derby and they can be pretty intense.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eye-Fi & Seagate Wireless Plus Modified Firmware

For event photography, having the ability to create backups of your image is essential in case the memory card is corrupted, theft, or stupidity.  (Something stupid would be reformatting a card and overwriting pictures.)  I do have an Epson P-7000 which allows me to backup memory cards immediately after they are full.  The P-7000 even has the ability to act as a tethering device to write copies of the images to the external hard drive immediately.  The only problem is that you need to be physically tethered to the device with a USB cable.  Not very convenient.

Along comes wireless hard drives like the Seagate Wireless Plus.  I ordered one of these 1TB hard drives with the sole purpose of using it as a wireless tethering device.  The only problem is that out of the box, this is a streaming device, and doesn't work the way I want it to.  Solution?  The friendly folks at www.hackseagatesatellite.com have released an alternative firmware for the Seagate Wireless Plus.  For just $35, the firmware allows you to run the wireless unit as an Eye-Fi server.  It's got other features too like FTP, Samba, iTunes server, and dropbox synchronization.  However, I plan on using almost exclusively for wireless tethering at events.

I recently upgraded one of my dSLR cameras from a Canon 5D Mark II to the 5D Mark III, which coincidentally has a secondary memory slot.  This memory slot can house SD cards, which make using an Eye-Fi card possible.  This means that as you take pictures, the images are wirelessly transmitted to the Seagate hard drive within seconds.The drive comes with a USB dongle which allows you to use the drive as an external USB hard drive, so it has other purposes.  I have an event this weekend, and plan on testing the range on the hard drive, and if all my images show up automagically.  Please note, that once you load this alternative firmware, the Seagate ipad/android apps no longer work.  It's a trade off for going from a streaming device to a wireless server.