Badminton is the only sports I play well and I try to squeeze in at least a 3-4 games per week (usually in one session) which my partners and I normally manage just once a week. It’s hard enough to coordinate several people’s time on a sacred weekend to meet in court, it’s even harder to congregate outside of court for coffee. And this has been a busy week for me having woken up really early (4.30am) for the BEDB 4th Invitational Golf Tournament shoot at the Empire Hotel followed up a whole day of aerial photography from BSB to KB to BSB and to top things off, my amah (“domestic helper”) leaves for her month long vacation this evening. So I try to make the most of my time as humanly and as practically possible.
So, yesterday (technically, last weekend) it was another routine badminton session with the usual fellas with the addition of Alan whom you may remember from an outing with Gavin etc. Instead of another outing elsewhere, I thought it would be really cool to demonstrate the capability of the 5D Mark II’s AI Servo that I’ve recently come to discover—its ability to continuously track high and low contrast moving objects with such amazing accuracy itself became an object of fascination for me so I’m now on the quest to discover how much more (of challenging lighting conditions) I can push the technology. So here are shots of me captured by Alan on his 5DII, 24-105 f/4 IS between 1/125-1/160s at ISO 5000. I could have chosen ISO 6400 to get a slightly quicker shutter speed or had him use my 24-70 f/2.8 but no. One should practice with the equipment (however limited an inventory) one owns.
One of the most exciting and dramatic moments to watch in any badminton game is the jump smash and since none of my partners habitually jump it would be extremely unnatural for them to do so for the camera so once again I volunteered myself and set Alan’s 5DII for the shot. What this means for me is having seen the exposure capabilities of this camera even with an f/4 lens and a low light venue, a future assignment such a national tournament would fare better results providing the venue has better lighting. Speaking of which, I am keen to run a couple of Speedlites and put the Pocket Wizards to good use someday.
Considering the varying low light conditions of the BSRC badminton hall I am extremely pleased with the results and the amount of grain at ISO 5000 (even ISO 6400) is no big deal—easily reduced or even completely removed but at the expense of losing details. I converted these to a toned and tweaked black and white to remove the unpleasing combination of green walls and brown floors.
So, are you a jumper?