Thursday, 19 May 2011

UniCredit Ladies German Open Part 1

More great weather in Germany and my first chance to get my new 500W Bowens lights and battery pack into action. I have been waiting to use these on tour for a while now so it was great to have a small par 3 course adjacent to the main golf club where I could se the kit in anger for the first time. I had a fun time shooting a few of the rookies, and tried to vary the shots away form golf a little and ended up with a series of shots with Dewi-Claire Schreefel from Holland playing air guitar with her golf club as in the pic.
I was lucky with the weather as well with the blue sky and a few white clouds giving the impression she is flying through the sky. Also found out that at full power the lights will balance out shooting directly into the sun, so more shots to follow :)

Portugal Ladies Open & a bit of Surfing.

Portugal hailed another week of great weather on the LET, as well as Ashleigh Simon's second win of her career. The incredibly hilly course at CampoReal 40 Kms north of Lisbon made for some interesting photography. Some of the walks between green and tee demanded a shuttle service!
By way of a change, off course activities on Sunday morning included a surfing lesson for Stacey Keating and Danielle Montgomery by 2008 Ladies Portuguese Champion Filipa Prudencio. It was a great experience to shoot a different sport and stand in my shorts knee deep in surf . The photo is of Filipa taking off on a wave once the surfing rookies were ashore.

Turkish Delight for Christel

Christel Boeljon won the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open in beautiful weather at the National Golf Club in Belek, Antalya.
We were lucky to be hosted by the Calista Hotel, which was a great place to spend a few hours after the tournament, being an all inclusive hotel.

This was Christel's first stroke play victory on the LET, she won the team event, the Euro Nations Cup with Marjet Van Der Graaff, and as such she has a 3 year exemption on the LET, oh, and a €37,500 cheque.

Friday, 6 May 2011

European Nations Cup.

This event is one of my favourite of the year, the venue, La Sella Resort, Denia, Spain, is great with the hotel right on the course. The format of the competition and the off course entertainment organised by Deporte and Business make this week for both the players and press alike. Swedes Anna Nordqvist and Sophie Gustafson retained the title that they won last year but only just. They were chased to the last by the English pairing of Laura Davies and Melissa Reid. Above is a photo of the victorious Swedes with their caddies and national coach.

Moroccan Adventure

The Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, heralded the start of the LET spring season, and, to be honest, it was great to get out in the sun again although the 38 degree wind blowing off the desert was a little warm. Zuzana Kamasova of Slovakia became the first Slovakian to win an LET event and proved to be a very popular winner.

The back story to the event is pretty good as well. Zuzana failed to get her full card at school in 2010 and had stated that it was a dream of hers to get her full card and maybe win an event. She was playing in Morocco on an invitation from the only female Moroccan professional, Maha Haddioui, who herself has been invited to the Slovakian open that is hosted by Zuzana. Zuzana's win gives her a 3 year exemption as well as a start in the prestigious Evian Masters


Apologies for the lack of updates since last year, hopefully I will be back on track as of this week. I've had a busy winter which started off in December with graduation photography at CICM followed closely by the Dubai Ladies Masters at the Majilis course, Congrats to Iben Tinning of Denmark for wining her final professional stroke-play event.

Straight from Dubai to LET final stage Q school at La Manga, which is always a tense and exciting time where Sweden's Caroline Hedwall took line honours. I had photographed her a number of times in the past as she had a fairly decent amateur career including winning the best amateur at the British Open in Sunningdale. I am sure she has a bright professional future ahead of her.

January started with photographs at a winter wedding for pro golfers Rebecca Coakley and Shane Codd in Ireland, and then back to portrait and product photography as well as some time off :)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

I've just finished the Wales Ladies Championship of Europe and, fortunately by way of a change during the week, the sun was out. Conwy Golf Club hosted the tour this week and I decided to do a few trophy shots with the winner, South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace, that would convey the classic links course feel. There was a fair bit of dry grass in the rough so I decided to use this as a foreground as it would complement the dark sky that I wanted. The contrast between the sky and the golden rough was useful as Lee-Anne was wearing all white, which in sunshine, can be challenging to expose properly. I used a polarising filter, a favourite of mine for deep blue skies. I used a 580ex strobe to fill in the shadows under the cap

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Golf in Tenerife.

