Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Skee Town Skirtz Roller Derby


    Roller Derby, the full contact sport for women where they have fun with their uniforms, names and numbers.  A combination of roller skating, Goth style and full contact sport.  Unlike other contact sports such as football and hockey in roller derby the goal is not to control a puck or a ball, it is to prevent the opposing teams "Jammer" or scorer from passing.  The outcome is the potential for a lot of good crashes.  The difficulty as a photographer is the low light level in the roller rink.  I used off-camera flash to get enough light, and used a slow shutter-speed to try and show the energy of the event.  It was difficult because the action happens all over the rink, but I was only able to light about a quarter of the rink.  So instead of getting continuous action I could only photograph a fraction of the crashes.

For the love of silhouettes

Muskegon gets jet airplanes

    This was one of those assignments where I wonder how I am going to do anything out of the ordinary.  I decided I would try to photograph passengers exiting the plane so I would have people witht he plane for background.  As I waited for the passengers to appear the Captain poked his head out the door.  I thought the shape of his head and the shape of the jet engine created a nice pair of dark round objects.

Who says being handicapped can't be a bonus?

            When a great assignment goes bad.  One of the great things about digital is that you can know whether or not a picture is good before you leave your assignment.  A quick peek at the LCD screen and you know if your favorite photograph was in-focus and exposed correctly--most of the time.  At the start of this assignment the wide angle lens I was using stopped focusing on anything beyond five feet away.  I never knew it until I was back at the office because the photographs looked okay on the camera's tiny LCD screen.  I was left with only the photographs I took with my telephoto lens.  I think it was a loss since I thought I had been using the wide angle to create dynamic photographs of the sleds.  Although I enjoy this photograph for the expression, I think about the other photographs I lost and miss them.
    The organizers for the Adaptive Luge Clinic say that Luge may be the only sport in which it could be an advantage to be handicapped.  The logic goes like this: Luge requires a strong upper body and no movement in the legs, therefore people who cannot move their legs and spend all day every day exercising their upper body could be become the best lugers.  The theory makes sense.
    The man in this photograph told me that Luge was too tame for his preference, he said he enjoyed sky diving a lot more.  Incidentally most all of the handicapped people I spoke to at the Adaptive Luge clinic became handicapped because they were thrill seekers.

Saving the bird

   I enjoy fires.  I don't like the idea of fires, I empathize with the victims in every fire, crash, or crime scene I have ever been to.  But deep down I like fire.  What I hate is knowing that someone may have lost their home, or worse their life. 
The home owner at this fire was sad to see that the pet bird survived the fire, while the Nintendo Wii and many other home electronics had been destroyed by the fire hoses while putting out the fire.  I guess that's life.

As close as I got to the Olympics

    Through this photograph I got to be one very tiny, imperceptibly small part of the media extravaganza that is the Olympics.  I now know how nail-biting the anticipation is for family members of Olympic athletes.  If I had thought about it I would have imagined the tension being extreme.  Somehow meeting the people behind an Olympic athlete made the spectacle of the Olympics far more personal.  Instead of the athletes always being from somewhere else, the athlete is a person who has lived in the same area as me, walked in the same Winter Sports Complex, and met some of the same people.

Basketball, their blunders are my victories


    Fumbles, foibles, or plain mistakes are my favorite part of high school basketball.  High school basketball is simply high school basketball, it is not glamorous.  The gyms are usually small, poorly lit, and sometimes a little smelly.  The level of skill varies, with great feats of athleticism the exceptions instead of the rules.  So mistakes are more fun for me than the game highlights.