Golf Course Photography
I photograph golf courses for a very simple reason. I'm a fan of courses of all kinds. Public, private, old golf courses and new, coastal, mountain, parkland… I enjoy them all. If a golf course is well-designed and well-maintained, there’s no place I’d rather be. I have great respect for the men and women who design, build, maintain and manage golf courses. And my goal is to display that respect by providing my clients with the finest images ever taken of their properties.
My feeling about landscape photography… whether I’m shooting a state park or national park or a scene along the roadside that catches my imagination… is similar. The solitude is usually greater when I’m shooting a natural landscape, which suits me just fine. And without the need to digitally clean up a tee box or fairway in the studio, in some ways it’s easier. But to successfully capture and convey the glory of a raw landscape is incredibly satisfying.
I work obsessively on my image processing techniques. Through the years those techniques have evolved to include a wide array of processes that can be applied as appropriate for the different kinds of images I capture. From simple color correction and sharpening to more advanced layer-blending techniques, I approach each image as a unique entity.
Most of my images are shot during the “golden hours” at the beginning and at the end of the day. The long shadows and softer light make for great images. But I love pushing the limits, and am always on site long before sunrise in an attempt to capture my favorite time of day… dawn. I begin shooting as soon as there is light and many of my best images are ones most golf course photographers never attempt. And that’s understandable since a sunrise, while beautiful, is not necessarily descriptive of a golf course. It is, however, descriptive of the property I’m shooting and frankly, I’m a sunrise guy! More often than not, my sunrise shots are among my clients’ favorites.
I shoot with a Nikon D810, unquestionably the best DSLR camera available today, which boasts the highest dynamic range of any existing DSLR. So for most of my daylight shots, I’ve developed unique processing techniques that provide depth and detail very similar to good HDR photography from a single exposure. My methods may take longer… about a week in the studio for every day in the field… but the results are photographs that appeal to an audience much broader than just club members and avid golfers.
In many ways I’m a loner, so landscape and golf course photography fit my nature. But I also love people. And those with whom I come into contact in my work… especially the professionals in all areas of the golf business that best represent the sport… inspire me to find new ways of communicating the wonder I feel in the face of a well designed golf course or a beautiful landscape. My goal will always be to honor those people by providing not just pictures of their properties, but great photographs in which their properties are the focus.
© Dave Sansom