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|| News Item: Posted 2009-04-02

Robert Beck tells us to go make a DIFFERENT picture.

By Robert Beck, Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Tiger Woods

Ohhhhhhhh...A little harsh.

There are a lot of us at every event. Not a lot of room to shoot.

Rubbing elbows a little too much?

Can't get every shot?

Trying to impress your client?

Join the club.

It is hard to be different out there. I used to go to the North Shore of Hawaii every year for the winter season as a staffer for Surfer Magazine.

Talk about crowded! With the development of auto focus the photo population quadtrupulated! And there ain't much room on that rock.

It was a water polo game in the water and a rugby scrum on the beach. One year I decided to change up the gear I took over there...No 800 or 600. Not even a 400. The longest lens I took was my three hundred.

I shot everything a bit wider. I took more trips to the West Side to shoot from the water. Yeah I missed a bit but I had more images published from that season than any other.

Why? My images were different. Different places. Different looks from different focal lengths.


Much of the time it is hard to be different. Your editor or client may require you to get certain images that stifle creativity. Luckily my magazine has a place to print unusual photos. That is a nice option to have. I also have a few editors who have a good eye for plucking out the unusual image.

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Tiger Woods
Now you all know I am no Einstein. I'm not even a Kojo. I play the lemming once in a while. It is unavoidable at times. During Tigers comeback at the Match Play we ALL shot him on the range. I got my fill of that from many angles then looked for somewhere else to shoot him.

Putting green? Nope.

Walking through the crowd to the first tee? Hmmmmmm. Too risky with TV.

Ahhh. The little practice green where they can putt, pitch or knock a few out of the trap. Backlit but pretty clean. One tree. One stick. No other golfers and NO OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS. Worth missing some other stuff and hoping he would stop by. He did. With his caddy and his teacher. He did a little of everything. Hitting out of the bunker didn't look very good.

The back of the driving range stands made for a cluttered backdrop. Putting was an almost. I couldn't get the ball in the picture and that bugged me a bit. Bouncing the ball on the club. How Tiger! Pretty good.

Hey wait...Tiger wants another club. They are going to throw them! Whoa baby! There they go. Let it rip. Nice few frames. Double nice because NO ONE ELSE HAS THEM. The reward was worth the risk. It won't always work that way.

There are plenty of times I ask myself, "What the !@### am I doing?" Actually, there are more than plenty of times I ask myself that. Kojo will attest to my somewhat profane muttering. I can do that.

You young bucks...and buckettes? Go make a picture! A different one.

(Robert Beck is a Sports Illustrated staff photographer based in Southern California. He is a frequent contributor to Sports Shooter.)

Related Links:
Beck's member page

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