In 2019, we invited my parents out for the US Open. My dad's a lifelong tennis player, attending the US Open was on his bucket list, and we said, "Let's not assume that we'll be able to do this next year."
At the time, we were thinking more about my parents health than a global pandemic, but this week (2020) I've been watching clips of players in an empty stadium, and have been so thankful that we seized the opportunity to go with my parents last year.
I'm not much of a tennis fan, but I am into photography. My fellow photographer friends told me that the US Open is a photographic playground.
- Tennis is repetitive. You know where and when the action is going to happen which gives you lots of opportunities to get your shot.
- The US Open might be the closest an amateur photographer can get to world-class athletes without paying a fortune. In the early days of this two-week tournament, most of the action takes place at the outer courts, where a general admission ticket lets you move freely between seats and matches. Getting close to the action is surprisingly easy. In fact, I caused a delay in a match when I dropped my sunglasses from the bleachers onto the court as the #21 ranked player in the world was about to serve. That was awesome.
- The setting of a tennis match offers a bunch of great photographic elements: contrasting colors, leading lines, bright sunlight, deep shadows, beautiful people, action, and emotion.
At the time, my "big" camera was a Cannon 5D Mk 2 with a 24-70 f/2.8 – a great choice for sports photography. But, the US Open has a strict "no backpacks" policy, and I didn't feel like lugging that beast around for 12 hours a day.
Instead, I brought my Fuji X100F which isn't an obvious choice for sports photography with its fixed 35mm equivalent lens. Over those two days, I grew as a photographer by pushing that camera to its limits and doing things with it I wouldn't normally do – using the digital zoom, shooting JPEG only to conserve battery, editing images on the go.
All the images in this post are Straight Out of the Camera (SOOC) JPEGs, sent straight from my camera to my phone during the event, with only light editing in Google Photos.