I’m here in the terminal in the Palm Springs airport, in the middle of a long delay that was just announced when I got here at 4:30 this morning. I can already feel my tan fading, and it seems like I’ll be welcomed back to Boston later tonight with a fresh dusting of snow.
Since I have some downtime now, I wanted to take this opportunity to post my photos from all the championship action yesterday, and to reflect a bit on my experience over the past two weeks working as a photographer and videographer for the 2013 BNP Paribas Open.
Yesterday was a crazy day, but a thrill to be on hand to shoot those final points and player portraits with the trophies. I’m particularly happy with the images I got of Rafa as he won championship point. I definitely chose the right spot to be in.
Overall, I worked harder, longer hours at this tournament than at any other one I’ve done in the past. One guy covering an entire Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s worth of courts was a grind, particularly during the early rounds when there were so many matches going on. You’ll never hear me complain about warm weather, but it gets hot out here in the desert when you’re lugging all the photo gear up and down stadium steps all day.
I was brought here to work hard, though, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I loved every second of it, even the crazy moments where it felt like I had to be in four places at once. After all, it’s a privilege to shoot for one of the biggest and most important tennis tournaments in the world, and to meet and work alongside some of the world’s most talented photojournalists that I’ve admired for a long time.
As I’ve recently said quite a bit, I’m making a big push this year to improve my video skills, and this tournament was a fantastic experience in conceiving a concept, shooting it, then editing it sensibly and concisely under tight deadlines. Just from the past two weeks, I feel a lot more confident in my abilities as a video journalist, and I’m proud of most of the pieces I produced. My videos and photos also landed me some nice bylines, included in both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Finally, and most importantly, it was wonderful to re-connect with old friends and colleagues, and to meet so many new ones. Over my whole career, I’ve been extremely lucky to work for and learn from the best in the business, and the BNP Paribas Open was no exception. I owe a huge thanks to Matt Van Tuinen and Jeff Watson, the MVTPR stars and masterminds behind the BNPPO media operations, for giving me this opportunity and for breaking me into unfamiliar territory. Also, thanks to the rest of our team – Nick McCarvel, Pete Holtermann, Fred Sidhu, and Craig Gabriel – for their creativity, tennis expertise, and help throughout the tournament.
Last but not least, thanks to you all for reading! Sorry I cluttered your news feeds with posts over the past two weeks. I’m off to find some breakfast.
We’ve arrived at the final days of the tournament, so here are the best photos from yesterday’s men’s semifinal matches and men’s and women’s doubles championships.
There was so much drama on court, which made for great emotion and energy. Today, we’ve got the men’s and women’s singles final, so be sure to check back for the winning photos!
A bit of a slower day yesterday, as Samantha Stosur and Victoria Azarenka, two of the hot tickets in the women’s draw, pulled out of the tournament due to injuries. Those developments left us with a bit of downtime, which was a nice change of pace from the constant grind this tournament has been so far.
It also gave me a chance to recuperate before the much anticipated match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Although the match didn’t turn out to be one of the classics like they’ve had so many times before, the energy in the stadium was still high and it was a lot of fun to shoot. More to come soon from that match.
Thanks for looking. Enjoy the photos!
Yesterday was one of those whirlwind days. One minute you’re running around the grounds shooting what seems like every match at the same time, and then the next you’re camped in the photo pits to shoot Nadal celebrating after an epic three-set match.
It’s that kind of up and down that make this job so great.
I don’t have much time to post, so the photos will have to do the talking here. Another huge day of tennis today!
I think this is the first time in my life that I’m actually sore from carrying photo gear and climbing stadium steps, and I’ve done a lot of that. Yesterday made for a crazy day, which included editing the video above and shooting photos at 13 different matches throughout the day.
It was a grind, but I had a blast doing it. If anything, it was a good leg and shoulder workout.
The video is similar to the WTA All-Access video I produced several days ago, but from the men’s side of the draw. It’s kind of a fun watch, if only to see the top five players in the world talk about each other.
As for the photos, I’ve posted a variety of action and features. It’s always a good challenge to mix things up while shooting tennis, particularly during the early rounds when you have so many matches to cover. For the first few days when you’re bouncing from court to court so quickly, it’s more about speed and efficiency rather than creativity. The above is a selection from the day.
Today is another big day! Enjoy!
Day three was a crazy day for me, but I was able to shoot some pretty unique things. After editing video from the Player Party in the morning, I shot a Q&A with former World No. 1 and eight time Grand Slam champion, Jimmy Connors, which you’ll see up top.
The questions come from fans of the tournament on Facebook and Twitter, and Jimmy was great for the camera. I shot this quick hit on a Canon 7D DSLR and recorded with wireless lavaliers.
