The World Traveler

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 2013 and beyond.

As you may or may not know, I’m smack in the middle of a 15 day road trip. 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. We were met with rain as soon as we walked out of the terminal to get our car, and for the most part, the rain didn’t let up for the rest of the trip.

The one thing I was told about Sao Paulo before I arrived was that the traffic is even worse than Rio de Janeiro. I don’t know if I just have good luck or people were lying to me, but I found that statement to be completely false. 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 skies parted for a few hours last Wednesday for the UFC open workouts at Parque Anhangaba├║ near the city’s center. 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.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 16:  A general view of the venue as fighters participate in an open workout session for media and fans on January 16, 2013 at Parque Anhangaba├║ in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 16: A general view of the venue as fighters participate in an open workout session for media and fans on January 16, 2013 at Parque Anhangaba├║ in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a spot I felt was safe to remove a remote unattended throughout the night, so I canceled that idea.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 19:  A general view of the Octagon before the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 19: A general view of the Octagon before the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The first preliminary fight started about 8:45 pm local time. 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.J. Keith with an arm triangle choke. For the most part, the crowd was pretty calm after that, until Sao Paulo and TUF Brasil 1 finalist Daniel Sarafian entered for his bout against C.B. Dolloway. Unfortunately for the crowd, Sarafian came out on the losing end of the decision and the fans showed their displeasure by booing Dolloway so loudly that I couldn’t hear a word he said in his post-fight interview.

Finally, at nearly 1:30 am, it was time for the main event. 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.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 19:  Vitor Belfort enters the arena before his middleweight fight against Michael Bisping at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 19: Vitor Belfort enters the arena before his middleweight fight against Michael Bisping at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

And destroy he did. Belfort controlled the action in round one, landing a number of significant kicks and punches. Then, in round two, he unleashed a left high kick to the side of Bisping’s head, putting him down on the canvas. Belfort followed up with a series of hammer-fists forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the fight. The crowd went nuts, as did Vitor.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 19:  Vitor Belfort reacts after defeating Michael Bisping in their middleweight fight at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – JANUARY 19: Vitor Belfort reacts after defeating Michael Bisping in their middleweight fight at the UFC on FX event on January 19, 2013 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After completing my edit and packing everything up, I was en route back to the hotel by 3:30 am. I had some more work to do once I got back, so I didn’t finally make it to bed until sometime after 6:00. My alarm rang bright and early at 9:00 am for my next assignment. I headed back to the arena to cover the elimination fights for TUF Brasil 2. And that’s about all I can say about that for now.

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 5:30 pm Tuesday evening. I flew straight to Chicago for this week’s UFC on FOX card; landing at about 6:00 am local time Wednesday morning after an 11-hour flight. 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.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  A general view of the workout area before the UFC on FOX open workouts on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 23: A general view of the workout area before the UFC on FOX open workouts on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

This particular UFC Gym location had just been transformed from it’s previous moniker, LA Boxing. I mean that literally as apparently they were still under construction the day before. Everything had that “brand new, wrapped in plastic” smell. 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 600EX-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.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Quinton "Rampage" Jackson conducts an open workout session for media on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 23: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson conducts an open workout session for media on January 23, 2013 at UFC Gym in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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. Now I was freezing in my hotel room and couldn’t get the heater hot enough.

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.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 25:  A general view of the theatre as Anthony Pettis and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 25: A general view of the theatre as Anthony Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

All fighters made weight and nothing much of interest happened, other than a moment of uncertainty before Quinton “Rampage” Jackson stepped on the scale for his final UFC weigh-in. 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 204 pounds. I’m not sure what exactly was said, but I was expecting him to be well overweight after seeing that unfold. 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.

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 25:  (L-R) Opponents Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Glover Teixeira face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 25: (L-R) Opponents Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Glover Teixeira face off during the UFC on FOX weigh-in on January 25, 2013 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Tomorrow is yet another early call to head over for a long day at the arena. I’ll do my best to get some shots up before I head back home Sunday morning. But, until then, I leave you with a few slideshows from the last couple weeks.


UFC on FX 7 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FX 7 Weigh-in – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FX 7: Belfort v Bisping – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FOX 6 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC on FOX 6 Weigh-in – Images by Joshua Hedges

Canon Flash Gear For Sale

I’m selling some of my Canon 580EX and 580EXII units, and the corresponding PocketWizard Flex triggers to help make room for the new Canon 600EX flash units. Check out my eBay listings for all the info and to bid. I have more that will probably be listed in the next 5-7 days. Click the link below to go straight to my auctions.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/jhedges/m.html?_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

Sports Shooter Academy IX update 3

Now that Sports Shooter Academy IX has come and gone, I’ve finally had a chance to let the dust settle. The final day was dedicated solely to baseball for me. We showed up early at Anteater Park on the campus of UC Irvine to get a lay of the land and start setting up remotes. The Eaters were playing UC Riverside again for the second straight day. The first game on Saturday was not incredibly exciting, so I was hoping for more action in the second game. We only had about 5 or 6 guys shooting the game since most people were doing the track meet across the way. This allowed us a lot of freedom to move around and get unique shots. I hung my remote down the first base line, slightly elevated above the top of the dugout and pointed straight at home plate with a 200mm lens. Keep in mind, you should never bank on a remote being your only shot. Never count on it producing something you can use. It’s just an added bonus. Some people the day before setup remotes at the water pool of the steeplechase and that was the only shot they took of the event. The technology allows you to trigger a remote with another camera, so take advantage of that!

Anyways… back to the game. It started out pretty slow. I shot the first 3 innings from the third base photo well, then moved up top with my long lens to get some different angles from in and above the bleachers. The UC Irvine Anteaters, who have their own super fan who was going nuts the whole game, were up 5-2 in the later innings before Riverside stormed back and tied it. The game went into extra innings, so I trudged back down to the third base well hoping for a good shot of a walk-off hit and the ensuing celebration. While I got the shots, I wasn’t completely happy with the angle and reactions. I probably should have stayed up top or gone over to the first base side. But, it was a good learning experience.

After the game, we headed back to the workroom to file our edits and stick around for the slideshow and awards. I had some good conversations with photographers Matt Brown, Mike Corrado, and Michael Goulding about my shots from the game. It’s amazing how much you can learn from just sitting down for five minutes with someone and showing them your shots and talking about them. Seriously, take advantage of those chances and do it as often as you can. If you ever see me somewhere and want to pick my brain, by all means do it! They helped me narrow down my top 8 shots to the final 4 for the slideshow, and I’m very happy with the ones we came up with. You can see those four shots below.

I just want to take the time again to thank everyone who put this event on and made it THE coolest photography event I’ve ever been a part of. Bert Hanashiro, Matt Brown, Christy Radecic, Rafael Delgado, Rod Mar, Michael Goulding, Dave Black, Jon McDonough, Shawn Cullen, Wally Skalij, Sean Haffey, Deanna Hanashiro, Sara Moosbrugger, Ian Ray, Ron Tonawaki, Grant Brown, and all the wonderful sponsors, including Nikon, ThinkTank, PocketWizard, Samy’s, Honl, SanDisk, Camera Bits, LiveBooks, and anyone else I’m forgetting. If you ever have a chance to participate in one of these events, please please do. It is a priceless experience.

Here are my final four shots from day four that were submitted to the slideshow. Stay tuned for a larger gallery of my overall experience coming soon.

UFC on Fox Workouts

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.


UFC on Fox Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges