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Thread: Golf photography, advice needed

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Golf photography, advice needed

    I'm going to shoot a pro golf tournament the coming weekend, and I need some advice, since I haven't been shooting golf at this level before.

    My plan is to use two of my existing bodies and lenses, the D80 with vertical grip and 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S and the S5 with 300 AF f/4 plus an 1.4x TC if needed. I'll also bring the Tamron 17-50 and the 85mm f/1.8 and/or 50mm f/1.8. A D300s would have been nice, but I don't have one.

    Are my lenses long enough? A 200-400 would obviously have been perfect, but I don't have that either. I'm planning on taking a relatively light tripod with ballhead, mostly so I don't have the weight of all my gears on my shoulders all the time. There will be more than enough light (if they can finish on schedule) and baking hot.

    I know there are rules about when to shoot and when not to at golf tournaments. Does anybody know the exact regulations?

    Any help would be very welcome.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    You can start by reading this thread....

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showth...presidents+cup

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Thanks. That already helped a lot.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Jorgen

    A lot depends on your intended use of the images. If you have responsibilities to provide the images for publication (say in next years tournament program or to a sponsor) then the assignments about getting coverage. If its for news its about getting the most important or representative images. Hopefully its for your personal usage and a good part of it is enjoying the process.

    Its good to get the gear out of the way and with limited lead time ..how much can you change? Most important you have to be able to use what you have without much thinking. Biggest error would be trying out new equipment along with a new assignment. For example settling on your AF settings during the event ..not a good idea.

    Don t underestimate how physically challenging this can be. Unless you are in great shape carrying a lot of gear ...all over a golf course will be your number one issue. The only way to get around this is to pick your shooting locations and work with the golfers coming to you. The golfers move quickly from tee to green . If you try to stay with them ..you have to run(sorry not kidding...I ve done this a few times).

    The two most common lenses used by the pros would be a long fast telephoto (400/2.8 or 600/4) ...this is primarily to maintain the required distance (no shooting during the swing) and to create separation from the background. The 200-400/4 is a great lens and I would also probably use a 1.4 x if on FF. Since you will be using DX this will help. Must carry a monopod to use . You mentioned a 300/4 ..this works on a DX . A 450FOV is fine but I would still use a monopod.....big advantage in controlling your space .

    The 2nd most common would be a 70-200 or 80-200 zoom. This is a good all around pick for both distant landscape with golfer images or in closer near the greens.

    Wide angles and normal lenses are great for creating context ....showing the crowd, the course and the interaction. In golf this is about setting the scene ..you know where the golfers are going .

    Best advice.....get to the practice round and walk the course . Consider the backgrounds and the light at the time of day you will be shooting. Figure out the flow of the course.....and manage your walking.

    The best images are of the biggest names and the tournament leaders...if Tiger was available....I would focus just on him exclusively. I have been able to do that maybe 3-4 times.

    Best sources of inspiration.....Walter Iooss..Classic Golf . Look at Robert Matre s work and gallery in Atlanta for a Fine Art approach.

    Fulton will add some things ..he does this for publication.











    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I'm going to shoot a pro golf tournament the coming weekend, and I need some advice, since I haven't been shooting golf at this level before.

    My plan is to use two of my existing bodies and lenses, the D80 with vertical grip and 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S and the S5 with 300 AF f/4 plus an 1.4x TC if needed. I'll also bring the Tamron 17-50 and the 85mm f/1.8 and/or 50mm f/1.8. A D300s would have been nice, but I don't have one.

    Are my lenses long enough? A 200-400 would obviously have been perfect, but I don't have that either. I'm planning on taking a relatively light tripod with ballhead, mostly so I don't have the weight of all my gears on my shoulders all the time. There will be more than enough light (if they can finish on schedule) and baking hot.

    I know there are rules about when to shoot and when not to at golf tournaments. Does anybody know the exact regulations?

    Any help would be very welcome.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Thanks Roger. I see this partly as an exercise to learn, but will shoot for stock. I have press credentials, so full access. It's an Asia vs. Europe tournament, and the top names from both continents will be playing. Match format will be similar to Ryder's cup (foursomes, four-ball and singles, 8 members on each team). I'm doing relatively hard physical exercise 3-5 hours per week, partly to survive events like this, and having done a fair bit of motorsports work the last year, I'm used to running with all my gear. Unfortunately, it's unusually hot for the season, which means up to 35 degrees Celsius. but I'm kind of used to that also.

    I'm a bit worried about shooting speed, thus the wish for a D300. The AF is similar to the S5, so I could live with that. I do have a 500mm f/8 Reflex. The bokeh is ugly, but I can sometimes work around that. The question is if manual focusing is an option at all.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Jorgen

    Sounds like fun. Match play is really fun and easier to figure out. Most of the drama is in the last 3 holes..where the matches are decided. Since its a team scoring event you will start to see team members gather near the end ...along with the wives and the captain.

