The Local Knowlege


Jimmy Walker's 'in pretty elite company,' and he's also a pretty good golfer

Robert J. Nemiroff is a professor of physics at Michigan Tech, a former employee of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and the co-creator and editor of NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website. He also is generally indifferent to golf, a once-a-year player at most.

So it is no surprise that he was unaware that Jimmy Walker, whose photograph, Along the Cygnus Wall, is Thursday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (shown below), is a professional golfer and one of the best in the world, 13th in the World Ranking.


What he does know is that Walker, the amateur astrophotographer, is very good at it.

“Jimmy Walker’s had, let’s see, five [photographs] published so far,” he said. “That’s pretty good. We’ve had people with more. He’s not the most published. We’ve had people with 30, so I hadn’t recognized him as someone who had really stood out in my mind.

“But today’s picture is very good. It shows a lot of expertise. He has to know what he’s doing.”

Having a photograph published as the Astronomy Picture of the Day “is pretty difficult,” Nemiroff said. “One has to be a pretty good astrophotographer. It’s pretty competitive. Some people consider it like winning an award.

“We get photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope, major observatories, the Saturn [Cassini Mission]. We try to choose the best images. So he’s in pretty elite company.”

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A NASA website again recognizes Jimmy Walker's astrophotography

Jimmy Walker is now a star in his own right, a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team and No. 19 in the World Ranking, but he continues to receive recognition for his photographs of stars

For the third time, Walker, an accomplished astrophotographer, has had one of his photos selected as NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, shown here.

Iris Nebula.jpg

Here is the website’s description of the image: “These clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus…The pretty blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years.”

Related: Star gazer

A three-foot putt seems rather insignificant in the context of light years.

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Gear & Equipment

Photography: Aerial of Olympic Club available

Olympic Club Aerial.jpg

Premier Aerials International, which calls itself "home of the world's finest golf course aerial photograph, has introduced a 16 inch-by-20 inch aerial-view print of the Olympic Club, site of U.S. Open.

It comes framed in cherry wood and is available now at a reduced price, $199 (ordinarily, the cost is $275).

Premier Aerials also has prints available of each of the 18 holes at the Olympic Club, as well as a wide variety of prints from courses from around the U.S. and abroad.

Incidentally, in the Olympic Club aerial shown above, that is the Pacific Ocean in the foreground and Lake Merced in the background.

-- John Strege

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Gear & Equipment

'Golf's Unfolding Drama' an ebook worth looking at

Golf's Unfolding Drama.jpg

Great photography displays spectacularly on an iPad, a discovery that golf photographer Evan Schiller made soon after Apple introduced it.

"I loved it because of the screen," Schiller said. "It's a great photo album. An expensive photo album, but a great one."

Schiller is a former professional golfer turned photographer who is one of the few photographers licensed by the Pebble Beach Company. His work has appeared in the Masters Journal, the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup programs, and a variety of golf and travel books.

He decided to meld his expertise with the iPad's exceptional display. The result is his new ebook, "Golf's Unfolding Drama: Rare Interplays of Light on Form." It's available from iBooks for $9.99.

It is a collection of Schiller's finest work from golf courses around the world. Each photograph is accompanied by a hidden caption and story that drops down by tapping the words "About this photo" just beneath the image. The stories explain the circumstances under which the photograph was taken. For instance, the story accompanying his photo of the 14th hole of the Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare, Ireland, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background, says this:

"I knew the best, and really ony time, to capture this wonderful little par 3 was just before sunset because the sun would have moved far enough to the west to cast the appropriate light on the green...With clouds sitting heavily on the horizon, I waited for the sun to break through to capture my last shot of the day."

The title of the book derives from his experiences photographing courses at dawn and dusk, "when the sun peaks over the horizon or just before it dips below it...During these transitions between night and day, nature offers me some of her most dramatic performances: brief and rare interplays of light on form. Those fleeting moments are of breaktaking beauty and I am often left brimming with inspiration and awe."

In this book, he shares the results of that inspiration and awe.

-- John Strege

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Gear & Equipment

Course photos from Golf Digest photographers

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Some of golf's best shots aren't produced by golfers, but by golf photographers, including Golf Digest's talented staff, whose work is now available through the Golf Digest Category at the Conde Nast Store.

The Golf Digest Category features 709 photographs, golf and otherwise, taken by Senior Staff Photographer Dom Furore, Staff Photographer J.D. Cuban and Senior Conributing Photographer Stephen Szurlej. Also available are historic black-and-white prints, as well as photographs unrelated to golf, taken by Golf Digest photographers on their various assignments around the world, among them Cuban's picture of the Great Wall of China,

Shown above is Szurlej's photograph of the 11th hole at Pacific Dunes Golf Course in Bandon, Ore.

The photographs are available in four sizes, up to 36 inches by 26 inches, for premium photographic prints and 29 by 33 in a stretched canvas print. They can also be purchased with frames.

-- John Strege

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