#8 Photographing Golf Courses
Before working at Schmidt-Curley I had already developed a keen interest in photography. When I first picked up a camera, I always felt the need to try something different, to get lower or climb higher in search of a new perspective. To this day I am still perplexed by the numerous photos of golf holes from the tee box, often with an uninteresting foreground showcasing a sea of green and a cart path in clear view. I always challenge myself to not only step away from the tee box, but in the case of Stone Forest, to climb the jagged rock formations in search of the best angle, one that I was certain no one else would find.
It is my number one goal to capture the essence of the design when shooting a new golf course. Sometimes it takes a few holes to find the answer but I approach each shoot with the goal of finding some features that separate the golf course course from your run of the mill design. When taking photos I always fall back to my favorite rule, is it interesting? If the answer is no, then I either scrap the photo or search for something different, a new angle, a different foreground, or perhaps come back at a different time of day in search of interesting shadows.
As some of you may know, China presents its own unique challenge for photographers. Dealing with smog and haze was a constant problem and we would try our best to time a photography trip with a period of good weather. It did not always work out and due to some time restraints I would often shoot a golf course over a one or two day time frame and pray for one morning or evening with good light. On top of that, I was often presented golf courses that were recently finished, still a little rough around the edges and with spotty conditioning. Sometimes I had to work with backdrops of highrise construction or a mass of freshly planted trees (propped up with wooden stakes to keep them standing upright in the wind) all while doing my best to evade sprinkler heads that would turn on at the most inopportune times. Although I would prefer not to use Photoshop, my skills with the program were extremely valuable when trying to capture some early golf course shots. A few clicks of a button and the stakes were erased, the water was turned off, and the fresh divot, replaced.
While in China I had the pleasure of accompanying some professional photographers around our golf courses, notably John Henebry and Tom Breazeale. They each had their own unique style of shooting. So much so, that at times I could look in a magazine and make a fairly accurate guess as to which photographer was responsible for the photo. After my time spent in China, I look back at the photos I captured as a starting point and I look forward to digging deeper into the craft, honing my skills and seeking out beautiful golf landscapes to capture. Below are a few galleries of photography trips I made while working in China.