Rick's Tip

Post & Photo by Rick SammonFollow Rick on Twitter

I just returned from a golf lesson. At the end of the lesson, the instructor, Skip Marini, reminded me of all the things I need to think about to make a great shot off the tee:

• Set the club
• Grip the club properly and gently
• Position the ball
• Balance my weight
• Bend my knees
• Straighten my back
• Slowly take a full back swing
• Slowly swing the club
• Move your hips
• Hit the ball – my tip
• Keep your head down
• Keep your eye on the ball
• Keep your head behind the ball
• Release your wrists
• Follow through
• Face the target
• Don’t curse – again, my tip.

“Yikes! That’s a lot to remember,” I said.

Then I got to thinking, making (as opposed to taking) a good photograph involves many factors, too:

• Thinking about the image you want to create (first and foremost)
• Choosing a subject
• Seeing the light (color, direction, contrast and quality)
• Setting the correct white balance
• Controlling the light (with reflectors, diffusers and a flashes)
• Choosing the best lens/focal length on a zoom
• Setting the best f-stop/shutter speed combo
• Watching the background
• Composing carefully
• Pressing the shutter release button at exactly the right time
• Envisioning the end result
• Working and playing the digital darkroom to create the image to saw in your mind’s eye when you snapped the shutter.

Then I got to thinking about all the factors that go into a good guitar or piano solo. Yes, it’s another long list (I know because I solo.)

So here is the message of this homily:

You can’t possibly think about all the factors that go into a golf swing in a few seconds and expect to get a great shot.

You can’t possibly think about all the factors that go in to making a good photograph in a few seconds and expect to get a great shot.

And you can’t possibly solo if you need to think about what note you just played, what note you are playing, and what note you want to play next (not to mention getting the desired tone, etc.) in a few seconds.

The key: all this stuff has to come automatically. Effortlessly.

How does that happen in photography? Practice. In other words, you must know your camera and accessories and lighting techniques and composition soooooo well that when you see something that you want to capture, the process basically becomes point-and-shoot photography – again, an automatic and effortless process.

So practice – on a daily basis.

Fore! (Which comes, by the way, from the phrase, “Watch out afore.”)

P.S. I am currently shooting a how-to golf DVD with Emmy Award Winner, David Leveen, who shoots all my rickspixelmagic.com and Wiely DVDs. The pro? Skip, of course! And yes, fellow golfers, I do dress appropriately in the DVD. This fun shot of me was taken after one of my workshops’s happy hours. I made the photograph of the young girl in Panama.