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Digital photography of your golfing buddies shooting bogeys and birdies is a great way to record how they struggle with and triumph over this frustrating, but exciting game. Part 1 of this PhotographyTalk.com articlebegan to present various categories of golf photography and the tips and techniques to help you capture all the drama and camaraderie. Part 2 continues the list with the sand trap, putting green, reaction and landscape categories.
Sand Trap Photos
Shooting golfers, playing from sand traps and other hazards, is a favorite of many photographers because the ball can be included in these photos. The ball is moving much slower, plus if you position yourself correctly, then you can include the spray of sand, the position of the golfer’s club during follow-through and the reaction on his or her face. Sand trap photos is a great opportunity to use your burst mode, as a series of photos may be more interesting or you may record a dramatic blast from the sand, and then a delayed reaction from the golfer as you continue to shoot.
For this type of golf photo, a telephoto zoom lens is preferred. You can frame a tight shot of the golfer and the action of the shot from a distance, so you’re neither a distraction nor in danger. Often, a great angle is to position yourself on the other side of the green directly opposite your subject. With a telephoto lens, you can foreshorten the image, so the player, the sand and the ball are all in the same plane or depth of field. You can also try the same wide-angle technique as explained in Part 1 for full-swing golf photos.
These same techniques also apply to a golfer who has decided to hit the ball from the shallow water of a water hazard. Remember to use that burst mode, since everyone will want to see a picture of that person drenched with water and/or mud after he or she has hit the shot. Don’t forget your buddy under the trees or in bushes who must stand at an awkward angle and swing weirdly to hit the ball.
Putting on the Green
Since no one is swinging hard and the ball is moving slowly, it’s much easier to move in closer for putting photos. Again, you don’t want to be a distraction, so a telephoto zoom lens is also a good choice, especially if you want to frame the hole in the foreground and the ball rolling towards it and your camera. A wide-angle lens will provide you with more options, placing it directly at the hole, with the ball in the foreground and the golfer above it and his or her reaction.
You can also frame a shot with the golfer putting and his or her playing partners, so you can capture a spontaneous group reaction when he or she sinks a long putt. Watch how your golfing buddies analyze the line of their putts. They may crouch or bring their head to the ground behind the ball, which could make for some interesting and less flattering pictures. Consider taking some putting shots on the practice putting green, so you can set up more elaborate and creative camera angles.
The interest and importance of reaction shots have been mentioned throughout this PhotographyTalk.com article. Like all sports, participants’ reactions to their shots and/or the shots of their playing companions often tell as much if not more about what has just happened. Spectators’ reactions also offer many digital photo opportunities.
The Beauty of the Course
Many golf courses look like one immense garden. They are sculptured landscapes that rival the formal grounds and gardens of many old European castles and homes. Better yet, many are located in very naturally scenic areas: deep woods, seaside links, mountains, and even deserts. As with any landscape photo, the lighting and weather can add so much, which means a golf course will look very different in early morning light compared to late in the afternoon. In addition, cloudy, windy or even stormy days can make a landscape look more dramatic.
Although, there are a certain number of golf course landscape photos devoid of people that are worth taking, you want to include players in these panoramic images most of the time. Look for a stunning landscape of a putting green perched high above the surrounding grounds, with a pond or stream in front and a group of golfers on the green. You may be able to find a lone golfer in the middle of the fairway hitting an approach shot to the green. His or her isolation in the midst of all that natural beauty makes for a dramatic wide shot.
Golf photography may be one of the more difficult sports to shoot, but practice the tips and techniques in this PhotographyTalk.com article and take your camera with you when you play and you’ll start to see excellent results.