I had such a fantastic time shooting with the Miami Dolphins photo crew for the Dolphins big win against the Jets (shoutout to Surf, Jon, Brandon, and Jeff – these guys are doing some really progressive stuff photography wise and social media wise).
I was psyched to see one of my images on the Dolphin’s Social Media during the game. That’s one of my shots above, taken with a remote camera rig (see below), so I thought I’d break that down here on the blog.
Above: Here’s the remote camera rig (I took this shot at the game). This is actually a surprisingly simple set-up.
(1) You need two PocketWizard Plus IIIs — that’s what wirelessly fires the camera. One goes on top of your remote camera (as seen here); the other goes on top of the camera you’re holding in your hand. You could just fire the remote by pressing the Test button on the other PocketWizard, but I prefer that it fires the remote automatically when I fire the camera I’m holding in my hands. All you have to do to make that happen, is put the second PocketWizard Plus III on the hotshoe mount of the camera you’re shooting. Boom. Done.
(2) You will need a little connector cable (sold by PocketWizard) that connects the PocketWizard to the port on the side of your camera where you’d normally plug in a cable release. Make sure you buy the cable that fits your camera’s brand, make and model.
(3) I use a Platypod Pro Max as my base. It’s very thin, sturdy as anything (made of aircraft grade aluminum), and I could do a whole blog post just about it and how you can use it. Believe it not, this will easily mount to a goal post. It’s the best ever!
(4) You will need some type of ballhead, so you can aim your camera. I used an inexpensive Oben BE-117 (around $79 from B&H Photo). Actually, a darn good ballhead for the price, and holds up to 17+ pounds.
Of course, you will need a body and a lens. I used a Canon 1Dx with a 14mm ultra wide angle lens to get a little more depth (since I had to position it kind of blindly).
I set my f-stop at f/5.6, and my Shutter Speed was 1/1000 of a second, at 160 ISO (that ISO is courtesy of Auto ISO, which I always have turned on at the game, with the minimum shutter speed set at 1/1000).
Above: Here’s the placement. The timing is so tight that you don’t get a lot of time to precisely position it. Since the players and the smoke aren’t firing at full bore, the whole thing is a bit of crap-shoot, which is why having an Ultrawide 14mm lens is a good choice. It’s going to get everything — it’s all going to be in focus, and you can just crop it in later.
Above: Here’s a better look. This was taken with a 70-200mm I’m holding in my hands to shoot the player intros. Again, when I fire my handheld camera, it automatically fires that remote camera at the same time. Well, pretty close anyway.
Above: Here’s the shot taken with my handheld 70-200mm, shooting down on my knees (oy!). Not nearly as epic looking or dynamic as the remote shot down super low, and plus you see the other photographers in the tunnel (special thanks to our buddy Jon Willey for wearing that bright green vest and positioning himself right in the frame). 😉 The video guy behind him didn’t follow every player out — just the last one, so you wouldn’t normally see him. But Jon? Yes, of course, always. In every frame. Like a beacon in the night. Or in the smoke. Whatever…he was there. I took the last chicken wing in the photo workroom just to get even with him. 😉
Above: Sometimes you get lucky and for just a few moments Jon gets hidden behind one of the smoke plumes. Ahhh, but you just can’t count on that smoke.
Above: This is the un-cropped 14mm lens shot so you can see how wide it really is. Now that is WIDE!!!!
Above: I had to shoot a couple of stadium shots with the 14mm, before they opened the doors to the public.
Above: The 14mm from the 50-yard-line up high.
Above: Of course, I had to try a 15mm fisheye shot, while I was there. There’s always room for one or two fish shots.
I hope you found at least some of that helpful. The remote camera thing is easier than you’d think, and it’s not just for sports — the last wedding I shot, I set up a remote camera behind the alter to get the expressions of the Bride and Groom.
The Dolphins Photo Crew Rocks!
A big thanks to Jon, Surf and the crew for the opportunity to shoot with you guys. What a first-class operation — everybody we met was so incredibly gracious and really made me (and my buddy Winston who was shooting with us), feel right at home. I was so impressed with how they’re running their photo operations (with 8 on-field photographers at home games) and their integration and support of social media. These guys are leading the way, and it was fascinating to see what they’re doing now, and what they have planned in the future. Also, my personal thanks to Dolphins photographer, the awesome, Rob Foldy, for bringing us all together in the first place. Feel the love, baby!
One for the road…
It’s a pano of the stadium taken with my iPhone 7.
Have a great Tuesday everybody, and I hope I’ll see you tomorrow at 4pm ET for “The Grid” — we’re talking about Lighting and other fun stuff!
P.S. Hey Las Vegas photographers – My seminar is coming there in 8-days. Come out and spend the day with me.