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:
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