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  • Andrew JK Tan

Nikon D850 at the Get Active Singapore National Games 2018

GetActive! Singapore returns for a third year as the national week of sport continues to offer an extensive line-up of sporting activities and competitions for everyone from 28 July onwards, right up to National Day.

The biennial Singapore National Games 2018 will have registered more than 15,000 sign-ups for a total of 22 sports and eight para sports. This is the highest since it was started in 2014. This year’s prize money will also be the largest with a total of S$250,000.

To cover , document & help publicise this national event many sports photographers have volunteered to do their part to contribute a little towards photographing this initiative.

For my part , I decided to contibute by covering the sport of Tennis at the Kallang Tennis Centre.

In this blog , I just wanted to share some insights on my Tennis photography setup & my thoughts on the difference between photographing sports for a National Event which was the main priority over the tennis action itself.

Hardware wise was simple , I used my trusted & always reliable Nikon D850 with Nikkor 80-400mm f4.0-f5.6 telephoto zoom.

Technique wise was also not too complicated either :

- Shutter Speed Priority (shooting from evening to night when the court lights come on)

- Auto ISO with minimum Shutter Speed Priority set to 1/1600s


- AF-C , Tracking Priority:Focus + Release , Focus Tracking with Lock-On set to Level 2

- No flash & No Tripod of course

- Shutter Speed set no slower then 1/1600s

- DSLR set to burst at 9FPS

The main thing I wanted to share was the difference in composition , composing the tennis shots for the National Games where the event itself was the main focus VS. how I would normally compose for normal tennis action shots where the player would be the main focus.

The next 3 shots show my normal preferences for photographing pure tennis action where the player, stroke & facial expression needed to stand out. I prefer the following:

- tight to very tight composition

- branding free (to not distract)

- clean simple de-focused (bokeh) background to provide more separation of subject

The following series shows how I tried to compose the action with the Singapore National Games Branding where the event itself was the main subject/focus.

The goal was to make the shots instantly recognisable without have to look at captions.

As you can see , the differences in both series were very different. For the Singapore National Game shots , I tried to incorporate the branding banner as best I could together with good tennis action.

Composition wise it was more complicated , much more loss in shoot flexibility and I had to be a lot more patient and hoped the action happened at the right place.

From experience so far , the organisation appreciates shots that show the context & branding and find them much more usable as it communicates the events better.

So the bottomline is that as a sports photographer , he or she needs to be flexible and adapt to produce the shots that the client potentially wants as in many cases , the client may not specify exactly what they may have wanted

So always take note , which is more important ? Communicating the event or focusing on the player itself.

Till the next blog then , have fun in your photography and keep on learning.



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