September 21, 2014
Sycamore Ridge Golf Course, Spring Hill, Kansas
I would never have thought the word would grace my web site, be the subject of the Picture of the Week let alone the return to the WMS Picture of the Week opener. When asked to take candid shots at a Charitable Foundation Golf Classic I'll admit some hesitation. I’m not a golfer and for that reason do not know much about golf (I believe that a person should limit himself or herself to no more than one impoverishing endeavor -- I chose photography). In spite of my lack of any golf prowess I decided to give it a try.
As the day approached I called a friend of mine who eats, sleeps, dreams and lives golf and asked him what is the one thing I need to know about golf. There was a brief pause (I suspect he was tailoring his response for me) and then his reply, “don’t get hit by a ball”. I wrote it down. I continued my research and found a website on Photography golf etiquette rich with information on everything from faux pas to avoid, what to wear (beyond the dress code of the course) and what cameras and lenses to use. I spent a couple evenings deciding on what to take, which camera bag to pack it all in and how I would take the pictures. I settled on my Canon 70-300 mm lens (a driver of sorts for the golfers), the closest thing I had to the golf lens of choice.
The website article author could not speak of f-stops and shutter speeds until he addressed one very critical point. Apparently, the intense concentration and absolute quietness as a golfer prepares to take his swing is everything. I’ll have to admit it is something to behold, the moment the golfer approaches the ball and everyone in the area; nearby golf carts and players stop and honor the players repose. The only sound is the quiet of the wooded course. There the golfer stands, the grip set, as the breathtaking serenity is observed for a few special seconds.
It is at this moment that the author of the photography golf etiquette article admonishes the greedy photographer from firing off a salvo of three frames in a gear grinding / mirror slapping disturbance that echo’s the hollows and hills of the course. To do so brings the ire of all who grace the annals of golf history, a less than ceremonial banishment from present company and under certain circumstances the course. But if a crow in a nearby tree does the same (KAW, KAW, KAW) the golfer is likely to gain an additional ten yards on his shot and the crow lives to see another day.
The photographer, on the other hand, is highly regarded for their ninja like qualities, scarcely seen or heard including the noise or flash of any picture taking accoutrement's.
The day of the event arrived and began at 6:00 am with the sounds of a Scotsman playing the bagpipes. This particular day was not the best weather for a game of golf and might have scared off anyone attending for the first time and trying to decide if they wanted to take up the sport. It was cold in the morning with overcast clouds and got colder as the day went on with a persistent mid-day mist and drizzle. I loved it. It gave me a chance to try out the rain gear for my camera, lens and photography bag not to mention not having to battle the harsh mid-day light.
It is something to behold when it all comes together, when the ball is hit and sails up and out, making the turn toward the hole, just clearing the treetops (carving at least one stroke off the score) then bouncing within yards of the green. The same can be said when you frame the picture, set the exposure and squeeze the shutter release and capture the same. I think I can understand why some like the game of golf.
The 14 hour day was exhausting but also exhilarating. When I walked into the house at the end of the day I must have had this great big grin on my face. The first thing my wife said to me was "don't tell me you liked it so much your going to take up golf?" I smiled even bigger and replied "no, but I'm going to need a better camera and lens for next time".
What did I shoot on this course you ask? 352 over par.
The picture and writ'n is approved by the Editor-in-Chief of this outfit.
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