For me, there are several sides to Tenerife. There is the fish & chip, alcohol and nightclub strip of Los Christianos, the hustle and bustle of Santa Cruz and then there is the National Park, with Mount Teide and its sulphur springs. If all that was not enough, interspersed amongst it all are some pretty decent golf courses. One of my favourites is Buenavista Golf Club which is perched on the eastern side of the Island, about an hour and a half from the southern airport, (the imaginatively titled Tenerife South, TFS for short). Every hole on this golf course has a view of the sea with two built on a promontory that sticks out into the Atlantic. This can make for some fantastic photographs if the weather is on your side, sadly for the week I was there, there was only about 4 hours of really good sunlight and blue skies. I am a real fan of these conditions as you can get some stunning images that would usually mean lugging studio heads about, something I am not too keen on when excess baggage runs at about £15 a kilo!! The other factor is that flash guns are not allowed on the course during a tournament as they distract players so it is nice to have the opportunity to shoot with this kind of backdrop.
I took the shot of England's Melissa Reid (above) using a 1Ds MkII and 70-200mm f2.8 L IS 1/640 f4 ISO 320. Although you lose a bit of light with the circular polarising filter (CPL for short) you can see by the setting on the camera that the light was not that bright but there was enough to freeze the club and movement of the player and provide sufficient depth of field for the subject, (Mel). If I had wanted to freeze the moment of impact, I would have needed a shutter speed well in excess of 1/1000 sec as it was I preferred this shot as you can see the face and the eyes, something you can't do at impact as her head was down and the low peak of the cap blocks most of her face.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Basking Sharks

As soon as I landed at Heathrow from Milan on Monday I received an email from Dr Alex Tattersall who had space on a Charles Hood's boat "Logan." on Wednesday for a Basking Shark trip. The sharks, the second largest fish in the sea, are something that I have wanted to see since I was very small. Even though it called for an early start (4:00 a.m.) and a four hour drive before we even got on the rib, I jumped at the chance. We were pretty lucky with the traffic to Penzance, and met Charles at the quay. A quick wait for the tide to come in and we donned out kit and jumped into the 7.5m RIB and made the 20 minute journey to the first bay where the sharks had been spotted the day before. It was not long until the first fin was spotted. The shark however had no intention of hanging around and was determinedly swimming out to sea. For the next couple of hours we scoured the coastline and sea for signs of the triangular fin sticking out of the water but to no avail. We rounded Land's End and into Sennen Cove when we heard a shout from the bow. A basking shark had breached just 100m from the front of the boat, the resulting splash was enormous. within a few minutes we were in the water with the cameras waiting for the first shots, the shark did a quick fly by then disappeared. Sadly no one managed any shots but at least we had seen another one.
The searching continued, there were some pleasant distractions along the way as we spotted a Sunfish and some seals but what we really wanted were some baskers. Finally we found a fin and then another one, and then another. Charles positioned Logan about 100 yards ahead of he sharks and we all slid quietly into the water and waited. Soon enough the sharks appeared out of the green murk and disappeared as quickly as they came and kept circling us for several minutes.
Charles advised us that the trick with the sharks is to keep fairly still on the surface and let them pass you, if you make too much noise or move too quickly they are off. It is a balance of sticking your head out of the water to locate the dorsal fin and then getting your head down back under water and waiting for the shark to appear.
There were a couple of occasions, just when you think the sharks have gone, one suddenly appears from behind or the side, the first time it happens it is a little unnerving but a great experience.
We spent about 2 -3 hours in the water with sharks towards the end of the day, they weren't always cooperative and we were jumping in and out of the RIB to reposition ourselves as the sharks moved along the coast, which in itself is pretty tiring, especially if you have too much weight on your weight belt!!
I was using my 5D in an Aquatica housing with a Canon 15mm f2.8 fish eye lens and an 8.5" dome port. This was great for getting the whole shark in view but i found myself wanting a bit more zoom. I switched half way through the day to the 17-40mm f4 L and had was able to zoom in a bit but the murky water meant that the only way to get really clear shots is the old underwater adage, get close then get closer!
We drove home via McDonalds and eventually walked through my front door at 12:00 so it was a pretty long day, but it was certainly worth it. I am looking forward to repeating the trip next year.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Landscape Photography

Having spent all day today traveling back from Switzerland, I think the 4am UK time start makes it feel longer than it has been, I needed to get out and stretch the legs so took the camera and tripod to the beach to take a couple of shots. I wanted to smooth out the water on the shore line so used two ND filters and set the camera so that I could get 30 second exposures. I also used a polariser to saturate the colours and reduce the glare on the sea. The above shot is one of the few that I took. I would have liked to stay out longer and get some better colours after the sun set but the early start and busy week abroad has take its toll. :)
Ideally I would like a little more cloud formation in the sky to break it up some more and add interest. In this, web sized, shot it is difficult to see the Needles on the Isle Of Wight in the distance but, trust me, they are there. :)