It’s always nice to take the trip down to Newport to work with Dragon Pro Wrestling. Being one of the earliest promotions I worked for, with the added bonus of being Wales’ best wrestling training school it’s always good to see the promotion and trainees grow. Battle Royale saw the show move from Rodney Parade club house out to the event marquee, which presented a wildly different set of lighting challenges to the usual, nasty, banding-causing fluorescent striplights!
I always love shooting somewhere new and this was no exception, wrestling venue’s are at the best of times, a little obscure but this one is the oddest I’ve shot. With the soft net curtains diffusing fairy-lights in the eaves and warm-light chandeliers hanging from the marquee’s centre-beam, I didn’t want to shoot with on-camera flash as I’m not a particular fan of it in the first place. Luckily, I had planned ahead with this in mind and had my LED floodlights and a high-speed capable studio strobe in the boot of the car! The initial plans of rigging up the floodlights above the ring were quickly nixxed, but worked out rather well as I instead opted to mount them on the entranceway, which provided a great edge light and a bit of spill.
To avoid blinding fans or obscuring their view, I threw my strobe up on my heavy duty Walimex Pro light stand just off-centre of one of the ring posts as high as I could possibly get it. I opted for the larger Walimex over my compact stands or my c-stand because of it having to go in a fan area and it was the most secure choice for where it was being placed. During the second half, I wanted to get a bit more light on the ring, so mounted a speedlight in slave mode on the opposing side, obviously this didn’t throw out as much light as my studio strobe but gave an adequate amount when fired.
The shadow casting from the ropes was a bit of a pain when the action went to ringside or whilst people made entrances, but I’d still much rather go for this setup again than use on-camera flash. Now that I’ve got a feel for the new digs, when Dragon Pro next return (December 4th, get along!) I’ll be adding to/altering this ringside setup to give the final Dragon Pro show of the year the best stills I have ever shot in Newport.
As for the show itself, It’s truly great to see trainee’s who have not long debuted put on some really entertaining matches, with a lot of character development and getting great cheers and laughs from the crowd. The Dragon Pro staff as well as guest trainers are great for the young dragons and they truly have a wealth of knowledge on their own doorstep to learn from! Keep your eyes peeled for these guys and girls stretching across the British wrestling scene (some already are!).
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To check out Dragon Pro Wrestling or to start your wrestling journey in South Wales: