Pradal Serey, Cambodian Kickboxing in Phnom Penh, CTN Studios

I’m always keen to photograph some of the local sport when I visit another country, and I was particularly interested in seeing (and shooting) some of the Cambodian form of Kickboxing – Pradal Serey, which is supposed to pre-date the more well known Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing). The action takes place at the CTN Studios just a few miles from Phnom Penh city centre, i got there at lunchtime and it was already in full swing, the seats were all taken and fists were swinging. It was tricky to shoot with the action being so fast and explosive, I experimented with different lenses, worked with flash for a bit, changed my position ringside, finally by the end I had found a good position with a clean dark background, was working with a 70-200mm Nikon VR F/2.8 telephoto and had switched to JPEG only as the camera couldn’t keep up shooting RAW. A priority for me was to freeze the drops of sweat flying off the fighters so I was working around ISO1600-3200 with aperture wide open to get 1/1000th of a second. I shot everything in colour and then converted to Black and white in Lightroom 4, going for a high contrast look with deep blacks and lots of clarity / sharpening. I had a lot of fun shooting this and hope to come back and shoot some more some day…
















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