US Open Badminton Finals 2009

On this final night at the US Open, I spent more time watching than taking pictures.

The downside to being a photographer is, whenever I attend an event that I enjoy, I also want to take pictures to document it.

Badminton has been my favorite sport since I was 9 or 10, so I was torn between watching and making pictures.

That, and  I didn’t want my son to be sitting in the stands by himself all evening.

Fan Favorite–Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat applauds his fans after beating Taiwan’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi for the Mens Singles title.

I know my son enjoyed the evening especially at the end when he got the autographs of  the  Mens Doubles champions Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach.


ruilin_jiangFor Saturday’s finals, I borrowed an 85 mm 1.2 L telephoto just to see if it would make much a difference.

I gained 1-stop which meant I was able to shoot 1/1000 sec @ f1.4.

Even at that shutter speed, I only had a few frames with the birdie in the frame.

That lens gave me a better frame rate, but there’s no substitute for good anticipation and timing in sports photography.

On this night, I was concentrating mostly on the expressions and reaction of the crowds and the players.

Pumped–Womens doubles champion Ruilin Huang was great to watch.She was really pumped up in her match. Every time they scored a point, she raised her clenched fist and yelled.

dennis1And the atmosphere in the stands was electric.

There’s no rowdier fans in badminton than Indonesians, except for their arch rivals, Malaysians of course.

Indonesian Dennis (sorry I don’t know your last name), a buddy I’ve played badminton with, showed how serious Indonesians take this national past time by organizing and orchestrating a cheering section complete with Indonesian flags in honor of their hero Taufik Hidayat.

Taufik Hidayat very graciously accepted a flag of Taiwan at the podium and he held it alongside his country’s flag when he was presented the trophy for Mens Singles champion. His opponent Hsueh Hsuan Yi is from Taiwan.

Next time

For next year, I might borrow a longer lens.

That won’t necessarily make my pictures better but it may help blur out the clutter in the backgrounds.

I’ll sacrifice mobility for that because I’ll have to work with a monopod.

The trouble with the lighting conditions is this: a longer lens may blur out the clutter but their aperture, usually f2.8, is insufficient to freeze action.

I found a minimum of 1/500 sec was needed to stop the players, but not the birdie.

1/350 sec didn’t cut it, even with my zoom lens on a monopod to reduce camera shake.