This Place Sucks to Shoot

I feel like I just blinked and it went from January to April. Crazy how fast this year is already moving, but such is life. We just wrapped our DSPT Edmonton event up at Casino Yellowhead. One of my favorite stops when it comes to tournament staffs, but one of my least favorite venues to shoot in.  

The staff at Edmonton staff is like family for us. They are also some of the hardest partying people I've ever encountered in my life, but that seems to be a trend with everyone in the Alberta area. 

The event went well, three starting days is always a drag but the turnout was decent and there were no hiccups during the event. However, the room is one of the most miserable places to shoot on our tour. They set up these big rectangular poker tables in their cabaret area, which making it very difficult to navigate around and often blocking out desired angles. The room also consists of dark red walls and black ceilings.

The lighting is so inconsistent on each table, with majority of the outer tables having little to no light. It forces you to be more creative shooting, but also is a huge pain in the ass. Ive used lighting before to try and brighten things up, but without the ability to bounce the flashes I'm left with harsh shadows and mediocre photos. More often than not I'm stuck shooting on 1600 iso, at 2.8 while I suck in my gut and try to stay steady at 1/50th on the shutter. 

Luckily for me, the final table is small enough where I can set up two strobes on light stands, and blast them through a beauty dish onto the final table. It's easy to get super flat lighting this way, but when you shoot from unique angles it actually makes for some cool photos. 

Two light setup for the final tableΒ 

Two light setup for the final table 

The final table itself was one of our fastest ever. It clocked in at just under 3 hours of play and I was really happy to see Paul Brar win. He came by the afterparty and bought everyone shots, so I like even better now :). 

As for now it's back to LA for 48 hours and off to Sacramento for our next stop. Thunder Valley is another stop that presents it's own challenges. It's another dark room, pillars blocking the ability to bounce lights and cover multiple tables. Oh well, time to get those creative juices flowing again. I'm going to try pick up a new lens this week, so I'm going to try and get out to explore the Sacramento area.