Rattling Chains Photo of the Week: March 31

Image by Kevin Morrow; at the Hawk Hollow Open (October 15, 2011).

The photo is of Tom Edwards, throwing a Wraith with a chicken-wing throw off the No. 1 tee. Hawk Hollow No. 1 is a 429-foot open shot from a highly elevated hilltop with an out-of-bounds creek 10 feet behind the basket.

Tom threw the wraith low and hard, in a high crosswind. The disc flew straight to the pin and landed about five feet from the basket for an easy birdie.

Kevin says:

My process for this image was in my head and I had to practice it a lot in my back yard since I would not be looking through the viewfinder.

I used a Nikon D2x with a 10.5mm lens. I mounted the camera on a 4-foot scissors tripod with a remote trigger. The camera was set at 5000th shutter and f4.5. I wanted to get as much depth of field as I could with a shutter speed high enough to stop the disc in flight. I placed the camera about 6 feet in front of the end of the tee. I covered the camera with a towel to hide it and muffle the sound a little.

When a group of players arrived, I would fire off a couple of frames to make sure the noise of the camera would not distract. I had to stand off to the side so I would not be in the frame or in the view of the player. When the player began his throw I would press the remote trigger and began firing off frames until the disc was down range. I averaged about 30-40 frames per player. Out of the 30 or so players that I shot this way, only about 10 had the disc in the frame coming off the throw. Of those I was only able to get two that were good. Tom’s throw was the reason behind this image looking so good. His chicken-wing style threw the disc down the middle of the frame combined with my timing on his throw to get a great disc golf image.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Nikon D2X
  • Shutter speed: 1/5000
  • F-stop: F/4.5
  • ISO: 400

Why we chose to use this photo:

If you take photos and appreciate photos — especially sports action photography — there are images that make you drop your jaw and scream “Holy crap!” This shot is one of those.

Knowing how tough it is to capture the “shot,” makes this even better. Sports photography is extremely tough and it’s a business where sometimes you don’t have time to set up and really get what you want. But Kevin captured something here that shows the beauty of how awesome a shot can be when you are given enough time.

This shot works in so many ways — editorial, feature, personal — showing how amazing it is. The fish-eye lens really works well here and the colors are dynamic. The orange disc with the blue sky in the background is really wild. The burning sun in the corner of the shot is simply awesome. But it’s the little things that really sold us, too. The farm all the way in the background, with the silo standing tall and proud.

Overall, what a great image! Thanks for sharing, Kevin!

Have some great images you want to share with the Rattling Chains readers? Please e-mail pj [at] rattlingchains.com with the subject “Photo of the Week.” Please note that we can’t guarantee all images will be used. Send as many as you would like as if the photos are top notch, we’ll use more than one from you!

When sending in images, please remember to send the story about the photo, the location and any technical information possible! The story can be as long or as short as you like, but please make sure you give some details!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

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Rattling Chains with Avery Jenkins: The 2012 season gets underway

My 2012 PDGA tournament season started like it usually does — with a trip south to Las Vegas for the Gentleman’s Club Challenge.

The event is considered a season opener as many of the top players come out to the desert in search of warm weather and some top-notch disc golf. Plus, it’s in the great city of Las Vegas. We’re always looking for an excuse to get back to Sin City as often as possible. We’re usually here in the spring for the GCC and in the fall for the Las Vegas Halloween Classic. Sometimes, we get the chance to come back if there’s the “Big D in the Desert,” the Distance World Championships in nearby Primm, Nev.

I arrived in Las Vegas three days early for the 2012 PDGA Spring Summit, an event to discuss issues and topics concerning the Professional Disc Golf Association. The sport continues to grow and expand with more people playing every year. We, as an association, try to put ourselves in position to adapt to the massive growth.

I’m a member of the PDGA Board of Directors and have been for the past two years. I do my best to increase the quality of standardized, competitive play, while representing the voice of our membership. We discussed many subjects and topics at this year’s Summit, including information technology, website advancements, social media integration, strategic planning, prioritizing the future of disc golf, the PDGA Women’s Committee, PDGA Leagues, and international disc golf relations.

