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.
But this guy does not. In fact, Jhonattan Vegas will be one of the best golfers to ever play the game. I’ve played with great golfers (Brian Bateman, Bill Rogers, Joe Ogilvie, Wes Short, Brian Gay, Omar Uresti, Bob Estes, Tony Jacklin, Steve Stricker and a bunch of great players you’ve never heard of), but I’m not sure any of them have or had the potential this guy has. I know Coach Royal said something like, “potential just means you ain’t done it yet,” and he’s right. JV here ain’t won the US Open or the Masters yet or a whole bunch of majors, but he will. Why? Because he has a rare combination of power, finesse, desire, intellect and attitude. He’s extremely likable. He’s kind, funny, smart, authentic and plays golf on a completely different level than 99% of everyone else. I’m not sure what he shot yesterday out at UT Golf Club, where we played in their 2009 Pro-Pro-Scratch-Scratch with UTGC’s Corey Lundberg and Longhorn golf team junior Bobby Hudson (who’s also a terrific player, genuinely kind man and UTGC course record holder), but JV played the game with confidence, power, talent and intellect. And he played like a kid, having fun the whole time. I could write a good-size book about the few hours I spent with this guy. He finished 63rd on the Nationwide Tour money list, which means he’ll be back there playing the 2011 season, unless he makes it through Q-School. He’s playing in China in a couple of weeks for his home country (Venezuela) in the World Cup. (This shot of him was taken four years ago at the 2005 Austin Men’s City Championship at Morris Williams GC.)
You heard me. So go see this handsome fella here. Yep, that’s Chuck Cook, and he has joined the instruction team out at UT Golf Club. I watched him give some tips to the boys there on how to use all that technology they have out there, and it was a sublime combination of technology, experience, hard work, intelligence and simplicity. I wanted to put down the Nikon and get strapped in. But I prefer to play the game instead of study the nuances of my golf swing. At least right now. The minute I make a bunch of putts and shoot 80 is when I head out Quinlan Park Road and hang on to Chuck’s pantsleg until he agrees to diagnose me.
I started this blog on the suggestion and encouragement of the talented team at Fosforus. In terms of ROI, it has been a homerun. Off the charts. The only investment has been time posting entries, and I’ve had actual cash return. So big thanks to WordPress and to Fosforus. That said, I think I’ll join the rest of you bloggers out there who use these things to tell people about your day (no, I’m not making fun of you…I repeat, I join you). Today started out with trip to the dump. 1-800-Got-Junk is not effectively marketing themselves if they’re not using an image like this with a caption that reads something like, “You’ll Never Get The Smell Out of Your Nostril Hairs.” You think Hell has fire and stuff? Mine has six inches of foul-smelling slippery grey mud.
Then, I drove back downtown. Probably shouldn’t be snapping photos on a 70-foot flyover at 55mph.
I saw a bad wreck at the intersection of MLK and the I-35 access road. I hope everyone was okay, and by the look of that Prius, I bet they are. Astounding structural resilience.
I drove past the Capitol and thought about all the people I know who’ve worked there.
Then I saw this in a parking lot in Sunset Valley.
Then I drove back downtown and noticed how far along the W Hotel is coming.
When I got up to Congress, I saw a small herd of those Segue tour people.
And one of them wiped out. I couldn’t help laughing. Sorry.
Then I went south on Congress to shoot some of those traliers that sell food, but got there to find that they’re not open on Mondays. Shit.
So I went home.
Oh, and today is my birthday.
I’ve been out at UT Golf Club shooting their ‘Texas Legends” Invitational. The golf course really looks good, but it’s the club that impresses me every time I go out there. Those guys know what a club is supposed to be. The thought and effort that goes into their events is the best I’ve ever seen. Anywhere.
A 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.
A peek into the bar at UT Golf Club.
Been out to see the new clubhouse at UT Golf Club? Very nice. Here’s a shot from the hall that connects the main lobby to the golf shop. Stay tuned for more.
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.
Here’s a shot of the 9th green and approach area out at UT Golf Club. This hole has dozens of great photographs just waiting to be captured. It’s a great par-5, too. Big, bending, well-bunkered with a small green. The only thing I don’t like is that it looks like the safe play is left of the green. Not so. There’s a big shaved collection area over there that’s a fairly tough up-and-down. At least for someone with the yips me.
Congratulations to everyone at UT Golf Club for finally getting in the new clubhouse. And for the rest of you, go take a look at it. Really, really nice. Some of my photos are hanging up in there somewhere. This one here of the par-3 2nd hole isn’t one of them, but looking at it brings a few things to mind in the spirit of teaching golf photography in the Hill Country.
First, mornings are a crap shoot. The light is usually perfect, but maintenance crews making tracks in the dew can ruin a sublime golf landscape. Also, remember to dress well. By “well,” I mean be prepared to experience the proverbial witch’s tit. At least in the spring and fall.
Second, don’t let anyone tell you that you need a ____ing ladder. This is just my opinion (which is the most important one on this blog), but the best golf photos are from the ground. Isn’t that where golfers are?
Kevin Robbins has a piece in today’s Statesman about him. I’m about to read it. I shot this one of him at the 2004 Austin Men’s City Championship at Morris Williams GC.
The 5th green, yesterday morning.