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[Guest Column] Shooting Pictures at S.League Games

I saw what one of my fellow photographers, Mr Andrew Him who shoots for The Unofficial Woodlands Wellington Supporters' Club (The Black Sheep), posted on his Facebook page days ago on taking match photos at various S.League venue that I thought it would be good to share what he said. So with his permission, I reproduced what he shared online of his experience as below.

Shooting the S-League matches in our (unfortunately) very dim stadiums, many non-photogs have the misconception that ALL the action can be caught irregardless of the distance. There's a limitation due to brightness of the stadium lights - the dimmer it is, the better your camera equipment have to be (which is likely to cost thousands for a good camera body + top ranging lens).

The distance and range of action captured (credit: Andrew Him)
In many cases, most photogs are not rich nor have company sponsored equipment; they make do with mid-range photography equipment that's able to handle low lighting and produce decent shots. And some of us are not paid at all, doing this for the interest or in support of their football club.

Currently I'm using the Canon 7D with a 70-200mm F4 lens. The coverage is as shown in the image, any action coverage beyond the boundaries would be a struggle (quality, resolution in post process of photos from cropping).

It is a pity that the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) does not see a need to upgrade their stadium lighting unless it provides substantial profits in return; otherwise it's just an extra cost that could end up in increased prices for consumers. In my opinion, better lighting would see more people shooting sports and hence improve (and provide publicity) for the sports or sports club. But that doesn't bring profit for SSC, which seems to be their current main objective at this point of time.

Below are the stadiums which i have experienced,

Stadiums with pretty decent floodlights
  • Jalan Besar Stadium (JBS, the lightings are a bit harsh but well balanced for all corners)
Action photo by Andrew at JBS (source)

 Stadiums with somewhat adequate floodlights
  • Bishan Stadium 
  • Choa Chu Kang Stadium (not as bright as JBS, but still better than the rest) 
  • Yishun Stadium (surprisingly i find the lighting is somewhat decent here)

Stadiums with poor floodlights
  • Bedok Stadium 
  • Clementi Stadium 
  • Jurong East Stadium (seemingly only one corner is decent, as the other corners have the floodlights oddly positioned or too close to the pitch) 
  • Queenstown Stadium (probably one of the dimmest lighted stadiums around) 
  • Toa Payoh Stadium 
  • Woodlands Stadium (poorly lit but seemingly slightly brighter than Queenstown Stadium, floodlights nearer to grandstand are brighter than the ones further away)
A shot taken at Woodlandlands Stadium (source)
Stadiums that are not mentioned here, was due to the fact I was in the stands rather than doing pitch side shooting.

(Pictures, which are after-processed, and graphic depicted in this entry are being reproduced with permission and acknowledgment from their respectively owners)