This is the bread-and-butter shot - the player has completed the follow through
of his swing and watches as the ball sails (hopefully) right down the fairway. We see
the golfer's form, golf clothes and little else. Unlike a game played on a court or
small field, it's nearly impossible to show the player, the trajectory of the ball and
the location of the green in one photo.
The lack of a visible ball is a problem. For most sports photography, the first
rule is always show the ball in the photo, but that's nearly impossible to do when
players are driving off the tee or making iron shots on the fairway, unless you make
an image before the ball is hit.
This photo shows a more modest approach to a similar situation. Here the ball
is visible because the player hasn't hit it yet. Instead, we captured what looks to
be the beginning of the player's downward stroke. His partner (we doubt it's a caddy)
looking on from the left side of the image adds interest to the photo.
This picture makes another point as well - we suspect the photographer used
a point-and-shoot camera and had intended to capture the golfer with his club poised at
the top of the swing, rather than an instant later when the club head has begun its
Point-and-shoot cameras have one major drawback when used for action photos.
There is a delay of a second or two from the time the photographer presses the shutter
release until the picture is actually recorded on film. That means, if you're out to
capture a golf swing (or a diver in mid-air or a runner stealing home) and you wait to
press the shutter until you see the peak of the action in your viewfinder, you won't get the
shot you wanted.
Unlike a single lens reflex camera (SLR) where the shutter fires at the instant you
push the shutter release, point-and-shoot models need a little time to set the correct
focus, analyze the exposure and select the proper shutter speed and aperture. That
brief delay is no problem if you're taking a photo of the kids in front of the Grand Canyon,
because there is no peak moment. But for sports photos, you run the risk of missing the peak action.
There's no certain formula for overcoming this problem since all point-and-shoot camera models
have a different amount of delay. So, if you use a point-and-shoot, get to know your
camera and learn to anticipate peak action and press the shutter a second or two before
the peak. Sports photography is one area where single lens reflex cameras have a distinct
edge over point-and-shoot models, so if you're really interested in action photography, you should
consider using an SLR.