I was out at the Tour Championship practice round yesterday with my D800E. Lots of good images under a wide range of conditions. The big difference was the dynamic range of the D800/E as this was a case where flash was not appropriate and lighting conditions were harsh.
I do have to say that the frame rate of the D800/E is not very good for golf. I was with a couple of other photographers who had D4's and the faster frame rate of those cameras is a huge advantage.
Here's an example of the distance the club travels in a golf swing. This is Rory McIlroy on the par 3 18th tee at East Lake. This was a second ball played for practice, so I took the shot during the downswing. These are consecutive frames on Continuous Hi. This was typical of my experience.
Here's another image with better timing right after impact. This is Dustin Johnson on the tee of the 17th hole.
I actually think the V1 is a good addition/alternative for golf - in combination with a D4. The ability to silently take shots during the swing, and the fast frame rate of a mirrorless camera is a nice compliment to a pro body.
With my gear, I would use the D800E and V1 in combination next time I shoot golf. I'd like a D4, but no more camera bodies.
That was the same experience I had with the D800 and baseball. The first shot had the bat on the ball and I thought I was a genius. I can't tell you how many shots I had with the ball just entering the frame on the first shot but no where to be seen on the second.
Bob - I know what you mean. I was trying to get some chip shots out of heavy rough around the greens. It was very difficult to get the moment of impact. Even more challenging when you consider the shutter cannot be released until the club strikes nearly the ball. Now of course, that is speed of release - and takes practice - but the frame rate is not fast enough for there to be anything else from the attempt.
>The V1 is def a winner in that regard, I recall Dave Black >used to hang onto a P9000 (Coolpix) because it had a silent >shutter and he had official PGA permission to use it.
Yes, Dave and I spoke about this in April. He's a sharp and fun guy!
I can't wait to start using my V1 more for this kind of thing. But I don't seem to have the issues with the D800 that others seem to. I guess I am just a lot more used to not using the motor drive for sports.
Just long practice. I learned my craft on a handwinder with film. So I still time my stuff more than anything. Occasionally, I'll do 3 shot bursts, but probably no more than a couple times a game. When my friends see my shots in LR, they can't believe it. All timed shot after timed shot.
Hey, I miss sometimes too. I also learned to shoot with both eyes open from the beginning and that makes things easier for timing.
>Perrone, > >It's hard for me to imagine a sports shooter not using the >motor drive. How do you manage it? Do you have some secret >sauce that we should know about? > >Bob
>Just long practice. I learned my craft on a handwinder with >film. So I still time my stuff more than anything. >Occasionally, I'll do 3 shot bursts, but probably no more than >a couple times a game. When my friends see my shots in LR, >they can't believe it. All timed shot after timed shot.
Golf photography is like anything else - you get really good with lots of practice. But it is so important to avoid triggering the shutter release too early as it can truly impact the shot and therefore the results. I noticed I was much better later in the day. And like anything else, lighting and backgrounds are so important.
I've probably got a bit of an advantage - and disadvantage in that I played competitive golf pretty seriously when I was young.
>My swing and >tempo is very similar to Jim Furyk.
Jim Furyk has one of the weirdest-looking looping golf swings in the business. I get the heebie jeebies every time I see him play. I always have the uncomfortable feeling that he is going to break his arm whenever he takes a cut at the ball!
Perrone's right - practice makes a big difference. The good thing about golf is the players are on the practice tee before the round hitting shot after shot so you can "warm up" a bit.
The Tour Championship and the Masters - and most PGA tour events - permit cameras to be used during the practice rounds preceding the event. In this case, there was only one practice round open to the public the day before the event started. Crowds for the practice rounds were exceptionally small. I was one of three people following Open champion Ernie Els late in the day. I was one of two people following Masters champion Bubba Watson. Phil Mickelson played a foursome (with Kuchar, Bradley, and Dustin Johnson) followed by about 50 people. And only about 50-60 people were following Tiger Woods - but he only played 6 holes. In comparison, at the Masters practice rounds Tiger was being followed by 3-5,000 people.
The crowds make a big difference with lens selection. I was using a 300 f/4, 24-70, and 16 f/2.8 fisheye. I chose the 300 f/4 due to light weight. Ideally a 200-400 would have been better. The 24-70 was used extensively. And I like using a really wide lens - either an ultrawide or a fisheye. Photo bags were prohibited. Cell phones are often prohibited, but this event had designated areas for cell phone use. The Masters strictly prohibits cell phones, and tickets are permanently revoked for anyone found using a cell phone.
Out of my 475 images from the day, 55% were with the 300mm lens, 12% were with the fisheye, and 33% were with the 24-70. I shot most of the long lens images at f/4.5-5.6. Shutter speeds were generally 1/500-1/2000 sec. I used a CP for about 40% of the images - none with the fisheye, 90% of the 24-70, and about 20% with the 300 f/4. I was mainly at ISO 200 unless I had a major problem with light.
Thanks, Bob. Admission varies by tournament. The practice rounds are cheaper than the regular tournament - and they allow photography. But you may not see all the players and the environment is quite casual.
For the Tour Championship, the practice round ticket was just $20 plus fees. The Thursday and Friday rounds were $55 daily and Saturday and Sunday are $69 per day. The package for all five days is $150.
If you are interested in golf photography, the Tour Championship provides better access to top players than any event I have ever attended.
Thanks for the info. For photographers it looks like the practice rounds are the way to go. I’ll have to research the PGA tour schedule to see if there are any pro tournaments within reasonable distance of northern California.
No wonder I didn’t recognize the term CP. It has to be at least 30 years since I last used a polarizer, and even then I hardly ever used it. (If I still have one stored in the closet somewhere it’s probably only a 52 mm. item from back in the days when most of the Nikon lenses used 52 mm. filters). Now I know the reason behind the deep blue sky in the shot of Ernie Els. If I were a landscape photographer I’d have to explore the use of CPs!