Tag Archives: Billy

Social 4/4 Time

Billy pre-Photoshop: So yellow!

Billy pre-Photoshop: So yellow!

That little tremor in the world’s equilibrium yesterday was merely me leaving the 10-mile radius of my comfort zone . . . at night. For several hours.

Shocking, right? I cherish all the time I spend comfortably ensconced in my community’s little bubble. Usually everything I could ever need or want . . . including two Chipotles! . . . is right around the corner.

However, last night it was time for the Mister and I to pull on our social pants and mingle with the masses in Houston (where only 18th Street could magically become 20th Street). We met at the Corkscrew wine bar—the Mister zipped over from work, while I actually took on the mean streets and spine-tingling traffic of the big city with a few nerves left still intact.

Wonder where the yellow went?

Wonder where the yellow went?

Luring me to Houston was our disc golf pal Billy. He’s been featured in my blog before, famously wearing a blue dress, as well as wrongly advising me that chickens are harmless. Now that Billy has retired, he’s pursuing his dream of pop stardom. Too bad he’s too old for “American Idol”—this white-haired cat definitely can sing and strum!

Billy took to the Corkscrew’s horribly lit stage with his 12-string guitar and an eclectic song list that included tunes by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, assorted artists I’ve never heard of, plus several that he wrote (the Mister and I liked those the best). We were joined at our table by the Mister’s brother Mike and his wife Paula. Several other disc golfers also attended.

Naturally, I toted my beloved Nikon D700 for documenting the event. The Nikon 85mm (f/1.4) was the perfect lens for the job: It lets in a lot of light, plus it gets me close to the action without being intrusive. I just wish that there had been a lot of light. Talk about your dim bulbs!

Billy gives it his all.

Billy gives it his all.

As you can see from the top photo, the white balance was totally wonky. I put mine on bulb after taking pics on every setting and seeing that it was the “best” and hoped that I could wash away the yellow in Photoshop. My ISO was 4000; Noise Ninja helped tame the grain, which really wasn’t too bad.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening filled with great singing, wonderful family and friends, and Diet Coke and delicious thin-crust pizza.

I might have to shake up the globe a little more often!

Posing Putters

Mike concentrates on his putt.

Most disc golfers tend to ignore me and my Nikon when they’re putting. I try to be careful to wait until the disc leaves their hand before I snap that loud shutter (not that I haven’t gotten blamed a time or two—mostly by my younger son—when the putt goes awry).

Dr. Steve wants to make sure I’ve got him in focus.

Then there’s these two characters, Dr. Steve and Billy. One likes to fake me out when he putts, while the other can be equally as silly. There’s just no stealth photography when these two are near a basket.

Playing to the camera

This past Tuesday both were in the same group at the handicap mini tournament. And both decided to have fun with their easy putts while I was shooting.

Billy is too close to miss.

Notice the same color they’re wearing? It’s almost like they were saying, “Orange you glad we’re posing for you?”

Awkward Putting

Christian tees off with ease over the water.

When disc golf goes well, it’s a beautiful thing. Easy drives dropping close to the basket. Long putts that end with the sweet clanging of the chains and a disc nestling in the tray.

It’s obvious from the look on Eric’s face that this isn’t a fun putt.

But like life, disc golf can be ever so painful for these plucky players. And it seems to be at its worse when it comes to putting.

Patrick putts from tree jail.

What might seem to be simple—tossing a plastic disc into a metal basket—can too often be complicated by water or trees.

Tiffany avoids a tree while Tristin Lee is ready to pick up her Mom’s upshot disc.

Sometimes it seems like wood attracts plastic!

My younger son hopes to laser in a wide-open putt.

It makes the disc golfers appreciative of those unencumbered putts. They might not always be easy, but at least you don’t have to contort your body to see your target.

Billy is very confident!

The drop-ins are awfully nice, too!

If You Want Something Done Right . . .

My younger son contemplates his next throw.

. . . do it yourself!

After lamenting the lack of action photos of my little big boy during last week’s Am Worlds, I was thankful that he and the Mister played in this past Tuesday’s Southwest Handicap Mini weekly tournament.

Jump putt

Now that’s more like it!

It was nice to have my beloved Nikon D700 back in hand, armed and ready to shoot the usual cast of local disc golfing characters.

Eric putts.

Like Eric, the tournament’s terrific director.

Billy lasers the disc towards the basket.

And Billy.

Dale putted well all evening.

And Dale.

The basket is within reach for the Mister’s putt.

And, of course, the ever-lovin’ Mister.

