"The Golfer" Magazine published in New York once asked me to write a story about some of the adventures of photographing Planet Golf to accompany a full-page review they were doing on the book. I chose to tell them about the day I shot the picture that eventually ended up on the cover of the book. This is how I described that day.
"The Golfer" Magazine, Planet Golf.
Maybe my luck is cursed, or perhaps the truth is that Great Britain and Ireland just have wretched weather, but whenever I have visited their fair shores wind, rain, and therefore the inevitable grey skies have often made photography difficult. In truth I believe the variable weather more accurately represents the challenge that golf sets on their courses. Blue skies do happen, but inclement weather is more the norm based on my experience.
The 6th hole at Doonbeg Golf Club graces the cover of Planet Golf. This photograph was taken on the only occasion I have ever donned waterproof gear while shooting a golf course. The itinerary was tight and I had no choice. Minutes earlier I had taken an image of the nearby 14th and marvelled at the drama of the storm clouds in the background as I looked through the viewfinder.
The approaching storm as I photographed the 14th.
My attention had turned to the nearby 6th, a par 4 running at 90 degrees to the 14th. To protect the camera and tripod from the wind screaming off the ocean I stood with my back to the water shielding the camera. Unfortunately I forgot about the approaching tempest I had just admired, and seconds after I shot the 6th the storm hit with great ferocity. I simply didn't have time to take my new, expensive, and very vulnerable digital camera off the tripod before the downpour.
Doonbeg 6th, moments before the storm hit, and the cover for Planet Golf.
Because of the near horizontal nature of the rain my body gave some protection to the camera and by folding my arms on top of it I was able to keep the water from causing potential catastrophic damage. After five minutes the tempest had passed. I was thankful that I had, for once, worn waterproof gear to photograph a golf course.
Golf course photography is not always blue skies and gentle breezes