Here’s a dragon boat. They are long and thin and carry no outriggers. And in the foreground, here’s a dragon boat that just sank. There was no particular mistake on the part of the crew. I think it does take some team discipline to sit calmly lined up in the boat as other teams pass you by. It’s good that the lake is very shallow. Everyone had their life vest. Oh, and notice the dragon at the prow of every boat. It’s why they call them dragon boats.
Annually in Flushing Meadow Park, the Dragon boat races occur. There is a linear boat course marked out for teams of paddlers. The dragon boat teams are quite spirited and everyone has good time. This group had a lot of energy. Dragons are good luck. And the noise is to ward off or scare away bad spirits. It was very noisy. It works.
For a little lady Justine packed a heck of a punch. She was focused. By that I say she never really smiled at all during play. Up in the stands, one can walk around the court from above. It allows for a different perspective. One such signature shot is a full court view in late afternoon with the players casting large shadows as they face one another. I like this shot because of the tension and energy you feel.
One of the ‘moments’ is when a player wins the match. As the points and scores change, the inevitable becomes obvious and every camera trains on the winner. And at that decisive moment hundreds of cameras click from all vantages – the sidelines, the dugout, and the stands. It will continue as the winner makes her/his celebratory display. Some will fall to the court in joy. Other times the winner will climb up into the stands to hug family and supporters.
On every point, cameras all over the tennis court follow at least two critical moments. Those are the serve and the return. I learned how to set my camera to focus and then to wait for the critical moment to press the shutter release. A motor drive does not save you. More often than not the motor drive will fire before or after the critical moment. The desired image is caught when the ball is in the frame. It’s even better if the ball is on the racquet just as it is leaving for the return. You spend all day shooting every point and come up with a handful of frames like this. Mostly you have action shots without the ball. A memorable shot that Manny took was one of Nadal. Nadal was looking into his racquet as the ball was hitting the strings. It was a close-up shot full of emotion. I will always admire that shot.
At the US Open there is an area at the baseline where there are cutouts in the wall. TV viewers pretty much never notice the openings. Photographer positions are there with the vantage at eyelevel with the players’ feet. The TV broadcast cameras are on one side and the assigned photo positions are on the other side. Sports Illustrated rates, so they get an assigned position. I don’t rate so I got to stand behind the first photographers and get what I could. This was mostly looking across the net and catching a photo of the opposing player’s serve. Photographers sitting here call it the dugout. So, here I am shooting across the court and working hard on my timing. Two photographers sitting in front of me are clicking away. Runners collect their compact flash cards to take for immediate download and upload to the internet. The male shooter on the right sticks his elbow into the ribs of his female colleague on his left. She gives him a disgusted look and I realize something is up on the near court but I don’t have a viewpoint. Sticking my arms out, letting autofocus work, I click off a few frames. Pulling my camera back and looking down at the screen, I grin too. I realize that this photo of a well-known ranked player will never be published – not politically correct. And, what’s with the suspenders above the thong?