Two of the biggest projects the PDGA has going on now are information technology and the Woman’s Committee. The implementation of these programs will help gain more exposure for disc golf in the future.

Many of us have been directly affected by the lack of performance from the PDGA website. This situation has been made a top priority by the PDGA and we have the man for the job. The website is crucial to the growth of the sport and it’s the hub for all our communications, course directory, player statistics, event schedule and tournament results. It’s a go-to website for people looking for more information about the sport and how to become more involved. More than 96,000 visitors account for 1.1 million page views each month.

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One round. One disc. What’s your choice?

One disc for one round? This would be my choice. What about you?

One disc.

Do you know what yours would be?

Just one.

One glorious piece of plastic to carry for 18 holes.

Drives. Up shots. Putts. In and out of trees or wherever else.

One simple disc.

Backhands. Forehands. Flicks. Overhand shots. Rollers.

One.

Oh how life could be so simple, eh? No need for a bag full of discs. Just that one piece of plastic.

One.

Could you do it? Could you survive? Would you get the cold sweats when you had a certain shot and you didn’t have another disc? Would you panic?

Or would you just deal?

This idea came to me recently after a lackluster round at a St. Patrick’s Day tournament. Though I didn’t play awful, I knew I could do better. There were times I went with one disc, threw it and wondered if I was better off using something else.

After that round, I swore off disc golf for a bit. I needed to re-focus. Until the next day that is.

With the idea of doing some photography of the older baskets at the Rutgers course in New Brunswick, N.J., I set out with Rattling Chains staffer Darren Dolezel. We opted to play some sort of round, but with me toting my camera — I didn’t want to carry many discs.

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Plastic giveaway: What’s your best story?

Somebody will win this... will it be you?

For those who don’t know me, I’m a pretty competitive softball player. I’ve been playing it since I was 17 and I’ve loved every minute of it.

I’ve run a team for that long as well — and we’ve had a lot of success. We’ve won championships, reached the finals and done all sorts of fun things.

But one thing I always remember was playing in a league as a younger player — and I was one of the youngest on the team. During those days, I listened more than anything.

Oh the stories.

Things about the days gone by. Past tournaments and league shenanigans. Great games and road trips. It was a grassroots way of playing the sport of softball.

In recent years, the style of softball I play (modified) seems to be fading some. The local leagues have dwindled and most have folded. Slow pitch has taken over, especially co-ed.

In those young days, several of the older players told me that I grew up in the wrong generation. I was a bit of a throw back on the field in the way I played and how I saw and viewed the game.

I see disc golf in the same way. A growing sport in a grassroots atmosphere. But really growing — not on the flip side, such as softball was (at least in our area).

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Improving skills can equal more fun

Jack Trageser is bringing his many years of disc golf experience to Rattling Chains.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m digging the Rattling Chains blog so far. It’s well-written with new content just about every day. In the short history of disc golf on the web, that combination has been as rare as a Ken Climo three-putt.

In others words, practically non-existent.

In joining the Rattling Chains team, I’m hoping my particular contributions will give readers another reason to check in on a regular basis. If my personal experience and observation of other disc golfers over the past couple decades is any indication, improving one’s play and one’s scores (and finally beating that smug ‘friend’) tends to result in more fun as well.

I intend to focus on posts that help those new to the sport learn how to do things the right way from the start, and more established disc golfers how to play better.

And I’ll also be bringing a decidedly more seasoned perspective to Rattling Chains.

Most of the other writers here are still oozing with the kind of excitement and enthusiasm that comes from recently having discovered disc golf (ahhh, good times).

They’re still in that phase where they’re discovering some wonderful new benefit each time they play, think about, or read about disc golf.

Don’t get me wrong — I still ooze disc golf, and after all these years I still occasionally have ‘discovery’ moments.

But I’m used to it by now.

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Two writers join Rattling Chains

Rattling Chains is proud to announce the addition of Steve Hill and Jack Trageser as regular contributors to the writing staff.

