As the Photographer of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, my assignment is to document everything that happens during the week long tournament. If you’ve never been the tournament is unlike any other. With more than half a million fans per week and having donated millions of dollars to charity, it’s easy to see why it was named the 2015 PGA Tournament of the Year. Officially the tournament is Thursday – Sunday but there are events going on Monday – Sunday. During the day it’s usually golfers and crowds, the evenings is dinners and parties for the sponsors or the Birds Nest concerts. Starting early morning and going until late evening walking several miles per day and averaging 3,000+ photographs a day.
Because my assignment is to cover everything happening on the course I have to be prepared for several scenarios. One second I could be photographing Phil Michelson and the next second I need to be photographing his or the crowds reaction to his shot. Last year Tiger Woods came back to the tournament after missing the last 12 years, the crowds were intense despite all the rain. Then at night I switch equipment to photograph events indoors and the concerts at the Birds Nest. Because of this I carry a heavy load of equipment with me on the course throughout the week. I’m not allowed to have a cart on the course nor is walking several miles back to the clubhouse always an option. So here’s what is typically on my body on most days on the course.
- 3 x Canon 1D Mark IV cameras
- 1 x Canon 14m 2.8 wide angle lens
- 1 x Canon 24-70 2.8 medium angle lens
- 1 x Canon 70-200 2.8 telephoto lens
- 1 x Canon 200-400 f4 super telephoto lens
- 2 X Canon 600 flashes plus extra batteries
- 12-16 memory cards
Extras includes: Battery pack to charge phone, monopod for the super telephoto lens, drink and snacks because sometimes I don’t have time to stop, sunscreen, rain gear and some candy, cause hey I love candy. New this year I’ll also have a Sony a6000 with 2-3 lens to test as well. All of this carried on me with a Think Tank Belt system and BlackRapid shoulder system.
This is when I usually get the offer, “Hey man, if you ever need an assistant to carry all that, let me know.” Unfortunately that isn’t an option right now so I schedule 1-2 massages after the tournament with my favorite person, Audrey of ALW massage and she gets me fixed up right away.
The tournament always ends on Super Bowl Sunday. I used to get invites to watch the game and the first couple years I was able to make in time for halftime only to pass-out asleep by the end of halftime, hence the ‘used to’ get invites. Now I enjoy the day however I can but after carrying all that, walking all those miles on little sleep for the week, I am spent!
This year should be another great tournament and lots of changes has been made to the course, stands and fan areas so come on out! It would be great to see you, just shoot me a text atwhen you’re at the course and I’ll do my best to say ‘hello’ ????