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Old Mar 9th, 2011, 06:56 AM   #1
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Comments For Photographers

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.
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Old Mar 9th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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!?
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Old Mar 9th, 2011, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Comments For Photographers

Are you still able to sit on the cement steps at the practice courts?
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #4
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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Originally Posted by Yellow Moon View Post
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!?
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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #5
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 06:13 AM   #6
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 06:22 AM   #7
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Re: Comments For Photographers

Shooter - Thanks for the update!
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 02:10 PM   #8
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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Are you still able to sit on the cement steps at the practice courts?
I think so.
Just don't go near Shvedova (eh, she lost the singles, right?)
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 02:14 PM   #9
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
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 ) I did ask Halep yesterday but after the encounter with Shvedova and Riske am quite discouraged about asking a simple face pic..
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 06:11 PM   #10
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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... I think WTA players aren't that more 'accommodating' compared to ITF players (of course Peers is another case ) 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.
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #11
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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Ok great to hear. Indian Wells is definitely the best fan-friendly tournament I know of.
What features will make a tournament fan-friendly?
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Old Mar 11th, 2011, 01:19 AM   #12
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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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.
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Old Mar 11th, 2011, 02:26 AM   #13
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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.
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Old Mar 11th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #14
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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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 I don't even watch practices long, a mere 2 minutes and I already get bored and move on (prefer matches)
that's why I was so disappointed.
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Old Mar 11th, 2011, 05:24 PM   #15
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Re: Comments For Photographers

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... I don't even watch practices long, a mere 2 minutes and I already get bored and move on (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?
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