Austin Photographer Patrick Meredith

www.meredith-photo.com

Posts Tagged ‘remote camera

One short month to go…

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Colt McCoy directs his offensive line during the University of Texas Spring Jamboree.

Colt McCoy directs his offensive line during the University of Texas Spring Jamboree.

Sunday September 5th.   Sunday September 13th.  Sunday September 5th.  Sunday September 13th.  Repeat with me.

I can’t wait until the football season is in full swing.  The Texas heat *starts* to cool down, everyone is usually in a good mood (unless you are a Chiefs fan) and there is always a game to photograph here in Austin.  High school football kicks off right around that time as well, so my hands should be pretty full.  Not that I’m complaining.

I actually got my first two ‘games’ of the season under my belt a few months ago and just last week.  I went to the UT Spring Jamboree and the Texas High School All-Star game at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium.  Even though I had a huge hit list (2 players I had didn’t play, so that only left 15 or so), it was a lot of fun.  The guys playing looked like they were having a blast as well.

Jelani Johnson, of Hightown, points to the sideline following a play during the 2009 THSCA all-star football game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on Tuesday.

Jelani Johnson, of Hightown, points to the sideline following a play during the 2009 THSCA all-star football game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin on Tuesday.

And if you’ve been reading my blog at all, you may have noticed that I like to deploy remote cameras at just about every sporting event I’m at.  I was shooting the Texas High School Championships a few weeks ago and had a remote payoff pretty well.

JessiRay Navarrette celebrates after Chandler Geller strikes out to end the 5A State Semi-Final 11-3 in the Bulldogs favor on Friday in Round Rock.

JessiRay Navarrette celebrates after Chandler Geller strikes out to end the 5A State Semi-Final 11-3 in the Bulldogs favor on Friday in Round Rock.

I was shooting the dugout as the final batter struck out, but my remote captured the follow through and celebration.  This photo ran the entire front page of the sports section of the Austin American Statesman.

I also shot my first basketball game in a really, really long time last week.  I had a few photos run in the Houston Chronicle as well as onlinechron

That and a gallery over at TexasSports for the soccer coverage a post down or so.

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I’ve got a concert to shoot tonight and a big feature story tomorrow…Hopefully all goes well.  I’ll be sure to show you all the results after they are published!

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Blog time

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Where to start……..

Well, I shot a few games of baseball this past week…..

Michael Torres dives for a ground ball during the Longhorns 5-4 win over Texas A&M on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.

Michael Torres dives for a ground ball during the Longhorns 5-4 win over Texas A&M on Sunday at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.

It was blazing hot, with temperatures in the mid 90’s….But with the new artificial turf, it seemed like it was well over 100 degrees anywhere near the field.  Lucky for myself and all the other photographers, there are plenty of places to shoot from off of the field.  Not only is it slightly cooler, but it cleans up your backgrounds nicely….So please be nice and courteous to the fans who have paid for seats and those needing a place to sit.

Brandon Loy reaches back to pull in a pop fly in the infield.

Brandon Loy reaches back to pull in a pop fly in the infield.

In my ever expanding quest to bring my clients the best/different images, I’ve started employing multiple remote cameras at nearly every sporting event I cover.  I started using remotes about 2 years ago at high school baseball games and have used them at multiple events since, including basketball, soccer, and NFL/NCAA football and horse racing, to name a few.

For example, here is an image I shot with my hand held camera from above:

University of Texas second base baseball

It has the typical second base action.  A runner sliding, the second baseman throwing and at least a face.  Very typical and kind of boring.     With a remote camera on a low position shooting second from a different perspective, it gives us a totally different image.  See the remote here (complete with yelling fans):

Remote cameraFor this day game I used a Nikon D1H, a Nikkor 300mm, 2 magic arms, 3 safety cables, 1 Pocketwizard PlusII Tranciever, 3 superclamps and one Pocketwizard remote release.  Shooting at such a close angle, it gave me a  nice tight frame at second base, which allowed me to use this older camera so I could make use of all the megapixels it provides.  University of Texas second baseballAs you can see (if you scroll back up to the image from above), I can capture multiple angles on the same play.  Pretty neat stuff really.  But what if we added a third camera pointed at second base from the outfield?

UT remote camera

I mounted a Nikon D2H with a 400mm attached using the exact same setup above (2 magic arms, 3 superclamps etc) to the TV scaffolding pointed at second base.  I fudged this one up a bit, as I missed focus on second base by about 1 foot.  Nothing like back focused images.  So we’ll skip the examples from this one, but it is in the works.  Instead you can pixelpeep a picture of Augie from the dugout.

