Behind the Camera: 2016 Year in Review, Part 2

January 10, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Throughout 2016 you've seen our photographers' work, from the smallest college tourney to the biggest World Championship. You've seen the skies and the layouts, celebrations and defeat. But what you haven't heard yet are the stories behind the camera. Here, a few photographers reflect on their favorite photos, moments, and tourneys to give you a glimpse past the photographs you've known and loved this year. Check out Part 1 here!

 

Last summer, I was lucky enough to provide official event photography for the World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC) in London. The greatest ultimate players in the world from 38 different countries facing off against each other, and I get a front row seat to all of it? Heck yeah, I’m excited.

So here it was--the last round of day four. Teams were well into power pools; tomorrow was quarter-finals day for most divisions. My feet were aching from hustling all over the sprawling field site. My back and shoulders were aching from my camera harness. I was hungry, exhausted, and getting a little tired of watching the disc get passed around. (A solid week of shooting ultimate, interspersed with brief breaks for Clif bars and sunscreen, is bound to have its ups and downs.)

I looked out across the nearby group of fields, trying to identify the teams playing there, when one field caught my eye. I didn’t recognize either of those jerseys. I hadn’t seen either of those teams once this week. Curious, I wandered over, and found Korea Mixed playing Norway Mixed. Two countries that only sent one team each to WUGC.

Finding that game brought my mood right back up. The Norwegian fans were cheering in Viking helmets, holding an enormous flag between them. The Korean team on my sideline chatted and joked with me. The game was intense, but the spirit was high. This was why I was here: to cover match-ups I wouldn’t see anywhere else, and to see how ultimate is a universal language. - Jolie J Lang

Power Pools - WUGC 2016Power Pools - WUGC 2016ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: Korea Mixed vs Norway Mixed - Power Pools - World Ultimate and Guts Championships. June 22, 2016. © Jolie J Lang for UltiPhotos

Power Pools - WUGC 2016Power Pools - WUGC 2016ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: Korea Mixed vs Norway Mixed - Power Pools - World Ultimate and Guts Championships. June 22, 2016. © Jolie J Lang for UltiPhotos

 

US Open 2016 - Women's SemifinalsUS Open 2016 - Women's SemifinalsKingston, RI: Shira Stern (Riot #10) beats Sam Peletier (Molly Brown #2) to the disc. Action from Semifinal Sunday at the USA Ultimate US Open Championships, July 3, 2016. (c) Burt Granofsky/UltiPhotos

 

You just have a feeling about some games.

The 2016 US Open semifinal between Riot and Molly Brown did not disappoint. Two big name teams with multiple all-star, all-world, all-everything players facing off in front of a large crowd. Highlights were just waiting to be made. And most of the time, the players made them. Whether it was Jaclyn Verzuh ripping the disc out of the sky or Claire Chastain making another huge bid, every player seemed locked in from the opening pull.

In big games like this I’m always looking for two kinds of pictures: action photos that document what happened, and emotion shots that reveal what these games mean to the players on the field. On a good day, I’ll get a few of each kind that I think tell the story of the game.

One of my favorite action shots was of Riot’s Shira Stern just beating Sam Peletier to the disc. The grab happened late in the game with Riot down and needing to score to keep pace with Molly Brown. A few minutes later, Riot would score and then quickly break Molly Brown to score a come-from-behind victory. I like this picture because it sums up the intensity (and, ultimately, the story) of the game.

But one of my favorite emotion shots from the whole tournament also came from this game: Opi Payne and Lisa Pitcaithley celebrating, mid-air, after a Molly Brown score. It didn’t matter that, in the end, they wouldn’t play in the finals. In this moment, they were unsinkable. - Burt Granofsky

US Open 2016 - Women's SemifinalsUS Open 2016 - Women's SemifinalsKingston, RI: Octavia Payne (Molly Brown #9) and Lisa Pitcaithley (Molly Brown #26) celebrate after a score. Action from Semifinal Sunday at the USA Ultimate US Open Championships, July 3, 2016. (c) Burt Granofsky/UltiPhotos

 


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UltiPhotos is made possible by the collaboration of dedicated photographers whose shared goal is to showcase the amazing action and wonderful moments experienced in the sport of Ultimate.  This blog shares their perspectives on the photos they take and provide updates on UltiPhotos plans and initiatives.

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