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A Picture and Its Story

RTR4NHB1
Probability, Luck and Perseverance - 29 Jan 2015
Carlos Barria spent nine days attempting to get a picture of a bird and a player in perfect focus in the same frame. Here we show the failed attempts and the final successful image.
TENNIS-OPEN
RTR4Q3CG
January 27, 2015
A small bird flies above Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne...
Melbourne, Australia
A small bird flies above Maria Sharapova of Russia as she prepares to serve to Eugenie Bouchard of Canada...
A small bird flies above Maria Sharapova of Russia at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 27, 2015.
Carlos Barria - A perfect five-set tennis game (6-0, 6-0, 6-0) can have anywhere from a minimum of 72 serves to hundreds.
It can run from about 30 minutes to six hours or more. During that time, and when you have to photograph several games a day, thereÕs plenty of time for distractions.
On my first day covering the 2015 Australian Open tennis tournament, positioned on "the catwalk" Ð the metal structure that surrounds the stadium's roof Ð I noticed an unusual, at least for me, activity of birds flying above and into the stadium.
I looked closer and noticed the birds were eating insects flying about, creating a colourful scene as they flew around the stadium.
I was told by my colleagues that they have a competition amongst themselves every year to see who can shoot the best picture of a bird and a player in the same frame, so I decided to give it a go.
I tried a simple approach first. I looked at the player with one eye through the camera, and kept the other eye open for a bird peripherally. It wasn't easy. I got just a couple of frames and the birds were out of focus.
Then the challenge: How to get a bird in perfect focus with a player in the same frame?
So I tried the reverse approach: I followed the birds as they flew over the stadium, hoping to catch a player at the same time. But even with a Canon 200-400mm 1.4x lens and a Canon 1Dx camera, which are the top of the line, it was difficult.
The birds in this case are very small proportionally inside the frame, and they fly fast over a variation of different backgrounds which makes it almost impossible to follow with auto-focus.
Then I remembered something a friend once told me about statistics.
He told me a story about moving objects and the probability of two objects colliding. He gave the example of two people moving randomly around an airport Ð they have a greater probability of m
TENNIS-OPEN/
RTR4NHC4
January 29, 2015
A bird flies past Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during her singles semi-final match at the Australian...
Melbourne, Australia
A bird flies past Makarova of Russia during her singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2015...
A bird flies past Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during her singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 29, 2015. Photographer Carlos Barria spent nine days attempting to get a picture of a bird and a player in perfect focus in the same frame. This image is one of his failed attempts. See picture RTR4N1W5 for the successful frame. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)
TENNIS-OPEN/
RTR4NHC2
January 29, 2015
A bird flies past Maria Sharapova of Russia during her singles semi-final match at the Australian Open...
Melbourne, Australia
A bird flies past Maria Sharapova of Russia during her singles semi-final match at the Australian Open...
A bird flies past Maria Sharapova of Russia during her singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 29, 2015. Photographer Carlos Barria spent nine days attempting to get a picture of a bird and a player in perfect focus in the same frame. This image is one of his failed attempts. See picture RTR4N1W5 for the successful frame. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)
TENNIS-OPEN
RTR4N292
January 27, 2015
A bird flies past Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic as he serves to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their...
Melbourne, Australia
A bird flies past Berdych of the Czech Republic as he serves to Nadal of Spain during their men's singles...
A bird flies past Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic as he serves to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS ANIMALS)
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