Updated: Jul 1
Saturday the 3rd of July saw the second Clash Submission Grappling series at the West Indian Centre in Leeds.
The first Clash was a huge success, with fighters from not only all over the UK but Europe competing.
Once again I was asked along, but only if I brought the camera.
The venue is dark to say the least, not only are the lights lacking in actual light, they flicker brightness as well as colour temperature. With this in mind I knew I was going to be maxing out my camera, shooting in RAW and having to colour correct most shots in post production.
I dialed in the camera settings, opening up the lens as wide as I could, dropped the shutter speed to as low as I dare and cranked up the ISO to make a landscape photographer have a heart attack,
All the images were taken with the camera settings:
ISO20000 | f2.8 | 1/500.
In low light situations, I've found it best to get the correct exposure, if not over expose a little to help with noise reduction. I was as wide as my lens would allow to get as much light hitting the sensor as possible. BJJ isn't a slow sport by any means, but I was willing to drop the shutter speed, in some cases a little blur in the hands is a nice way to add motion to the shot, 1/500 was the sweet spot for freezing the face, then I just used the ISO necessary to get the exposure. ISO20000 seems very high, but increasing exposure in post production adds more noise in my experience. Even though the Nikon D750 is an old camera, it still handles high ISO pretty well.
Only photographers seem to notice and moan about noise, the paying clients and subjects never whinge about the grain in their shots. In such a low light environment, it's best to forget about it and just get on with the job.
I tried to photograph the fighters entering on to the mat, then quickly moved to the opposite end to capture the obligatory slap and bump at the start of the match. Positioning myself there with my trusty 70-200 for the duration of the fight.
I have a little experience in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, which helps identifying positions and submission attempts to anticipate the shot.
A low angle helps when the action hits the ground, and the ability to zoom in helps to get tight-in on some of the action as well as capture facial expressions.
The fights last up to 10 minutes, or until either one of the fighters manage to submit their opponent by either a joint lock or choke hold.
If neither fighter managed to land a submission, the referee and judges decided the outcome of the match, raising the hand of the victor in front of the crowd.
Win or lose, it was great to see such respect between the competitors.
I kept the post processing simple, with just a few tweaks to the white balance and exposure where necessary, making sure I straightened and cropped all the images.
Thank you to Clash for having me again.
If you would like to participate on the next event, contact Clash via their Instagram page with your details for a match up.
If you would like to give Brazilian Jiu-jitu a try, head to Combat Base Leeds who sponsored the event.
And if you would like your event covering, drop me an email, email@example.com or contact me via Instagram.