Head Coach Augie Garrido, center, watches the Longhorns game against Texas A&M from the dugout on Sunday.

Head Coach Augie Garrido, center, watches the Longhorns game against Texas A&M from the dugout on Sunday.

You can see some more images from the games HERE.

In the middle of the heat wave, I also took some time off and went to Barton Springs here in Austin.  If you’ve never been to the natural pool in the middle of downtown, I can’t understand why.  It may be the ‘scene’, but you can’t beat the cool, deep waters.

Barton Springs Pool
Of  course I couldn’t resist bringing in a camera, so I packed up a D1X with a 12-24mm in the backpack for the bike ride there.  This is a friend of mine properly using the diving board.  I’m terrible at diving, but I can do a pencil like no other.  Like Deep Eddy (see last post), Barton Springs is full of speedos and banana hammocks….

Barton Springs Pool Austin Texas

For some reason I felt like this photo needed an ‘antique’ feel so experimented a little bit using Photoshop CS3.  Classic hair, classic suit.  I just wish I could muster up the courage to wear one of these myself.

Josh Hamilton fumbles a ball in center field in the bottom of the 9th inning, allowing Round Rock's Brian Bogusevic to move to third base.

Josh Hamilton fumbles a ball in center field in the bottom of the 9th inning, allowing Round Rock's Brian Bogusevic to move to third base.

After shooting UT, I traveled up to Round Rock to catch the Texas Rangers Josh Hamilton play a couple of rehab games with the Redhawks.  Hamilton looked awesome and is playing in the majors again.  He did make a big error in the outfield in the bottom of the 9th, allowing the winning run to advance to third base.  In the last inning, I positioned myself near the outfield to grab a photo of Hamilton as he was joking around with another player…I ended up getting a couple game telling shots…

Brian Bogusevic (23) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Brian Bogusevic (23) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Before I went to see the Express, I shot the Austin Aztex vs Puerto Rico Islanders on Friday.  It was pretty nice, as the game started with a little bit of daylight.

Austin Aztex

I also set up two remotes behind the net, but didn’t come up with anything in the 1-1 tie game.  One of these days this season maybe….

aztexblog1

Let me know if you saw me sitting on the sidelines, as they broadcasted the game on FSN.  Come out and see the Aztex play this Sunday.  The games are pretty fun and the fans sit very close to the action…

I also shot some NCAA Div-1 golf and the UIL State Golf Tournament as well.  The NCAA Tournament was held at the University of Texas Golf Club in West Austin…Granted I haven’t been on a lot of courses, the UT club was hands over heels the best course I’ve been on in Austin…Just wish my shoot had gone a little better.  I broke a 12-24mm lens and a memory card, containing my first two hours of shooting, became corrupted.  Yikes.

Cory Whitsett, of Houston Memorial, lets his club fly after teeing off into the trees on the 18th hole during the 2009 UIL State Golf Tournament in Austin, Texas

Cory Whitsett, of Houston Memorial, lets his club fly after teeing off into the trees on the 18th hole during the 2009 UIL State Golf Tournament in Austin, Texas

It was pretty fun being on the course again, as I usually only shoot golf a few times a year….Mostly during the UIL State Tournament and a couple other random times throughout the year.

Ryan Eibner (center), of Conroe, putts on the 10th green as Houston Memorial's Greg Rochna looks on

Ryan Eibner (center), of Conroe, putts on the 10th green as Houston Memorial's Greg Rochna looks on

Before I broke the 12-24mm, another photographer asked me, “What are you going to do with that thing?”  In an effort to prove I could get something, I spent a few holes shooting with it.  I didn’t get anything great with it, but heck, no other photographer there got this shot.

I also just got back from a trip to Missouri to see some family.  Amelia and I drove her car, packed to the gills with junk and 2 dogs, the 9 hours north.  We took a dip in the pool one day and wished we had brought coats the next.  Got to love the weather up there. The dogs enjoyed the big ‘ol yards up there though…

Blue Heeler dog

Hank enjoyed eating all the flowers and running around like a madman the entire trip.

I’m off now…time to eat some dinnnnnner.

photos by Austin photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com

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.  http://tinyurl.com/7v8sbd – These cables are designed to keep the camera ‘awake’ and fire the camera remotely.  I use cables from www.flashzebra.com, 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. http://tinyurl.com/c9js34 – 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. http://tinyurl.com/bb6xn9 – 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. www.nikoncable.com – 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. http://tinyurl.com/6kynxxPocketWizards 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 – http://tinyurl.com/cqqwya http://tinyurl.com/ddayx6 – 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 www.austinaztex.com and www.uslsoccer.com.

photos by Austin photographer Patrick Meredith www.meredith-photo.com