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Shooter
Mar 9th, 2011, 07:56 AM
Just got back from shooting the qualies at Indian Wells. There have been changes at The Tennis Garden which impact amateur photographers. Though you still have to give em props for letting us shoot with DSLRs and interchangeable lenses.

Access to practice courts gets a little more restricted every year. A couple of walkways that used to be open to the general public have been blocked off. New bleachers have been added around the outer match courts which also block off walkways. On the plus side, the bleachers provide unusual vantage points onto neighboring courts for those of you with enough energy to lug your equipment up to the top row. The sides and back of the bleachers are covered with green curtains which can be used for clean backgrounds if you pick the right camera angles.

For those of you who like to sit behind the umpire in the first or second row (a popular spot), there are some of new problems. You know those tables behind the umpire's chair right up against the first row? Some of those tables are higher than they used to be. This can cut into your line of sight. To make matters worse, they are putting microphones on those tables to pick up ambient court noise. The mikes definitely take away camera angles I used to use. How about putting those mikes somewhere inside the umpire's chair?

Finally, didn't ball boys/girls used to kneel down around the net? They were not doing that during the qualies, which was a major pain in the butt. It's hard enough trying to get shots without ball boys and linemen in the background. Now we have to steer around them in the foreground too.

Hopefully some of the pro photographers will complain about some of this stuff.
Indian Wells is still the best tournament I've been to for amateur tennis photography.

Yellow Moon
Mar 9th, 2011, 07:03 PM
a thorough and practical analysis! As a non-photographer but an avid viewer, I surely can relate to the issues! By the way, as an Iveta fan, can I ask you to snap-and-post some pics of her!? :hatoff:

Jeff
Mar 9th, 2011, 09:22 PM
Are you still able to sit on the cement steps at the practice courts?

Shooter
Mar 10th, 2011, 03:05 AM
a thorough and practical analysis! As a non-photographer but an avid viewer, I surely can relate to the issues! By the way, as an Iveta fan, can I ask you to snap-and-post some pics of her!? :hatoff: I like shooting Iveta. She is very photogenic. However, I think my shooting is done for this year and I only shot qualies. So I didn't get any of Iveta.

Shooter
Mar 10th, 2011, 03:16 AM
Are you still able to sit on the cement steps at the practice courts? Yes - at least for the qualies. They are also still letting you into SOME of the areas between practice courts that are at court level. Those are the areas with little benches covered by roofs (nice for shade). There are low fences (waist high) that separate those areas from the court. Players exit those courts through gates in the fences. It's a popular place to get autographs. Must say that all the WTA and ATP players I saw were very nice about signing autographs, taking pictures, etc. The coaches impressed me too with the way they dealt with the public.

I took a 300mm prime lens and found that it was longer than I needed. 200mm would have been better.

Jeff
Mar 10th, 2011, 07:13 AM
Yes - at least for the qualies. They are also still letting you into SOME of the areas between practice courts that are at court level. Those are the areas with little benches covered by roofs (nice for shade). There are low fences (waist high) that separate those areas from the court. Players exit those courts through gates in the fences. It's a popular place to get autographs. Must say that all the WTA and ATP players I saw were very nice about signing autographs, taking pictures, etc. The coaches impressed me too with the way they dealt with the public.

I took a 300mm prime lens and found that it was longer than I needed. 200mm would have been better.

Ok great to hear. Indian Wells is definitely the best fan-friendly tournament I know of.

urklerlay
Mar 10th, 2011, 07:22 AM
Shooter - Thanks for the update!

fantic
Mar 10th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Are you still able to sit on the cement steps at the practice courts?

I think so.
Just don't go near Shvedova :lol: (eh, she lost the singles, right?)

fantic
Mar 10th, 2011, 03:14 PM
Yes - at least for the qualies. They are also still letting you into SOME of the areas between practice courts that are at court level. Those are the areas with little benches covered by roofs (nice for shade). There are low fences (waist high) that separate those areas from the court. Players exit those courts through gates in the fences. It's a popular place to get autographs. Must say that all the WTA and ATP players I saw were very nice about signing autographs, taking pictures, etc. The coaches impressed me too with the way they dealt with the public.



eh, no. In fact, I think WTA players aren't that more 'accommodating' compared to ITF players (of course Peers is another case :tape:) I did ask Halep yesterday but after the encounter with Shvedova and Riske am quite discouraged about asking a simple face pic..

