Sunday, March 13, 2011


I have always considered tennis as a combat in an arena between two gladiators who have their rackets and their courage as their weapons.
--Yannick Noah (b.1960) former professional tennis player 

A shot of Milligan College junior Matt Clark at the net. Matt's a business major from Kingsport, TN and a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School. Poor Matt has me for two classes this semester.  I've always found tennis to be one of the more difficult sports to photograph. You wouldn't think it, but getting the player, the racket and the ball in the frame is a challenge given the speed of the game. When shooting, it does no good to wait till you see the ball in the frame, by then it's too late to press the shutter -- and the shot will be missed. So it's better to watch the player and when the racket goes back, start shooting.  It's times like this I'm very thankful for digital -- can't image how much film I'd have wasted yesterday. By the end of the meet my timing was better and  I was getting much more efficient getting decent shoots, but still there were lots and lots of shots to edit and delete.

Details: Nikon D90 with 70-300mm VR lens at 140mm, f/4.8, 1/1250 sec., ISO 500


  1. Mark, you bring up an interesting point on what's involved in photographing sports. I'd never have thought about the speed of the three aspects you mentioned (player, racket, ball) and the difficulty of getting all 3 in one frame!

    On a similar vein, one of the very good photographers who posts in one of my Yahoo groups shared about the difficulty of photographing a drag race. He shared a set of 5 photos which he said were shot in burst mode .. 0.2 second apart. In that one second, one of the motorcycle racers sped entirely through his field of shooting, and he caught only a sliver of one tire!

    Interesting set of photos to see. Here's the first of those 5 bursts:

    The glimpse of the front tire is in the 3rd shot.

  2. That's neat, Brenda. I can sympathize with that photographer. We see all these great shots, but don't always realize just how difficult they are to pull off. :) But that's what makes the chase so fun!


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