Bad Omens v Death Stars

Hell’s Belles v T-Wrecks

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Travel Tip

Dallas1A technology tip for those planning a trip to somewhere far away and unfamiliar. Grab some offline map data on WiFi before you go, and you’ll be able to use that map when you have data turned off on your phone.

You are going to remember to turn background data off before you leave, aren’t you?

On and Android device, find the place you want in Maps, for example (totally at random) Dallas. You may also be able to do this on a fruit based device, but I don’t have one so I’ll have to leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Tap on the search box and you’ll get a menu with ‘Save map to use offline’ at the bottom. Tap on this.

Dallas3Select the area you want – anything up to 50km square – and click Save. You’ll now have that map available for use offline. You won’t be able to search for places or calculate a route as you need a data connection for that, but you will be able to use it as an old school map.

Adderby Family

Adderby FamilyEvery year at Halloween, Glasgow Roller Derby play Rainy City Roller Girls. This year the fine people at GRD decided that a suitably spooky Halloween photo was needed for the bout poster, so after much plotting and scheming it was decided that the Addams Family was the way to go. I think the idea of me as Cousin It was the clincher here, but I could be wrong.

Roles were bagsied and assigned, costumes were arranged and costructed, and a location was found. The following week we all arrived at Titan Props in Glasgow and raided the weapons, stuffed animals and electric char departments for suitable accessories. These shots were the results. I’m really rather proud of them, even if I am in one two of them.

The Halloween bout is on Saturday the 26th of October 2013 at the Glasgow Caledonian ARC. There will be flat track roller derby, cake and Halloween costumery. Tickets can be purchased on the door or in advance here.

Featuring Beav, Gill.I.Am, Prawn, Meg, Hazard, Studley and Habs. Guest starring Submarine and yours truly. Additional spooky support by Maul.



Boogie2A few things are pretty much guaranteed at Roller Derby bouts: wheels, hits, action and dancing. Now there are usually people around with video cameras, but somehow the low tech approach with DSLR shooting a few frames per second seems to fit. Wobbly jerky fun.

Packing for Toronto

World Cup Gear

On Thursday morning I leave for Toronto to shoot the first Roller Derby World Cup with Team Scotland. Weight is an issue, so I have to travel light.

Yea, right.

It’s not just camera and film any more. These days there’s also the laptop and the graphics tablet and the image viewer and the hard drives and the batteries and the memory cards. And don’t forget the chargers. And all of the cables.

I did stick a light meter in there as well, just for the sheer nostalgia of it.

Really looking forward to seeing so many teams in such a shot space of time. Lots to shoot, edit and post while I’m there. Possibly not a lot of time for sleep.

If you’re there and you see an excited and slightly overwhelmed Scottish photographer please give him a wave and say Hi.


Glasgow Caledonian ARC Lighting Problems

For a while now I’ve been struggling with exposure and colour balance problems when shooting roller derby at the Glasgow Caledonian ARC. Every so often a shot will be underexposed and usually of a slightly warmer colour temperature than the shots next to it. At first I thought this was a a problem with the camera’s exposure system, but when shooting on manual I’m getting the same problem – two shots taken seconds apart, with the same camera settings, can have different exposures. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it has resulted in the loss of some good shots.

These two unedited shots were both taken with an exposure of 1/200th of a second at f/2.8, but the second one is about a stop darker than the first and is slightly warmer – look at the colour of the floor and wall.

Sometimes the underexposure is much worse, but this was the best side-by-side example I could find.

It took me a while to figure out what was going on here, but eventually I remembered that when I was shooting with slower shutter speeds I noticed something odd about the lighting. It flickers.

 This can be seen best in this detail crop of this panning image, taked with an exposure of 1/40th of a second at f/4.0. Look at the faces in the background – each one is repeated 3 times. So during the exposure the overhead lighting flashed 3 times.

My guess is that the lights are flashing about 100 times a second. Way too fast to be visible to the human eye, but if a camera shutter is set to an exposure shorter than this then there is a danger of catching the lights when they’re at the low point of their cycle, underexposing the image. As dimmer lights tend to be warmer, this would also account for the shift in colour temperature.

Unfortunately the slowest shutter speed that completely freezes the motion is about 1/200th of a second. Dropping this to 1/100th of a second to avoid the exposure issues results in more shots lost to blur than would be lost to underexposure.

Other than using flash, which I don’t really like doing, there’s not a lot that can be done about this other than avoiding shutter speeds faster than 1/200th of a second as this is likely to make the problem worse.

So far I’ve not encountered this problem anywhere else I’ve shot, so it seems to be quite an unusual feature of the ARC lights.


Pivots of the Caribbean

Next Saturday, 26/11/11, I’ll be travelling to Dundee to photograph the Silvery Tayzers playing the Fair City Rollers Fear Maidens. This will be my last shoot before I leave for Toronto to shoot Team Scotland playing in the first roller derby world cup.


GRG Home Teams Final

The last game of the Glasgow Roller Girls 2011 season, the Home Teams Final between the Death Stars and the Bad Omens is next weekend at the Glasgow Caledonian ARC.

I’ll be there to photograph the bout and eat cake. If you’ve not been to a roller derby game before, attendance is highly recommended. You can pre-purchase tickets here or pay on the door.

Hope to see you there. I’ll be the hairy one with the camera running about like an idiot.



I’m a pretty terrible blogger, but as I’ll be heading out to Toronto in a few weeks to cover the Team Scotland competing in the first Roller Derby World Cup I thought I might put in some extra effort and make the occasional update here.

If I can arrange internet access when I’m there I’ll be uploading photographs of the games before I get home. Watch this space.