This week I am the 'official' photographer at the Virginia Pro Squash Tournament. Crazy, eh? But once you gain a solid technical understanding of your camera you really can shoot anything, and if you actually enjoy and know what you are shooting, all the better. In the spirit of 'you never know where your next job is coming from' it is really cool to get this kind of global exposure and the hits to my website become wildly varied (Ghana, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, the Middle East, etc.). Maybe someone in Italy or New Zealand will trip across my blog and think I'd be perfect to shoot their wedding, ya think?
8 of the top 10 players IN THE WORLD are competing in our tournament. As the photographer you have to shoot crouching down by the corner of the front wall, just outside the glass. By day three, Motrin is a dietary staple and you might need a super-chilled, Chopin vodka, extra-dirty-martini-3-olives just to unclench your shutter-release hand (yes, at the end of the day). It is tricky not to flinch when they are literally beaming 90 mph shots towards your face. If you move you risk distracting the players and they can call a 'let' on you (not good and very embarrassing, I imagine). Even trickier is freezing the action in the 'not great' lighting conditions when they are lunging towards you in bursts. You have to have a pretty fast-focusing camera, or pre-focus on a spot and hope they step into your focal range while possibly missing something else. The above shot was taken at 1/250th of a second, and that couldn't even freeze the action. It's definitely a challenge and every match is different, which is what I love about it.
Patrick, reaching for the shot in the photo above, is our local pro. He's awesome. He teaches our squash clinic, is insanely quick, and is totally ruthless on us amateurs. You do not want to be the only one showing up for clinic or he runs you into the ground (8 more, no, no good, 10 more...no...again!), and when it's over you're so exhausted you wonder how you will even drive home.
Here are a few squash slideshows (because I am a geek and have to put everything to music) from last year. With double the matches this year due to tournament growth there won't be quite as much slideshow-making, but we'll see. And if you think of any great songs to go with 'em, email me!
First Round Matches 2007
Second Round Matches 2007
Quarter Finals 2007
The Semis & Finals 2007
If that wasn't enough for ya, here's a slideshow from the NYC tournament last year in Grand Central Station:
The Tournament of Champions 2007