Thursday, 12 November 2009

Front page again

Just a quick update - one of my images shot as Randy Couture trained at Straight Blast Gym last night is anchoring on the front page of ESPN's MMA section, anchoring an article by Franklin McNeil.
Don't worry - my promised update regarding today's UFC 105 pre-fight press conference is still in the works...

A (straight) Blast of a session

So last night one Quentin Chong from Xtreme Couture gym kindly invited me along to shoot Randy Couture going through a pre-fight training session at Straight Blast Gym in Manchester; it's not often that one gets that sort of access so naturally I jumped at the chance.

At age 46, Randy is a five time UFC champion, having won belts in both the LHW and HW divisions. His physical conditioning and stamina made me feel almost embarrased to be in the same room as him - Randy rocking a six-pack whilst my own midriff more resembles a keg! :)

The UFC video crew who film the "All Access" segments that you find on the event DVD's were there as well so I got hemmed in a little since I couldn't use flash. Anyone whose ever been inside Straight Blast Gym will tell you that it's somewhat cozy and dimly lit.

To give those photographers out there a better idea - I had to shoot  Randy at around 1/80 sec, ISO 6400 and f/2.8 to get usable frames. T'was one of those rare occasions where I thought that frame-grabbing from a D3S might be a better idea, so if anyone from Nikon is reading this (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

The rest of the pictures from the session will migrate to my account shortly, just as soon as the bods at ESPN have ran them as part of their UFC 105 fight week coverage.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank Randy Couture, Ryan Couture, Quentin Chong, Gil Martinez and Neil Melanson of Xtreme Couture for granting me access to shoot this session.

Next up? Words and some pictures from the pre-fight presser for UFC 105.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Some friendly advice

Anyone heading to Manchester for UFC 105 might have to contend with some major roadworks that started in the city yesterday; seems that Great Ancoats St - Swan St - Miller St are being torn up so do bear this in mind when you're heading to town - this will affect anyone trying to get to hotels like Travelodge Ancoats, the Crowne Plaza and other areas close by.

Hope none of you get snared in it :)

Manchester here I come...

So in just over five hours from now I'll be starting my jolly jaunt to Manchester, England to cover the fight week activities of UFC 105 for ESPN.

Kicking off and 1pm, there'll be the first of two media work-out sessions with headlining fighters participating - I'll shoot Brandon Vera, Michael Bisping, Mike Swick and Ross Pearson before noon, then Randy Couture, Dan Hardy, Denis Kang and James Wilks in the p.m.

Hopefully I'll have some more details to share with you later on but, for now, I'm off to try and get some shut-eye. Take it easy!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Working hard, or hardly working?

At some events, you get a nice little press area to work from so you can download / edit / caption and transmit your photos - tonight at the 2009 BAFTA Scotland Awards was no exception... though I have to say that the mini buffet and the Smirnoff Ice that I helped myself to seemed to make the whole process fly by :)
Props to Gillian and all the crew at Material MC for all their hard work in making this event run like clockwork

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Seven days from now, I'll likely have finished off breakfast at my hotel and be going through the ritual of ensuring my gear if fully cleaned and charged, ready to go There's a definite buzz when it comes to fight day - a sense of anticipation.

Strolling from the hotel, it's easy to spot other fight fans as they head to the arena - the sense of cameraderie is palpable. With eleven fights on the card there's plenty to be excited about; I'm already counting down the days and hope to see some of you there.