BTS: World Championship of Beach Ultimate Frisbee

BTS: World Championship of Beach Ultimate Frisbee
I am a sports photographer and was hired by Ultiphotos as a member of a team of photographers to shoot the 2015 World Championships of Beach Ultimate Frisbee (WCBU) in Dubai. With only four official photographers we held quite a bit of responsibility on our shoulders as we were contracted to document 1100 players of 71 teams representing 25 countries during 380 games on 10 fields in only 6 days of non-stop sports photography! Learn how I came to grips with this seemingly overwhelming task and kicked my photo endurance into overdrive.
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The playing field was about 80 yards long from back-endzone to back-endzone. Ninety percent of the time I opted for the Canon 300mm f/2.8 and Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 on 2 Canon 1DX bodies. With both cameras attached to the new Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap it was quick and easy to switch between setups as the action got closer or further away.

 

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Since I’m traveling long distances, I didn’t bring any longer glass such as the Canon 200-400mm with 1.4x extender or 400mm f/2.8 (another alternative would be the 400mm f/5.6). Otherwise I would have also put a monopod to good use!

 

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I also carried with me in a Think Tank belt system, a Canon 24-70mm II f2.8, Canon 16-35mm II 2.8, and a Canon 15mm 2.8 fisheye. This robust shooting kit allowed me to capture action coming right at me from my favorite spots in the endzones, as well as roam the sidelines to catch intimate moments close to the players.

 

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As I previously alluded, my favorite place to shoot field sports is from the endzones for many reasons. First you want to consider how wide the field is if you stand at the endzone vs the sideline.

 

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If positioned on the sidelines you may be forced to do a lot more panning. From the endzones you can see plays develop easier, as more of the field will be in your frame.

 

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Lastly and most importantly, it’s important to get both the players faces and the disc in the shot, which is much easier when you are situated where they are trying to score!

 

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“Non-stop” is the only way to describe this particular week of shooting. During any given round there were three of us shooting assigned games, often times covering more than one field per person. We had scheduled rounds that we rushed back to the media tent to download our memory cards and upload highlights.

 

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After quickly getting highlight shots backed up, we were back on the beach shooting the best players in the world. Every day we were shooting from 8am-6pm. It was one of the most tiring events that I’ve ever shot but would do it again in a heartbeat. I recommend this kind of endurance shooting experience to all photographers, whether it is a sports events, a safari, or a wedding.
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Scott Roeder is a wedding photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also an avid diver. His specialties include photo booths, videography, and action shooting. Check out his work on his website.

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