It took me a few days to decipher the code. What had All Wheel Drive got to do with Disabled Table Tennis. I tried my scrabble skills, Australian Wheelchair something…No. meanwhile I had been enjoying shooting the event, even though I was having difficulty naming my files since I was stuck on AWD, Clarity at last by the third day. Athletes with a Disability. I knew that…
Back to the sport itself. I used to play a bit of table tennis in my youth club days so have a good idea of the techniques and timing for the good shots, the subtle and not so subtle spins of Ping Pong.
These guys can really play…disability or not they have all the shots. A number of the players sported their Australian team shirts on the first day so it was easy to identify the top players at first glance. Others were wearing their State colours so it soon became obvious that these were all accomplished players from their various regions.
Playing in round robin events to begin with gave me a great opportunity to see most of the players in action on the first day. Some of their disabilities were obvious, others less so. The event certainly gave me an insight into the challenges that these athletes face in order to be as competitive as they are. Most were in the Standing class while a few competed in wheelchairs. The standing competitors were in several classifications as determined by the Paralympic standards, from 1 to 11 I believe. I can’t profess to know what each level stood for… I was too preoccupied with the AWD conundrum.
I met some lovely people at the event: dedicated, supportive parents and siblings and top officials in the sport throughout Australia, both able-bodied and AWD (showing off now that I know, you know).
I had identified a photographically challenging problem with the fluorescent lighting wham I was last that the Molendinar club rooms. The high Shutter speeds that I can now get using 10,000ISO mean that I catch the light mid-phase. Anything above 100th second suffers from this issue as that is twice the 50Hz frequency in Australia. In a high speed sequence I get one image exposed correctly and fairly neutral colour balance, the next 3 shots will have a blue colour cast, a pinko and then a green colour cast. Each of these three colour casts will also be underexposed as these phases are not as bright as the combined neutral one. Apparently the associations are now aware of this problem. They tell me that LED’s are being considered but cost around $350 per table to light Molendinar has 22 tables approximately so that’s a lot of dough for something which really only bothers photographers like me. With the Commonwealth Games coming to this area