One World Week – Carnival

So I was called to help out last minute, because the One World Week people needed photographers.

President of Warwick Illusion right after performing a paper-cutting illusion.

All things considered, it wasn’t one of the better conditions I’ve found myself having to take photos in. The event started proper at about 7pm in the evening, so it was dark. It was also surprisingly cold, so my fingers were almost too numb to feel the shutter release. There were floodlights, but they were quite small, and set to strobe throughout the performances, meaning that I was restricted to taking my photos in time with the strobing. Throw in the crowds milling around and jostling me while I was working, and all in all, it was a somewhat challenging evening.

Took a bit of repositioning and stretching to get the flag in the background where it is, but it was totally worth it.

For pretty much the entire evening, I was working with my 50mm 1.4. Eventually, I had settings floating around a 1/100s shutter speed, F/1.8, ISO 800. It probably helped that I was shooting in RAW as well, so I could bump the exposure around a bit after the fact. Because I also figured I needed to be moving around quite a bit as well, I used a monopod instead of a tripod. Glad I did – there probably wouldn’t have been enough space for a fully extended tripod anyway.

If I recall correctly, one of the dancers from the Carribean Dance Society.

 Of course, the problem with photographing performances at night is that the use of flash isn’t a good idea, since the last thing you want to do is distract the performers. In that sense, the floodlights were important if any photos were to be taken at all.

The Warwick Devils, our university's cheerleaders.

But if there’s one thing that darkness does help – it’s long exposures.

One day, someone is going to keep their body still for half a second when they're spinning fire, and it'll be awesome.

 It’s been busy, but hopefully I’ll have more up at some point. Until then, have a nice day. 😀

MPPC Promotional Video

Okay, yeah, so I’m still technically busy with exams, but I decided to drop a quick post in. A while back now, I was asked to do a promotional video for the Malaysian Public Policy Competition. The timing of the shoot was a bit on the iffy side, since it’d been scheduled two days before I was due to go back to Malaysia for Easter. Rushed, but we managed to get everything filmed. We had essentially a day and a half of shooting, although the editing did drag on a fair bit since changes had to be made here and there.

The concept and direction was by Su Yuen this time though. I was there to do the videography and editing. Looking back now, I can see some places where improvements could certainly have been made if I had a reflector with me at the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t, but I’ll definitely be looking into a making a portable one for next time.

Anyway, back to studying – I’ll be back in action in about five days or so.

The Warwick Malaysian Games – Football

Again, backlogging, but here we go: The Warwick Malaysian Games.

Epic crunch time ensues.

I did request to do pictures of football, since I don’t really have the lenses to do indoor well, (evident from the Sheffield Games). The action took place on two fields, one of which I covered until 10:30 before I moved to the other.

Asplosive kick imminent.

Overall, it was a pretty good day for taking photos. Only problem was that the sun was a bit too strong at times, but this was quite easily avoided by simply moving myself so the sun would hit surfaces facing me. As a bonus, the LSE team turned up composed almost entirely of old school mates.

An early reunion. :V

So overall, a pretty good day with some pretty good games. Managed to get some interesting moments. There was this one guy from Newcastle(?) who ended up getting smashed in the face. Turned out it wasn’t anything too bad though, so that was alright.

Aforementioned smashed dude.

I ended the day with around 700 photos, and not all of them are great, but there were a few at least that I was somewhat proud of. But yeah, I’ve only uploaded five.

What goes up...

Next time? I have no idea. But I’m back in Malaysia now for Easter hols, so expect some photos from me soon.  :U

Sheffield Malaysian Games – Basketball

So I got asked to go do some photography for the basketball team at Sheffield’s Malaysian games last Saturday. I’ll be honest – this is not one of my better sports photography ventures.

Grabbity grab grab.

Well, the first (and main) problem I ran into was that it was indoors. With my only wide aperture lens being my 50mm, I was forced to resort to using my 70-300mm at ISo 1600. Much cringing from me ensued, although the high ISO noise reduction did help that somewhat.

The starting jumps are epic.

Despite that, I still wasn’t getting high enough shutter speeds to properly freeze some of the action, and to make matters worse, the lights in the hall… were green.

One of the few times I managed to get a stationary shot before everyone went running off every which way.

I had to mess with the white balance considerably to get the photos to not look like they were taken through a 7UP bottle.

Wrestlemania. :U

In the end, my shooting tactics pretty much came to standing in a spot that looked like it might provide some oppotunities for goal photos, waiting for the players to stop moving and stick to their defensive positions for a few seconds or trying to pan them out when they moved.

Panning people is always a problem on account of flailing limbs.

Every now and again though, I would be able to grab a photo of people running without having to pan too much.

This is one of those photos you get when you just happen to hit the shutter at the right time.

So all in all, it wasn’t one of my best photo outings, but at least there are a few photos that I quite like. Then again, it’s just a few out of, say, 300, so it’s not a very good keep rate. ><

Just a few adjustments, and this thing would symmetrical.

I’ve got another assignment covering sports tomorrow at the Warwick Games. The game this time? Football. The place? Outdoors, so hopefully it goes better. I’ll probably post the results after the Oxford trip photos, so check back on Monday.

PS: We won.

Post MNight Social

For those of you who don’t quite know what it is, MNight stands for Malaysia Night. These are annual performances by Malaysian Societies in universities all over the UK, and while I wasn’t actually there to do any recording or photography on the actual night, I was around for the social afterwards. If I had to come up with two words to describe Malaysian socials in Warwick University… I’d probably go with “food” and “eating”. No Malaysian social is complete without those two.

Awesomegrin is awesome.

Anyway, by the end of it, I didn’t really take that many photos. The final count came to about 80-something pictures. Some I thought were good, some not so much.

DSLRs. They're everywhere these days. :U

You see, I figured that the only problem I’d face was the lack of light which would mean that my photos would come out blurred by long shutter speeds I’d have to use. So I’d had my 50mm F1.4 on for most of the night, thinking it would be sufficient. What I completely forgot about though was that autofocus needs clearly defined edges to work, which aren’t very visible under bad lighting conditions. Long story short, the focus was off in some of the photos. This wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, except the depth of field was tiny, given the lens I was using. As a result, out of focus looked, well, -really- out of focus. It really didn’t help later when they dimmed the lights even more to watch the MNight performance recordings.

At least the focus fail doesn't look too bad... if you're not viewing at it at 100% size.

So I was just happily walking around taking photos, and it was only about 3/4 way through the event that I realised this. Gah. After that, I switched to using my flash, turned on the AF-Assist lamp and things turned out a lot better. Unfortunately, by this time there weren’t as many photos to grab, but I did what I could.

Multiply the number of people by about seven or eight, and you'll have a rough idea of what the whole food queue was like.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable night. Since I’m probably going to pass most of the photos to the society exec, Paul…

The Paul. (Also, ouch @ image blurriness.)

… I won’t upload them all up here straight away. Once those are up, I’ll probably stick a link to them at the Warwick MSA photo gallery in this post. So yeah, keep an eye open for that.

Marcus, Irina and friend. (No, I admit I don't know his name.)

Meanwhile… Maybe I’ll hit Birmingham this weekend.