Shooter
Mar 10th, 2011, 07:11 PM
... I think WTA players aren't that more 'accommodating' compared to ITF players (of course Peers is another case :tape:) I did ask Halep yesterday but after the encounter with Shvedova and Riske am quite discouraged about asking a simple face pic.. Guess you have to be careful about who, and when you approach. I don't usually bug them. But I can tell you that I saw Bartoli and Johansson being quite nice to fans.

King Halep
Mar 10th, 2011, 10:52 PM
Ok great to hear. Indian Wells is definitely the best fan-friendly tournament I know of.

What features will make a tournament fan-friendly?

Jeff
Mar 11th, 2011, 02:19 AM
What features will make a tournament fan-friendly?


Well in my case, I just mean the ability to be so close to the players. There are so many practice courts there, and most of those courts are completely open (no fencing etc.). You can also sit on the sunk-in steps that a lot of the courts have. There is also a grass area where players exercise/play soccer etc. and it's just a very casual open environment.

King Halep
Mar 11th, 2011, 03:26 AM
It is a really good setting for a tournament. I could imagine the environment helps the players relax a bit, being away from the city.

Im trying to estimate how fan-friendly the Aus Open is. It seems quite relaxed, particularly on qualifying weekend. Theres hardly any security. You can just walk around watching practice and theres not a large amount of people so the players dont get bothered much. I didnt notice anyone getting turned down by players, whilst people at IW were saying some of the players did not want to be photographed.

fantic
Mar 11th, 2011, 02:03 PM
Guess you have to be careful about who, and when you approach. I don't usually bug them. But I can tell you that I saw Bartoli and Johansson being quite nice to fans.

of course I'm careful. I'm not a 'bugger' either :o I don't even watch practices long, a mere 2 minutes and I already get bored and move on :lol: (prefer matches)
that's why I was so disappointed.

Shooter
Mar 11th, 2011, 06:24 PM
... I don't even watch practices long, a mere 2 minutes and I already get bored and move on :lol: (prefer matches) I like watching both matches and practice sessions. Matches are better for photography because the players have more intensity on their face, they are dress nicer, and match courts usually have better backdrops than practice courts. If you want to get a picture of a player smiling, the practice court is the place to go. I actually like seeing what type of drills they do, and how they interact with their coaches. There's a lot of bitching going on from player to coach. Sometimes I feel sorry for those coaches.

Have you noticed a change in attire on the practice courts? They are dressing more conservatively than they used to. A year or 2 ago you'd see guys hitting without a shirt and women wearing these tiny, butt hugging, shorts. I kinda liked it. This year every guy I saw had a shirt on, and all the ladies wore loose gym shorts. Wonder if that was something dictated by the tours?

King Halep
Mar 11th, 2011, 09:51 PM
Noone told Polona and Sesil about the rule change :lick:

fantic
Mar 12th, 2011, 03:48 PM
I like watching both matches and practice sessions. Matches are better for photography because the players have more intensity on their face, they are dress nicer, and match courts usually have better backdrops than practice courts. If you want to get a picture of a player smiling, the practice court is the place to go. I actually like seeing what type of drills they do, and how they interact with their coaches. There's a lot of bitching going on from player to coach. Sometimes I feel sorry for those coaches.

Have you noticed a change in attire on the practice courts? They are dressing more conservatively than they used to. A year or 2 ago you'd see guys hitting without a shirt and women wearing these tiny, butt hugging, shorts. I kinda liked it. This year every guy I saw had a shirt on, and all the ladies wore loose gym shorts. Wonder if that was something dictated by the tours?

:haha: Well some players were wearing bikinis(you know, the sport bra or something), Rad sisters, Date, etc.
And some male players were actually naked on the upper body :haha:

JSeles
Mar 12th, 2011, 06:47 PM
Very interesting post. Thanks for the info shooter.

I am also an amateur photographer and Indian Wells is one of my favorite tournaments. Good access to the practice courts, mountains in the background, low courts. Also, the grass area where the players exercise is great for offcourt pics. I attended this event only once (in 2009) but I am planning to go back in 2 years.

As for the change in attire on the practice courts, I think you are right. But I think some players still wear tiny shorts and/or sports bras : Agnieszka Radwanska, Alona Bondarenko, Iveta Benesova, Dominika Cibulkova, Andrea Hlavackova...

