First Nights of Flight

There are very few things I’ve willingly stayed up all night for, and I do mean ALL night. Work was one and the classic Super Dance was another (if you graduated before 2006 from Carle Place High School, you know what I’m talking about). I can officially add “Ultimate” to that list. At the beginning of this year, I participated in the First Nights of Flight tournament in Pittsburgh, PA with my Long Island Ultimate Frisbee Team. The tournament offered two days of amazing Ultimate, with the first day for team play and the second day as a hat tournament. I went with the intention of  playing both nights, but due to a fickle stomach I opted out of the hat tourney on night two and stuck to what I do best: photographing.

Our team traveled to Pittsburgh by either plane (an hour and twenty minute flight) or by car (an 8.5 hour drive…no thank you). I happily purchased my tickets from JetBlue and despite a threat of snow that Friday, my team mates and I made it there with plenty of time to spare. The tournament was held a mile down the road from our hotel in what is normally an indoor driving range/soccer field/baseball field/lacrosse field. The area was split into six very close, smaller than regulation fields, which was awesome as I had a lot of games I could photograph at the same time. The fields were lit with large light systems that did their best to turn the black hole into a playable area.

Playable, yes, but not easily photographed at all. I had hoped that my Nikon SB-600 flash would make it in time for the tournament, but as it didn’t, I made due by shooting strictly in RAW. If I had shot in JPEG, I would have been left with noisy, icky pictures that couldn’t be salvaged at all. With my Sigma f/2.8 70-200 lens in tow, I was able to photograph pretty awesome plays with a small amount of blur. I shot at f/2.8 always, and the highest I dared to bring my shutter speed to was 1/60s. I was afraid anything faster would make the pictures too dark to edit, even with Camera RAW 5.0.

For more on FNOF 2011, check out High Release Handler’s Blog for our team’s stats, and Sam’s article at “Go Girl Magazine” on going the distance for Ultimate. Enjoy!


7 thoughts on “First Nights of Flight

  1. Technically speaking our SFW name is “The Long Island Ultimate Flying Disc Club.” That’s how I have it on my resume.

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