I wish I had a better seat. I went to SAP Open at HP Pavilion in San Jose to see Steffi Graf and Andy Roddick play an exhibition mixed doubles match. They played against Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob in a very friendly and relaxed fashion. Each of them had a microphone on and tried to amuse us in their various comments and jokes – and it was fun. Andy Roddick is obviously still fresh off of the circuit and made the others look slow, but I was extremely happy to see Steffi Graf play as well as she did. Sounded like she is busy with her post-professional life with two children (Lindsay said she had three!), but her backhand slice was still looking strong. It took me back in time when she was getting down to slice those tennis balls on a grass, clay or hard court, giving her opponents trouble.
I had never been to a tennis tournament before, but I do watch major tournaments from time to time. So, I know a bit about tennis and basic techniques. What I do not know is how to take a photo of the sport! Especially when I am trying to enjoy the match as well as take decent photos. It’s hard. As with any other sports or action shots, it is very difficult to anticipate, compose, focus, and do all other stuff for a great shot from a seat. I don’t know how the professionals do. Well, I know at least they have a better vantage point and they are working, not trying to have fun. I am a runner, and I have tried to shoot runners in action. The same challenge exists there, and it’s high time I learn the skill.
The photo here is Steffi Graf getting down for her backhand slice (she is not trying to pick up a ball with her racket). This was as close as my lens could get, and I had D90’s burst mode set at 4.5 fps. I think it could make the photo better, with all the constraints I had, if I placed her a little to the right and up, so that her feet would not be on the verge of disappearing and the image would have more breathing room on the left and give a better sense of tennis court.