Remote Photography for High School Sports

Our Sales Manager took a set of PocketWizard Plus IIIs to her son’s high school lacrosse game and ended up with a great example of using a remote camera to capture two very different perspectives at the same time. We asked her to write up a quick overview of her experience. This technique works with any two PocketWizard radios!

Find a Safe Location for a Unique Perspective

I enjoy taking pictures of my son’s lacrosse games and sharing them with the team. This particular game was taking place on a field we had never played on. It was unusual because it was on a bit of a plateau and as I was walking up to the observation area, I noticed that if I set up a low camera in one section, I could capture some photos as they ran past me with nothing but the sky in the background.

Remote Camera Set-Up

I set up my remote camera on a mini-tripod low to the ground with a wide angle lens. I set the remote camera to manual focus and guessed the focus point. For settings, I set the camera to f16 and aperture priority and my ISO was set at 800 which enabled the shutter to be fairly fast at 1/500th. I also set exposure compensation to +0.7 so that I wouldn’t end up with complete silhouettes against a bright sky.  I placed a PocketWizard Plus III on the remote camera and connected it to my camera with a PocketWizard remote camera cable. (Check out our Cable Finder to find the cable that works for you.)

I set the other PocketWizard Plus III on my main body which was using a 200-500mm zoom and shot away! I was able to roam a little and still have my remote capture the wide-angle shots.

The two shots displayed may not have been taken at the same instant but they are close, as I shot about 10 frames to capture the action and then chose the best ones from each camera’s series.

Share your favorite remote shots and tag us! #whypocketwizard

Remote Camera Wide Angle Perspective

Remote Camera Capture

Zoomed in Perspective

Up close Lacrosse Photo

ControlTL Overview

Easy to use and packed with features, our ControlTL line of radios is our most popular line of radios for wedding photographers and others who need the ability to set up quickly and start capturing the moment fast. Despite the different names, the FlexTT6 for Canon and the FlexTT5 for Nikon offer the same great features – here’s an overview of the top 12.

ControlTL

ControlTL (Control the Light) taps into the camera’s digital communications to enable remote TTL communications: changes in ISO, aperture and shutter speed are seamlessly passed along for reliable and flawless flash output.

Basic Trigger Mode

Use basic trigger mode and the radio can be used on virtually any camera that has a hot shoe.

Manual Power Control

Use the camera’s exposure compensation controls for basic manual control of remote flashes or add an AC3 ZoneController for even more control and flexibility.

TTL with AC3

Zone Control

Add an AC3 ZoneController to adjust power to 3 different Zones of light independently, in manual or TTL, from your camera’s position.

Radios can act as either a transmitter or a receiver

PocketWizard ControlTL radios are auto-sensing transceivers meaning they can act as either a transmitter or a receiver. They intelligently know when to transmit and when to receive.

Long Range Performance

Our legendary range is up to 800 feet (240 meters) for TTL triggering, and up to 1200 feet (365 meters) for basic triggering. Unlike our competition that relies on the crowded 2.4GHz frequency, our radios use 344 MHz in the US and 433 MHz in Europe giving range and reliability that is the favorite of the most demanding photographers. Link here for tips on how to extend your range.

Automated HyperSync

Our patented HyperSync technology allows photographers to achieve faster X-sync speeds (sometimes up to 1/8000 of a second) with full power flash on any type of flash, including speedlights, mono-lights and power-pack systems. With HyperSync, you can cut the ambient light and use wide-open apertures, even in bright sunlight. 

Optimized High Speed Sync (HSS)

With Optimized High Speed Sync, you can trigger a Speedlight flash all the way up to 1/8000. ControlTL optimizes this amazing feature and provides more light (which equals greater working distance), faster recycling times and more flashes per battery set. Use this feature to shoot wide open in bright sun for amazing results.

Compatible with all PocketWizards

The ControlTL radios are compatible with any PocketWizard radio for triggering manual flash or remote cameras. Even with your 20 year old radios.

20 ControlTL Channels

With 20 different channels available, you can program the two different configuration settings to custom settings for more flexibility on the fly.

