Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Photographing Olympic Table Tennis - something very different

A couple of days ago, I was photographing weight lifting, and when that was complete, I decided to walk next door and photograph a little table tennis. Oh, and don't worry, I will be blogging the weight lifting as well, but I am back at that venue now to photograph the men. I will combine the women and men in one blog coming soon.

Table tennis is an interesting sport, in that everything happens in a very small area. And it is not the easiest sport to shoot, since (from a low position), you have one athlete constantly moving in front of your lens, while focusing on the athlete at the far end of the table.

Using back button focusing on the camera, I would start by pre-focusing on the far athlete as they waited for the serve. And then, depending on how much they moved, I would refocus as needed. This took a little getting used to.

Like most sports, it is important to have the ball in the image, and have the focus on the eyes. This is true most of the time, unless trying to be creative.

Once again, I positioned myself to get the Olympic Rings in the frame.

To change things up, I sometimes focused on the athlete closest to me. This is a shot of her about to serve.

I used the Canon 200-400mm at f/4 to blur one of the athletes and have the other in focus.

After a while, I moved tables to get some new subjects.

More selective focus.

They celebrate a good point, like most other Olympians.

And then it was her opponents turn to celebrate.

If the ball was just a little bit closer to her nose, I would have had the classic table tennis clown-nose shot. :)

Since I had so much fun using the multi exposure mode during fencing, I tried it again for table tennis, and I really like the results.

It is cool to see the trail of the ball in the shot above and below, although the athletes are a bit "hectic".

I saw this woman in the crowd and had to get a shot.

This last multi exposure shot wasn't my favorite, but it happened to capture the last point of the match. You can see that the ball missed the table, causing this woman to lose the match. She was very upset at the loss.

OK, well...time to go photograph some men's weightlifting.


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Lew Klein said...

It's a great game. People praise ballball players hitting a fastball pitched from 60' away. In table tennis, it comparable speed from only 4' away.

Jeff said...

Hi Jeff:

Once again, you capture some fantastic images. I especially enjoy the facial expressions, but the photos that really convey the mood for me are those with either player out of focus while the other is sharp!

It would be interesting to note how many total exposures you made during your Olympic experience. I am sure those memory cards are smoking!

[ Jeff ]