Golf Photographer Evan Schiller shares some of his favourite golf course images...
I’ve had a keen interest in photography since I was young kid, but my decision to play tournament golf in high school, college and as a professional did not leave me much time to pursue the more artistic side of my personality. That changed in 1986 during a round of golf at PGA WEST. As I walked down the 9th fairway of the Stadium Course, taking in the desert landscape and the Santa Rosa Mountains, I decided it was time to start bringing a camera with me to tournaments. I captured photos of the courses I played and initially gave them away as gifts. Several years later, working as an assistant professional at Westchester Country Club, a friend encouraged me to sell some of my work in the pro shop. That was 25 years ago and marked the beginning of my golf course photography career. It’s been an incredible journey that has taken me around the world. I truly enjoy the entire creative process; from getting to know my clients, to the adventure of scouting new courses, to the challenge of capturing unique images that show a course in its best possible light.
Main photo above;
7th Hole, Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, California
Hasselblad H3D-50 on manual
Hasselblad 35-90mm at 35mm
1/15 sec f19 ISO100
This shot required a bit of waiting on a mostly overcast day on the Monterey Peninsula. There was a slight break in the clouds just above the horizon to the west and I thought there was the possibility that I might get some sun just prior to it dipping below the horizon. Although my waiting was rewarded, the light only lasted about thirty seconds which was just enough time to get off a few frames. I wasn’t the only one happy with the shot - the USGA liked it so much that they chose to put it on the cover of the US Open magazine.
12th Hole, Punta Espada Golf Club
Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Hasselblad 35-90mm @ 35mm
1/640 sec. ISO 400
Helicopter shoots with the doors off are always a thrill, especially at this Jack Nicklaus gem in the Dominican Republic. This particular shot was captured from an R44, my helicopter of choice. They can be an expensive crap-shoot since you’re at the mercy of the weather. Shooting at sunrise can be a particular challenge here because you often have clouds on the horizon, obscuring the sun until it’s too high in the sky for the really great light. Fortunately timing was on my side this morning, the horizon was clear yet there were clouds above the course, creating some wonderful light for shooting.
5th Hole, Cabot Cliffs
Inverness, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
DJI Inspire 1 Pro
DJI MFT 15mm
1/640 sec f5.0 ISO 100
It took three days to capture this shot. The first two days were just too windy along the shoreline for me to safely fly the drone. The third afternoon was a beauty with the sun coming in and out of the afternoon clouds. Despite the fact that our opportunities to shoot were rare, those rare moments proved to be extraordinarily beautiful ones. This was my second trip to Cabot in a year and this afternoon was the most spectacular I’d seen, and that’s saying something. Getting to know the courses, angles I want to shoot and the light patterns are critical to capturing great images for my clients. Photographing with drones provides me with yet another option to capture unique views from heights or angles not possible or practical from either a ladder or a helicopter, allowing me to showcase bunkering, as well as fairway and green undulations in ways not always fully appreciated at eye level.