I had the chance to photograph the semi-finals and final of the 2015 Men’s Double Hot Shot Tennis Series that took place this past weekend at Gold Key Racquet Club in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tennis is by far my favorite subject to photograph. Actually, the first images that I ever sold were tennis action pictures at the French Open in Paris in the 1980s when I was in high school. I guess it helps that I love the game and have been an avid player all my life. If I could, I would make this my full time job and photograph professional tennis tournaments around the world throughout the year. Unfortunately, it is not feasible at this time but maybe one of these days?
They say tennis is a very challenging sport to photograph because unlike football, hockey or baseball where if the timing is right on the money, you nearly always get a great shot – in tennis you can totally nail the timing, but then the player’s facial expression and/or body position looks so weird or just plain funky that it kills the shot.
Sometimes the player’s eyes are closed when they hit the ball (doesn’t look good), or they are in an awkward position or angle when they hit it (doesn’t look good), or they have no facial expression whatsoever (also doesn’t look good), or there is a distracting and/or busy background (doesn’t look good either)… so getting a shot where it all comes together has some deal of luck.
In football, hockey or baseball, helmets often hide a lot of the funky expressions and make the job a lot easier. With tennis you can have a tons of shot with the ball in the frame but only a few captures look decent all the way around.
Of course to get the ball in the frame you have to anticipate the ball bounce and even how the game takes place to capture interesting postures or facial expressions. You also have to know your camera and how quick your shutter will respond to the pressure of your finger.
The closer you are to the action or the tighter your lens brings you makes it that much more challenging to get the ball in the frame because it goes pretty fast, especially at the pro level. But sometimes capturing the emotion, the energy and the sheer power of the game is just as interesting.
So this weekend’s tournament was a lot of fun to capture and the tennis was incredible even if the final match was delayed due to a bit of rain fall. Can you believe it? Rain in Phoenix, Arizona! That just gave me an opportunity to also capture some action with the rollers from the Gold Key crew… It doesn’t happen that often!
Last but not least, congrats to Champs Chris Letcher and Casey Was who won a tough 3-set final over Jeff Williams and Clint Letcher.
I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed capturing them and feel free to leave comments if you feel like it.
More images can be seen below but the full gallery can be viewed on my website at: