MMA Photography UnderGround

Thursday saw us drive out to Boonchu Muay Thai for the open workouts. But higher, slower kicks should be used as part of a larger combo or as a surprise strike. He comes forward, stays in the pocket, and has a really good chin. By the end of the shoot, I found myself scrambling just to make any kind of shots. Posts navigation

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Get to grips with the changes

Quick Shoots and Wrestling Class are perfect for this, so focus on them as well as using Learn with a grapple-focused training partner. When it comes to fighting from a vertical base, knowing the right combinations of strikes as well as where and when to use them is everything. Each UFC fighter will have a set of boxing, kickboxing or Muay Thai strikes and each one can be strung together. The difference is knowing which ones work best. Using an uppercut after using jabs to close distance is one, or a low kick to the shins followed by a heavy overhand punch.

Just like real fighting, the jab is fast and can counter almost any strike. As we mentioned in our review of UFC 3, kicks have been heavily tweaked this time around making them a lot more cumbersome, yet just as dangerous if used correctly.

Get an off-camera flash cable, wireless transceivers, or wireless flash. Think of your lighting scheme in terms of a triangle. Your camera is one point of the triangle, the subject is another point, and the flash is the third point. It could be as simple as hand-holding the flash and moving it a foot or two to the left of the camera.

Just try it out and look at the results. Compare it to an on-camera flash shot. You will never go back once you see the difference. Most wire services will reject images that are not sharp. Every editor has a different idea of what is sharp, but you should always make it a priority to send the sharpest images possible. If an image is soft, figure out why and work to improve it next time. You should get in the habit of checking your images on the back of your camera.

Soft is soft, and no amount of unsharp mask can fix that. And the solution is not to just shoot everything at f8. Whatever it is you shoot, whether it be fights, baseball, hockey, whatever. Take your camera and lens that you will be using.

Set the settings to exactly what you will use for the assignment and under the exact lighting conditions you will use, shoot something or somebody that is completely still. Unless your camera or lens has some sort of issue, that is what a sharp image should look like.

Always Be Prepared You should always do everything you can to be prepared for an assignment. Get to know your subject.

Depending on the assignment, this could mean a number of different things. See if you can learn a little about their personality, their likes and dislikes, their quirks. You need to learn the rules.

You need to know what to look for. Where do the big plays happen? When and where are you likely to see celebration? Who are the key players? Are there any records that may be set or broken?

I see this all the time and I think it really hinders the quality of images the photographer produces. I apologize for neglecting my blog so badly the past few months. I promise to do a better job and keep everyone better informed of my whereabouts around the globe in and beyond. I spent the first 9 days traveling to and working in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This was the first time I had ventured outside of the airport in Sao Paulo, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The weather was the first surprise. It took only 25 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport, and all our journeys between the hotel and the various shooting locations were much quicker than planned, as well. The usual cast of characters, including the main event and co-main event contestants, and a handful of local talent, put on a show for the crowd that gathered. The location was pretty neat, and the weather was much more accommodating than I have been used to during outdoor workouts in the past.

After the usual pre-fight routine of portraits, press conference, and weigh-in, it was finally fight day. I headed over to Ibirapuera Gymnasium way early to get a lay of the land and scout locations for remotes.

The first preliminary fight started about 8: With eleven fights on the card, it was shaping up to be a long night. The arena was more than half full for the first fight and the fans erupted when their countryman, Francisco Trinaldo, finished C. Keith with an arm triangle choke. Finally, at nearly 1: Michael Bisping walked out first to a strong chorus of boos. His opponent, Vitor Belfort was met with a nice reaction from the crowd, though nothing like Sarafian experienced.

Vitor looked fired up and ready to destroy. And destroy he did. Belfort controlled the action in round one, landing a number of significant kicks and punches. Belfort followed up with a series of hammer-fists forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the fight. The crowd went nuts, as did Vitor. After completing my edit and packing everything up, I was en route back to the hotel by 3: My alarm rang bright and early at 9: I headed back to the arena to cover the elimination fights for TUF Brasil 2.

The next two days were also spent covering various aspects of the upcoming reality show, until I was finally in a car headed back to the airport about 5: I had just enough time to get to the hotel and take a shower before I was back in a car headed to the UFC Gym for the open workouts.

I mean that literally as apparently they were still under construction the day before. I did a quick once-over and decided on locations to place a few speedlites. The overhead florescent lights did not provide the look I was going for, so of course I came prepared with four of my Canon EX-RT units. And, for the next four hours, I clicked away as various fighters cycled through the gym to workout for media.

The whole day was really a blur, but I actually came away with several shots I was happy with. After the workouts, I headed back to the hotel to work on my edit and finally had a chance to relax and take a look out the window. It had just started snowing. It was then that I realized less than 36 hours before, I was wearing shorts and flip-flops. The usual press conference followed on Thursday, and today saw us head back to the Chicago Theatre once again for another weigh-in.

