‘Onya’ Gentlemen!

•January 24, 2010 • 1 Comment

PGA Tour professional, Greg Owen, right, and his caddy, Mick Middlemo at La Quinta Country Club Sunday afternoon during the 4th round of the Bob Hope Classic. (iso 200 1/6400 @ f2.8 300mm lens)

‘Onya’ is an Australian term for Well done, a shortened version of Good on you.  Today I became a lifetime fan of PGA tour professional Greg Owen and his caddie, Mick Middlemo, after covering the duo during the last 9 holes of the fourth round of the 2010 Bob Hope Classic golf tournament.  Today’s assignment for me was to finish photographing the handful of amateurs I was assigned to shoot during the week and any pro’s they play with.  Jim Ruebsamen, fellow photographer and longtime friend, and I went to La Quinta Country Club where our golfers were playing.  I shot the first half of the day finishing up with a couple of players I’d been covering during the week and then picked up the last player on hole #9.  After the group finished the hole and began to make the ‘turn’ to the back nine, Mick approached me.  The solidly built,  6’3, tattoo’ed, former Australian rules footballer and current caddy for PGA tour professional Greg owen, asked me in his thick Australian accent why I was covering them.  His horse in the race had long fallen off the pace and was now just playing for his slice of the tournament pie.  I responded, sharing how I was covering an amateur in his group and therefore was to cover Mr. Owen.  Extremely polite and friendly, Mick said cheers and went back to work sharing his insight on the course with his pro.  Throughout the round, Mick and I talked and I learned much about the soon-to-be married man who now resides in Atlanta.  His friendship with Greg’s former caddie, led to his friendship with the PGA tour professional and after filling in for a period of time, Mr. Owen offered to make it a full time position.  During my 10 holes following the Australian caddy and English golfer, I witnessed the quintessential professional and gentleman.  Mr. Owen missed 6 putts on the back nine by an inch or two, frustrating the 18-year professional.  Regardless of the way the day and tournament had gone for him, Greg continued to represent the best of what the tour has to offer by helping out the 3 amateurs paired up with him.  Between reading greens, giving personal swing synopsis and instruction to sharing with me great places to stand while photographing the amateurs, Mr. Owen showed appreciation, grace and an all around great guy attitude throughout my time covering him.  At the end of his tournament, after missing another putt for birdie by 1-inch, Greg stopped to give autographs to 2 young children, going up and beyond by taking off his golf glove, autographing it and handing over to a jubilated little girl.  There may be many Greg Owens on the tour and throughout sports; however, I implore you to seek them out, give them their due as I will,  rooting and cheering for Greg and Mick, ‘Onya’ gentlemen!

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I’d Hate to be Paul Goydos’s dog!

•January 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

An angry Paul Goydos approaches the 15th tee box during the 2nd round of the 2010 Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament Friday afternoon. (iso 800 1/1000sec @ f4.0 300mm lens)

