The first thing I did when I got to the venue, was to talk to the venue photo manager. I asked him if there was any way that I could shoot ringside. He said that he had a couple of spots open, but that I would have to wait for a couple of fights, before having that chance.
This was a good thing, as I used the time to shoot with the 200-400mm lens up high and see how the action unfolded. This first photo was taken with the long lens from about 20 rows up.
After waiting for a couple of fights, I grabbed my Canon 1D X Mark II and figured that the Canon 16-35mm lens would be best in this tight confines. Once I got into position and started shooting, I knew that I had made a mistake. Not that the 16-35mm was too wide, but I wish I had thrown a 24-70mm lens in my vest pocket before getting into position. Once I was ringside, I was not able to move.
As you can see, the 16-35mm lens was not too bad. For some of the shots, where I did not lean into the ring, you can see the ropes, but I kind of like that. It adds another dimension to the photos.
The 16-35mm lens was great for when the boxers were right in my corner, as is the case here. I kept hoping that they would come over to my corner and throw a huge punch!
For all of these photos, I kept the camera ISO at 3200, and the aperture at f/4.5. I could have shot at f/2,8 (since this lens allows it), but I wanted to use a slightly narrower aperture to get both boxers in focus. This combination gave me a shutter speed of 1/1250 sec which was perfect for freezing the action.
I slight knock down...
Pow. Right in the kisser.
Here is another shot with the boxers in my corner. I should mention that I was crammed next to one photographer to my right (we were intimately close) and the television cameraman's legs on my left. There was no moving around!
Another big hit...
Here is a crop of the same frame. Ouch!
After shooting the two fights from ringside, I went back up to shoot a couple more fights with the 200-400mm lens. I kept the ISO high (4000) to get a fast enough shutter speed from farther back.
It was definitely easier to photograph the fight from a higher position, but I like the ringside photos better because the closeness to the boxers puts you into the action more.
I used the reach of the long lens to get some tight shots, like this one. Crunch!
...and a little payback...
And they returned blows back and forth.
Another tight crop of the previous photo.
The boxer from Thailand won the bout. This photo really does show the thrill or victory and the agony of defeat in one photo, doesn't it?
The crowd from Thailand were hysterical, and they were SO excited!
Overall, I was happy with the photos. Would I do things differently next time? For sure. Mostly, I would bring two camera bodies ringside with a super wide lens on one and a wide lens on the other. But it was a lot of fun, and yielded some fun photos. And I challenged myself by shooting something totally different.
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