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Old 28-02-2008, 05:31   #1 (permalink)
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Advice Needed for IFL Fight

I'm headed to the IFL (international fight league) fight this Friday (Las Vegas) and I was able to score a media pass to shoot the fight.

This will essentialy be my first mixed marshal arts fight and am seeking advice of others who shoot this type of sport.

I have a D200 body and handful of pro glass (see below). I'll be ringside in would like to know which lenses I should take. The 70-200mm is in the bag already but I'm torn between the 17-35mm or 28-70mm. Also thinking about the 85mm 1.4.

I dont' want to weigh myself down with unecessary gear - suggestions please!

I would also like guidance on how to shoot. What in camera D200 settings should I go for? Aperture, Shutter or Manual priority? ISO ?? Metering ?? F/Stop ??

Thanks in advance. Can't wait for the fight


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Old 28-02-2008, 05:55   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

VP is your man :- http://www.pixalo.com/community/phot...hic-21180.html

plus Sawdust :- http://www.pixalo.com/community/phot...ght-15842.html
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Old 28-02-2008, 15:35   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

Thanks for the info. I've PM'd them both. Hopefuly I'll hear back soon ...
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Old 28-02-2008, 20:44   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

First off, if this is a working (i.e. paying) assignment, you're going to need two bodies. You should be able to hire a second D200 body from any of the major rental vendors - Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Photography Equipment - CALUMET should be able to ship one to you for a weekend hire.

Why two bodies? You simply won't have time to change lenses when the action gets close or far away. This might sound like a silly question, but do you already know where you'll be shooting from?? At most fight sports, ringside positions are limited and assigned according to the visibility of the outlet i.e. wire agencies and national press would get ringside then, if all slots were full, "lesser" photographers would be assigned overhead positions that could be as far away as 200 yards from the action. You'd need a 400mm lens to shoot with a D200 from that sort of distance.

Assuming that you're given a 'ringside' position, I don't know how close to the action you'll be permitted to go since I've never shot an IFL event - so take all three zooms. The best combination would be the 17-35 and 70-200... though if your shooting postion is slightly farther away, then substitute the 17-35 for the 28-70. There is zero value in taking the prime lens with you since it's too limiting for fast paced action.... especially once it gets in your face.

As for camera settings, fully manual is the only way to go. Like the UFC, the IFL events are well-lit so try the following

1. Aperture of f/2.8
2. Shutter speed of 1/400 or 1/500 sec
3. ISO 1600
4. Manual WB of around 3000K, give or take 200K

A word of warning - even though the IFL is fought in a ring as opposed to a cage, you will have to be careful that your D200's AF doesn't pick out the ropes as the most high-contrast subject. You may need to shoot with full-time manual focus; don't worry - it's not as tough as you think since all the "old time" photographers had to do it... and they got great results

As for framing your shots, my own personal take is that you should get head-to-toe action in each shot wherever possible. You can always crop in to a point of interest if you've shot too wide, but the reverse isn't possible. A usable (printable) crop can be as tight as 4MP since many folks were shooting ring sports with D2H cameras not so long ago.

One other piece of advice. If you dont have many CF cards, it pays to take a laptop along with you and transfer the shots from each bout to the laptop between rounds, then clear/format the cards. You'll need a minimum of two cards per body to do this.

Hope this helps and keep us posted on how you get on.

Last edited by VikingPhotography; 29-02-2008 at 08:55. Reason: modified some advice
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Old 28-02-2008, 23:57   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

I shot XCC I back in late January, and i'm shooting XCC II tomorrow night (Xtreme Cagefighting Championships). Here's a link to some sample shots:
Picasa Web Albums - Chris - 2008_01_26 - ...

If you're going to be shooting from above the cage, the 70-200 would be a good choice. The 17-35 and 28-70 will work best for ringside.

I know that all I'm bringing with me tomorrow night are my 18-50mm f/2.8 and my 28-75mm f/2.8 to shoot ringside. I'm debating on whether I'm going to bring my 70-200mm f/4.. the last venue had SPECTACULAR lighting, so I got away with f/4.. but tomorrow's is iffy.

For ringside, get RIGHT UP ON THE CAGE. Your lens hood should be touching the fence. Otherside, you'll get the chain link to show up in the picture. Just be careful when the action moves towards you. The fence does bend out, and you really don't wanna get a bloody/sweaty shoulder knocking the fence (or splatter) towards your front element.

I can't speak for the lighting you'll have, you'll have to feel it out for yourself. If it's anything like what I was at, people's P&S's kept messing up my metering, so I eventually went to manual, ISO 1600, f/4, shutter at 1/800. Keep in mind, it's VERY fast, so you'll probably be at ISO800 or 1600. I found I could freeze most of the action at 1/250, but punches and kicks really looked best at 1/800. Hopefully you'll have better lighting than I did. Just check your histogram and make adjustments on the fly.