I love it when we do weigh-ins inside these old historic theatres. They create such a cool atmosphere and make for really nice wide photos. He appeared to apologize to the commission official and UFC coordinator Burt Watson, and you could see Watson was visibly upset as he stepped back while Rampage hopped on the scale. But then the weight was announced as pounds.

After making weight, Rampage proceeded to get in the face of his opponent, Glover Teixeira, and give him a tongue-lashing as they faced off. Tomorrow is yet another early call to head over for a long day at the arena. But, until then, I leave you with a few slideshows from the last couple weeks. UFC on FX 7: Belfort v Bisping — Images by Joshua Hedges.

I write to you today from sunny, beautiful Australia. The Smashes on Saturday. I covered the fights alongside longtime Getty staff photographer Ezra Shaw. Henderson v Diaz — Images by Joshua Hedges. My itinerary saw me layover in San Francisco for about 5 hours, followed by a hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand and another 3 hour layover there. I finally arrived in Gold Coast mid-morning Tuesday. Upon arriving at the hotel in Surfers Paradise, I was presented with some of the best working conditions a man could ask for.

On Wednesday, I spent the day shooting portraits of various fighters on the card. Nothing too exciting, though it was nice to see all the guys again who I worked with at the beginning of filming for TUF: Everyone is in great shape and excited to put on a great fight. Thursday saw us drive out to Boonchu Muay Thai for the open workouts. The gym is owned by legendary Aussie fighter John Wayne Parr. It was a pleasant surprise when the man himself greeted us upon arrival and welcomed us into his gym.

Some only shadow boxing, others a little more intense. Here is a slideshow of shots from the workouts. All fighters made weigh on their first try and there were no big surprises.

Below is the slideshow of images from the weigh in. I was recently turned on to CarrySpeed straps by a recommendation from photographer Gary Fong. For several years, I have religiously used BlackRapid straps for all my assignments, and for the most part, have been happy with their performance. Sure, there have been some nuances here and there, but overall they served their purpose. I turned a number of people on to BlackRapid, though I had no agreement or compensation to do so.

I just liked their stuff. I thought before buying more straps from BlackRapid, I would see what else is on the market before investing more money in gear. I will make the same declaration here before I start getting into the meat of the review. CarrySpeed has not compensated me in any way, and I have no agreement or deal with them. I bought these straps with my own cash to try out, and I feel obligated to give an honest review.

I also purchased a handful of various mounting plates and adapters for all my different bodies and lenses. The customer service from the start was quite pleasant. I placed my order on a Wednesday before my trip to China. I was very surprised when they arrived the next day. I unpacked everything right away and familiarized myself with all the pieces and assembly. CarrySpeed pays close attention to the small details. The straps were packed neatly, with all pieces wrapped and labeled individually; along with a complete and detailed instruction set for assembly and operation.

Frankly, I was too excited to get them out and use them. Setup took just a minute or two, and then I was able to attach the cameras and begin adjusting the straps. The construction is very high quality. They are very comfortable on the shoulders, especially the double strap. There is quite a bit more padding than other straps on the market, and they are very beefy and secure.

Additionally, the FS-Pro has a non-slip material on the underside of the strap that really does a good job of keeping the strap in place. In fact, on all my BlackRapid straps, I gaff taped all the strap locks to stop them from coming undone.

There is no fear of that on the CarrySpeed straps. Their locks are much stronger and stay put when you lock them. They hold so well that they take quite a bit of force to get them unlocked if you need to move them. All the straps have double stitching, and the quick release buckles have an extra locking mechanism as a failsafe for the straps.

The fact that the straps are detachable is a wonderful feature in itself, and the extra locking mechanisms to prevent them from accidentally becoming unhooked are a great extra bonus. And all my equipment survived for another shoot. The lesson to be learned here is that you can plan and stress and go crazy trying to make sure everything is perfect, and there will still be a rather large sized monkey wrench thrown in the gears to throw everything out of whack.

You just have to go with the flow and try to adapt as best you can. Realize that not every situation will be perfect. Greetings from Tokyo, everyone.

A couple of my shots from the Mark Hunt vs Stefan Struve fight have received quite a bit of attention. So, I thought it would be a little fun and interesting to start a new feature on my blog where I give you a little insight into what I was thinking and how I made a particular picture.

This could be a one-and-done thing, but I hope not. Hopefully some of you find this educational. There are so many variables that are within my control. First and foremost, you have to get your exposure right.

This is a very easy task, but one that people somehow still mess up frequently. UFC has a very consistent lighting scheme for all their shows. I set all three of my cameras to this exact setting at the start of the night. Before the fights even start, I try to take test shots under the full show lighting setup.

This means being at the arena during walk-in rehearsals, which are typically hours before the first fight. This gives me a chance to not only check the exposure, but also to check the white balance. UFC uses tungsten lights for all the overhead lighting in the truss, though the blue color of the canvas mat tends to skew it just a bit.

