Let me show you what I had experienced from shooting for the Energizer Night Race 2014 in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I will be showing my experience shooting the event from start to finish as one of the official photographers.
It started with an email from Nikon Club Malaysia asking its members, if interested to shoot for the Energizer Night Race 2014 were asked to submit for sample photos that we took related to sports so they can choose who will Nikon Club Malaysia send to shoot for the event. Few days after, and I received an email with 9 others confirming that we were selected to shoot for the event.
Briefing day, a day before the event which was August 8, 2014, we met with the group tasked to coordinate with us including some other media guys. My first impression was, they have it planned well. Even the media were briefed a day before the event on what to do, where to go and what photos are needed in my situation, photos as we are photographers. They have illustrations and specific people assigned to each posts that are vital for the event.
We have to arrive at the location (Merdeka Square) as early as possible so we can set up, rest and the obvious, not be stuck in traffic when all the roads leading to the venue will be closed. We had a chance to prepare well but it was too hot as far as I can remember. I think I felt like I'm gonna run too as the feeling of excitement grew as the time to start the race went closer and closer.
With my trusty Gopro, I was able to capture some video footages while capturing some stills at the same time. Thanks to my chesty mount for gopro.
This was the field. Normally, tourists flock this place as this is an iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur. The video below was taken around 4:00pm where runners were still starting to arrive.
This was how the starting line looks like few hours before the race while it was set up
As runners were starting to arrive, the very huge Dataran Merdeka field looked like a very tight space. Imagine how many people were there to make the Dataran Merdeka look small or congested? But that was the target of the race organizers, to get more people to participate and enjoy.
Before the start of the 5K event, around 8:20PM, we managed to position ourselves down where the runners actually run. Notice my fellow photographer who had a very long tripod. He managed to get a top view capturing the sea of lights during that time. His photo was published on the Energizer website.
During this time, I was literally thinking where to position everytime as runners rush both on my left and right.
Below video was the start of the 15K race. They started first at 8:00 PM as their route was longer than that of the 5K run. I was surprised that while there are more runners who participated on the 5K run, there were also a lot who joined the 15K. This just shows that serious runners are now getting more and more in terms of number. Running is becoming more popular now than ever before.
While taking photos of the runners approaching the finish line, I saw and felt the feeling of accomplishment of getting it done after long hours of training. It made me think of joining in the future but just taking photos of them made me felt like I was also in the race.
This is an exclusive peek at the awarding ceremony and how we took the photos of the winners while they were receiving their prizes. It was like war out there, even though there were just few of us who were authorized to shoot, still we kinda struggle to get the best position and angle. We were literally blocking the audience from the field but the goal to get photos of the winners prevailed. It was okay as it is important to have them look good in the media photos.
There were fireworks too at the last part of the awarding.
I haven't been able to see the other areas of the route. It was planned that I should be on a certain location but at the last minute is was called off as they ran out of motor bike volunteers to accompany me going to and fro. I was not able to see what was it out there where there were less spectators and all darkness. It should have been a different experience too.
Shooting for this kind of event is not easy. It needs patience, stamina and knowing the sport to be able to shoot effectively and get the perfect moments needed. Patience because you have to be ready at least 3 hours of the actual start time, be there and scout for better locations to shoot. Stamina is as important as you are going back and forth to any location, sometimes you run to catch a moment you are anticipating. Knowing the sport helps you anticipate what happens and in return you will be able to get the or required shots. In this case, the start/finish line is a vital location and knowing when the runners are expected to reach the finish line, you will be able to capture runner reactions effortlessly. Before the race for instance, they do warm up exercises which are also important shots that needs to be taken and many more.
It was definitely a good experience for me with regards to my photography career but at the same time, I was able to make friends with fellow photographers, talk and share about the passion we are in and until now, we are still communicating and sharing ideas. For me, making friends is also another motivator to keep my passion alive with photography. I have discovered that most of my fellow photographers are also into events and some are into really serious photography like wildlife and bird photography. It was a pleasure to know them and it wouldn't be possible if I did not submit my photos to Nikon Club. Big thanks to NIkon Club, organizers of the event and to all my fellow photographers.