Sunday, January 20, 2013

Maybank Malaysia Open 2013: Datuk Lee Chong Wei in Action

A dear friend Aizuddin Danian provided me with Premier Season passes to the Maybank Malaysia Open 2013, a prestigious Badminton tournament happening in Kuala Lumpur. The season pass allowed me entry from 18th to 20th January, from the day of Quarter-finals on Friday, Semi-finals on Saturday and today, the Finals. I was only available on Sunday, and joining me was Jason Lioh. 

And I brought along my Olympus gear !!! Finally the DSLR E-5 gets some workout. Surely, the one lens to be used for this sports event was the Zuiko Digital 50-200mm F2.8-3.5. 

The entry Pass



Where I sat was actually off-centered from the court.

Jason Lioh and his bazooka lens. 

Spotted at Malaysia Open, the Ming Thein and OMD + Panasonic 100-300mm lens.

There were 5 total matches today, all finals, starting from Women's Singles, Mix Doubles, Women's Doubles, Men's Doubles and finally Men's Singles. Our main target was of course Men's finals, because Datuk Lee Chong Wei, a Malaysian hero was playing !! Yes I can be very biased, but hey, I can choose who or what I want to shoot !

Playing on your home ground is an advantage, the cheers from the crowd can be extremely empowering to the home player.

The entrance.

Grace

Fly

Dive

This was no easy shooting session. The lighting condition was very dim, and I needed to boost my ISO on the E-5 up to 3200 to get sufficient shutter speed. I was initially shooting at shutter priority, with shutter speed set to 1/500sec, but then I realized since I also needed to maximize the light coming in the camera, why not just leave the aperture open at its widest. Therefore I set the camera to fully manual, with shutter speed at 1/500sec and aperture varying from F2.8-3.5 (depending on lens zoom). Even at shutter speed 1/500sec, it was barely sufficient to freeze everything, I still get motion blurred shots, especially the movements of the rackets and shuttlecocks. I believe 1/1000sec would be perfect but that would mean I needed to use ISO6400 and goodness gracious, ISO6400 on my camera means I'd rather save the shutter count. 

Another issue was not being close enough. Even at my furthest telephoto zoom of 200mm, I still did not get sufficient reach. All the images in this entry were cropped, obviously, and for web display they looked fine.





When Lee Chong Wei was about to finish the match off, I prepared my lens to focus on his moments of victory. I wanted to capture that expression of joy after winning a title !!

Well, the camera settings was spot on, lens was framing properly, and the autofocus was working perfectly fine, and I was saw Lee Chong Wee about to pour his expression just as he finish off the last point........ suddenly, out of nowhere, totally unexpected a kid stood up in front of me and BLOCKED my lens !!!! As simple as that... my most crucial shot of the day was RUINED !! It must have been the only time my scream was louder than the crowd's cheer. Oh well.... this was a lesson well learned, no matter how well you planned for something, sometimes, things just get screwed up. 

So here is the screwed up shot. I did some funky editing.... just for the fun of it since the shot was already lost in the first place. 





The final score (look at the scoreboard at the background)

Datuk Lee Chong Wei won the match without a sweat !! It was an easy win for him and the Malaysians who attended the match were proud to have witnessed his victory. 

I did say I wanted to be more open to different opportunities this year, and indeed I have explored a little bit of the world of sports photography. However, I must conclude that.... sports photography is not my cup of tea. I did enjoy shooting the match, and surely with more capable gear and better position (the best would be the media pit just outside the court) but I do not see myself shooting sports at all. It somehow did not click. 

15 comments:

  1. Very nice post! Badminton is a fast paced sports where you need speed, good reflex and endurance. You managed to capture some nice pics though your gear was not optimized for sports photography. I'm also a fan of Lee Chong Wei since I do play badminton regularly... I notice that Jason has the 70-200mm (f4 or f2.8??). I also wonder what kinds of shots Ming Thein as a professional produced with that interesting setup, OMD with panasonic super zoom...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Johan,
      Glad to know you are a fan of Chong Wei too !!
      Jason has the F2.8 version of 70-200mm. Yeah it would be nice to see what kind of images the OMD would produce but the issue here is the 100-300mm panasonic lens may not be that suitable for indoor stadium use. While I do not doubt the performance of the OMD, the lens may not be good enough.

      Delete
  2. Great images. Here in the UK, you're not allowed to take photos at most events. Last year at The All England badminton companionship, I got my camera out and was promptly told by security to put it away :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Yat. Camera was allowed into the badminton stadium but no flash was allowed. Surprisingly, the crowd was very obedient, I did not see flash fired at all, except for occasional one or two.

      Delete
  3. Nice shot ..last yr i cant enter d stadium ..somebody has take my pass ..very frustated ..for this yr i cant joint d event coz has to attend autofest event at drb glenmarie ..
    *hadi nik*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No worries, there is always next year !

      Delete
    2. Hahahah ...another 12 month to go ..
      Hadi nik

      Delete
  4. that were very nice shots over there robin, for the last picture, the editing you did there was something! it felt really nostalgic...

    ReplyDelete
  5. These photos look great on the web, even if they were taken with the ISO all the way up at 3200. You did a great job of capturing several "peak of the action" shots!

    I took a Physical Education class for badminton back in college. I loved it! For some reason, badminton is almost unheard of here in the US. The only time you might see it on television is during the Olympics, but not on the "main channel" an certainly not during the prime viewing times. Instead, badminton is only played by young children in back yards, or at family picnics. I personally think that is sad, as I it is an extremely fast paced, where one must be in great physical shape to play it competitively.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Gregg,
      I do agree badminton is very fast paced, I play tennis, and badminton is just so much faster.
      Thanks for the kind words !! I believe OMD would have handled the high ISO much better !

      Delete
  6. Great action images, Robin. You have nailed those critical moment perfectly. I like all your shots and my number 1 will be the one shot where he dives for the side line shot which shows his determination and passion for the game.
    Great job. Thank you for sharing.
    John Ragai

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John for the kind words. It was a pleasure to share !

      Delete
  7. hey,I am Malaysian living in Finland,I am running a page which is Malaysian in Finland,and many of us is big fan of Lee Chong Wei.So do you mind I share your blog on the page?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, go ahead June !! As long as my blog link is in place and there is a mention of my name, it is fine. Thanks for asking !

      Delete