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Winning shots from a sharpshooter - Sony Alpha Professional Lampson Yip

Lampson Yip is a renowned sports photographer with years of experience as a graphic designer. The combination of his experiences has given him a unique viewpoint that transcends just action photography. Read on to find out more.

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Sports Photography

For sports photography, reaction time is everything. From the moment I see the possibility of a making a good shot to pressing the shutter button, it all happens in a split second.

What does sports photography mean to you?

Sports photography is about more than capturing action. Freezing actions like the winning shot is an important part of the genre. For me, sports photography is about showing the emotions of the athlete and revealing behind-the-scenes vignettes that most people do not get to see. There are many moments in between frenetic action that tell a rich and compelling story.

Sports Photogrpahy
Alpha 1 | FE 100-400mm F4.5-F5.6 GM OSS | 189 mm | 1/2000 sec | F5.6 | ISO 250

What is in your camera bag?

I always have the Sony Alpha 1 and FE 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 GM OSS zoom lens in my bag. This camera and lens combination is perfect for sports photography. The 30fps speed of the Alpha 1 and blackout-free viewfinder is a sports photographer’s dream come true, as I can truly capture the moment as it transpires. The FE 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 GM OSS has the perfect focal range to capture intimate moments from courtside - not to mention the excellent sharpness and detail I get from this lens. The double linear motor and Direct Drive SSM drive complements the Alpha 1 in acquiring fast and accurate focus.

What are you looking for on a sports shoot?

Sports photography is a gruelling process. We spend long days in the sun or indoors just to capture a few decisive moments. I try to capture the raw emotions, be it the fist-pumps when a point is scored, or the pensive moments when an opportunity is squandered. These candid reactions of athletes reveal their personality and struggles. I am also inspired by the dramatic cinematography of blockbuster movies and I try to incorporate the tension and mood employed by filmmakers. This could be looking for dramatic lighting opportunities and framing low-angle shots to make the athletes look heroic. As a graphic designer by training I am also particular about colour, form and perspective. By combining these learnings, I aim to create original sports imagery.

Sports Photography
Alpha 1 | FE 100-400mm F4.5-F5.6 GM OSS | 164 mm | 1/2000 sec | F5.6 | ISO 500

How has Sony Alpha 1’s focusing speed helped you?

For sports photography, reaction time is everything. From the moment I see the possibility of a making a good shot to pressing the shutter button, it happens in a spilt second. The Sony Alpha 1’s ability to compute AF/AE calculations at 60 times a second, allows me to tenaciously track and nail focus in that spilt second. The combination of 693 focus points, Real-Time Eye AF function and 30fps burst speed is invaluable to me. Take this shot of Hong Kong tennis star Zhang Ling, for example. With the Alpha 1’s 30 fps shooting ability, I can capture the pivotal moment of  mechanical and physical tension.

Sports Photography
Alpha 1 | FE 100-400mm F4.5-F5.6 GM OSS | 189 mm | 1/2000 sec | F5.6 | ISO 250

Overall, how would you describe your experience with Sony?

As a sports photographer, the five fundamentals of the Sony Alpha system is really important. The compactness of the system means I can work longer in the field and move around with greater ease. The focusing speed of the Alpha system really brings action photography to the next level.

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