Donald Miralle and Plus III at the Opening Ceremony

Acclaimed sports photographer Donald Miralle was in the enviable position of covering the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. From day one, he was getting great shots!

Using the PocketWizard Plus® III at the opening ceremony as a remote camera trigger, Donald was able to capture the fireworks going off in the stadium and over London Bridge simultaneously, resulting in two epic photographs. He writes, “You can be in two places at the same time!”

Donald was kind enough to answer some questions regarding his photography and these shots in particular.

How did you get to photograph the Olympics this year?

I shot this Olympics for Newsweek Magazine / Daily Beast, as I have the last two Olympic Games (Vancouver, Beijing) and the prior four games I shot for Getty Images / Allsport (Athens, Torino, Salt Lake, and Sydney) Working for Newsweek is a great assignment ,as they do not require daily coverage nor are they interested in standard action shots, which they can pick up off the wire if need be, but rather more artistic and different angle shots which is right up my alley. They ran a couple stories as well as weekly “Best of Olympics” galleries they ran on Web and in print, so I was really able to focus on making pictures and less on deadlines. That was really nice.

Did you use remote camera triggering because it wasn’t safe to be in the area where your cameras were in either shot?

I used remote triggering in both frames not because it wasn’t safe to be in the area but rather it allowed me to be in two places at one time. The shot of the London Bridge was set up hours before on a tripod and since I knew I was going to be in the Olympic Stadium shooting the Opening ceremonies, I placed this camera on a tripod near another photographer friends setup and he agreed to fire his camera on the same channel as mine so his camera fired and mine was slaved to his transmitter as well. The shot from inside the stadium was on a guardrail in the aisle that was centered and allowed you to the entire expanse of the stadium in one shot. But because it was in an aisle, where you couldn’t stand as you would be blocking fans who paid good money for their seats. So many photographers including myself set up a Superclamp, Magic Arm or ballhead, and camera with wide-angle lens and PocketWizard we triggered from our assigned seating.

Did you get multiple shots simultaneously from different angles?

Yes, that’s the beauty of remote cameras. They allow you to be in multiple areas using prior planning and preparation to set-up multiple cameras. You can get way more out of coverage being able to be in multiple places shooting at the same time, all the time shooting with the different cameras in your hand, while your static set-ups continue documenting as well.

Did you use a tripod to secure the shot?

Used a tripod in the bridge shot, a Superclamp and ballhead for the stadium shot.

Any general thoughts about off-camera triggering?

Remote camera triggering is an essential tool especially in sports photography where getting wide-angle cameras into the field of play where you can’t physically be during competition is a huge advantage in getting those intimate and compelling shots. The technology of the new PocketWizards—MultiMAX, Plus III’s, and even FlexTT5 units—allow you to do so many more things than just ten years ago when I was shooting with my original black box analog Wizards—which I still have and still work great! Being able to use fire cameras remotely, use intervelometers to do timelapses, or even freeze action with strobes at a high shutter speed are things I use often in my photographs and take for granted. Using PocketWizards and remote triggering of cameras is a great tool, and the best part is you can go along with your business and focus on shooting the cameras in your hands.

Head over to Donald Miralle’s blog for more from the Olympics and view his portfolio of work. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.


All images in this post are ©Donald Miralle, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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One Response to “Donald Miralle and Plus III at the Opening Ceremony”

  1. Daniel Cormier says:

    That’s actually Tower Bridge, not London Bridge.