2014 was a banner year for UltiPhotos, with our 30+ photographers covering over 70 events including WUCC, WJUC, National Championships at every level, and two different youth ultimate camps, CUT and NUTC! Our Behind the Camera blog has always aimed to provide a voice for our hardworking photographers who so frequently are only heard through their images. Here, several of our well-traveled photographers reflect on their favorite moments from 2014. Check here for Part 1!
Christina Schmidt: It's the first day of Club Nationals, and just like the players I'm trying to find my stride. I'm juggling my excitement to be photographing the very best of the best Ultimate players with my anxiety of capturing split second action and emotion under ever-changing conditions. Fortunately my first two rounds of shooting are limited to single game coverage. I push myself to shoot through my fears and that voice in my head. By the end of round 2, I'm feeling some confidence build--which is good because I'll have to shoot two different games in round 3. The games are on adjacent fields, but it's still a big gap and hustling between the two can make it difficult to find a rhythm to both my shooting and the games themselves. Plus by that time of day, the light was strong and harsh.
I start by shooting Chicago's Machine versus Portland's Rhino. It's only the first few points of the game, and Machine has already locked up the pool for the day. I get a few shots but there are no particularly big plays to be had. I decide I should probably make my way over to the Truck Stop/Sub Zero game. By this point, I had heard the social media chatter, vague though it was, about Sub Zero's interesting choice in uniform attire, but I had still not seen it in person. I believe they had been described to me on Thursday as a mash up of yoga pants and football tights. As I crossed the main pathway and vendor tents that divided the two fields, I got my first glorious glimpse of the form-fitting...capris? Whatever they were, they were tight. And they seemed all the more ridiculous contrasted by the team's penchant for Nationals-inspired mustaches.
At that moment, Sub Zero was lined up at the southern end zone where the mid-day sun was at its harshest. Luckily the center five of the seven on the line were relatively uniform in their spacing, as well as their steely anticipatory gazes. I quickly snapped a photo and knew I had something remarkable--or at the very least, entertaining. When I processed the photo later, it only made sense to use the resulting heavy contrast to my advantage and turn the photo into a black and white image. Over the next few days, I went on to capture thousands of more images from Club Nationals--mostly action-oriented of course. But the photo of Sub Zero on the line in those tights--it freezes in time something so truly "Ultimate" that it stands out as one of my favorite moments and shots from 2014. Stay weird, Ultimate.
Pete Guion: After years of shooting competitive and high-level ultimate, I finally got this one shot that’s been missing from my portfolio – Scandal’s Octavia 'Opi' Payne on a layout D.
I have no idea why I’ve never gotten a shot of her laying out before. Terrible timing, probably (oh, the number of times I’ve been asked “hey, did you get that shot on the field you weren’t looking at?” or “Did you see that one play that happened right after you walked away?”. Okay, no one actually asked those per se, but it’s pretty much what my luck is like. Eh). It’s like you shot pro baseball in the 90’s in DC and you don’t have a photo of Cal Ripken Jr. at bat – how can that actually happen??
I was so very happy that I got not one, but TWO of Opi’s layouts at 2014 Club Nationals (the one here is in their semi-final vs. Brute Squad). Now it actually feels like I’m an actual professional ultimate photographer.
Burt Granofsky: It was Sunday of Northeast Open Club Regionals, and there were stories everywhere. Would Ironside regain their place atop the region? Did Garuda have what it took to leapfrog PoNY for a nationals berth? And what would Morgan Hibbert look like in a GOAT uniform?
It was that last question that interested me the most. After years in Vancouver, Hibbert had made the trip East to join another Canadian powerhouse team. I wanted to try to tell this story by getting a shot of him making a big D, or a giant catch, or somehow leaving his impact on the game.
Problem was, I kept missing these shots, first in the Ironside vs GOAT game, and then in the second place GOAT vs PoNY game. A whole weekend behind me without the shot I was looking for. It wasn't looking good.
Then, perfect fortune. It's game point and I am on the GOAT sideline. A huck goes up, and there goes Hibbert, flying past me and into the endzone where he makes a diving catch. I'm shooting the whole time but the frames are worthless--low layouts don't all look good on camera, especially when I'm shooting from behind. Then he stands up, turns towards the sidelines, and celebrates with a yell, letting the disc drop from his hand. The new guy leading his team to Nationals. I finally had my shot! And not a moment too soon.
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.