On a wet and damp Friday at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic golf tournament, my photo assignment changed.  Due to the massive rain which caused play to be delayed for 24 hours, the amateurs were forced to become spectators for the day.  Therefore, I was assigned to photograph every pro on the PGA West Nicklaus Private course.  My friend, mentor and colleague, Jim Ruebsamen, and I headed out to find a hole where I would sit at the tee box and he would hover over the green.  This way, we would get a tee shot of every pro and some green shots too.  We landed at hole #15.  The tee box is raised a little bit and unlike many other holes on the course, there were no ropes around to keep people away.  I nestled myself into a spot below the tee box off to the right of the golfers, out of their line of sight and far enough away to not present a distraction.  From that angle I could also photograph the 14th green and get more shots of the action.  The entire day was pretty typical with several of the pro’s interacting with me on their way to and from their tee shots.  Those who didn’t interact or give me eye contact, I have learned to leave them be and just photograph them.  The conditions were ideal for these professional golfers, as they didn’t have to lug around 3 amateurs who slow down play and can distract the focus of the pros.  On top of that, the pro’s got to play with one other pro as opposed to the typical 3-some found in every non-pro-am event.  Finally, the players who went off after 11:40 am got the advantage of playing under scattered sun, little wind and little to no rain.  Ideal conditions as the heavy rains softened the greens creating strong possibilities of low rounds.  Around 2:30 the 3rd to last duo consisting of J.P. Hayes and Martin Flores came through the 14th hole and onto the tee box at 15.  Both players smiled, interacted and talked to me, asking how I was doing.  This, even though Mr. Flores, missed a short birdie put on 14.  As they hit their tee shots, there was a little distraction as a shot from the group behind them went off course and ended up in the water.  I turned my attention to the 14th hole and watched as Paul Goydos and D.J. Trahan finish their putts.  Mr. Goydos, on his way to the 15th tee, went inside the white hospitality tent to get a drink.  As he disappeared into the covered area, you could hear him get loud and toss several curse words.  Who they were directed at, if anyone, I could not tell.  As Mr. Goydos walked up the cart path to the 15th tee, I got two photographs of  him, just like every other pro during the day.  (See picture above.)  As he walked by me, Mr. Goydos commented angrily, “You are supposed to be within one arm length of the yellow rope.”  Stunned by his correct but anal quoting of the rules, I wasn’t sure if he was messing around with me, until he followed the comment up with a strong handed, “RIGHT?”  Since there were no yellow ropes around, I knew he was taking his frustration out on me, the powerless person.  Instead of arguing with him or making any contradictory statement, I replied, “Yes sir,” and moved three steps to the left.  My initial thoughts were classic smack talk responses, including thinking of how I wonder if he ever goes a few miles above the speed limit when driving.  Something against the laws, yet within a certain amount, acceptable by many officers most of the time.   After he took his tee shot & walked past me, another marshal, the one in charge of monitoring the hole for the tournament, approached me shocked and made a comment of how Goydos must be having a horrible round.  I was angry but kept telling myself to try and be understanding before passing judgement.  Come to find out, Goydos shot 3-under-par for the round, A decent number by most standards, and for him, a career 71.4 scoring average, a great one.  I then started to think about how bad attitudes and immature reactions to ones own mediocre talent is not relegated to any specific class of people.  Considering Mr. Goydos averages 1.1 million dollars a year by making an average of only 13 cuts in 23 tournaments during the golf season, I would figure gratitude and appreciation would be his prevailing attitude, like the vast majority of players on the tour who are polite and respectful.  All aspects of the media help bring people and dollars to sporting events allowing for higher salaries and larger prize monies.  If the average person working a 9-5 job failed their assigned duties 10 out of 23 times and was mediocre the other 13 times, I guarantee, they’d be fired or on the chopping block.  Mr. Goydos should accept his talent level and the fact that he makes a wonderful living as a bottom feeder grabbing the leftovers the big names such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and numerous others not named Paul Goydos have helped to create.  Considering the highest 2009 OWGR (Official World Golf Rating) player in this year’s Bob Hope Classic is Mike Weir, ranked 39th, and noticing Goydos, with his 98 ranking, is struggling to muster a tie for 39th place after 2 rounds, I realized that in the end I’m glad to be me and only have to witness his mis-directed anger one time during the tournament.  I chuckled to myself on the way back to the clubhouse and told my fellow photographer Jim, that I’d hate to be Paul Goydos’s dog.  FORE Fido….

Big Horned Sheep Gallery

•January 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A Big Horned Sheep stops to 'pose' for a photograph along the mountainside above the 15th hole at PGA West, Palmer Private course Wednesday afternoon. (iso 200, 1/1600 sec @ f4.0 w/ a 300mm lens)

Yesterday, I came down to Palm Desert to cover the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament.  I have been photographing the event for 11 years and it is one of my favorite annual things to shoot.  Last year, I was lucky to get a shot of a hawk atop a rock at one of the four courses the tournament is held at.  Today, the group I was assigned to shoot played at PGA West, the Palmer Private course.  It is a beautiful course with several of the holes on the back nine run alongside the mountain range.  I’ve heard stories of the Big Horned Sheep which live in the mountain range and how they occasionally venture down and graze on the grass.  As the group I was following began play on the first of the holes on the mountain range, I spotted several sheep.  Magnificent creatures, their skin copper like veins of rock in the mountainside,  which make them often difficult to spot.  This one I zoomed in on, stopped to pose for the group of golf enthusiasts admiring it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….the big horned sheep gallery.

