Daily Archives: March 23, 2010

A Photographic Disc Golf Dress Rehearsal

The #2 son putts.

Recently, #2 played in the aptly named Dress Rehearsal for Texas States at Houston’s Tom Bass Park. Texas States is a huge, two-day disc golf tourney (that happens to be this weekend!) at that location. The one-day, 36-hole dress rehearsal gave players a chance to check out the course. And it gave me an opportunity to prepare for shooting photos at the real deal.

Ryan’s drive flies off the tee on top of a hill.

I was looking forward to making sure I was ready to take decent disc golf photos. I hadn’t shot at Tom Bass since last year’s Texas States, but I soon remembered why the course is so tough for players and photographers alike: It’s swampy (this was a muddy, warm day) and long. I was dragging by the end of 18 holes, and I hadn’t hoisted a disc!

T.J. putts uphill.

But I wasn’t complaining, because I was getting my fill of two of my favorite photo subjects: The #2 son and wildflowers! It was too early in the year for an abundance of flora. But there were enough to make me take more pics of the flowers than the players.

These delicate, small white flowers were all over the park.

I used my Nikon 105mm macro lens with my Nikon D700, because it does a good job with action and flower close-ups. There were a few times when I wished I had opted for my Nikon 70-200mm lens on shots of the players putting (I needed the 70mm range), but I was willing to sacrifice for the 105’s macro capabilities.

Even weeds can be pretty!

I’ll be using the 70-200 this weekend, because the disc golf action will take precedence. But I’m sure I’ll still get some close-ups of different wildflowers that have sprung up since the dress rehearsal. They’re so easy to capture, because they don’t move!

Yellow flower

Shooting flowers gives photographers a great opportunity to work on bokeh, that lovely blurring of backgrounds.

These little yellow flowers looked shiny close up.

The key is to open up your aperture (set it on the smallest number, e.g., f/2.8 or f/4), move in close, and focus on one spot.

They’re the same type flower, but one is white and one is purply.

And don’t forget that if you can’t effectively crop when you’re taking the photo, you can always cut out the excess in photo-editing software like Photoshop Elements. It’s not cheating to crop! It’s still your photo; you’ve just made it a more-effective picture by zooming in on what’s important. Our high-megapixel digital cameras are made for cropping; you don’t lose any resolution, so your photo stays sharp.

Brown, reedy stuff

The dress rehearsal did give me a chance to kick that nature-photography jones temporarily out of my system.

A branchless tree looks stark against the sky.

Just like the disc golfers, including #2, I’m going to be rarin’ to hit the course and see what I’m capable of at Texas States. Let’s hope I take more photos of the active players instead of the inactive wildflowers!