32 Standard Channels

The 32 Standard Channels integrate with our Standard Channel radios and make it easy to find an open channel for manual triggering.

Remote Camera Trigger

Get creative using remote cameras for unique perspectives. Use multiple remote cameras to capture all the angles at your next event. (You will need one radio to use as a transmitter – attached to your main camera or to hold in your hand to manually trigger – and one radio with the correct remote camera cable for each remote camera.)

To find the right cable for your particular camera, you can use the Cable Finder

Check out the FlexTT6 and Flex TT5 Video Overview

3 Tips to Improve your Sports Photography

Spring sports are in full swing!  We asked our friend and sports photographer Robert Hanashiro to share some of his tips for capturing that epic shot – you know the kind…not just capturing peak action, but the spirit of the game. We hope you enjoy this guest blog by Robert, and if these three tips get you hungry for more, check out the Sports Shooter Academy that is happening next week in California.  

Sports Photography by Guest Blogger: Robert Hanashiro 

I admit it. I am a big fan of NCIS. The long-running series about a Naval criminal investigation team revolves around former Marine “gunny” Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a steely-eyed no-nonsense team leader played by Mark Harmon.

As any fan of the show knows, Gibbs has a list of 36 rules that not only influence the lives of him and his team but are also life lessons unto themselves.

I hold a sports photography workshop in Southern California where we take students, working photographers and aspiring sports shooters to cover various events. Sports like college baseball, football, track & field, water polo, soccer and basketball, mixed in with horse racing, surfing, boxing and beach volleyball make up the Sports Shooter Academy schedule.

So in the spirit of “Gibb’s List” here are Bert Hanashiro’s Top Three Sports Shooting Tips:

1) Shoot Through The Play (and Don’t Chimp)

Just because the base runner has been tagged out at home plate or a receiver has made an acrobatic catch doesn’t mean the action is over or a cool moment won’t happen. One of the most aggravating things I see when I am out covering a sports assignment is seeing photographers habitually looking at the screen on the back of their camera an instant after a play. “Chimping” — looking at the LCD screen — is a disease that needs a cure. Maybe a slap on the back of the head like Gibbs does when one of his team screws up?

We all want that instant gratification of seeing a remarkable play we captured— or what we think is a remarkable play. Digital cameras are remarkable tools. But constantly looking at the LCD screen serves no real purpose other than take your eye and concentration away from the game. That remarkable image you captured ain’t going anywhere. So, stay focused on covering that game, you can look at it when there is a break in the action, during a timeout or when the game is over.

2) Clean Up Those Crappy Backgrounds

Camera auto-focus is so good these days that anyone that can afford to buy the latest, greatest camera and telephoto lens can make claim to be a “sports shooter.” But just because that running back or point guard is tack sharp does not make you a real Sports Shooter. One of the telltale signs of someone who is, what I call a “camera pointer” rather than a photographer, is cluttered, distracting, messy backgrounds.

Using telephoto lenses with a wide-open aperture to limit the depth of field is one way to clean up those crappy backgrounds. Another is to look for an elevated spot to shoot from. This serves three purposes. First, it moves the distracting background out of your angle of view, so the field essentially becomes your background. The second cool thing about shooting from a high vantage point is that it gives you a different and often unique look at the game. The third thing is the light is different from above and you can use shadows creatively.

3) Use A Remote Camera to Give the Viewer a Different Perspective

Rigging a remote camera can accomplish a couple of things, the most important is giving your viewer a unique, different look at the sports you’re covering. You can place a remote camera in places that you cannot stand while covering a game, or place it in a spot that gives you an unique angle. The other purpose a remote camera gives a Sports Shooter is providing an alternative angle. For instance, if you’re covering a basketball game, you can use a remote camera on the opposite side of the court so you can literally be in two places at one time.

There are several caveats using remote cameras and the foremost is safety. With all aspects of sports photography, “safety first” is always #1. Be very careful where you rig your camera, make sure your camera is away from players, referees, fans, popcorn vendors, and others that potentially could bumping into it. If you are rigging a camera high, use safety cables for both the lens and camera body. If you’re in an unfamiliar venue, check with the management about any rules they have concerning remote cameras.