I then rushed over to the outskirts of the Indian Wells Tennis Center, where I shot stills at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new stadium that will be built and ready for play by next year’s tournament. Present at the ceremony were Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Victoria Azarenka. It’s difficult to screw up the photos when you have all those people in one place.
After that, I shot a Djokovic presser, and in the evening, a ceremony on the main stadium court honoring the military. I’m wiped, but I’m proud of all this content. We’re set for an exciting weekend of tennis.
Well, I’m a day late with this post, and a lot has happened since everything you see above, but I still want to get the blog up to date.
The video up top is one I shot and edited from the 2013 BNP Paribas Open Player Party, which was held at the Indian Wells Club. I filmed as all-around media star, Pete Holtermann, interviewed the top players in attendance on the green carpet.
This year, the party had a “disco” theme, so we asked the players about their music preferences and dancing skills. This is kind of a fun piece, I think. Unfortunately, one of the main house lights on the green carpet area blew out halfway through, so the lighting on all of the interviews inconsistent. Regardless, it was neat to be there in the presence of so many pros.
I was running against the clock to get this piece up and out through the tournament social media outlets as soon as possible, so I think there are a few spots where the editing could be tightened up. But, such is life in our nonstop, need-it-now media world.
The photos are an assortment from the day. It’s the standard stuff: press conferences, practice courts, and scenes from around the grounds.
Thanks for looking. Enjoy!
All images above Billie Weiss/AELTC ©2012.
It’s great to be back on the blog after a few weeks away. I’m currently in South London, where I just finished working as Photographer and Social Media editor for www.wimbledon.com at this year’s Championships Wimbledon. I was extremely lucky to have this opportunity, which came as a follow up after working as a photo editor for www.usopen.org at last year’s US Open in New York City.
I worked all thirteen days of this incredible tournament, shooting photographs of players on the practice courts, Wimbledon matches, visiting celebrities, fans, events, and features around the grounds. I wrote captions for thousands of photographs from wimbledon.com’s team of amazingly talented photographers, as well as built and published 27 galleries for the website. Additionally, I helped manage Wimbledon’s Facebook and Twitter accounts by publishing photos and galleries, responding to online comments and questions, and monitoring audience engagement and activity. In my free time (what free time?) I watched a lot of really good tennis.
Wimbledon is the most important tennis tournament in the world, so it was thrilling to be able to reach out to an audience of approximately one million Facebook fans and 300,000 Twitter followers. Working with such a huge audience, I learned how to effectively increase an online fan base, witnessed first hand how people react and interact on social media, and got a better feel for which types of content people want to see most.
It was definitely a grind over the last two weeks. It was long hours, long bus rides to and from the grounds, and long walks to the bus (complete with many terrifying encounters with some mangy looking foxes). It was being told every morning that my credential wasn’t good enough to get me into the press centre (even though it was). It was hours of sitting in the “bunker” and the same chicken, potatoes, and butternut squash dinner in the same cafeteria every night.
But it was also having access to shoot pictures of the best tennis players in the world. It was watching your photos get 5,000 “likes” on Facebook in one hour. It was exploring the pubs in Wimbledon Village. It was being on Centre Court to witness Roger Federer win his 17th grand slam, Serena Williams win her fifth Wimbledon singles title and her 13th doubles title alongside her sister Venus.
But most importantly, it was the people I met and worked with. It was an honor to work alongside a crew of talented and hardworking journalists, and I’m so happy to have made the connections I did.
Above is just a small sampling of the photo work I shot over the past two weeks. Click each photo to enlarge if you’d like. As always, thank you for reading!
Now, I’m off to Italy for some rest in the Mediterranean sun.
After a bit of last minute planning, I got to shoot the 12th annual Taste of Tennis event at the W New York Hotel in Manhattan last Thursday night on behalf of the very hip tennis fashion and style blog, Tennis Served Fresh. An opening celebration of sorts as we gear up for the 2011 US Open, Taste of Tennis brought the world’s best tennis players and chefs together for a night of cooking, partying, and plenty of photo opps. Be sure to check TSF for a full report of the night’s activity.
This was the first time I’ve shot a red carpet event, although this carpet happened to be green. It was exactly like what we see on television at these types of occasions: hordes of photographers packed together like sardines for two hours screaming at famous people to look their way.
I was beat by the end of it, but it was extremely exciting to be there. It’s exhilarating to be so close to so many tennis players my own teammates and I have watched throughout the years.
*Don’t forget to vote for “Billie with an I.E.” for Baltimore’s Most Valuable Blog! You can vote once per day per computer or smartphone until September 9, 2011. Click here to vote! Thank you so much for your readership!*