Hello everyone. Sorry for the lack of updates since I’ve been down in Australia. I’ve been working pretty much non-stop, as usual. The weather down here is beautiful. It’s winter here, so the highs have been in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s. We’ve been blessed with clear skies most days, especially the days when we’ve been scheduled to shoot outdoors.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been demoing the Nikon D800 and a handful of lenses on this trip. I’ll try to write a more thorough review at some point in the near future, but for now, let me just say that I’m very happy with the results and absolutely love the D800 and the Nikon system in general. As a Canon user for pretty much my entire life, it’s very refreshing to change things up. The 36 megapixel sensor is simply amazing, and I think I’ve found a new favorite lens in the 14-24mm.
I can’t share a lot of what I’ve been shooting as we’re filming The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes. The show will begin airing in Australia in September. At that point, most of what I’m shooting will see the light of day. For now, I’d like to share a few images of some of the other stuff outside of the secret stuff for the show. The first couple images are from a media call we did with coaches Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos, and the last few were a trip we took to Wildlife Sydney with Junior dos Santos. All of these were shot with the previously mentioned 14-24mm lens, and a Nikon SB-910 speedlight.
I spent the better part of the day and night Saturday at MGM Grand shooting UFC 146: Dos Santos v Mir for UFC and Getty Images. There was a lot of hype behind this historic card, being the first time in the modern UFC era that a main card had consisted entirely of heavyweights. And when it was all said and done, the card lived up to the hype, and then some.
Despite the emphasis in marketing the heavyweight fights on the card, there were several really good undercard fights, as well. Longtime UFC hopeful Glover Teixeira made his debut, putting away Kyle Kingsbury very quickly in dominating fashion. Paul Sass pulled out yet another triangle choke submission against Jacob Volkmann. Late replacement Jamie Varner finished the previously unbeaten Edson Barboza.
The main card kicked off with the tallest fighter in the UFC, Stefan Struve, jumping guard on two-time KO of the Night winner Lavar Johnson and quickly arm barring him. This earned Struve another Submission of the Night bonus and pushed him another step up the ladder in the heavyweight division. Next up was a battle of two unbeatens, as 8-0 Stipe Miocic battled 11-0 Shane Del Rosario. Del Rosario looked good in the early goings, landing a lot of kicks. The first time Octagon jitters didn’t seem to bother him. As the fight drew on, though, Miocic began to land strikes of his own before getting the fight to the ground where he ended it with some brutal elbows.
In the third heavyweight feature bout, Roy “Big Country” Nelson made quick work of Dave Herman with a brutal overhand right, sending Herman crashing to the canvas and earning Nelson another Knockout of the Night bonus. That bout was followed up by Cain Velasquez quickly TKO’ing Antonio “Big Foot” Silva in one of the bloodiest fights I’ve ever witnessed. Cain split “Big Foot” open early in round one and jumped on him like a lion on a gazelle. Referee Josh Rosenthal finally halted the bout a couple minutes later after “Big Foot” could not see through all the blood.
Finally, the main event saw Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos trying to do what previous champion Cain Velasquez was not able to do, successfully defend his title. Dos Santos’ original opponent, Alistair Overeem was removed from the card after a pre-fight drug screening denied him a license for the fight. Frank Mir stepped in on about 6 weeks notice to take the fight, and looked to pose an interesting challenge to the champion. As the fight unfolded though, the champ took control. A barrage at the end of the first round nearly ended the fight, but it would come just a couple minutes later in the second round when Dos Santos floored Mir with a straight right and followed up with some crashing hammer fists on the ground. The champ scored another highlight reel KO, and I nailed the shot!
I had a great time shooting the fights again and catching up with friends and colleagues, including Donald Miralle, Rod Mar, James Law, Esther Lin, and Paul Thatcher. I encourage you to check out their shots from the night, as well.
Below is my selection of shots from the night. As always, check them out on Getty Images and UFC.com.
I had the honor and pleasure to shoot the first ever UFC event on network TV this past weekend in Anaheim when UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos kicked off from the Honda Center. I was shooting second camera for UFC and Getty Images down in the photo pit, and it was a great night of fights and a very fun experience. Spent the entire night shooting next to my good friend Ed Mulholland from ESPN. It’s always nice to shoot events with colleagues and friends. My friend Donald Miralle was up on the box for us and he got some great shots, as well.