    If I was shooting this I would look at the images of both the Ryder Cup and the President s Cup for ideas.

    Don t see why you need any speed for this as you can t really shoot much in a burst .

    There are situations you could use the 500 mirror. I use a converted Leica R version(really a Minolta) on my D3 s.

    The key to shooting sports is anticipation of the "decisive moment" and positioning yourself for the best chance to get it. No different in Golf just the distances put a premium on guessing correctly.

    Then I as was discussing with Fulton...you have to decide ...do you want the "one picture" that caps the event or a portfolio of good stock images of the players. Different approaches .

    We are expecting the celebration on the 18th green of the decisive match ....but what if its over on the 17th?

    The Sports Illustrated guys at the Masters use 3 pro bodies ..a 600/4 on a monopod and a 2nd body with the 70-200/2.8 and often a 3rd body with 16-35/2.8 (if its canon). Some work with just two bodies and a pouch for the wide angle. Lots of people rent the long glass for the event .

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Thanks again Roger. I'm also leaning towards three bodies, but will do with the ones that I have, using the 17-50 on the S3 in addition to the above two mentioned. Then I can mostly avoid lens changes, which is a hassle at any event.

    I'll probably use the first day to get things figured out, the second to take photos for stock and the third to make "the glazing on the cake". Something in that direction anyway. Renting a long lens is tempting of course, but if I can get away with using the Reflex, I'll save some money (and hassle).

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Jorgen

    You can t miss . Hope you find the magic light .

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Did some testing today, and here's a result that surprised me:
    I took some photos with the 500 Reflex and the 300 with a Tamron 1.4x TC, both at f/8.0 effective. Guess what: the reflex was much sharper, not only showing more details due to 20% more focal length, but also per pixel. In addition, the mirror lens shows no CA whatsoever, while the 300 with the TC has a lot of that, and not only in OOF areas.

    This will be interesting

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    The reflex (mirror) lens is under appreciated with DSLR . The version I use is the Leica R adapted to the Nikon mount. The same Minolta design I believe thats even in the Sony line as an AF design today. Size and the ability to have the reach available is the primary advantage....for me especially around water where I can t get closer.

    The speed f8 but T11 ..can now be overcome with a usable ISO1600. The ugly OOF donuts you just have to work around.

  11. #11
    chrisssteeven
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    I work at a golf course, and have to shoot tournaments and events on a regular basis. You're not going to get everyone, unless you stay at 1 hole, shoot everyone playing that hole over and over. Best bet is to find out which holes are going to give you the best angles/views to compliment your photos. Shooting a guy's *** while he's putting would be pretty lame unless you've got a fountain spraying in the background adding to the shot.
    Normally each course has a few "signature" holes. Find out which holes they are, and how to best navigate between those. Drive around in your cart (or walk if they won't have carts available) and find the easiest route for you.
    Positions - During the swing, impact, holding their backswing, and putting are usually going to be the best shots. You'll have to find which positions at each hole give you the best shot. Like I said earlier, use landmarks to strengthen the shot, ie fountains, lakes, etc..

    Etiquette - no talking during swings, or getting ready to swing. If your driving a cart, and you're passing a group, stop if they're about to swing, same with walking by or driving by someone putting. When shooting a putt, don't be directly in front of them or "in their lie". Its distracting to them. You either have to use a long lense and be a good distance away to catch that particular angle, or be close, but be off to the side a bit. Just be polite, talk softly, and I'm sure you'll do fine. While shooting if you see where a ball lands, point it out. Lost balls happen alot in amateur tournaments. Talk to the pro's in the golf shop and ask them if there's anything special you need to know about their course while out there.
    The last event I shot was a media day for 9 new holes opening this summer. It was 102 degrees, little to no shade, and no clouds till later in the day. I shot the entire thing with 17-50.
    As for the slide show - I shot in raw, loaded up lightroom and exported a quick gallery and they viewed it during dinner. So don't feel you have to shoot jpg.
    I primarily followed 1 group around that day, and there's no touch up on those images, so excuse the washed out colors. But maybe some of the shots there will give ya some ideas. Just remember its an amateur tournament, so they'll be more focused on their golf game then they will be on you. Good luck!
    Last edited by chrisssteeven; 9th February 2010 at 22:17.

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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    anyone going to at&t this week? will be there, but those fools might call mavericks on saturday--decisions, decisions.....

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Golf photography, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by fultonpics View Post
    anyone going to at&t this week? will be there, but those fools might call mavericks on saturday--decisions, decisions.....
    A bit too far away from me, but there's an LPGA tournament here in Pattaya next week, if I can get my father out of CCU before then...

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