Hill, who already debuted on the site with his account of being a plastic addict, started playing the game in early 2011 and has been hooked since. Writing since the age of five, Hill said he is happy to be able to combine is writing passion with disc golf.

A sixth-grade math, science and journalism teacher, Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2004 before relocating to Redlands, Calif., where he still lives.

Some of the items Hill will cover include noodle-arm reviews (for those who just don’t throw too far!), Southern California-based tournaments, adventures in the game, in-depth journalistic-style pieces and other topics as they arise.

“This is giving me an opportunity to scratch that journalism itch that never quite goes away, while helping bring a great sport to the masses,” Hill said. “I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead.”

Trageser (PDGA #9715) is bringing more than two decades of experience in disc golf to the site.

The owner of the School of Disc Golf, he is a professional player with multiple tournament wins on the PDGA tour. Trageser also coaches a team in the Santa Cruz County Interscholastic Disc Golf League.

He has experience in designing and installing courses and teaches a course on disc golf at Cabrillo College. Maintaining a strong passion for growing the sport, he is focused on helping players at all levels develop skills and have more fun with the game.

Trageser’s main focus will be bringing instructional posts to the site, with an emphasis on the mental component that makes golf and disc golf unique and compelling. He’ll also bring stories from two decades in the sport, the business side of the game and some product reviews.

“Rattling Chains aspires to be both the premier online destination for disc golf enthusiasts and a professionally designed, accurate window to the sport for the outside world,” Trageser said. “I’m excited to join a team that is committed to providing well-written, compelling content that spans all aspects of disc golf. Hopefully my focus on instructional posts will generate a healthy interactive dialogue that results in real improvements in our readers’ games.”

Trageser’s first post is slated to run Tuesday (March 27).

Rattling Chains is excited to have two writers with a journalism background join the site. We hope the readers enjoy the insights each have to offer.

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj [at] rattlingchains.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Poll 4: What kind of disc golf bag do you use?

Turns out many disc golfers are active in more ways than on the course.

At least according to the poll conducted on Rattling Chains last week. Each votes was able to choose up to three other sports they participated in besides disc golf.

For me, it’s only a couple of things. I like to ride my bike when I get the chance (albeit probably not as much as I should!) and I play softball as much as I can during the spring and summer months.

Outside of that, it’s the occasional hike and disc golf for this guy. And that works well for me. I could probably use a trip to the gym sometimes, but who couldn’t, right?

We didn’t get every sport listed, which kind of stinks with “other” receiving the most votes for the week.

Ninety-two voters took part in this past week’s poll, giving us a total of 178 votes.

Other earned the most with 27 votes for 29 percent of the vote. It was followed by cycling (23 votes, 25 percent). Baseball/softball, ball golf and just disc golf followed with 20 votes each (22 percent).

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Disc golf in the media: March 19-25

Though this wasn’t really in the media, I thought it was quite news worthy — especially for the disc golf community — and wanted to lead this weekly media roundup with it.

DGA is again doing a dream course giveaway and they will award two 9-hole Mach III disc golf glow courses to a couple of lucky winners!

This is being done as a fundraiser for the 2012 Worlds. With that, there will be a new disc, too — the SP Glow Undertow.

DGA’s website says the disc is a blend of glow material and DGA’s premium SP Line plastic. The disc is limited and this won’t be available after the promotion ends. The discs cost $25.

Go to DGA’s site about the contest to get all the details!

Now for the week of disc golf news in the media:

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March 24: What’s in your bag?

Note: This is the second of two weekly features we’ll be running at Rattling Chains. Both features — the Photo of the Week and What’s in your bag? — give readers the chance to submit to the site.

Until we build up several of each of these, we’ll be swapping these every other week. Once we build a good amount of them, we’ll run one of each every Saturday.

For the first week, I’m going to run what’s in my bag to show the items we are looking for. See the end of this post for information on submitting your bag and contents! We look forward to seeing what you have!

