Commack High School Boys Varsity Golf vs. Half Hollow Hills East
Congratulations to the Commack boys golf team on their win over Hills East. It was a beautiful day for a golf match. Perfect temperature, not much of a breeze and lots of sun. The light is quite low in the sky at this time of year and the trees cast long shadows across the fairways and greens. This makes for some interesting, and varied light - everything from bright sunlight to deep shade.
Golf may seem like an easy sport to photograph since the players aren't moving that much except when they swing. The problem is they're constantly walking in and out of sunlight and the direction of the light is changing based on how you set up to photograph them. Commack's players are all right-handed this year so I could concentrate on one side of the fairway to keep their faces in the shot. The only issue was the placement of the ball on the green, but here you just have to pick a location and stay there hoping they putt with their faces toward you. You can't be running back and forth across the fairway to get a better angle.
One thing that surprises may photographers shooting golf is that the backgrounds, if they're mostly trees, are usually much darker than they look. This fools the exposure meter in your camera into overexposing the golfers. The remedy is to dial in lots of negative exposure compensation. I use between -2/3 and -1 1/3 stops negative compensation for scenes where the golfer is in full sunlight. When he's in the shade you can remove this compensation and expose normally. You'll find yourself riding the exposure compensation constantly during a match.
I also tend to shoot golf a little looser, taking advantage of the scenery. It's one of the few sports where the majority of your backgrounds are something you actually want to photograph, rather than the usual assortment of garbage cans, porta-potties and other stuff you find on your typical turf field, so you might as well include it in the photo.