Hope you have a good time shooting.. it's a lot more fun to watch the fights in person.

[edit]
It just hit me from more in depth reading of the previous replies that this isn't a cage fight, and is in more of a boxing ring. I'll second everything Viking said, although because of the nature of fights, I'd recommend just bringing extra higher capacity CF cards. It only takes one strike to knock someone out, or to cut someone open. You don't want to be fiddling with your laptop or swapping out cards when that happens, so make sure you've got enough room on your card at the start of each round to catch everything. I'm bringing a 4GB and a few 2GB cards with me tomorrow night.

Head to toe action is great for stand-up, but you're definitely going to want some tighter crops when there's a submission. One of the submission hold, the other of the agony of the guy enduring it.

Again, hope you enjoy yourself. Can't wait to see some of your pictures when you get back from it.
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Last edited by ChrisRabior; 29-02-2008 at 00:05.
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Old 29-02-2008, 03:58   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

I will not be above the ropes but ringside with media credentials. I emailed the IFL and they granted access

Here's my gallery from a recent BoDog fight. Living in Las Vegas has it's advantages. Most were shot with the D200 @ 70-200mm. Not as well known as IFL & UFC but the action was great.

I just walked up to the rest of the photographers (no badge however) and started shooting. Nobody questioned me. I even met Steve Mazagatti and Herb Dean between rounds.


This wet my appetite for MMA photography.

Good advice on the 85mm 1.4, it won't be in the bag. I've got 2GB, 4GB and 12GB CF cards. For BoDog, I went AUTO ISO from 100-1600, f/2.8 and a mix of matrix and center weighted metering. Some of my photos were hot from bad metering however.

Speaking of ISO, wouldn't it be better to allow the camera to step up and down as needed as opposed to forcing 1600? The D200 is a bit noisy that high, at least mine is.

RAW or jpeg - what type of metering (center, spot, matrix)?

When you say "manual all the way" are you referring to M mode; setting the aperture to f/2.8 and shutter @ 1/400 or 1/500?

Please let me know what you think of the photos. The black and white are my favorites.

I will not be above the ropes but ringside with media credentials. I emailed the IFL and they granted access

Here's my gallery from a recent BoDog fight. Living in Las Vegas has it's advantages. Most were shot with the D200 @ 70-200mm. Not as well known as IFL & UFC but the action was great.

I just walked up to the rest of the photographers (no badge however) and started shooting. Nobody questioned me. I even met Steve Mazagatti and Herb Dean between rounds.

This wet my appetite for MMA photography.

Good advice on the 85mm 1.4, it won't be in the bag. I've got 2GB, 4GB and 12GB CF cards. For BoDog, I went AUTO ISO from 100-1600, f/2.8 and a mix of matrix and center weighted metering. Some of my photos were hot from bad metering however.

Speaking of ISO, wouldn't it be better to allow the camera to step up and down as needed as opposed to forcing 1600? The D200 is a bit noisy that high, at least mine is.

RAW or jpeg - what type of metering (center, spot, matrix)?

When you say "manual all the way" are you referring to M mode; setting the aperture to f/2.8 and shutter @ 1/400 or 1/500?

Please let me know what you think of the photos. The black and white are my favorites.


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Old 29-02-2008, 10:13   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
I will not be above the ropes but ringside with media credentials. I emailed the IFL and they granted access
Good - you know where you're going to be in advance; that helps a lot. Take the three zooms and see if you can hire a second body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
When you say "manual all the way" are you referring to M mode; setting the aperture to f/2.8 and shutter @ 1/400 or 1/500?
Yes, that's exactly it. When the action starts, the lighting in and around the ring will not change so there is no need to be juggling shutter speeds, aperture value or ISO value. This is one of the manjor benefits of shooting an event which is lit for the benefit of TV.

Remember - my recommendation of f/2.8 and 1/400 or 1/500 will vary depending on how bright the lights are. I would go higher on the shutter speed before I'd increase the aperture, since stopping the action is (in my mind) more important than having more depth of field

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
Speaking of ISO, wouldn't it be better to allow the camera to step up and down as needed as opposed to forcing 1600? The D200 is a bit noisy that high, at least mine is.
Again, there's no need for Auto ISO. The lighting is fixed and set during the fights and therefore Auto ISO would only help if it suddenly got brighter.

As to ISO 1600 being noisy on a D200... hell no! It produces perfectly usable results. The critical thing to good looking high ISO shots is to ensure that your white balance is spot on... most fight event lights are in the 3000K region so set your WB manually to whatever looks to be the closest.