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Here's what's in my bag

I have a bigger bag than I need, but it was a gift and it’s hard to turn down a revolution bag. So in a given round, here’s what I carry in it:

Discs:

  • Innova Katana Blizzard (132g) — new to the bag
  • Aerobie Epic
  • Innova Beast (150)
  • Innova Valkyrie (150)
  • Innova Pro Leopard (166-yellow) — this one is beat in really well
  • Innova Pro Leopard (166-orange) — still working in
  • Vibram Trak (171)
  • Vibram Ibex (173M)
  • Discraft Buzzz (171)
  • Innova JK Aviar (175 — carry two).

What else?

  • Usually two 32oz Nalgene bottles of water, but carry one per 18.
  • Granola bars/trail mix
  • Waterproof scorecards
  • PDGA Rulebook
  • Two minis
  • Camera (during casual rounds, I usually bring my digital SLR)
  • Notebook (for notes about discs etc.)
  • Several pencils

My bag is a Revolution “Carolina” Team Bag with Innova gel straps. It’s the most comfortable pairing I’ve found to carry discs (and other items).

The straps make the bag lighter, it seems.

During tournaments, I’m more apt to make things as light as possible — so no camera etc. If it’s hotter, I’ll carry both water bottles as I tend to drink as much as possible when out playing. I hate getting to like hole 15 or 16 and feeling like I’m immensely dehydrated because I didn’t drink on a regular basis. So, two bottles per 18 becomes a must in the warmer months.

I used to carry more discs — but realized I didn’t use them all. During tournaments, I take a few out as well so I’m not tempted to do something silly. This helps eliminate a little weight so I can carry both water bottles etc.

That’s what’s in my bag.

What’s in yours?

Want to submit your bag and contents? Here’s what we need: A couple of photos of your bag and discs. Put together a list of everything you carry in the bag — from food to discs to anything else. Then maybe give a paragraph or two about your bag and if there’s anything you do between casual and tournament rounds etc. Finally, don’t forget your name, location and home course! Cell phone photos are fine, but please try and make it as high quality as possible. Grainy shots might not be able to be used. E-mail all of these things to pj [at] rattlingchains.com with the subject “What’s in my bag.”

Rattling Chains Photo of the Week: March 24

Note: We’re starting some new weekly features here at RattlingChains.com. These are going to be reader submissions, however. The first is a Photo of the Week. We’re looking for your best disc golf images. Not just the normal photo of people holding a disc or something like that (though, at times, we’ll use those) but some of your best shots. Artistic, action whatever — just make them your best. See the end of this post for how to submit images.

The other weekly feature is “What’s in your bag?” The first of those will run later tonight. Until we get a pretty good heap of each of these, we’ll probably rotate them every Saturday. Once we get a good crop of things built up, we’ll do two posts each Saturday.

Without further adieu, here’s this week’s Photo of the Week!

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Photo by Jenny Cook

Taken at Idlewild in Burlington, Kentucky.

Jenny says:

I was awestruck at the contrast of the basket, power lines and trees up the hill and in the horizon. Even when daylight is just about lost, I still keep my camera in mind because I love the opportunity to photograph a disc golf basket as a silhouette.

This particular course and sunset marked the end of a fairytale two week disc golf filled honeymoon. My husband and I had traveled to North Carolina, Tennessee, and back to Illinois and played countless courses along the way.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T1i
  • Shutter speed: 1/40
  • F-stop: F/5.6
  • ISO: 1600

Why we chose to use this photo:

This image is one of those awesome disc golf shots that can make you stare for a few seconds. The colors, the silhouettes, the lighting. This is an image that would make for a great enlargement and frame to go on somebody’s wall. This is a beautiful shot from top to bottom. Thanks for sharing, Jenny!

See more of Jenny’s images on her website.

Have some great images you want to share with the Rattling Chains readers? Please e-mail pj [at] rattlingchains.com with the subject “Photo of the Week.” Please note that we can’t guarantee all images will be used. Send as many as you would like as if the photos are top notch, we’ll use more than one from you!

When sending in images, please remember to send the story about the photo, the location and any technical information possible! The story can be as long or as short as you like, but please make sure you give some details!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!