So I got a call from my pals out at UT Golf Club yesterday, needing a shot of #12. I dug up this one and thought about what a handy tool HDR has been for me and golf. I shot this one at high noon a few years ago. Before, shooting a golf course at any time other than “the golden hour” was a bad idea. Noon was out of the question. Not anymore. You real estate marketers remember this when you’re told you can’t shoot in the middle of the day.
So I finally got an iPhone, and as much as I like it, I’m astonished by the quality of the photos it takes. I say “it,” because there are no settings. It’s all automatic. This is the first photo I took with it, today, on 6th Street. The only Photoshop work done here was to cut the file size in half. Incredible. Those people there at Apple may just have a future in computers and stuff.
I stopped by the 8th green at Lakecliff Country Club on the way home from my D-Crain shoot on Tuesday and got this one.
I’m not sure if he was ever in the PGA of America, but the late Larry Trader managed Willie’s golf course for years, doing all the stuff that golf pros do. I ran across this shot of him I got back in 2004, a few years before he died, and it remains my favorite portrait. Probably because I knew Larry, and we’d spent a couple of hours together on this day talking about Willie and Evel Knievel and Ray Benson and Ear Campbell and Coach Royal and all the things that happened out there at Pedernales and on the road. And because I know that he bummed that very cigarette there off my friend Mopar, who today will give a few golf lessons at Ascarate Park in El Paso. I never asked Larry what happened to that finger.
Just got back from a weekend shoot at Cordillera Ranch. They opened their new clubhouse, which is, in keeping stride with the way they do things out there, BAD ASS. One of the above shots will make the cover of Cordillera Ranch Living, and while the final pick will be up to the editors and art directors, I ask you: Which one do you like best?
Here’s the main dining room in the clubhouse, which looks out across the first fairway and 40 miles of Hill Country up toward Sisterdale and Luckenbach. They were beginning to move in the furniture while I was there. You Cordillera Ranch members sure are going to have a nice place to eat/drink/settle bets/whatever. Not sure, but I think Mike Marsh is responsible for this incredible building.
I like the truth, mostly. Especially in a photograph. But there are times when the truth gets in the way of the sale, without being deceptive. Mike Nolen at Falconhead Golf Club asked me to come out and shoot the newly landscaped 17th hole, which you see here. The best shot seemed to be from up on the hill left of the tee, but from up there, you get a good view of Lake Travis High School back there behind the trees. You don’t see it from the tee. But you also don’t see the surface of the green from the tee, which makes it a visually intimidating shot.
The point here is that while the top photo isn’t completely truthful, it shows the landscape better because the viewer isn’t distracted by something else. I wonder which one you like better. I know which one I do.
I told you about Stephen Best and his crew at Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club in Keller. Here’s a shot of the plush spread of bentgrass, just yesterday. In July. In Texas. Remarkable.
Headed 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.
Tough 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.