My next stop is Miami in 2 weeks. Can't wait to take new tennis photos! :-)

Just got back from shooting the qualies at Indian Wells. There have been changes at The Tennis Garden which impact amateur photographers. Though you still have to give em props for letting us shoot with DSLRs and interchangeable lenses.

Access to practice courts gets a little more restricted every year. A couple of walkways that used to be open to the general public have been blocked off. New bleachers have been added around the outer match courts which also block off walkways. On the plus side, the bleachers provide unusual vantage points onto neighboring courts for those of you with enough energy to lug your equipment up to the top row. The sides and back of the bleachers are covered with green curtains which can be used for clean backgrounds if you pick the right camera angles.

For those of you who like to sit behind the umpire in the first or second row (a popular spot), there are some of new problems. You know those tables behind the umpire's chair right up against the first row? Some of those tables are higher than they used to be. This can cut into your line of sight. To make matters worse, they are putting microphones on those tables to pick up ambient court noise. The mikes definitely take away camera angles I used to use. How about putting those mikes somewhere inside the umpire's chair?

Finally, didn't ball boys/girls used to kneel down around the net? They were not doing that during the qualies, which was a major pain in the butt. It's hard enough trying to get shots without ball boys and linemen in the background. Now we have to steer around them in the foreground too.

Hopefully some of the pro photographers will complain about some of this stuff.
Indian Wells is still the best tournament I've been to for amateur tennis photography.

Shooter
Mar 12th, 2011, 09:35 PM
Well some players were wearing bikinis(you know, the sport bra or something), Rad sisters, ... some male players were actually naked on the upper body.
Actually, now that you mention it, I did see one practicing in a sport bra. Never saw any shirtless guys.

Jeff
Mar 13th, 2011, 08:05 AM
Actually, now that you mention it, I did see one practicing in a sport bra. Never saw any shirtless guys.

I seen Thomas Bydech playing without a shirt today, but for the most part yeah it is true not as many this year.

Jeff
Mar 13th, 2011, 08:16 AM
It is a really good setting for a tournament. I could imagine the environment helps the players relax a bit, being away from the city.

Im trying to estimate how fan-friendly the Aus Open is. It seems quite relaxed, particularly on qualifying weekend. Theres hardly any security. You can just walk around watching practice and there's not a large amount of people so the players dont get bothered much. I didnt notice anyone getting turned down by players, whilst people at IW were saying some of the players did not want to be photographed.

Well, as far as players being nice about being photographed, that doesn't really change based on the tournament. It just depends who you ask and/or if they win/lose or are in a good mood LOL. For example, shooter says Bartoli was nice, but I had a bad experience with her before. I never ask players that lost their match for a picture, in fact I just actually don't ask to take pictures with players much. But the best time to take pictures with a player is right after they walk off a court after winning a match (this is more true if they are not a super high ranked player, and not a player that like a million people are waiting to get an autograph...of course they are frustrated in that situation).

Other great times is to stand by the pathway right next to the player lounge, where players are leaving the lounge. If they are just strolling around, they are typically pretty low key and willing to take photos. It's also best to get photos after a practice session. Usually players are most frustrated to take pics when they are 1) just lost a match or 2) on their way to practice. Wait until after the practice.

But as far as fan-friendly, I meant that the tournament facility itself is fan-friendly, because it is so casual and so open that there are many opportunities to see a wide variety of players in a short period of time up close. Most tournaments I have been to have not been this way. I have heard that Australian Open is the most fan-friendly for a grand slam.

King Halep
Mar 13th, 2011, 01:59 PM
I can totally imagine the stories about Cake and her mood swings. She is the type that I would think twice about talking to. Benesova looks unapproachable because she looks so serious but she was quite obliging and she photographs so well. If I had known she had a match in less than an hour, I dont think I would have bothered her though :p

But the best time to take pictures with a player is right after they walk off a court after winning a match

The only player I saw who stuck around after the match and did all requests was Pavlyuchenkova and she looked very happy to do it.


Usually players are most frustrated to take pics when they are 1) just lost a match or 2) on their way to practice. Wait until after the practice.

