We are running a NPS operation at the US Open Tennis here in NY this week (actually 2 weeks). Not being a tennis fan, I never have had a real “feel” for the game. Needless to say, I also have never shot tennis professionally. This week gave me the opportunity to develop some new skills.
Since the 1st week is light in photographer attendance – I would not be taking a spot that someone else needed to make a living. A chance to see how difficult this really is. Tennis – fast moving people – fast moving tennis balls and I found out the hard way that it is really all about the ball – or lack of. regardless of the expresion – no ball – no good (maybe I could count the “period” in the JP Morgan sign)
All Images = D4 with 200-400mm f/4.0 AF-S VRII
AF settings – AF-C, 51 AF points, D21 (Dynamic 21)
I had a photo editor in my youth that woud not accept a sports photo if the ball was not in it. As in any sport – knowing the game would certainly help and even then – you have to “sense” the timing. I shot a while and downloaded the images to see how I was doing. The first few sets produced a lot of photos without the ball. Back out on the court and taking a little time to just watch what was going on helped a lot.
After a while you get that “anticipation factor” tuned in and you start to get the images that really show the intensity of the game.
Didn’t take long – just some practice and more practice and more practice.
Then the guys came on and you find that the timing you just worked on – now has to be fine tuned again. The ball is moving faster and you have to anticipate even more.
I did notice that several of the younger shooters were simply putting the hammer down. Holding the shutter button and hoping that 10 FPS would capture the right moment. Sorry – you occasionally get a lucky shot but it’s amazing how far that little ball moves between frames. The real shooters time the shooting and take very few frames to get the one they want.
It was a great experience and certainly gave me an appreciation for the guys/gals that do this for a living.