The year 2015 marked the fourth time we have headed to Beast of the East.

Along the way we can say there has been a drastic change in the experience of experiencing Beast of the East.

The first time in 2012 was a breaking new ground being associated with Hammer City Roller Girls at the time taking in all the tournament in its entirety in one big gulp. It was my birthday weekend, and my favourite team from the Queen City were taking on the New Skids on the Block. Montreal was an invincible league and the darlings of derby in Canada.

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The experience of experiencing Beast is one notch in the belt and something to stick into the holster.

Along the way of endeavouring to photograph derby is learning what to tune in and tune out. If your focus is shooting the superstars of now and the future the one thing you learn is to keep an eye on the benches and an ear to the announcer or announcing crew. If the announcer in your estimation is only there to rev up the crown and cheerlead and promote the sponsors and that is all they can do then you can tune those out. A skilled announcer covers the gameplay without being a homer. While they endeavour not to reveal the strategies of the team, a great play by play complemented by a call of names and actions by players and officials reveals what is going on and a photographer picks up on what to anticipate. A league such as Detroit with its stats crew provides their amazing derby announcers a lot of data for derby fans such as a jammer picking up her 700th point of the season or even how fast she was skating into the corner. A great announcer can pick up the referees signals and cue the power jam, a power start, and in general keeps the flow of the game going, and in turn the photographer.

All this is fuel for the photographer.

/…. more to come

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