Seattle Photographer Daniel Berman | Seattle editorial photographer | (206) 387-3767 daniel@bermanphotos.com

10,000 tennis balls

Posted in assignment work, news by bermanphotos on September 10, 2008

I am sitting out on my patio on a beautiful end of Summer day, and I still cannot stop thinking about an assignment last week for The Enterprise Newspapers. Sno King Youth Club held a fundraiser where residents and businesses could buy tennis balls for a $5 donation, ultimately raising $50,00 and selling around 10,000 tennis balls. T.E. Briggs construction used a dumptruck to send the 10,000 balls down a hill and into a jerry-rigged collection barrier near the bottom. Owners of the 35 balls to make it down the hill first won cash prizes.

When I got this assignment I immediately thought of putting a remote camera, low, and with a wide angle lens, near the area where the balls were to be dropped. I spoke with an organizer who told me no one would be allowed in the areas around the dump truck. I would have put a camera in the area where the public could go, but the amount of kids running through there had me concerned. I just did my best to work the novelty of this event and how fun it was for the community.

But before I could shoot this, I had to get up the hill. A big hill. People arrived by….
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…car, such was the case for the organizers from Sno King Youth Club, who escorted a few newly-purchased

tennis balls via pickup truck.

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Most people walked…while some skipped…

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…and others road bikes. But the anticipation and exercise were worth it.

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A crowd quickly formed around a barrier created at the end of the course. There ended up being a 20min

delay while police closed off parts of Main St., allowing me to think about some angles.

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It also allowed a few budding announcers to practice their best tennis ball innuendo. And with kids in the crowd…

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Jim Beirnes from Sno King Youth Club holds up a tennis ball that was test to go down a collection

chute at the barrier.

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Kids and parents scrambled for the best position, and then waited another minute. “Dump them, dump them!”, shouted the crowd.
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Backing up.
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Get ready for it..
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Here come the balls.

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Some people stood around while tennis balls collected at their feet. Others took a more proactive approach.

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This young fellow took it upon himself to make his own barrier.

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Climbing into the fray. Young kids piled on top of the collection of tennis balls at the barrier’s edge.

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Some people threw the balls, much to the chagrin of the organizers.
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Counting the first balls to come down the hill.

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Jim Beirnes carries a bag of winning tennis balls down Main St. following the Running of the Balls 2008.

I am still kicking myself though for not getting a wide angle into the mix during the ball dumping. That would have been cool. Next year?

Daniel

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