Commack High School Varsity Badminton vs. Smithtown East
Looks like Commack's badminton teams are off to a good start. I photographed their win against Smithtown East on Thursday, which was my first shoot for spring sports after getting back from 10 days of shooting Carnival in Trinidad. Photographing badminton has a few things going for it right off the bat - it's inside and it's warm and dry. There are, however, a few challenges that come with these benefits, at least at Commack's gym and, I suspect at most others also. Since the courts fill the entire gym there's only one set of bleachers open (in the east corner) and you need to shoot from the bleachers. Given that the bleachers are filled with any players not on the courts as well as their parents and other spectators, navigating around for the best view can get tricky.
Unless you're photographing players on the court nearest the bleachers, which is an exhibition court, you need to be up high to shoot over poles, nets and other players. So, being confined to the bleachers is not necessarily a bad thing. What makes it a problem is you can only see the faces of players on one side of each court so you may need to wait for the sides to flip before you can get any photos. I generally shoot the exhibition court from the floor then move up to the far right side of the bleachers for the rest of the courts. This gives me an especially good vantage point for court 6. Courts 2 and 3, not so much. They're back against the far wall so you'll need a long lens to get to them. I was shooting with my Fuji XT-2 and a 100-400mm lens to reach them. Another problem shooting courts 2 and 3 is the light falls off in the corners so focusing becomes difficult (take lots of photos). Also since you can't move around that much you're stuck with the backgrounds - white boards, fire extinguishers, and the usual stuff that hangs on gym walls everywhere. Not a lot you can do about that.
I was shooting at ISO 6400 trying to maintain 1/400 sec. and many of my shots were underexposed. Luckily, the XT-2 has an ISO invariant sensor so I was able to increase the exposure in post without a lot of damage.
Badminton is one of those sports that you can never overshoot. Players can move fast and lots of things will get in your way. But, as I said, it's indoors and I have this thing about photographing outdoor sports when the first number of the temperature is four or below.