Today, UFC hosted an open workout session for members of the media featuring fighters from this Saturday’s live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter. I covered the action at the UFC Training Center for Getty Images and UFC.
This was my second shoot using my FourSquare units, made by Paul Peregrine’s company Lightware. The gym was a much more ideal location to feature this lighting setup, and I’m very happy with the results. I loaded each unit with two 580EX II speedlites, each running at half power. I can’t wait until I can afford to add four more speedlites to be able to fully load each FourSquare, or even double up and make an “EightSquare” like Dave Black did for his surfing shoot. The lights were positioned opposite each other, about 16 feet from the center of the Octagon and about 15 feet high, angled down. I zoomed all the flash heads to 105mm, which created a fairly narrow strip of light that ran across the Octagon. I’d say the section of best illumination was about 8 feet wide in total. Anywhere outside that section, I had to adjust my settings to accommodate the fall off.
For most of the shots, I positioned myself centered between the lights, about 10 feet in front of their plane, so that the light was shooting directly across my frame. I moved around a little and just followed the fighters wherever they went, so some shots the light wraps around more than others. I put each FourSquare on a separate zone so that I could control their power independently, or turn one off completely using the PocketWizard AC3 zone controller, which by the way is an awesome product for a fraction of the cost of the Canon controller.
For the most part, I kept my camera settings at ISO 400, 1/1600, f2.8. Ambient light was pretty low in the gym, so I decided not to try to incorporate it and just used the FourSquare as my main light source. The backgrounds were also crowded with people and gear at times, so all the more reason to not expose for the ambient.
I think the only thing I wish could have gone differently was to have the fighters do more intense workouts. Most only did short shadow boxing routines. Of course, it’s the day before their weigh in, so it’s understandable that they don’t want to go crazy hitting pads or anything. I’m hoping to get into some training camps with these units soon and then I think they will really make some great pictures.
I’d love to hear your opinions and answer any questions you might have. Post a comment here or email me through my website.
Here is a slide show of shots from the shoot.