Palm Springs, CA – Maria Sharapova

This photo is from last year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA (Palm Springs).  This tournament is going on right now.  We miss not being there!  As big tennis fans, this to me is the best tournament to attend for fans all year.  Great weather, beautiful location and great players to see!   This shot was of Maria Sharapova’s practice session last year.    She was just coming back from her shoulder surgery.  It is still an issue for her. We watched her last nite vs. Zheng.  Her serve and metal game is a big mess.  She lost.   Sorry Maria!

She is my favorite player on the women’s side.  Her drive and competitiveness is tops in my book!  I hope she can overcome her issues and get back to the top.  She has the ability.  Like the pic above, the ball is in her hand! Sports are a BIG percentage mental.  If your mind has issues, your game (no matter what sport) will falter.

As for the photo….I love to watch the practice sessions at Indian Wells!  You get so close to the best tennis players in the world.  Sometimes they walk among the crowds!   Bust out a big fast lens and you can get some great shots!  We hope to get back to this tournament next year!!!   I think it is 85 degrees there today?  NICE!!  Time to book a flight!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 VR f/2.8
  • Setting: Manual Mode
  • Focal Length: 240.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/1600 sec
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4

Indian Wells, CA – Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic

NIKON D300, Nikon 70-200 VR, TC14EII  Teleconverter

Its almost August and the US Open series will be starting soon.   Time for some great tennis in the US.  Seeing as though my Maria Sharapova post is one of the top views everyday – and she is my favorite….I must admit after I took photos this day at Indian Wells, CA at the BNP Paribas Open (March 2009) – Ana Ivanovic surely is the most photogenic tennis player on the women’s side.   She used to be number one, but has faded to number eleven and is in dire need of a good coach.   Once you lose that top spot, its difficult to gain it back.   When you play tennis – metal toughness is a high percentage of your game.  If you are not there mentally, there is a good chance you will lose.

This photo was taken with the Nikon 70-200 VR.  I noted in my previous posts my admiration for this lens.  I hear from one of my favorite sites….Nikon Rumors that this wonderful lens will be discontinued and a new version will be out this fall!  A perfect time for me to upgrade!  Once I get this new lens version – look for my review!   I’d love to try it at the US Open next year???   Maybe??  I will “serve” up a new photo tomorrow!

Indian Wells, CA – Roger Federer

Roger Federer - Indian Wells, CA

NIKON D300, Nikon 70-200 VR, TC-14EII Teleconverter

In honor of the most famous tennis tournament going on right now – Wimbledon, here is a photo of probably the best tennis player ever Mr. Roger Federer.  This was taken this past March in Indian Wells, CA at the  BNP Paribas Open.   As a big tennis fan, my first thought would be Pete Sampras as the best, but with Roger winning the French Open last month, it moved him up a notch past Pete.  If Rafa Nadal can stay healthy, he may one day surpass Roger. 

This might be one of my best close up tennis shots ever.  I owe this in thanks to the amazing Nikon 70-200 VR lens!  I have talked about this in my previuos tennis posts.  What helped was having the teleconverter.  It added another 100mm focal length to the shot.  Roger was probably 30 feet away from me and this is how close I could get!  Unreal!   I noted that I rented this lens for the week from  If you are looking to buy a new lens and want to try it out?  Use LensRentals!  A great service and very affordable.  I have been saving for the 70-200 VR – hope to have it later this year!   Hope your day is an Ace!

Indian Wells, CA – HDR

Indian Wells HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

Here is another lovely picture from our trip to Palm Springs.  Indian Wells is a small town next to Palm Springs.  This is actually the town that holds the tennis tournament we visit.  So we decided this past trip to stay at the hotel that has shuttle service to the tournament….Marriott Esmeralda….that way we do not have to worry about parking.   We were there 3 nights.  It is a nice hotel…not too expensive.  Many of the European tennis players that were at the tournament were staying there also due to the close proximity to the courts.   At nite it was fun to walk around with the tennis pros!  Some were even on our AM elevator rides, walking by us at the pool…you would look over and say to yourself…isnt that ????   And it was!  Made the trip fun!

While walking around poolside that afternoon…I wanted to capture some photos of the surrounding landscape.   I took some shots of flowers, palm trees…and this shot.   I saw the colors, afternoon sun and shadows…and luckily some puffy clouds in the distance.  I thought HDR!  This was made with 5 exposures, then processed in Photomatix….touch up in Lightroom 2.0.  My usual method.   For HDR’s you can use 3 exposures or 5.  I have found that 5 exposures gives you that more realistic shot.   This picture was taken also hand held.  It was about 85 degrees that day…I figured the sunbathers poolside didnt want to see my tripod block any sunlight! 

We really enojoy Palm Springs.  Its a great place to relax and enjoy.  You can play golf, tennis, relax and enjoy the wonderful restaurants at nite in the surrounding towns.  Visit if you can!