Mixed Martial Arts

Ryan Loco and I have seen a lot together. We've had the pleasure of traveling this fine country, and taking some cool footage of amazing places and amazing events. To say we've become de-sensitized to taking cool shots would be the wrong word and an insult to the fantastic things and people we get to experience every day. If anything, it means that when we do get excited, we're a part of something wonderful. Such was the case this past week, when Ryo Chonan told us that we could do a shoot with Shinya Aoki. Watch this to familiarize yourself with him.

Enjoy James Law's look at Shinya Aoki and Ryo Chonan.

And also, we will be auctioning off a signed Jaco Clothing 1 of 1 Japan hat, with all proceeds going towards the relief effort in Japan.

LINK TO AUCTION

The Kick | Anderson Silva - UFC 126

All photos by James Law for Heavy.com

It's all about the little moments as Anderson Silva kicks Vitor Belforts face in.

UFC 126 from the cageside position was amazing. The energy from the crowd and the great fighte card was a perfect combination and I was extremely lucky to be working with my friends Esther Lin, Tracy Lee and Ric Fogel. It was one of my most memorable events and I was grateful to be working under the heavy.com banner.

Check out Heavy MMA for the entire gallery.

Best of 2010 - MMA Culture Photos

This post was originally featured for Deftperception.com This year started with shooting local fights for fun to shooting cageside at the Ultimate Fighting Championships for Heavy MMA along side Esther Lin and Tracy Lee. These 2 have been shooting for a long time and have helped my growth enormously; going from looking at their pictures behind my desk to actually being there is quite a trip. My personal highlights include shooting my first UFC cageside and working with All Elbows for the KJ Noons Strikeforce promotion alongside E. Casey Leydon. I've always loved their work and being included on one of their projects was a true honor. Working along side Loco throughout this time has been one of the best experiences of my life.

We spent the beginning of the year photographing fighters from K1, including Mark "fightshark" Miller, Strikeforce fighter Conor Huen and WEC's Dominick Cruz. At the time, Dominick was preparing to battle Brian Bowles for the title. I also was able to shoot and work with Fabricio "Morongo" Camoes, who tapped me out for photos, which was a first.

I shot some various cage setup's with Vanguard MMA's Eric Lee. He builds and fabricates some of the best custom cages in the business including RVCA, Blackhouse, The Noguera Brothers Gym, Huntington Beach Ultimate Training Center and others.

Enjoy the photos!

Photos by James Law

Dominick Cruz

Jason Mayhem Miller

KJ Noons

Conor Heun

Mark "Fightshark" Miller

Mark Doze

Morongo

Steamy Bro

Eric Lee of Vanguard MMA

Alex Soto of Undisputed Gym in San Diego

Ryan Loco

Strikeforce - Babalu Sobral Vs. Robbie Lawler

Its a funny feeling shooting from a cageside position. I say that because I really don't get to watch the fight but rather see things happening in front of me. Many people would think that its terribly difficult to shoot and catch the action... while it is difficult to get the important shots - its not as hard as you'd think. Conversely, my amigo Ryan Loco thinks that all you have to do is "spray and pray". He's right in a way. It's a matter of luck and concentration and the ability to shoot at 9.6 frames per sound, thanks to my trusty  Nikon D700. Catching that epic, pivotal shot is a trophy shot that I'm always trying to capture. Often times I catch some of the good action but its almost impossible to get all the right images all the time. Many factors come into play and against me in these situations. One of the big hurdles I face is how the fighters move and how their bodies are oriented to me. Most times they are at weird angles that make it hard to keep them in focus and actually see what is going on. Other times my cageside position and angle will hinder me as the fighters move to far corners of the cage - I get a lot of vertical T post obstruction when the fighters use the cage to work their ju jitsu or ground and pound.

Shooting through the cage itself is somewhat difficult, but not impossible. When focusing on an individual you really have to do your best to predict where they will be moving and what they plan on doing. Knowing a history on certain fighters can help. Take for example 2 heavy weights going at it. You know that they are most likely going to be throwing slower punches and if a take down is initiated, Ill see it coming. Conversely some fighters like Dominick Cruz or Anthony Pettis leave it all on the mat and always throw flying knees, or use very unpredictable footwork.

I'm enjoying shooting cageside and feeling the amazing energy at these wildly popular events shooting some of the most talented fighters in the world. I'll talk more about what it's like to be cageside in my next blog post featuring UFC 116 - Lesnar Vs. Carwin. Im learning a lot and thats what its all about... a good thing to do while im on the hunt for the next gig.

We had an amazing time and here are some of my favorite images from the event:

Conor Huen enters the cage

Cyborg KO's his opponent

Cyborg Wins

Cyborg celebrates with Cyborg

Babalu zeros in

Babalu Strikes

Babalu Kicks

Lawler reaches out

Lawler highkicks

Lawler finds his target

Lawler lands again

Distance in the cage

Celebration and respect

Babalu get the decesion

Strikeforce lighting

KJ Noons - postfight

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