Golf

sky_creek_ranchHeaded back to Sky Creek Ranch just north of Fort Worth to shoot some new golf landscapes and their new restaurant.  Can’t wait to play the golf course.  Exceptional design and condition.  You old Barton Creekers will remember Sky Creek’s golf course superintendent, Stephen Best.  If I owned a golf course, he’d be on the short list of guys I’d pick to grow grass.  Stay tuned for some shots of Stephen’s handiwork.

Love and separation

gentlemans-courtI love the people responsible for the design and construction of this “gentleman’s court” at a private residence here in Austin.  Love them.  They are kind, talented, fun, creative, inspiring and do incredible things with metals, stones and all things green.  This little piece of work here is just one example of what separates them from the pack.

So what if I’ve never made par on it…

Cordillera RanchTough hole to play, but I love the way the par-3 13th at Cordillera Ranch photographs.  I even put a shot of it from 2006 on my business card.  I hate business cards.

On the tee

utgolfclub18thteeA few guys from the golf staff at UT Golf Club on the 18th tee.  This hole, in my opinion, is the best closing hole in the Austin area.  And all the times I’ve played bogeyed it, I always thought to peel a draw off that right fairway bunker.  GM Steve Termeer (there in the white cap) says no.  The correct line is at the left bunker.  Who knew?  I guess it pays to listen to a good player.

Strange

Tyler Texas GolfI consider this one of the best golf landscapes I’ve ever shot.  I took this one and some others for TMCP for inclusion in the 2009 Texas Bound for Golf guide that just hit the streets yesterday.  What’s strange is that I sent this one and nine others to the developers and the pro at The Cascades over three months ago, and I never heard back.  No “nice job” or “that’s interesting” or “that sucks.”  Nothing.  I also sent it to the people in charge of selling boxes in that condo back there.  Again, no comment.  As much as it sounds like I care, I really don’t.  I’m really more confused than concerned.  If you owned this golf course or were responsible for selling things around it, how would you feel about this photo?  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe this shot falls into a crack of apathy, and it’s neither good nor bad.  Just another golf picture.  If that’s the case, I need to seriously consider doing something else.

My book

book

So for those who don’t want to click through the whole blog and sit through my ramblings, click here to see a random sample of some images from the past year or so.  Shots from assigments, directed shots, personal stuff.  Chase Jarvis, at one point, asked readers to send in their opinions as to which ones in his portfolio they liked (and disliked) most.  I’d sure appreciate some feedback from you.  I like them all, so if you only want to tell me which ones suck, that’s okay, too.  Thanks for any input.

More defense of the short par-4

acc4Allow me to define “reachable” when referring to par-4s.  According to the PGA Tour’s stats, only 55 yards spearates the longest driver (Bubba Watson, 315 yds.) from the guy sitting at 197th (Corey Pavin, 261) in driving distance.   That means most tour players hit it about 290.  Tour players.  Not you.  Some of you hit it longer, but unless you’re eight or eighty years old or have some physical setback that keeps you from making an efficient golf swing, you can hit it 290 if you really go after it.  Hitting the ball past Corey Pavin is not magic or strength or the ball or the driver or the shaft.  So, all you golf course architects:  Please, please build more holes for me.  300 from the back tee, maybe 210 from the ladies’ tee.  Then go to work on the green complex.  Options, options.  Make one bunker deep, another shallow enough to putt from.  False fronts, false rears, whatever.  Make me think about playing golf.

Here’s a list of some short par 4′s I like around the Austin area (golf course architect):

#10 at Lions Muny (Not sure…John Bredemus?)

#4 at Austin Country Club (Pete Dye)

#3 at Onion Creek Club (Jimmy Demaret)

#12 at Barton Creek Foothills (Tom Fazio)

#13 at UT Golf Club (Roy Bechtol/Randy Russell)

#15 at Grey Rock Golf Club (Jay Morrish)

#14 at Barton Creek Cliffside (Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore)

#16 at Roy Kizer GC (Randy Russell)

Maybe you have some favorites?

Do photos help sell a house?

realestateI’d like to think so, but I’m not so sure. I shot this one and some others over 16 months ago, and the sale closes today.  Maybe it wasn’t my pictures.  Doubtful they helped or hurt, but I wonder how much of the real estate business depends on photography.  It’s sort of a complex issue, because as a seller, I’m trying to show the goods without showing the bads.  I think the law requires me to disclose the bads, but nothing says I have to show them in photography.  And as a buyer, I’d prefer to see more journalistic photos.  Let me be the one to decide how cool it is.  Beyond all that, how much is the selling agent willing to spend on photography?  And with the digital landscape evolving so rapidly, and taking great pictures with no experience being easier than ever, will there ever be a market for outsourced real estate photography?

Grey Rock Golf Club

greyrockgolfI played Grey Rock this morning with a friend from Laredo, and I’ve got to say, it just keeps getting better.  The greens were as good as they’ve ever been in the 16 years I’ve been playing there, and the service today was incredible.  Especially good for people having to work on Christmas Eve.  Great job out there, everyone.  I look forward to playing more in 2009.  At Grey Rock, for sure, but also to getting in a round or two at Laredo CC in the spring.

Perspective

cordillera_hole16Last year while I was shooting around Cordillera Ranch, I felt like I couldn’t get the perfect shot of the 16th hole.  I still haven’t.  It’s an amazing par-3.  Tough, beautiful, and unlike any other hole out there.  I’ve only shot a few frames with something else in the picture, and this is one of them.  Looking back, I think if I’m asked to shoot it again, I’m going to take a model.  The golf cart and the guy about to hit his bunker shot really show how big this hole is.  Without them, it’d be tough to tell how deep that canyon really is.

Winter golf

junior-golf

Today, I give you just a random image of junior golf in winter in Austin, Texas.

John Deere

johndeereStumbled across this last night while out trolling for image thieves.  First, congratulations to the Hill Family and everyone involved with Cordillera Ranch for this recognition.  Well deserved.  Seems a division of John Deere is doing something called the 18 Most Beautifully Brutal Golf Holes, and they sure got it right when they picked #16 at Cordillera.  Beautifully brutal is the most appropriate description I’ve heard yet for that one.

Thoughts on golf course photography

texas-golf-hdrBefore you other photographers get all pissy about lens flare and HDR and all the other stuff that’s “wrong” with that shot there, allow me to assist amateur shooters in their quest to take better golf landscape shots.

I’m a golfer.  And I’m not the kind to hit lots of fairways and greens and play robo-golf, like today’s Tour players.  I’m like my pal Roy Bechtol, who claims “it’s boring in the fairway.”  I’d rather have a chance to hit a great shot from a tough place than have a chance to screw up an easy one.  The photo there reveals a little about my shooting style.  Sometimes when I’m shooting design features on foot, I’ll circumnavigate a green, looking for the place I’d most likely find myself with a lob wedge in hand.  You know, the only spot where you CAN’T make par unless you sink a 30-footer.