Where the paw & rubber meets the highway.

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This afternoon G and I decided to head to The Grove and pickup some magazines for a vision board we are creating.  Like writing down goals and dreams, clipping out words, photographs and putting them a small board puts energy in motion and moves us in the direction we want to go.  That all said, on our way out of The Grove, G spotted a guy on a motorcycle with a top hat instead of the required helmet, and he had this dog on his Harley.  It got me to thinking of all the crazy things I’ve seen in Los Angeles, but wasn’t able to capture on photographs.  Including, but not limited to 3 guys dressed up as superheroes, Superman, Batman & Spiderman pushing a stalled car out of the street.  I wasn’t going to let this chance to capture something unique and something that both G & I had a good laugh at.  So here it is, a man with a top hat, riding a harley with a huge dog on it….only in L.A., where the paw & rubber meets the highway!

Melrose & Poinsettia

•January 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The hustle n bustle along Melrose & Poinsettia on the Sunday evening of the New Year weekend 2010. (handheld shot w/ Nikon D3 17mm 400iso 1/8 @ f4.0)

I have spent my entire life, born & raised, in Southern California, specifically, within two cities, Glendale and Santa Clarita.  This past June, I moved into a wonderful, little duplex off Melrose in Los Angeles with my girlfriend.  I have had the opportunity to explore and enjoy my new neighborhood and I recently started to think of the differences between the 3  locals.  Glendale (during the time I grew up there 70’s, 80’s) and Santa Clarita (present-day) are very similar.  Wonderful, young communities designed for families and the child raising mind-set.  I love them both dearly; however, to live in Hollywood, a place where people from all across the world seek out to travel to, for vacations or to fulfill deep seeded dreams, is a new and exciting experience.  The streets in each town has a different vibe and energy about them.  The largest difference is how faster things seem to be down off Melrose.  Life is definitely moving at a more accelerated pace.  Maybe this feeling is caused from the newness of living here or maybe it is embedded in some truth.  Regardless, the energy and excitement is evident and welcomed.  The photograph I am sharing is of the corner of Melrose and Poinsettia.  Georgine & I took our second walk of the day, this time in the early evening to a local nail salon for G to have her nails done.  Her time inside allowed me to take a little walk of my own and the amazing colors of lights between the storefronts, the street lights and the automobiles racing by caught my eye and forced me to capture this image.  I present to you, Melrose & Poinsettia.

New Beginnings

•January 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A photograph of the first New Years baby born in the Santa Clarita Valley a few years back

A regular feature of Visual Viscosity will be me bringing out photographs from my 10+ years as a photojournalist, sharing and discussing them with you.  Today, I go into the past to help us look forward.  The concept of a new beginning is something we tie into the start of the new year;  however, it is essentially a choice.  We all have the power to choose to do something and start something new.  This photograph is the stereotypical baby shot of the parents’ hands holding their infant’s tiny hand.  Considering a photojournalist isn’t supposed to influence or manipulate the shot, I had to be patient and lucky in order to get the baby’s face in the background facing the hands.  As 1st century AD Roman philosopher, Seneca, said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”  As a photojournalist, that combination is key to capturing key moments.  I continue to remind myself of this concept of luck in other aspects of my life in order to ‘make’ things happen.  I wish you all a wonderful 2010 and remind you to be prepared for when those opportunities present themselves.  All the best and here’s to new beginnings!

Stop & Look Around…

•December 31, 2009 • 1 Comment

On a day where drab and rain highlighted Los Angeles, I grabbed my camera and stepped outside my house to see what I could find.  I had no idea that in all the wet and gray I would discover such rich color and design.  I photographed the bark on the street-lined tree in front of my house and found this.  It got me to thinking about how there is color, design and beauty everywhere if we just try and find it.  Life never stops surprising me.  I realize that we all get caught up in the daily to-do’s and stresses and sometimes lose sight of all the amazing things in each and every one of our lives.   Add to that, just as this year has flown by, time seems to be moving faster and moments become more and more fleeting.  It reminds me of something Matthew Broderick’s character, Ferris Bueller, said in the same-titled film, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  So even on soggy, grey, gloomy day like today, stop and look around.