Patric Söderström on Sports and Remote Coverage
Patric Söderström is well-prepared. His clients, which include Sweden’s biggest news agency, T.T. Nyhetsbyran, and two soccer teams, Mjällby AIF and Kalmar F.F., know when they hire Söderström, he’s going to get the shots they want. Armed with a veritable arsenal of Nikon bodies, lenses, and PocketWizard radio triggers, Söderström is able to cover an entire field of action with a mere press of one button. Here’s what he wanted to share with us regarding his sports photography.
The photo above is a penalty shot during a game between Kalmar FF and Brommapojkarnas IF in Sweden’s highest league, Allsvenskan. It was the last game Kalmar FF’s goalkeeper Etrit Berisha played before getting transfered to S.S. Lazio in the Italian Serie A. Kalmar was down one goal, 1-2, when they got a penalty kick in the closing minutes of the game. Etrit Berisha stepped up and scored, making the game a draw. During the game he had executed some insane saves, and here he saved another point for his team. A great way for him to say goodbye to the fans. It was shot at Kalmar FF’s home stadium, Guldfageln Arena, in Kalmar. I arrived at the arena about 60 minutes before kickoff.
I got lucky with the shot since he placed the ball in the corner of the goal where I had my Nikon D800. It only shoots four frames per second but when you get the shot, you can really crop a lot to get to the intensity of the picture.
For my remote work I use four cameras. They are all older generation Nikon cameras I have kept instead of selling them when I have upgraded. The usual setup is
- 1 D800 with 14-24mm zoom, f/2.8
- 1 D3s with 20mm prime, f/2.8
- 1 D300 with 14mm, f/2.8
- 1 D300s with 10.5mm, f/2.8 fisheye
They are all hooked up to my PocketWizard Plus® III radio triggers, one on each camera. Most of the time they are mounted on a small, sturdy, tabletop tripod from Manfrotto, even though I have lately started using my Magic Arms to reach new angles. My main cameras for soccer are
- 1 Nikon D4 with 70-200mm zoom, f/2.8
- 1 Nikon D4 with 400mm, f/2.8
I also have a second D3s with a 24-70mm zoom, f/2.8, in case the players celebrate in front of me. So, all-in-all, I use seven cameras during a single soccer game.
It takes about 15 minutes for me to place and adjust all four remotes before a game.
There are two major improvements that made me retire my older Plus® II in favor for Plus III.
One is obvious: the great Long Range Mode. When TV is broadcasting, their equipment seems to reduce the range of the Plus II, and I had major problems triggering my cameras on the other side of the court, about 100 yards away. The Plus III works every time now, even when the arena is filled with 10,000 fans.
The second improvement for me is the 3.5mm-connection on the Plus III allows me to trigger the Plus III using a simple pedal. The pedal is intended for use with an electric piano, but it works just as well as a camera trigger now. I attached a picture showing in, mounted on my monopod using a super clamp and a small ball head. Just getting it a few feet off the ground improves the transmission.
By using the pedal I waste a lot less shots with my remotes. Earlier, I had my Plus II/III on my main cameras, but that meant every time I took a shot in the middle of the court, all four remote cameras shot pointless pictures. I worked around this problem by assigning one button on my main camera to disable the flash. No flash equals no activation of the Plus II/III. This, however, meant I had another button to keep track of. As a guy, you can’t expect me to do too many things at once!
Rain is the main problem for remotes, since you almost always use wide angle lenses with big bulging front lenses that act like rain drop magnets.
Below is a photo my girlfriend took of me working last year. It is a year old, so it is with the older Plus II radio triggers. The antenna on the ground is hooked up to my WT-4 wireless transmitter, so that I can send my pictures live at a greater speed.
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