Seeing as you mentioned that, I tried that once. Davydenko was standing around waiting for a practice court and a fan asked me to take a photo of the two of them. After I took the photo, it occurred to me to ask for one as well, Im not a fan but I thought I might as well get one. He had gone inside the gate onto the court before I could ask him, so he told me to wait until after the practice. Anyway, I should have realised that. I didnt stick around for the practice and he ended up losing first round the next day :lol: Btw, his wife was standing around on court during his practice dressed in her good clothes.

I dont feel so good about stopping players when they are walking about watching matches because it feels like they are in non-player mode and trying not to be recognised. I had Vaidisova standing right next to me for half a match, but noone bothered her apart from one Czech guy. Asking players after practice is the best time, but Ive realised that the only disadvantage is that is when they look their worst because their hair is all sweaty :lol:

The only shirtless guy I remember seeing was Feliciano Lopez. He had a bit of a crowd watching his practice and he seemed to be enjoying the attention.

fantic
Mar 13th, 2011, 04:57 PM
Well, as far as players being nice about being photographed, that doesn't really change based on the tournament. It just depends who you ask and/or if they win/lose or are in a good mood LOL. For example, shooter says Bartoli was nice, but I had a bad experience with her before. I never ask players that lost their match for a picture, in fact I just actually don't ask to take pictures with players much. But the best time to take pictures with a player is right after they walk off a court after winning a match (this is more true if they are not a super high ranked player, and not a player that like a million people are waiting to get an autograph...of course they are frustrated in that situation).

Other great times is to stand by the pathway right next to the player lounge, where players are leaving the lounge. If they are just strolling around, they are typically pretty low key and willing to take photos. It's also best to get photos after a practice session. Usually players are most frustrated to take pics when they are 1) just lost a match or 2) on their way to practice. Wait until after the practice.

But as far as fan-friendly, I meant that the tournament facility itself is fan-friendly, because it is so casual and so open that there are many opportunities to see a wide variety of players in a short period of time up close. Most tournaments I have been to have not been this way. I have heard that Australian Open is the most fan-friendly for a grand slam.

all true.

fantic
Mar 13th, 2011, 05:02 PM
The only player I saw who stuck around after the match and did all requests was Pavlyuchenkova and she looked very happy to do it.



Petkovic too after winning against Safarova.




I dont feel so good about stopping players when they are walking about watching matches because it feels like they are in non-player mode and trying not to be recognised. I had Vaidisova standing right next to me for half a match, but noone bothered her apart from one Czech guy. Asking players after practice is the best time, but Ive realised that the only disadvantage is that is when they look their worst because their hair is all sweaty :lol:



True here :lol:

Jeff
Mar 14th, 2011, 10:45 AM
Petkovic too after winning against Safarova.



I was probably near you, since I was at that match for the first set before leaving. Where did you sit? My friend was sitting next to me cheering for Safarova (pretty much the only person who was cheering for Safarova, lol). If you heard her, then that is where I was sitting :p

fantic
Mar 14th, 2011, 03:40 PM
I was probably near you, since I was at that match for the first set before leaving. Where did you sit? My friend was sitting next to me cheering for Safarova (pretty much the only person who was cheering for Safarova, lol). If you heard her, then that is where I was sitting :p

:lol:

It was held at court 7, right? I think (I saw just too many matches :sobbing:) ) I sat at the top row of the sideline so I can also watch court 8 (overlooks it, perfect view), and also watched a bit from the baseline to record some pts, main stadium direction.

I'm easily recognizable since I wear a light grey? NCAA visor :lol: AND a 60,70s old fashioned sun glass :haha: (that was the cheapest one so :bigcry: It's not only just a sunglass but also a glass, since my eyesight is bad, so it isn't that cheap to order :lol:)

Yellow Moon
Mar 14th, 2011, 10:46 PM
has anyone of you attentive folks seen this character at the IW grounds? He's there in '09 snooping around ball kids: a security detail or a real pervert.
http://i53.tinypic.com/n1ars9.jpg
:cuckoo:

fantic
Mar 15th, 2011, 06:31 AM
^ I feel sorry for him. It's pretty hot and humid here :lol:

Jall
Mar 16th, 2011, 12:57 AM
Hey, I am going out to Indian Wells for the first time this Friday for the day and evening session. I was planning on taking a 300mm and 70-200mm lens. Any issue with taking those into the main stadium. Any other suggestions for someone who has one day at this tournament on photo opportunities? thx.