Last week’s Disc Golf World Championships in Kansas City wasn’t only about the amateur players like the #2 son. The pro world championship was conducted at the same time. On our last full day in KC, the Mister, #2, and I went to the very-long and hilly Blue Valley disc golf course to watch the top four male pros—Avery Jenkins, Josh Anthon, Matt Orum, and Cale Leiviska—battle for the $5,500 prize and the right to call themselves the best pro male disc golfer in the world.
I, of course, carried my Nikon D300 and Nikon 105mm lens to capture the action. But there was one teensy problem . . . well, okay, one big problem: About 1,500 people also were watching, and I think they all wanted to stand in front of me!
On the first couple holes, this photo of the leaderboard was the best picture I snapped. People were all over the course surrounding the players as they teed off, threw upshots, and putted. Frustrating! What was I to do to get decent photos of the pros?
Simple! I moved around and tried to anticipate where the players would be. If you snooze, you lose when it comes to being in the right photographic place at the right time. I didn’t always guess right, but I carved out my spot enough times to get some good photos. Of course, I was pretty winded by the end; those hills are especially torturous when you’ve got a lung infection!
As much as I didn’t like the crowd blocking my shots, I did want them surrounding the players. Having all the people in the photos helps to tell the story of the finals—there’s so much pressure on these top pros to perform well amidst these loyal minions.
This is a much better photo of Matt Orum than the first one. I only wish he had used a colored disc; it was unfortunate timing that I stopped the action of his white disc against a white truck in the background.
Sidebar: A note for the Texas A&M fans—Matt is not an Aggie! He’s from Alabama, as in the Crimson Tide. I must admit, though, that “Aggie” was the first thought that popped in my mind when I saw Matt dressed in maroon.
It’s nice to get a photo or two of some faces in the crowd to help document the event. These are two usual suspects who I love taking pix of!
The setting for the finals was a beautiful, scenic park in Kansas City. It was nice to show some of that beauty when I stayed up on a hill and took photos of the players putting at a basket that was next to a lake.
Sidebar: Quite honestly, this was just a lucky photo. I was too tired to walk down the hill to get closer to the action. In the Houston area, almost every disc golf course is flat; you don’t need to be in great shape to take photos. KC was a challenge for me!
Even though there were four guys in the finals, the real drama was between Avery Jenkins and Josh Anthon. Avery had taken a two-shot lead into the nine-hole final, but Josh caught up, and the two were tied going into hole nine. Avery threw and hit the bottom of the basket, putting the pressure on Josh to make his par putt and force a sudden-death playoff.
The Mister and I had walked ahead to hole nine and claimed our spots where we couldn’t be blocked to watch and shoot the action. I was in the right place when Josh canned his putt and showed a mix of relief and joy afterwards.
Avery bested Josh on the fifth hole of sudden death to become the world champ. And because I was able to move around the crowd, I was able to get photos of the top four in action that always will be memorable to the Mister, #2, and me.
So remember that if you want to make the most out of pro—or any—photo ops, be on the move with your camera!