I just returned from the Western & Southern Open Cincinnati, an ATP pro tennis tournament and part of the Emirates Airlines US Open Series. This was my first time shooting a pro tennis tournament... and I have to say, it was quite an eye opener. I learned a lot. Not just about the workings of a pro tennis event, but a whole lot about shooting one. I won't bore you with the logistics involved, but figuring out what to shoot and when to shoot is a gamble at best. Even later in the week, there can be as many as eight matches going on at the same time... all with at least one superstar participating. Given spectators (including photographers) are only allowed to move at the side change.... well, you just can't move that fast.
Sunday was reserved for the men's and women's finals. Only two matches... but yet another long day.
All-in-all, Sunday was my best shooting day. While I felt I was getting better each day, since the locations are limited (you can't be in anyone's way), it took me a while to figure out what worked best. By Friday I was feeling pretty comfortable... which of course meant by Saturday, everything was starting to look the same.
Sunday I decided to take risks... I shot wider, I moved around more and I shot with back light. Though the best decision I made was pulling my 500mm off the mono pod and shot with it hand held from court side. It was heavy... and a bit unwieldy, but it allowed me to get in tight, up close and personal and capture more emotion.
As far as results go, Rafael Nadal won the men's championship over John Isner in two sets... both decided by tie-breakers.
In the womens, No. 2 in the world, Victoria Azarenka, beat No. 1 in the world, Serena Williams in a three set dog fight.
All-in-all, pretty great week.
Lastly, I want to Rick Dole for all the help and advice.