The best part about being there to experience what my younger son was going through (after missing out in Rochester, New York)? I got to see him win! Not only did he post the best raw score, but, despite his handicap, he snagged the overall victory.

Plus I got to scratch my action-shot itch.

Disc Golf is Berry Fun!

Cody had mud on his shoes after putting from a puddle.

The 2010 disc golf tournament season opened in the Houston area on January 2 with great results: I got plenty of usable photos, and my #2 son placed second in the intermediate division, besting all but one adult. The Beast (as he likes to call himself these days) is ready to pounce!

#2 airmails a putt.

This debut tourney was at the Links about 20 minutes from our house. Played on a former golf course (which the #2 son actually played ball golf on back in the day), the Links is a major challenge because of its many lakes. And water is to discs as magnets are to steel. Too many discs sink to a watery grave at this venue.

Eric got extra style points for this upshot.

#2 lost to Eric, who is a fine competitor and friend. It’s always a treat for #2 when he manages to beat E-Dawg (#2’s nickname for him), but this time the Big E got the best of the beast.

Tony drops in a putt.

I caught up with #2’s group during the second round of 21 holes. I opted for my Nikon 105mm lens just in case there were some fine flowers waiting for its magnificent macro setting.

Berry nice!

Unfortunately, the only intriguing nature shots were of some kind of berry hanging from many of the trees on the course. Fortunately, the 105 does a good job capturing action, too.

The Mister putts.

Like this one of the Mister, who was in a different group with the old guys (aka, the advanced grandmasters).

Chuck butterflies in a putt.

And this one of Chuck.

Bart putts for par.

And this one of wily Bart, who whipped the rest of the old guys and made no plastic payments to the disc golf water gods. In fact, he was the only player who failed to go out of bounds even once! Quite an accomplishment on this course!

Billy smiles as he retrieves the Mister's disk from one of the lakes.

The same couldn’t be said for everyone else, which is why Billy wore his beautiful, white footwear. He called them his “sexy boots.” That description raised an eyebrow or two, but they did make it easy for him to retrieve discs that were thrown hither and yon around the golf course (including a few by the Mister).

And that was berry good!

Is It Possible to Just Watch Disc Golf?

The Mister in action

The Mister in action

When the Mister told me that he was going to participate in a local disc golf mini tournament (only 18 holes) last Saturday, I had to think about whether or not I would photograph the action. After all, the #2 son wasn’t going to play, opting instead to have fun with his buddies at one of their family’s bay house in Galveston.

Sidebar: #2 was very glad the trip was scheduled for Saturday, because he absolutely, positively hates this disc golf course. The very pretty course is tucked between a lake (lost discs) and plenty of out-of-bounds placements (added strokes). While it was the first course he ever played, it’s the one that frustrates him the most. Better for him to be frolicking in the waters of Galveston than getting mad at his dear, sweet, devoted mom when she tries to comfort him after a poor shot.

Eric birdies a tough hole.

Eric birdies a tough hole.

Even though the weather was fine for photography, I decided to take a different spin on the way I looked at the tournament. Too often I get so wrapped up in shooting the action, I don’t really see what’s going on. A player releases the disc, I snap a photo, and then I have absolutely no earthly idea what happened after that. I could easily get clunked in the head, if I’m not careful.

Chuck rears back for a throw along the lake.

Chuck rears back for a throw along the lake.

I decided that especially with #2 not playing, I’d like to just enjoy the pretty park, the players’ banter, and watching the action through both eyes, not just my right one looking through a viewfinder. So I didn’t bring my Nikon D300 and Nikon 105mm lens. (It helped that I knew there would be no flowers to take macro pix of.)

Sudden Sam putts.

Sudden Sam putts.

However, I knew that I couldn’t just watch. I had to have a camera to document some of the goings-on, right? So I opted for my Olympus Stylus Tough 6000. I traded great image quality for convenience and hoped for the best.

Ducks are wary of flying discs.

Ducks are wary of flying discs.

Using the point and shoot camera made me snap fewer pictures (why bother taking a lot of action shots with a camera that isn’t made for that), but it allowed me to look at the tourney in a different way photographically. And without a lot of effort.

Billy sweats in the hot Houston sun.

Billy sweats in the hot Houston sun.

I felt less stress, and I got to enjoy watching the Mister play . . . even though he didn’t particularly enjoy playing due to the heat and the toughness of the course.

Water jets shoot over a swimming pool.

Water jets shoot over a swimming pool.

And, even with the Olympus, I still got to be distracted while shooting disc golf!