My wife and I are big tennis fans so this past Tuesday we travelled to Mason, OH. (just north of Cincinnati, OH) to take in the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament. The tournament, played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center is a top tier tour stop for both the men and women of the ATP and WTA tours. All the top players like Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Sam Stosur were there so if you like tennis and photography, this is the place to be!
This tournament and Cincinnati have quite a history. Since 1899, just 25 years after the first recorded playing of the sport in the United States, tennis tournaments have been staged in Cincinnati, and what is now known as the Western & Southern Open is the country’s oldest professional tennis event still played in its original city.
Having attended the tournament for a number of years, I had a good idea of where I’d be shooting from so I knew what lenses would be the best to use. Except for Center Court and the Grandstand Court, all the other courts are smaller so a zoom lens with a focal length range of 70-200mm is perfect. For the Center and Grandstand courts a 300mm lens or longer is best. Having carried around 2 lenses all day at the tournament in the past, I knew that 2 lenses get really heavy by the end of the day so this year I opted for a lighter load and only carried one lens, the Canon EF 300mm f/4 IS. I was also excited to give the 61-point auto focus system on my Canon 5D Mark III a workout, and it was impressive. Out of almost 1000 images there was only “one” slightly out of focus. I used “Case 2” of the 6 available AF Configuration Tool Prests. Case 2 is set up so that even when a subject momentarily moves from the selected AF points, the camera will continue to focus-track the subject. The camera will also continue to focus-track the subject even if another object gets in the way. This is prefect for tennis. For the most part, I set the camera to aperture priority mode (Av) with an aperture of f/5.6, ISO at 400 and shot away.