Battle of the Badges! I took a trip over to Pala Casino in Temeula the other night to shoot pictures of law enforcement charity boxing and MMA matches. The charity was put on for Cops 4 Kids, a Temecula based charity organization. Several different police agencies, fire departments, corrections officers, and border patrol/ICE participated. These are regular first responders tossing on gear to knock each other for a good cause. Taking photos always gives me the best seat in the house and I like to brag that I was the first to see some of the hardest hits!
On a more serious note, the entire night was dedicated to a fallen hero. San Diego Police Officer Jeremy Henwood was ambushed while sitting in his police vehicle at a stop light on August 6th, 2011. A war hero who spent his last minutes on an act of kindness: buying a meal for a child at McDonald’s. A fitting tribute by honoring him at a children’s charity event.
Photography-wise, shooting inside a venue like this is always a pain in the butt. The lighting is tough, the white balance is shot, and everyone moves super quick. To keep up with the action I opened my aperture all the way to f/2.8. I bumped up my ISO to 2500 to get my shutter speed from 1/100-1/160. The lighting always comes out really yellow normally in a venue like this, but I fixed that before the match with my nifty Expodisc. The expodisc is basically geek’s grey card. You put the filter on the front of your lens and shoot a picture of area that you wanna color correct. Then you set the resulting picture as the custom white balance. It’s very quick and easy.
To help me catch the action better, I utilized the shutter lock function. This is a must have to catch the action quickly when you are at a set distance away. If you use the shutter lock function, the camera will immediately take the picture without trying to focus. This is quicker than using the camera to constantly focus (even in AI-SERVO mode). It takes a little getting used to, but it produces much quicker shots (and just as good) once you get the hang of it. To use it, basically focus on the boxers once when you think they are about to start an exchange of blows, hold the shutter lock button, and then recompose and machine gun away when they start punching. You are basically just focusing once and expecting them to stand there and duke it out. When they move around a little bit, rinse and repeat.
To find the shutter lock function (on the Canon 7D), go to Menu -> C.Fn IV: Operation/Others (you can find this in the second to last tab from the right in the menu). This will bring up a menu with a bunch of icons and custom functions. For me personally, I change the * button on my camera (upper right portion of the camera back – normally reserved for auto-exposure lock) to AF-OFF (auto focus off).
Now on to the boxing! The night started with an appearance by the San Diego Police Department’s Honor Guard:
The highlight of the night for me was when they let me ring the bell!
Here are some of the hardest hits of the night!
This was the *best* punch combo of the night. The guy in red did a left jab to the face to make the other guy cover up. Red did a FULL windup (as you can see in the picture below) with his right arm and then stepped in with an uppercut. He hit the other guy cleanly and straight up KO’d him. The doctor had to go onto the mat to evaluate him!
Talk about getting the wind knocked outta you!
Until the next fight!
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L (I used this lens to balance out the 1.6x crop factor of the Canon 7D. It turns my lens into 25-56mm)