As some of you already might know, I took the chance to visit the semi-final day at the recent World Championships in Basel. I think it is my duty to make a little report about the day and share some of the pictures I have taken (link to the picture gallery below). The Media Center A photographer briefing was scheduled 30 minutes before the first match , I did my best to memorise very carefully the dos and donts while entering the arena and being at court side. The main message was “Do it like yesterday, then everything is fine!”. I decided to watch the first match comfortably from the stands – I still had a regular ticket with a seat in row #3, so that wasn’t the worst option. Also, that would be the perfect opportunity to watch how my pro colleagues behave at court side and spend some minutes to gather my thoughts and to come up with a new plan on what to focus during the next couple of hours. Let the matches begin World Champion to-be Pursala V Sindhu needed 40 minutes to end a rather one-sided match against a passive and somehow disheartened looking Chen Yu Fei (which was only the start of a series of surprisingly one-sided matches over the next two days…). The plan I came up with in the meantime was to spend a couple of matches at court side and trying my best to take a couple of decent pictures whilst still trying to simply watch and enjoy the matches. I decided to focus on both men’s singles matches, the second women’s singles and the mixed doubles match with my current two favorite XD pairs Huang Yaqiong/Zheng Siwei and Arisa Higashino/Yuta Watanabe. And since it was Kento Momota’s turn in match #3 of the day, I got my fancy red bib from the media center and headed for the arena towards the end of the women’s doubles match. And then…. I was there…. I’m not sure if I’m the only one feeling like this, but I’m still sure that there is some kind of time/space anomaly around that court. Cause it felt like time is passing at least twice as fast as it does normally. So I hardly managed to sit down on the benches for a minute to prepare my camera and check all the settings when the speaker announced the reigning World Champion and dominating #1 in the World Rankings Kento Momota - The traps of technology I will go a bit deeper into equipment and photography stuff now, maybe it will be useful for others in here reading this. All those who don’t really care for things like f-number and shutter speed, you can safely move on to the next headline… For all those who are interested, here’s the gear that I was using: Camera: Nikon D610 full-frame DSLR Lenses: Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 (made in the 90s, super slow autofocus but still great picture quality…), Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 And having shot badminton pictures in my club before, I knew that the 80-200mm would most likely be the weapon of choice, especially looking at the f-number. The basic camera settings were clear (at least I thought so), I knew it would be all about getting short shutter speeds while keeping the ISO at 6400 maximum (I know that’s the point at which the noise turns from acceptable to “beach” on the D610). And right then, I made the decision that ruined pretty much all of the action shots of the Momota match. I set the camera to aperture-priority “A”, thinking that if I set it to f2.8, the camera would the adjust the shutter to the fastest possible. The camera had a different idea in mind. It thought “okay, I give you your 2.8, but I’ll try to go down with the ISO since that will make the pictures look better!”. Result was that it dialed the shutter to 1/100 sec. which is of course complete and utter bollocks in that situation. And with the ongoing input-overflow on all my senses during the match, I literally didn’t check a single time the histogram and data on any of the (blurred) pictures. It took me another couple of rallies of the following women’s singles match between Nozomi Okuhara and Ratchanok Intanon to find the key to acceptable actions pics. I changed to shutter priority “S”, limited the ISO to 6400 and chose the fastest possible shutter speed by a bit of trial and error. So basically an “assisted” manual mode. Also, I changed the exposure metering mode from “matrix” to “spot” which created a great contrast between the motive and the dark background. I ended up with a fastest possible shutter speed of 1/800 to 1/1000 which brought acceptable results also on action shots. And sitting there right next to the action, I had dozens of ideas what to shoot and what to do that could be interesting for other badminton nerds. So I jumped at trying this and that but bottom line, I didn’t really follow any of those ideas consequently. Looking at all the footage, I now feel that one of the better idea was to capture a close-up of the players’ footwork. But sadly, I wasn’t that happy with the first clips when I checked them on-site, so all I came up with were Nozomi Okuhara and Anders Antonsen: As said before, I will add a link to a picture gallery later on in the text. This will be a selection of my favorite pictures and I’m looking forward to getting some feedback from you guys and girls. And I know that we have a number of a lot more experienced badminton photographers in here (@lurker, @kwun), so don’t hold back on your comments.