I mostly shot with my trusty 70-200 and switched off to the 8-15 fish-eye when it called for it. Have I mentioned yet that I love that lens? I’ll write a review in the next couple of weeks for anyone that’s interested. Ed and I also ran up top for the Semerzier/Peralta fight and shot from the Press Box at the top of the arena. I had a 400mm which I’m really growing to love. If only it didn’t cost as much as a car. That turned out to probably be the best fight to shoot from up top. I’ll give all the credit to Ed for making the choice on that one, I just followed his lead. We also rigged an overhead remote with a 16-35 which I ran all night from a foot pedal.
I think everyone expected going into the fights that the Guida/Henderson matchup could be the fight of the night, and they did not disappoint. What a great performance by both fighters. It’s a shame one of them had to lose. Benson totally deserved that win, and it’s nice to see how his career has turned around since his loss to Pettis in the final WEC event last December. I really like his chances against Frankie Edgar.
Before the main event, I said I thought Velasquez would take it. I really believed he would just take the fight to the ground and grind out a TKO or decision victory. But, I did say to Ed before the fight started, if Junior lands a clean shot, I don’t know how anyone could remain standing. I honestly don’t know how Roy Nelson was able to weather Junior’s shots. If you’ve ever seen Junior hitting mitts, you’ll know what I mean. To say he has some pop on his punch is such an understatement. And he proved me right when he landed what didn’t even look to be a solid shot, but in just the right spot, to drop Velasquez and then pounced and finished him on the ground afterwards. I didn’t get a clean shot of the punch that dropped him from my hand-held camera, but I did capture the whole sequence and Junior’s celebration on the overhead remote, as well as with the fish-eye. Junior’s celebration was about the best you could hope for when planning a remote. He dropped to his knees in the center of the cage with his arms stretched out wide and leaned back looking straight up at the camera.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Rebecca How for doing a spectacular job with the edit. And again, huge thanks and appreciation for my friends Ed Mulholland and Donald Miralle. Always fun working with/for you guys. And lastly, for Mike Roach and Kari Hubert. They help me out at practically every fight, mostly shooting backstage and behind-the-scenes stuff. They both delivered again with some really awesome, intimate shots.
Here’s a teaser of my take from the night. Check out Getty Images for the full take from all our photographers.
After the UFC 141 presser on Friday, the fighters for the UFC on FOX card lined up to weigh in for their bouts on Saturday. All fighters made weight. Benson Henderson, as is typical in his last few fights, had to make use of the towel. We were sitting directly behind Clay Guida’s family who had their usual assortment of flags, banners, and signs. I was hoping for a bit more exciting shot when Clay stepped on the scale, but the family was rather subdued. The audience was electric for the last two fights – Guida vs. Henderson and Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. Dos Santos was heavily boo’d while Velasquez was cheered loudly by the partisan crowd. Great crowd for what I would consider a smaller than normal venue for a weigh-in event. Here are the selects.
Special thanks to my wife Jody for assisting me with this shoot and keeping the fish-eye at the ready when I needed it.
The fighters competing in Saturday’s main and co-main events held open workouts today for media and fans at the UFC Gym in Rosemead, California. I was there to cover for UFC and Getty Images. I used my same trusty lighting setup that has worked for the last few open workouts I’ve covered – a single Canon 580ex II strapped to the top of the Octagon and controlled by a PocketWizard remote. For this week, I’ve got a few of the newest PocketWizard FlexTTL units to play with, which among other features, allow you to use High Speed Sync and HyperSync. Quick first impressions… I love them. Configuration is a bit of a pain, as you have to do it from a computer. But, I love that they are much more low profile and less cumbersome than the Plus II and MultiMax units. Most of these shots were done with the shutter at around 1/800 or 1/1000 at f2.8. I had the flash set to manual mode at 1/2 power, and also used an external power pack to help with the recycle time. By the end of the shoot, the batteries were dying and I was only getting a flash about one in every five or six shots. Still came away with tons of cool stuff, I think. Have a look.
We drove over to the Staples Center today to cover the UFC on Fox final pre-fight press conference for UFC and Getty Images. The event was held outside at the Verizon Plaza, just across the street from the staples center. It was a beautiful day outside and the stage was actually facing towards the sun this time, allowing for a much more favorable light than the last outdoor event (UFC 137 presser).
The stage was also elevated considerably, which was both good and bad. Good because it allowed me to wander a bit without having to worry about getting in the shot of video cameras behind me. Bad because the angle was horrible from a seated position in front. I’m not at all happy with the face off shots, but it’s nothing I could control. The only way to get tight shots was to be up close, and the only way to be up close was from the low position. You can see the back lights in all the shots. Wish they’d mounted them 3-4 feet higher, or perhaps just not used them at all. The definitely weren’t needed.
Anyways, here’s a selection of shots from the day. Full take, as always, available at UFC.com and Getty Images.