One has very little control over lighting, so one must take it as it comes. Outdoors this means always keeping the sun behind you, and not even trying to take pictures that are back-lit, because they will inevitably be ugly. Indoors, it means noticing where the lights are and trying to use them to advantage.

I noticed the bright light under the balcony and took this picture intentionally. It came out much better than I had thought it might.

The bright lights right above this woman help accentuate the play and her facial features.

I noticed the bright spot on the wall, but didn't think much of it (other than that it was an annoyance) until I saw this picture. The result is almost biblical.

Unusual Angles

After a while, you learn that the higher you are when you take a picture, the lower the net looks, and the higher the player looks. This shot of an American Team player makes it look like he's towering over the net, even thought he is not.

I shot this picture in a college gym which had a small walkway around the court at the balcony level. Being able to shoot down on the player allowed me to get a fresh perspective on a familiar play. The hair contributes to the image. You've seen her before, above, biting her lips.


When two (or more) players jump up and contest a ball right on top of the net, it is called a joust. Typically, the strongest player wins, but there are some subtleties to this kind of play, and mere strength is not sufficient.

This joust occurred in Miami, at the Caribbean games.

Here one player tries to punch the ball over the net, while the defender tries to grab it and block it down. The setter is also in the air, trying to help. It is unusual to see three of the four players in a doubles match in one picture. All the blocker needs to do is tip the ball anywhere in the court, and the two offenders will realize that standing next to each other is not a great strategy in doubles.

Unusual compositions

When I saw the texture of the walls, the curved shapes of the ventilation ducts, and the water stain on the wall, I just had to draw back and put the jump serve in perspective. The blur of the ball and the hitter's hand add to the sense of the static nature of the background.