As a guide, look here ESPN: ZOOM Gallery

All of these were shot on a D2X at 1600 ISO, f/2.8 and 1/400 sec - and all were manually focussed. The D200 has better noise handling than the D2X does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
RAW or jpeg
Your choice is predicated by two factors

1. CF card space as in how much you have, and
2. If it's a paying job, how quickly you need to get the shots to your client

Personally speaking I shoot RAW; I do this since I have a very fast laptop that can chew through conversions quickly, and I've work a RAW > JPG conversion workflow that allows me to tear through them fast enought so that I can start transmitting images within a few minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
what type of metering (center, spot, matrix)?
Metering is really only an issue when you're shooting in Program, Aperture priority or Shutter priority modes. If you shoot in Manual mode, then you have decided what the correct exposure is and the metering is therefore redundant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
Please let me know what you think of the photos. The black and white are my favorites.
Sports shots need a context for the viewer to truly get a feel for what's going on in the shot, and that's why captioning your images is crucial. You've not posted any captions with your shots and thus viewers are left to try to guess as to the context, which makes it very difficult to get a feel for the shot.

#1: A decent shot showing that the fighter was receiving medical attention

#2, Zooming in tight when the fight goes to the ground works when you can clearly read the expressions on the fighter's faces... this shot nearly pulls that off but is partially obscured.

#3 An instance where going 'tight' has meant the shot partially loses context; we can't fully see the fighter on top, and we can't read the full body language of the fighter who is on the receiving end of the choke.

#4 Another tight shot with no context; I don't know if he's just been thrown to the mat, if he's been struck down or what the opposing fighter is about to do. The expression on his face appears to be one of readiness.

#5 This is better; you can see allmost all of the action and can tell in an instant that the grounded fighter is on the defensive

#6. An MMA fight fan would be able to tell from this shot that the fighter on the right is about to sink in a knee strike on her opponent... shooting wider would better show the set-up to this shot, and also allow you to capture the impact and follow-through.

#7. Corner shots are one of the few times when a tight headshot works really well since, if you can capture the whole face, you can get a pretty good read of what was going through a fighter's mind at the time - and this shot is a good example of just that.

#8. Blood for blood's sake seldom works; again, context is needed and a human angle always helps too e.g. somone trying to clean up the blood spatter between fights etc.

You've only got a few hours now until fight night kicks off; have fun and do let us all know how you get on.
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Old 29-02-2008, 19:19   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

Thank you for the advice! I'll be there in about 7 hours - cant' wait.

Care to share your RAW to JPEG workflow? I struggle with mine. On a PC, I open each file (one at a time) in Adobe RAW then over into Photoshop (CS3). There has to be a better way. When dealing with 10+ MB files, it takes me a very long time.

I'm doing this for fun, not a paying gig. It would be nice however to have someone pickup a few of my photos. Have you sold any of your images, and if so, please describe the process. New to the industry, I am clueless ...

What are your thoughts on the black and white images vs. color?
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Old 29-02-2008, 20:55   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Advice Needed for IFL Fight

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
Care to share your RAW to JPEG workflow? I struggle with mine. On a PC, I open each file (one at a time) in Adobe RAW then over into Photoshop (CS3). There has to be a better way. When dealing with 10+ MB files, it takes me a very long time.
If you use Adobe Bridge, you can perform all of your selections, quick edits and saves between Bridge and Camera RAW without ever having to go into Photoshop.
  • Using Bridge, navigate to the folder where your raw files are
  • Have your thumbnails appear at such a size whereby you can quickly judge which ones are keepers and tag them (CTRL + 8) as approved
  • Use the Filter panel in bridge to only display approved images
  • Select all approved images (CRTL + A) then right click and select "Open in Camera RAW"
  • Perform any quick edits to exposure, curves, noise reduction etc on either single shots or groups of images
  • When you're done, select all images again (top left of the camera RAW interface) then click "Save Images..." in the bottom left
  • This will bring up a file type and naming option, and also allow you to set JPG quality level
  • Hit the 'save' button and then Camera RAW will begin background processing of the files

You can now quit right out of Bridge and the save will happily continue on it's merry little way. Some of the better FTP software out there can be set to monitor a folder and transmit images as they appear. This allows for rapid, direct sending of shots that have been converted from RAW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
I'm doing this for fun, not a paying gig. It would be nice however to have someone pickup a few of my photos. Have you sold any of your images, and if so, please describe the process. New to the industry, I am clueless ...
I got my gig with ESPN off the fact that they had previously bought images of mine via my agency - we decided that it would be better if we worked together directly. Since I've almost always been a wire agency shooter, I honestly can't tell you how to effectively market your shots.

That said, there are a lot of online and print publications in the U.S. that cover MMA... if your photography meets their standards then you might be able to work out a deal with them. Just one rule: make sure you get paid - never work for free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravista View Post
What are your thoughts on the black and white images vs. color?
Mono is artistic but colour is what sells. If the picture editor wants to run your shot as a mono, he can elect to process it that way... but he can't do the reverse.

Well - only a few hours till fight night so you'd best get cracking.
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