I find that setting the white balance manually to around K provides me with the look I prefer. Sometimes, the color fluctuates too depending on the age of the lights and whether or not the riggers used any gels when hanging them. Just a side not too, I know a lot of people who set custom white balance using a white piece of paper or a towel.

I feel like that also is too cool for my taste, so I choose to do it manually. Look at the images on your computer screen too, not just the back of your camera, to decide what looks right. My assignments always require me to shoot every fight.

I sometimes wish it could be like in boxing where people only really care about the main event or the last couple fights. And for this fight in Tokyo, that looked to be the case as Marcello Guimaraes and Hyun Gyu Lim put on a nice performance in the opener.

It will likely take you some time to get your timing down and figure out any focusing issues throughout the night. He comes forward, stays in the pocket, and has a really good chin. Or maybe you were stuck behind a pole and in a bad position for all the good action.

Hunt has been loved by Japanese fans for years from his days of fighting in K-1 and Pride. You never have to guess how a Mark Hunt fight will go. He will get hit and he will hit back harder. What I mean is that I would put one of my focus points on his face at all times and track him waiting for him to throw something. Unless of course he was turned away from me, then I would follow Struve for those few moments. Just before the ending sequence, the guys were a little bit more than feet away from me when Hunt threw a big right hand that landed flush.

I had that feeling he was going to throw another right with even more power than the previous shot. Hunt blasted Struve with a massive right hand, followed by a ridiculous left hook.

My angle was still not favorable for the first sequence, but I managed to capture it nicely still. I caught these in two 3-shot bursts. For the second sequence of the left hook, you can see the second frame is not as sharp. So then Struve jumped into focus. Below are scaled down shots of each sequence.

These are exactly as they came out of the camera, only sized down. No sharpening or cropping at all. Aside from the focus, I also got really lucky with the distance. Had the final shot been just a few inches closer to me, my mm lens would not have been able to focus and I would have been out of luck. Sometimes, you have to decide when to switch or when not to switch to your wide-angle lens.

I made the decision to stick with the as soon as the first punch landed. It cost me the chance to get any sort of jubilation shot immediately after, but I think it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

Once I did switch over to the wide angle, I was able to catch this gem of Struve telling Herb Dean his jaw was broken. Hope you enjoyed reading. Feel free to leave me any comments or questions. Photographers often stress too much on assignments about the job and overlook little things. So, I wanted to put together a blog post reminding us all to remember the little things that will in turn make our photos, and our work in general, better. Synchronize Your Clocks One of the first things you should do on an assignment, perhaps even before you leave for your assignment, is to synchronize your camera clocks to the local time where you will be shooting.

Make sure all cameras are perfectly synced to each other, as well. This will be a tremendous help for your editor s and is just a good practice for organization purposes. So if you send in files with correct dates that match the captions, they will spend less time processing the files and get them posted and out to clients faster. I think a lot of photographers are the same. We all worry about the immediate subject we are shooting, rather than the whole scene. Sometimes, obviously, backgrounds can only be cleaned so much.

If I only transmitted completely clean background images from a UFC fight, I would have a take of maybe 4 or 5 photos. But, you should also do whatever you can to put yourself in the best position to obtain a clean background. Some things you can do include shooting with a wide aperture to get a shallow depth of field, get low and shoot upwards, or get high and shoot downwards. Sometimes, the background helps make the shot too, so you have to always be looking for things like that.

When a fighter jumps on the cage to celebrate after a big knockout, the first thing I do is grab a quick couple of frames of him that captures his immediate emotion. After that, I look in the background and start looking for pockets of light that hit the crowd who are also going crazy. Even though the background is not really clean. But, in general, you should always try to produce as clean of a background as possible.

AF Focus Points This seems to be one of the more difficult concepts for newer sports photographers to grasp. I was guilty of this too, in my early days. For most sports, I would always suggest shooting with a single AF focus point. You want to make sure that focus point is sitting on whatever it is in the frame that you want to be in focus. Typically, this is the face of the subject.

Learn the functions of your camera and move the AF point around. Program registered AF points that you can quickly switch between. One of the first things you should do on an assignment is set your white balance correctly. Avoid using auto white balance AWB at all costs. Obviously, there are some situations where AWB might be the best option, but in general, it is not. Learn the color temperature of different types of lights and set your white balance manually. Use your preview screen for fine tuning.

You can develop your own style and preferences from that too. For example, normal daylight color temperature should be somewhere around K. Get an off-camera flash cable, wireless transceivers, or wireless flash. Think of your lighting scheme in terms of a triangle. Your camera is one point of the triangle, the subject is another point, and the flash is the third point. It could be as simple as hand-holding the flash and moving it a foot or two to the left of the camera.

Just try it out and look at the results. Compare it to an on-camera flash shot. You will never go back once you see the difference. Most wire services will reject images that are not sharp.

Every editor has a different idea of what is sharp, but you should always make it a priority to send the sharpest images possible.

If an image is soft, figure out why and work to improve it next time.