The toughest Olympic sport to shoot? It just might be badminton
Steve Russell - Staff Photographer - @RussellPhotos
I think I might have put the bad in badminton. Pictures, that is!
I know I might not have believed it myself.
I felt fairly confident going into it, I had covered events in the past on courts that look similar to a badminton court, tennis and table tennis come to mind.
But I was to humbled by a sport.
Our pair of Michele Li and Bruce, who the crowd chanted "Bruce Li" for, benefitted from the disqualification of four pair teams for throwing matches.
Our team found themselves in a semi final game. A win and they play for no worse than silver and a loss puts them in the bronze medal game.
I got to the stadium and sat down courtside for a men's game and quickly realized that this was not going to be easy.
This was not the game we played in backyards or a cottages.
The shuttlecock, the thing that most of us grew up simply calling a birdie, can move and do strange things.
It can move quickly and deaccelerate just as quick, that seems to the the issue in covering the event.
It seems to be the supreme test for auto focus.
The players set themselves and don't move, then suddenly and quickly react to the flight of the shuttlecock at the last possible moment.
This is the one game that all autofocus systems should be tested on.
The other thing that makes it tough to cover is the heat.
The Air Conditioning is turned off in the stadium so that it does not interfere with the shuttlecock. Add a full stadium over the course of the day and the stadium is roasting. Feeling in over my head I went from courtside to the upper photo position.
Shooting with a long lens from upstairs allowed me to keep focus a little easier and watch the game to look for a flow and develop some timing for the event.
I also used a feature on the camera that was introduced on the Canon 1DX.
I made some crude multiple exposures so that I could look and get a sense of timing, so could get a picture.
I was watching singles, the vent we needed was doubles so I shot the first set from upstairs and braved the downstairs for the last two sets.
My favourites from the past day,