It’s not every day you get an email saying you’ll be in the presence of the darkest of the dark lords in all the universe.  That happened to me a few weeks ago, and since then I’ve been waiting for all subsequent emails in regards to the topic to be crawling backwards slowly due to an overture easily recognizable by anyone, just about anywhere.  Apparently however, I don’t know much about how email and computers work, because no matter how long I sat and stared at my Gmail or my Apple Mail nothing ever happened…. Oh well, either way all of the emails culminated into what was the photoshoot for the Naptown Roller Girls Season 8 Bout number 5 poster this season:


Each year the Naptown Roller Girls host an event which brings all the nerds geeks, and…well normal folk honestly out of the woodwork.  The event takes months of planning across all of the galaxies.  This event is coordinated in all kinds of code, at all kinds of speeds, by Wookies, Ewoks, and all sorts of alien life foreign and Domestic.  Ok so there aren’t really any codes, and there aren’t really any Wookies and Ewoks planning the event out.  There is however at least one Wookie, and one Ewok that will show up to what is affectionately known a “The Star Wars bout”.  In fact one time the world discovered that Captain Jack eventually became a storm trooper after the whole Pirate thing must not have panned out.  Not only that, but there is the man, the Myth, the part machine, the Legendary Prince of Evil: Darth Vader will be there.


(Not exactly the same shot as above, but I think this was probably the source for a majority of it)

So a few weekends ago, I shot this bout’s poster and as you can tell from above, it wasn’t a total photoshop (although a lot more than intended). This leads me to recognize our Art Director; Jason Pitman.  Guy is a total ninja when it comes to design and photoshop.  He’s responsible for most of what NRG has in terms of Logos each year, as well as merchandise designs and ect.  Of course the goal is to get the shot as close as possible in camera, but there were lots of factors working against us that particular day.  Examples of this being background. I fell back onto my trusty CamRanger for this shoot as well.  This allowed me to shoot, and wireless display the images in real time on my iPad which Jason had in his hands as art director.  This gave Jason a opportunity to give instant feedback as we went, while keeping me not tethered to a computer.  Of course other sacrifices were made to keep this connectivity, meaning I also had to find a new way to attach the camranger to my camera as well….


Originally the shoot was scheduled a week prior, but the day of the shoot Indy received another one of it’s major snowfalls this year.  It’s not every day you get emailed by Darth Vader, but it’s even less often that you get a text saying Darth Vader can’t get out of his driveway because of snow…..  The day the shoot was scheduled we were supposed to have total run of the space (where the girls practice).  That was not the case the day of the shoot.  Why did this matter?  Because the lighting needed to mach the lighting I do at the regular bouts, which is where imagery for the previous posters this season have come from.   That requires space roughly that of the track the girls play on, which is why the practice space was perfect because I could set the lights up as I would in the arena the girls play.  That would have eliminated most of the background in the shots as opposed to just having darker backgrounds like we have in the shot below.  Unfortunately there was an entire league practice going on when we actually did the shoot, so we were somewhat relegated to the corner causing the background to show up in the photos.  Not the end of the world, but not what was planned.


As you can tell from the frame above, we had lots of different options for the poster, and keep your eyes open for other promotional materials from the shoot itself.  On a technical note, the shots were all taken with the Nikon D4, 14-24F2.8, 24-70F2.8 and 70-200F2.8 lenses; Light provided by a couple of Paul C Buff Einsteins.  Shot inside of the Naptown Roller Girls Practice Space.  Not all of the shots were potential poster shots either, but that happens on every shoot right?


It was and always has been a lot of fun and as always I have been very greatful to have been a part of it.  This is also probably a good time and place to discuss my retirement from Roller Derby Photography for the Naptown Roller Girls.  For the last 8 seasons I’ve been to almost every home bout and lots of away bouts  as a staff photographer for NRG.  (you can see all the stuff I’ve shot for them here). After the bout on 4/19/2014 I am going to be stepping back from my role as one of the Teams Photographers.  I have been working with Jason as to who/if someone will be taking my spot so there will be a seamless transition.  I’ve really enjoyed doing it for as long as I have, but it’s time to move on and make way for someone looking to enjoy it as much as I have the last 8 years.  I have agreed to remain available for special projects, as well as I am not disappearing completely because I’ve met countless friends over the years doing this, and they are all valuable to me.  I just will not be at every bout shooting like normal.  The more astute of the Roller Derby readers will recognize that the bout on 4/19 is not in fact the last bout of the season for NRG.  The 5/3 bout is.  5/4 happens to be the anniversary of my marriage to Shannon whom is the light of my life.  I’ve worked on my birthday the last several years and that doesn’t bother me, but you can’t pull me away from her on that day.  Since 5/4 is a Sunday this year; 5/3 belongs to her and my anniversary and that’s where I look forward to being.

I’ll be sure to do a ‘Best Of’ blog for all of my roller derby photography over the years, but I just assume make it official on here that it’s happening.  It’s not a dislike of doing it, nor am I being pushed out by the league in any way.  I just feel like after 8 seasons it’s time to make way for someone who needs it, like I needed it 8 years ago.  Being full time freelance now, I also need to make way for other projects. It’s sad to see the Roller Derby Photography end for me as a contract, it will be good to see what the next person does with it. Keep your eyes open for that ‘Best Of’ blog though.  It will include stories from the Calendar we used to do, to some wild and crazy angles from on the road, as well as I’m sure I can dig up stuff nobody has ever seen before.  8 years of doing it, means I’ve got hundreds of gigabytes of stuff to choose from.  Until then though, be sure to get your tickets to the Naptown Roller Girls, Star Wars bout before they sell out.  (They Will).  Thanks for sticking with me, and as always; More Soon.