First of all, I took these while sitting next to Jodie Foster. Okay, now that that’s out of the way: One thing I’ve always noticed when watching professional sporting events was the insane amount of photographers with insanely long, fast lenses that probably cost more than my Jeep. I don’t really know what goes into taking a good “sports” photo but here’s my best guess (below the photo of Djokovic high-fiving the ball kid):
First I guess you have to think about what you’re shooting for: Emotion? The New York Post? What really makes a good sports photographer? (Note: I am not a photographer, I just like to take pictures.) That once in a that once-in-a-blue moon shot where you see the soccer guy’s foot totally connect with the other soccer guy’s face?
Second, I guess you have to be able to take yourself out of the moment to make sure you get your shot. I failed at this in a few ways as you’ll see in my next few blog posts. I am such a tennis fan that when I got the chance to sit VIP courtside at the LA Tennis Challenge and later that month for the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open in the fourth row, I found myself forgetting entirely that I had a camera at all.
At the LA Tennis Challenge (as mentioned previously) I was also sitting next to Jodie Foster, who’s surprisingly stunning in real life, and Bruce Willis was like four seats away and Raine Wilson was one row over and up from us and a Wayans brother was behind us (and on, and on, and on) – we were the only nobodies in our entire section and Hollywood was literally swirling around us as agents flittered to and fro that it was entirely distracting.
And no, I didn’t say anything to Ms. Foster because a) she’s terrifying after that speech at the Golden Globes and b) What could I *possibly* say to Jodie Foster that she would remotely be interested in? “Hi, I really liked you in Contact?” She could end my life with one glance. Plus, tennis is one of those stereotypical lesbian sports (like softball or lacrosse) and the fact that our row had three of us all sitting together (smile for the paparazzi!) when she’s such a private person had to be one of those “ugh!” moments for her (I know it was for me.)
So I stuck to taking pics of Novak.
Third-lastly, maybe you need to decide if you’re a fan, or documenting it as a photojournalist (something I know zero about) or if you’re going to try to capture the essence of the event. Maybe the last two are the same thing, I don’t know. The shot below doesn’t accurately capture how funny this moment was as the four players were doing the coin toss to see who would serve at the net and the Bryan Brothers (the best doubles players in the world, maybe ever) kept jumping up and down, so Pete and Novak started jumping up and down. Oh, tennis, you so crazay.) Did I capture it? Probably not. Does it make me laugh when I look at it? Yes.
One thing about white balance here though: inside the UCLA sports pavilion the lighting was so weird that all my shots were orange and required a shit-ton of color correction. Thankfully I spent the majority of last year completely flailing around my color tone bars in Lightroom that I kind of get them now and was able to fix these to look normal.
This is the original color:
This is the fixed color (quite a difference.)
Wait, what am I even talking about? The only thing you need to know is: LOOK HOW CLOSE I WAS TO NOVAK DJOKOVIC.
And, also, I’m not normally star struck or “OH MY GOD LOOK AT SO AND SO” but I mean, it’s Bruce fucking Willis. I had to, my friend Mindy was falling over herself.
And after Raine Wilson got up on the officiant’s chair and officiated the rest of the doubles match, I caught a good one of him and Justin Gimelstob (who put on the entire event with his foundation).
In the end, I won a bid for a signed Steffi Graf tennis racquet, photo and signed ball. It’s in my living room. I’m stoked. I had such a good time and was able to bring a handful of good friends with me for something amazing. I talked to Justin Gimelstob a couple times post-event, and he let me know they are doing it again next year. I can’t wait.