One of the things that pleases me most about my photography is when I get a repeat job, and a text message a week before the Easter Bank holiday asking if I could cover a second UBW (Ultimate British Wrestling) event was just such a second job. Most of my memories of wrestling are from Saturday afternoon TV with “Giant Haystacks” and “Big Daddy” fighting it out on ITV’s World of Sport with Dickie Davis (that gives away my age…), however really have to be there to appreciate just how much fun these events are.
As with my previous wrestling shoot in July 2014, I was given an “Access All Areas” pass so I could move around during the rounds and shoot the wrestlers both as they entered and exited the ring, and during the bouts which gave me plenty of creative opportunities to get up close and personal. I’ve always followed Ansel Adams’ (the pioneer photographers) advice that if your pictures didn’t have impact you weren’t close enough, so I made sure I was close to the action.
The venue for this event was the Shefford Memorial Hall, but it wasn’t until I actually arrived there I remembered I’d done some photography for Shefford Saints FC a few years back at the same location. I arrived at dusk and quickly spotted that the lighting for this shoot was going to be a challenge. The hall has a series of windows high on the wall, but these would be no good as evening fell, and the only other lighting was a series of florescent strip lights, which never produce a particularly bright light and often have a colour cast. The only option was to fall back to on-camera flash, which is always a compromise. So, armed with my Canon 7D with my standard lens (17-55 F2.8) and my 70D with my 10mm Fish-eye, and 2 flashes I took some test shots to get a baseline exposure and waited for the first round.
The evening started with the arrival of the master of ceremonies, and then swiftly moved from one bout to the next with all of the action and drama you might expect. Being close to the action allowed me to get some great images but needed me side-step smartly several times as the fight spilt out of the ring and onto the floor.
At the end of the evening I’d taken around 600 shots across the 2 cameras leaving me with a mammoth editing task, but some really great images. Below are some of my favourite images from the night, but click here to visit my Pro-Gallery where you can see the full set from the evening, and the shots from last July’s event (here).
One final note I’ve now been invited to join the wrestlers of UBW during one of their training sessions to take their next set of promotional portraits.
To see the full set of images click here to visit my Pro-Gallery.