Yes, some times I get to do cool things. Scouting a wind farm was part of a recent project and – let’s just say, these babies are even cooler up close. I have scouted turbines in the past (from a distance) and they were mesmerizing then, but when you get to be so close and go inside and be on top of one, your appreciation and respect for the scale of them goes to a new level. The latter wasn’t on my bucket list but I summarily added it, and then crossed it off.The engineering and design (inside) is incredible. And yes, the view from the top was crazy. It was a clear sky this day and I could see for about fifty miles in every direction. Safety first, as you can see, climbing helmet, ample harness, and eye gear are all in play.
Love when the light pierces the turbine and blade shadows happen.
Later in the day and the light was – amazing. There was plenty of gawking.
Shooting on golf courses is a mixed blessing on multiple levels. Being outside all day, watching clouds and wildlife, the quiet…
The challenges include – the weather telling you when to shoot, the golfers not really caring about the shots you need, and if you like the game, it can hurt watching everybody else play when you are working. No matter, since the “worst” day shooting on a golf course still beats the best day shooting in any studio.
Here are a few tips to shoot commercial photography or motion on a golf course:
Choose holes on the back nine if possible. Ideally, #’s 17 and / or 18. Even the earliest golfers won’t arrive there until later. Plus these holes are usually located closer to the parking lot or clubhouse (making for better access).
It helps tremendously if you and / or your camera operator play golf. Knowing the nuances of the game, from etiquette to wardrobe to pace of play, can benefit you.
Weather can kill you – literally. Lightning loves golf courses and finds them from far away. Be prepared to take shelter! Have an escape plan.
Establish a working relationship with the Greenskeeper. You’ ll need their support carts and general guidance. Plus, you’ll be standing on their baby.
Yield to golfers. They have the right of way.
At stuffy old-school country clubs or private courses, a strict dress code may be enforced. Stuff like no jeans, collared shirt, etc. might apply to you.
Know the course by hole, by building, via access roads, and short-cuts.
Check with the sprinkler schedule. If they are on automatic, you’ll need to know when they blow and if they can be shut off.
Respect the staff, the game, and the land. They will give back if you do.
Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay ANY USE requires permission.
Important things to know about Location Scouting any location—with natural light is where the sun rises, travels, and sets. Also known as the sun path. More importantly, what will that path look like on the day you will be shooting? That time could be the next day, month, or year.
I am still surprised to occasionally encounter human beings who are simply unaware that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Even sadder? Some don’t even know which direction east or west is… Technically, the sun rises and sets due east and due west at a very limited time of year.* Most earthlings (because they’re not Scientists or Location Scouts) don’t know the sun’s true path shifts at different times of year from a southern track in winter and a northern track in summer. The photo above is sunrise in summer shooting almost due northeast. The shot below is sunset in autumn shooting due southwest.
Some times on the day you’re scouting, it is cloudy or you’re in the shadows of buildings or a natural canyon or indoors. There are a amazing Apps available to help you or you can go old-school and use a compass. But you must know where the sun will be traveling that day.
In movie-making of yester-year, DP’s would often order a Light Study for a location. This practice is rarely employed any more because of the Apps mentioned above but the process would involve a Scout being at a location all day, snapping a photo every hour, to see when the best light occurred. I did one of these recently at the times of day when I knew we would be shooting. It was refreshing to see the actual sun path and learn what it was doing.
Yes, I have been paid to watch the sun rise and set – and I am grateful. In most cases, it was me, the camera, and the daily gift of natural light. There is a quiet calm that can only be experienced at those paused moments. Those moments have been magical and they make for elements of production nirvana.
Learn from the sun’s path. Shoot it when it shines best. Be thankful you’re seeing it.
*My compass readings are based on the geography of the United States of America.
Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay USE requires permission.