Summer is coming 

It’s been far to long since I last wrote a blog post and things have slightly changed, I’m now a freelance based photographer working for the Press Association, Backpage Images as well as a few other clients.

Now this brings me back to the title of the this post and no I’m trying to get the Game of Thones web hits that be when I write a post about ‘Winter in Coming’ in a few month time. Normal when summer comes round I been covering Athletics, Cricket and possible some golf and of course the odd bit of tennis.  Some summers I may cover just one of the events in Birmingham, eastbourne, or an invitationals events that all lead up to wimbledon.

This year would be different over the course of 4 weeks I was going to be fully engrossed in tennis and be covering Queens, Eastbourne and Wimbledon for the Press Association. Firstly it was off to The Queen’s Club for the week in central london for men’s event, having not covered this event before I was looking forward to it as it tends to have some of the top players playing. All the singles matches play on centre court which has some descent backgrounds to work with including large stands to shoot from down so I can mix up the images during the week. Also a side note I’ve heard you do get treated very well from the organisers with meals a refreshments during the day, very helpful after long days working or waiting for the rain to stop!

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Now being the british summer it started with ‘rain’ delaying the start off play and the fun of shooting your weather picture such as fan under umbrellas, covers over the courts GV’s and anything else you can think off. On that 1st day there was only 1 game played and completed of course already delaying the tournament, thing didn’t start off any better with day two and further rain stopping play though out the day. At Queens a player who tends to be associated with the event is Britain’s Andy Murray and with him playing, there always the need to cover his practices session as this year he is back with his old coach Ivan Lendl. Who he was with when he won Wimbledon back in 2013 a good omen in a few weeks later.

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As Andy Murray progressed each round it does begin to fill like groundhog day shooting the same practices sessions but it has to be covered incase he pick up an injury and pull out so close to this year Wimbledon. Thought out theses events I do enjoy getting away from the court be it in-between games or during breaks in play and finding images of fans watching or waiting to get in. As well as the officials or ball girls/boys waiting waiting for their rotation to get onto court. Another aspect is of course looking to see if there are any celebrity or players family members in the crowd this year being David Beckham and Jeremy Clarkson who I found, I know there may have been some that missed but can’t get it all.

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With Andy Murray progressing throughout the rounds one of the position to sit mostly was right next to where his team sat and every time he celebrated he would look over towards them. Meaning I have a decent chance of getting a set of reactions, alway helps add to set of images sending out. Finally to the final and it was Andy Murray v Milos Raonic it was quite a good final both players taking to each other.  Raonic taking the 1st set to a tie break and winning then Murray taking the 2nd to level it going into the finally 3rd set and going from strength to strength taking the 3rd to win and que camera firing for celebration pictures followed by the trophy picture for his 5th Queen titles.

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This now leads me to head down the south coast and to Eastbourne where I’ve covered this event a few time over the years for Action Images. It’s event I do like going to as it has nice large centre court to work from and depending on the weather gorgeous evening light to play with also a little more chilled out.  Like Queens most of the main matches are played on either centre or no.1 court easier to cover all the players. When I arrived on Monday the rain seemed to have followed me and we were again held to long rain delays and back shooting weather pictures. Due to other jobs booked in already for PA I would missed Tuesday play and the final on Saturday but that still gave me 3 more days to cover the event and thought out that time I cover Great Britain’s Johanna Konta reaching to the semi final. All good with british interest leading upto Wimbledon and off course always looking out for interesting image on and off the court. During a press conference earlier in the week the LTA announced that the tournament with continual for at least another 10 years, see redevelopment of the grounds. I just hope they have thought about including building a roof over the whole site when it no dought be raining once again during the British summer!

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After two weeks of tennis it time for the main event and heading to Wimbledon home of british tennis, now I’ve seen the images and heard the stories from other photographers but I’ve never covered it. So when I was asked to covered this some months earlier it was something I was looking forward to. Yes it’s incredibly long days if your on centre court or No.1 all day or bouncing from one match to another on the outside courts with all the people crammed together squeezing though with all your kit. It’s well worth it as you get clean backgrounds, all players have to wear white and photography wise your treated incredibly well in where you can shoot from. That’s all down to excellent work of photographer Bob Martin and Russell Cheyne who runs the photography side for the photographers.

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For Wimbledon I would be working with PA photographers Adam Davy, John Walton, Anthony Devlin, Philip Toscano-Heighton plus Scott Wilson and Adam Peck who be editing for us though out the two weeks. As they have covered this event for many years I knew I be in safe hands if I had and question where the best position to shoot from or the easiest way to get from one court to another. As with a event as this scale all 5 of us be sending off back of the camera using the media wifi that cover the whole site or eithernet cable on the main show courts.  As I was the newbie the first few days were out covering the outside courts and learning how to get around the tight walkway in-between courts with fans watching while carry my gear. This sorted me perfectly as I could covered the matches I was assigned and find images away from the action.

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Now as with your typical british summer ‘you can see theme developing’ the rains returned and unlike the previous two week where play stops, Wimbledon has a Roof on centre court and one of these days I was assigned to cover all action on court. 8 hours later I managed to finally leave my seat from centre court and seeing some excellent tennis from both the Men’s and Women’s draw. One of these matches was the British wild card Marcus Willis with a ranking of 772 facing Roger Federer one of the greatest players of the modern era. Even thou you knew he had no chance of winning he did fire up the crowd and made it a entertaining match to cover and watch.

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Throughout this year event I produced a series of images from different location around Wimbledon of the thousands of fans who que up in the early mornings and are escorted in by the stewards when the grounds open. For the past few months I’ve been playing around with a 10 stop filter shooting along the River Thames and on the South Coast turning the water into smooth & motionless texture. Once getting permission from Russell Cheyne each morning I set out with my tripod and waited for the fans to walk past resulting in a set of images that turned them into river of fans. Overall very happy with how they turned out as it quite hard to create images that know one else has seen or not been done in recent memory from an event like Wimbldon.

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With the business end coming to a closed I was assigned each of Andy Murray and Milos Raonic semi finals which were great matches to watch and shoot after shooting them a few weeks earlier at Queen’s, it could have been an interesting final. The followed day it’s time for the women’s final who I shot with John Walton who was covering from court side and myself self from platform B. Unfortunately Serena Williams made light work of the final and won the game in two short sets but when she won it made a nice frame when she was congratulated by her opponent from my spot and when she left centre court with the trophy.

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With Men’s final with Andy Murray I was assigned to cover a few of the other finals happening on the outside courts and cover ‘Murray Mound’, as well as get into position for the balcony trophy lift. With camera all set luckily Andy Murray killed the game off in 3 straight set to win his 2nd Wimbledon title and show the trophy to the thousand of fans waiting below.

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Finally to wrap up my month of covering tennis was to a photo-call with Andy Murray Monday morning on centre court with a few other photographers. Bob Martin discussed what kind of image we would like and when the threat of possible rain and closing of the roof held off we all got what we all needed. As I end this post this I  won’t be seeing anymore tennis ball until next summer. Hopefully including  next year Wimbledon but if just need that last hit, check out this video found by John Walton link here.

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