Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith

Posts Tagged ‘Leica

Motorcycle remote camera

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With some time off today, I went up north to take a photo of my friends motorcycle he is about to sell.  I happened to cover a soccer game last night, so I was packing all of my photography gear and I thought it would be cool to mount a remote on his bike and snap a couple quick photos.  Nothing special today, but I want to get the bike out in the woods with all the green leaves that have taken over Austin.

I always get tons of questions about remote gear when I’m using it from fellow photographers on the sidelines and from people interested about remotes on the internet.

It is actually pretty simple.  That said, there are literally hundreds of different ways to go about doing a remote, but I prefer to use the following equipment:

required remote camera equipment

1 – PocketWizard Pre-Release cables. – These cables are designed to keep the camera ‘awake’ and fire the camera remotely.  I use cables from, and they have served me well.  With their prices, I have been able to buy three cables for the price of one of the PocketWizard cables.  

2 – Super Clamps. – These little dandies hold your equipment securely to railing, doors, bikes, tvs, saddles and just about anything else you can wrap your head around.  Three is the least amount of clamps you should own, as you need at least that many to secure a camera that has any chance of falling and hurting someone.

3 – Variable Friction Magic Arms. – These are the arms that hold your camera.  They come with a camera plate (3a), have 90° pivotable and 360° rotatable ends, and are the gold standard in the photo industry.  When paired with the super clamp, you can mount these just about anywhere and make the smallest of adjustments to your remote camera easily.  Be sure you are looking at the Variable Friction version over the locking lever, as many people report the locking lever becomes loose over time.  Loose=no good.

4 – SAFETY CABLES. – These are required for remote work.  You don’t want your camera to fall and break, and you surely don’t want your camera to fall from the catwalk onto the guy eating his nachos to loud 3 stories below you.  I bought mine from the link above and they are very nice.  I haven’t had to ‘test’ them, but they have a working weight load of 700lbs.  Also, Todd Bennett, a photographer based out of North Carolina, taught me this little trick to secure the safety cables the magic arm.

5 – PocketWizard Plus II Transcievers. are the gold standard in the current photo world.  There are a handful of other devices that can trigger your remote, but I wouldn’t even think of trying them.  A majority of the other stuff out there doesn’t fire 100% of the time, fires on it’s own or you have to make modifications to the equipment for it to even work.  The question I always ask is this:  If you spend all the time and energy to get your remote and lights setup exactly how you like, why would you risk using subpar equipment that may or may not work?  And besides, the prices on these things have went through the basement, so getting at least two, which is needed for remote work, is pretty easy.

6 – Mini Tripod w/ballhead – – These aren’t required, but it sure makes life easier.  I can mount a professional DSLR with a wide angle lens on this portable guy.

7 – A ThinkTankPhoto case to carry all the PocketWizards/cables in.

8 – (not pictured)  Permission & Insurance.  Not to preach, but if you are going to be setting up a remote, you first need to have the proper insurance in case your remote fails and hurts someone.  I’m sure you don’t want to lose your house and your shoes over something like that.  And please please please get permission before you go setting up a remote somewhere.  Just think, you could be known as that photographer who pissed off the AD at some college and there will never be remotes allowed again.

I also use a floor plate made by Overxposed for remote work as well, but it isn’t pictured.

Anyhow, with all of this equipment, it allows me to make some different images and to capture the same image from different angles…My favorite venue to shoot with remotes is at baseball…I’ll post some baseball remote shots one of these days…But on nearly every sports assignment I’ve shot for the Austin American Statesman and the University of Texas, I employ remotes to help me capture a unique image…. Back to the motorcycle shot…

remote camera

I mounted the camera to the camera plate and mounted a super clamp to the magic arm.  I then attached the magic arm to the motorcycle, attached the camera plate to the magic arm and then set up composition and camera settings.  I then attach a pre-release trigger to a PW, tape it to the camera and I’m about ready to go.  For this photo, I only used one arm to support the camera because we were just going on a 10 MPH stroll and it woudn’t be mounted for more than a couple of minutes in front of his house.  A test run, if you will.

motorcycle remote camera

Here is a setup photo of the main image in this post.  Pretty simple.  Before he sells it, I’m going to drag him out into the woods for some different shots.

I also shot the Austin Aztex vs Cleveland game here in town at Nelson Field last night.  The Aztex won their first game of the season and now sit at 1-0-2, if my memory serves me right. You should be able to see some of my photos at and

photos by Austin photographer Patrick Meredith

And finally….

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So I’ve spent the last week lounging around my house.  Not because I wanted to, but because I twisted my ankle something terrible at a softball game last weekend.  It swelled up so bad within the first few minutes that I had to take my shoe off.  The EMT’s on scene didnt have any Aleve (or Advil, etc) or any bandage wrap.  I hate to think what would have happened if something major would have happened.  !!!

Anyhow, I’ve been shooting a little here and there, most noteably at SXSW this past week.

I got to sit through a number of terrible films, terrible bands and terrible light shows throughout the two weeks.  I also got to see a couple good films, a couple good bands (including Cory Branan) and one good light show throughout the two weeks.

I usually make it my goal to go to other locations if there are other photographers around because I don’t enjoy getting the exact same shot as everyone else around me.  I took this theory into my SXSW shooting, but it was impossible in some situations.

I got an assignment to cover a party at one of the bars downtown and made my way upstairs and found myself behind the counter of the open bar.  Free booze=absolute madness.  People were lining up and screaming…yikes…


I also shoot the film/interactive portion of the festival and saw a couple of neat shows.  The photo below is right before the start of a flick at the Paramount Theatre on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.  I think it’s funny how no one ever wants to sit in the front row…


I also got to shoot some more University of Texas baseball the other day.  It was super cold  in Austin for some reason and rain loomed all afternoon.  I set up two remote cameras a couple of hours before the first game and ended up with no useable shots from either camera.  A nice lesson there!

Here is a pretty typical shot of Chance Ruffin.  I would love to get a camera looking down on the mound from above the pressbox.  Nothing but that new green turf and the mound….A guy can dream…


And in other news, I have accepted the role of becoming the official photographer of the Austin Aztex, the local professional soccer team.  Their regular season starts next week.  You will be able to see my photos on their website, here and hopefully one in my portfolio some day.


I also started to get my photos on my Photoshelter website.  It has been a long time coming, but I’m finally getting it done.

And last but not least…Are you intersted in purchasing some Leica camera equipment?  Take a look at what I’ve got up for grabs HERE.

<H6>All photos/text by Austin sports photographer Patrick Meredith</H6>

Written by patrickmeredith

March 28, 2009 at 3:16 am