When I attended the Summit Sports Photography Workshop in 2016, Mark Terrill taught us how to set up and use remote cameras. I was intrigued by this because I could see a variety of placements for remote cameras in my sports photography at the university where I shoot. When I returned home from the workshop I ordered the necessary equipment: PocketWizards, extra cameras, magic arms, cables, and rechargeable batteries. It took some time to acquire the equipment but once I did, I set out to put my learning into practice.
My first attempt was at the university soccer game on a beautiful fall evening. The game went into sudden death and with my newly added remote camera I captured this photo of our goalie getting pumped up before the next overtime kick. I learned a lot in that first attempt at setting up remote cameras. For one, I learned that the cheaper PocketWizards were not working adequately for me so I returned them and purchased the MultiMax II version, which have worked incredibly and reliably well for me.
Some sports lend themselves well to remote cameras; others not so much. My favorite sport for remote cameras is basketball and my favorite location for a remote camera is on the basket stanchion. The setup is fairly easy but, as I was taught, I always use cables to backup the remote setup. This way, if anything fails, the camera setup will not fall onto the court. This is critical and should never be forgotten or avoided to save time.
Another thing I learned is the importance of focusing properly. I use manual focus and pre-adjust the proper focus when I am setting up the remote camera. I typically focus on the basket net or just beyond it to get the players’ faces in proper focus. I also use a slightly closed aperture to increase the depth of field. I am finding that f/4.5 – f/5.6 works pretty well for me. It is a balancing act because we need light to be able to stop the action with a faster shutter speed.
I also set the camera mode to manual so I can adjust the right aperture and shutter speed to get a proper exposure. I am enjoying the challenge of setting up remote cameras and they provide some unique angles that I cannot get any other way. Remote cameras are another tool in the sports photographer’s arsenal and I am so glad I learned to incorporate them into my sports photography. I am grateful for all that the Summit Sports Photography Workshop taught me and for Mark Terrill who took the time to teach us about remote cameras. Thank you!!!