High School Tennis – Ralston Valley hosts Dakota Ridge

I shot a sport I have never shot before today (it is still today as I am writing this, 11:26pm).  I stepped onto the tennis courts for the first time to photograph the action.  I was debating on if I wanted to head off to a local high school for some volleyball or head out to shoot some tennis.  I am glad I did choose tennis.  It was a lovely evening, and it was a chance to shoot a sport that I have never shot before.  It is not because I did not have the chance before.  Alaska has high school tennis, but It was never convenient for me to shoot.  But, here in Colorado, with me doing more high school shooting, I had the chance, and I am sure I will have more chances in the near future.

September 11, 2012: A Ralston Valley Varsity Tennis player returns the ball in his match against Dakota Ridge

A little before 3pm I headed over to Ralston Valley high school.  It is just on the other side of the hill from my sisters house, and the condo we are trying to move into is in the “Ralston Valley” area.  The weird thing is, they are the Mustangs, and there colors are very similar to the Chugiak Mustangs.  Their football uniforms are almost identical to uniforms Chugiak has used in the past.

September 11, 2012: A Ralston Valley Varsity Tennis player returns a shot from Dakota Ridge as the Ralston Valley Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis

When I got to the courts, I met the Ralston Valley team mom.  I gave her MaxPreps cards which would let the parents know where to find the photos I was taking, and I gave cards to the coach for Dakota Ridge.  Both coaches had no problem with me being inside the fence, and I basically had free reign on where I wanted to shoot.  They had 4 games going at a time, so I tried to shoot between two games at once, shooting as many different shots as I could.  After shooting, I had an idea for a remote camera that I might just have to try the next time out.

September 11, 2012: A Dakota Valley player returns a ball as the Ralston Valley Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis

This was very different for me.  Varsity and JV were playing at the same time at times during the meet, and it was kind of weird shooting multiple games at the same time.  Of course, there were no jerseys numbers, so trying to figure out who was who was impossible.  But at the same time, that stopped parents from saying, “My kid is #8, get lots of shots of him.”

September 11, 2012: A Ralston Valley tennis player eyeballs a shot as the Ralston Valley Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis

I managed to get hit only once, and I saw the ball coming at me.  It was not too hard, and I gave the kid a hard time for not hitting hard enough.  The same kid also nailed my monopod but did not have enough force to do any damage.  I had a few balls whiz by me, but for the most part, things were uneventful.

September 11, 2012: A Dakota Ridge player returns the ball in by far the best match as the Ralston Valley Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis in a varsity high school tennis meet

I even saw a match delayed by a frog that decided to hop out onto one of the courts.  Now, you may remember from other posts, I have been dealing with troublesome focus from my Canon 7D.  I do think eventually I will have to send it in to CPS to be calibrated, but I picked up an original lens pen on Sunday, and I really cleaned the exposed glass on my 120-300 2.8.  I think that might have been my main problem because I had some very nicely sharp shots tonight.  A lot more than I have been having.

September 11, 2012: A Ralston Valley Mustang prepares to hit a ball as the Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis

One thing that I was amazed by, there were no officials.  The players kept their own score, and called the balls in or out on their own.  I never saw any close calls called to anyones favor.  The honor system seemed to work fine here.

September 11, 2012: A Ralston Valley player swings at a ball in his match as the Ralston Valley Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis

I was very happy with my results for my first time shooting a sport like tennis, and came away with ideas for future matches.

September 11, 2012: A Ralston Valley player hits a ball in his doubles match as the Ralston Valley Mustangs host Dakota Ridge Tennis

And I finished the post at midnight exactly.  Check MaxPreps.com in the next few days for all the images from the match.

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