Monday, July 2, 2012

Rained out... almost

This summer, I was scheduled to photograph the third annual Cross Pointe Innovations charity golf tournament.  It's been a dry summer, and we hadn't seen any significant precipitation for six weeks prior to the event.  Of course, that meant that we experienced torrential thunderstorms for a solid twelve hours prior to tee time.  It made for an interesting day.

Three hours before tee time (4am), the event organizers called to tell me to sleep in because it was still raining and they expected the event to be cancelled.  However, when tee time came, the rain had subsided to a light drizzle with zero lightning, and the event went on as scheduled.  I had to scramble to get to up to the venue in time to spend the second half of the tournament shooting group portraits and a few action shots of the attendees that actually braved the rain.  (Several of the foursomes didn't show up.)

The overcast skies actually provided a lovely, even light in which to shoot, and occasionally gave me some interesting, dramatic backdrops.  Come to think of it, we haven't ever had clear, blue skies for this event.  I should be used to this by now.

It was still lightly sprinkling when I arrived, so I was glad that my primary body (a Canon 7D) and lens (Canon 70-200/2.8 IS) are weather sealed.  This was my first outing with my new 70-200, and I was itching to put it through its paces.  The wider f/2.8 aperture was a godsend in the morning's dim light, allowing me to capture swings at 1/1000s and ISO 400.  That's my preferred shutter speed for golf swings, as it shows just a bit of motion blur so you know it's not a posed shot.

I always fill in the team portraits with an off-camera flash (or two) on a stand so that I can position the golfers' backs to the sun and still see their faces while still exposing the terrain properly.  I normally throw a 1/4 CTO gel on those flashes to help warm up the skin tones, but that wasn't necessary with today's overcast skies.  My flashes aren't weather sealed like my body & lens, so I protected them with a pair of one gallon freezer bags hung upside down over each flash.  I'm sure it looked very hick, but it did the job and gave my subjects something to laugh about.

The event ran smoohly, despite the low turnout and the shorter duration.  You can view all the photos from the day on the Prairie Rim Images gallery.  The galleries from 2011 and 2010 are also still online.  You can also read my blog post about last year's CPI event, or about last year's Tiny Hands tournament that I shoot every July.

If you're in the neighborhood of Bellevue, Nebraska, in mid-June of next year and enjoy swinging a club for a good cause, please consider participating in next year's tournament.  You can find more details on the Cross Pointe Innovations web site.

What tricks have you learned for capturing interesting golf shots?  What problems have you run across for which you need suggestions?  Please speak up in the comments below.

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