The long, and short of it
I’ve shot all sorts of Derby. From the highest level to those who’ve just strapped on a set of skates. Derby, Merby, Co-ed, Sevens… and probably some other forms that don’t have a name, but last Saturday was my first Short Track experience.
From a photographer’s point of view Short Track has many benefits. A smaller track requires shorter focal lengths, between 50mm and 135mm are ideal, which means (potentially) cheaper lenses. Less referees and NSOs mean less people to negotiate, no more ref leg(s) blocking a great shot. Less people in the centre blocking the view. Although skaters going clockwise can throw you, but, if you are planning on producing a book, getting shots to fit either a left or right-hand page will be much easier.
From a skaters/team’s point of view there are also many benefits. It can be played in smaller venues, potentially reducing costs. The track is easy to mark out. Any idiot can do, including myself. Equipment is kept to a minimum, think five aside with four jumpers as goal posts. You need less players and it’s a great way to get skaters of all abilities some competitive track time. I’m no skater so there may be a myriad of other benefits, but from my first impression it’s a great game to supplement the main one.
You don't need a full team, refs and an army of NSOs
If you’ve got an afternoon free, can find a place to layout a track, and have a few mates who want to play, you can rock up and be on track in half-an-hour or less. No more preparation or planning. If you like to be spontaneous or are just disorganised, this could be the Derby you are looking for.