Morgan Write aka The Moose is a regular competitor on the Emmy nominated hit NBC show, American Ninja Warrior.
Though not affiliated with NBC, I’ve shot several of the local Ninja competitions here in central Florida. These events are frequented by many of the show’s competitors as a warmup and training for the series. Morgan is a regular at these competitions and is a standout, not only for his physical abilities but for his overwhelming positive energy.
According to his Instagram page, he is a public figure/speaker, American Ninja Warrior, Teacher, Veteran, Husband, and Father. As a PE teacher in his home town of Cape Coral, he has integrated Ninja Warrior training into the program. Here’s are a couple of news clips on that: here and here.
There are also local events for junior ninjas, and Morgan is usually right in the middle; motivating, instructing and cheering on the young competitors (including his own children).
I have tons of pictures, but here are a few of my favorites of Morgan over the last couple of years, all taken from various events at the Live Training Center here in Palmetto Florida.
Over the weekend I was at Live Training Center in Palmetto to shoot some images of the UNAA Regionals. UNAA stands for Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association and here’s the link. This is Calle Alexander from Miami who made it to the third round. Here he’s dismounting one of the obstacles in a cloud of chalk. The next section involved a lot of hanging and so he had an abundance of it on his hands as he moved on.
This type of sport is not necessarily mainstream, but it’s become wildly popular due to the NBC Ninja Warrior series. Some of the competitors here have been on the show and are regulars each season.
There’s a real sense of community and camaraderie when the athletes get together. They are competing fiercely, yet everyone is cheering and high-fiving everyone else. It’s not easy to finish any one round and most don’t. But whether someone falls at the beginning or makes it to the end, they’re all roundly cheered.
It was a great weekend photographing the competition and more than anything I enjoyed hanging out with the amazing athletes of the ninja community.
To borrow a saying from golf, a bad day at the beach is still better than a good day at the office. On the weekend there was a storm in the gulf, and whenever that happens it pushes waves into the coast. That’s a queue for local surfers, and me, your intrepid photographer, to show up at the south end of Bradenton Beach for a little action.
The waves may not be big compared to other places like California, but big enough to get the job done. Hurricane Nate was about four hundred miles east of here, but even at that distance it managed to create a nice little swell.
This is the first time I intentionally came to the beach to photograph surfers; at other times I’m usually shooting something else and just happen to get a few shots. This time I came prepared with a long lens to get in close.
I’ve photographed other sports and each type has a different set of tricks. The first thing I learned this day was that the angle of the waves dictates the direction of the boards. Basically it meant that from my angle the surfers would have their backs to me. There are little nuances to know about photographing each sport that never occur to you until you’re there. I learned a few things for the next time so it’s all good.
Lucky for me I live in a place were I’ll have plenty of opportunities. However just standing on the beach with the waves at my feet, taking pictures of anything is a lot of fun. It was way better than even a great day at the office.
On Monday tropical storm Emily blew in from the Gulf and through my hometown with very little warning. It seemed to come out of nowhere and before we knew it we were in the eye. Our cell phones where blaring tornado warnings and the oak trees were waving like twigs. By the afternoon Emily moved east and I headed straight to the beach to watch the breakers.
By that time the wind died down so it was safe to fly the drone. It supposedly flies in winds of up to 20mph, but having just purchased it last week I’m a fair weather flyer.
Here is a shot over one of the piers at Bradenton Beach. That’s local surfer David Julius riding a wave on the left. David is from California so he was stoked by whatever the storm could dish up. From this angle it’s hard to tell but from ground level the breakers were awesome to look at, and surely even better to ride.
In addition I got video from the drone that I’ll post shortly. The drone is a DJI Mavic Pro and having survived my first week I’m starting to get my sea legs. That’s an oxymoronic thing to say about flying, but that’s what you get when you read my posts. It’s a little like Emily; it just comes out of nowhere.
On the way home this afternoon we crossed the causeway that leads to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. It just so happened the sun was heading down and there were these kite surfers. I’ve taken these kind of shots before but each time is different and for me the rays of the sun through the clouds added an extra dimension of awesomeness. And if I thought this was nice, I can just imagine what these surfers felt as they soaked up the last rays of the sun.
Yesterday we attended a form bloodless bull fighting indigenous to southern France known as course camarguaise. Long story short, it’s an elaborate form of tag played between trained athletes. The athletes are both human and bovine and if you are human you don’t want to be tagged by the bull, that would be bad. I had no idea this even existed but the bulls are very well cared for and seem to enjoy chasing the raseteurs (human athletes) around the arena. All in all it was an absolute amazing spectacle, from the agility and speed of the bulls to the outstanding athletic ability of the raseteurs as they flew out of the arena to avoid the bull. Each bull spent about fifteen minutes in the arena after which he trotted back to his pen, in some cases quite proud of himself. Here is a Wikipedia if you are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullfighting#French