Commons Picture of the Day: Sizing up the shot

Morgan Pressel sizing it up

While golf might seem leisurely for the pros who have caddies to carry their clubs, try carrying a 400mm 2.8 lens with a 1.4x extender weighing over 15 lbs (7 kilos) in 90 degree (32 Celsius) temperatures for 7 miles (11 km). That’s what Keith Allison, a part-time professional photographer, did during a stop on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour in 2009.

In this photo, today’s Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Day, Allison had been following LPGA Golfer Morgan Pressel for several holes during her practice round, hoping for an opportunity to get a unique shot. Allison was impressed with how Pressel devoted a considerable amount of time to reading the greens before attempting putts from different locations, even though it was a practice round.

“Golf can be interesting to photograph and that golfers have a unique challenge each week because each course and each hole is different,” said Allison. “One of the most important skills a golfer needs is the ability to read a green and determine where to aim the putt and how hard to hit it.”

In college, Allison was on the photo staff for a semester, and although he enjoyed the experience, he found that film was not for him. It was 1985 and the choice method to develop photos was with Kodak film and a darkroom, which Allison described as an “expensive and frustrating process.” He abandoned film for digital once those cameras became reasonably priced and the quality was high enough for him to purchase one. Soon after, Allison noticed an advertisement for a sports photography workshop. On a whim he decided to enroll and upon completing the course he was credentialed for several professional basketball and hockey games. From there Allison has gone on to do other professional sports covering football, baseball and golf.

“After being on the court of an NBA game literally feet away from the players trying to capture them making a dunk, I became addicted to the challenge of capturing compelling moments like I see in Sports Illustrated each week,” said Allison.

Allison boasts a collection of over 29,000 images uploaded to his Flickr account  and does weekly searches to see where his photos get used online. Wikimedia Commons has frequently made the list of results as many media organizations have accessed his photos via Commons. Having seen his pictures on Commons, many photo editors have contacted him directly for book projects, magazines and websites. Although he believes in the mission of Commons, Allison prefers it when others see a photo of his they feel is appropriate that they add to the Commons rather than him uploading directly.

Allison added that he supports the mission of Commons contributors. “Occasionally, I accept paid assignments and license images but I primarily take photos because I am passionate about it and not because of any potential compensation. I think its great when people share their talents with the world and are not doing it for the money.”

Jordan Hu, Communications Intern

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