After you’ve rigged your remote, ask for help to pre-focus your lens by getting a stand-in. I cannot tell you how many remote photos I’ve lost because I wasn’t as careful to pre-focus as I should have been. And always, always, always, get to the game early, even more so if you are planning on rigging a remote. Of course the best method to trigger your remote camera is a radio transceiver made by PocketWizard. (Note: I am not being paid by PocketWizard to mention their products or to write this post!) I have been using PocketWizard radios with great success for about 30 years at some of the biggest events (Olympic Games, NBA Finals, NCAA Tournament, World Series, NHL Stanley Cup) to the smallest (youth league sports).

Thanks Robert for the great tips! If you’re inspired to learn more, it’s not too late to register for next week’s event, but hurry, there are only a couple of slots open. If next week is not in the cards for you, look for their future academies and start planning now!

Why PocketWizard?

Does this sound familiar? You need something and when you go to buy it, you are presented with many options from unknown brands that are much cheaper than the brand you know and trust. This is a common occurrence seen in nearly every market segment but especially common in the electronics industry. We have certainly seen this with radio triggers! You may have discovered options for off camera flash (OCF) radio triggers that are cheaper than PocketWizard.

What Radio Trigger Should you Buy?

You may want to know – is PocketWizard worth the extra money? How many times have you bought a cheap alternative only to find out that it doesn’t meet your expectations? If only you had bought the best one the first time! How many times have you said “They just don’t make them like they used to”?

Made Just Like they Used To

PocketWizard is different. Our radios are made just like we used to. We’ve been in business for 27+ years in Burlington, Vermont. Most of our products are manufactured close to home, either here in Vermont or New Hampshire or upstate New York.

Many of us are photographers in our free time, so we know that sometimes you don’t get a second chance for a perfect shot. We know our triggers must work right the first time. We do all we can to ensure that you won’t miss a shot. We pride ourselves on the quality and reliability of our products.

But What If?

But what if something goes wrong or what if you have a question? To help you, we have a support team right here in Burlington. Our products have a three-year warranty and are designed for a photographer’s lifestyle. That means they are tough. They are also thoughtfully designed and repairable.

The PocketWizard Service Team

When you email info@pocketwizard.com during the week, you’ll hear back from our service team shown below: Seth, Heather and Lenny. Usually you’ll hear back within 24 hours. But, if you email us on the weekend, we’ll most likely get back to you on Monday. Recharging on the weekends is important to us!

Happy PocketWizard Customers

We thought we’d share some feedback we’ve heard from some happy customers:

“Hi, I just wanted to pass along how helpful Seth was during my interest in PocketWizard. He was patient while answering all my questions and educated me on the best route for my scenario as a wedding photographer. It’s employees like Seth that will make me come back to this company. Thanks again and I hope he is recognized for the great work!”

“I have many awesome photos made over the years due to the amazing PocketWizards!”

“Your lightning-fast shipping department sent me a replacement Plus III hot shoe in record time. Using the PocketWizard online video, I was able to install it in five minutes flat. Thanks to your amazing team, I now have a like-new Plus III with minimal down time.”

What’s your Story?

We’d love to hear from you – why did you choose PocketWizard? Hashtag your story with #whypocketwizard.

PocketWizard Plus IV

Why should you add a Plus IV to your photography kit?

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 reasons you need a PocketWizard Plus IV. The PocketWizard line of radios are well known for their quality construction and their reliability. We offer many choices of radios depending on your needs for a radio trigger. Whether you shoot portraits, weddings, sports, or just for fun, PocketWizard gives you a competitive edge and opens the door to many creative opportunities.

Top 10 Features and Benefits of the PocketWizard Plus IV

  1. Put your flashes wherever you want: Use a radio on your camera and one for each remote light to easily trigger off-camera flashes for the most pleasing light. Use speedlights or strobes – or both!
  2. Trigger a remote camera: Get creative using remote cameras for unique perspectives. You will need one radio to use as a transmitter (on your main camera or in your hand to manually trigger) and one radio with the correct remote camera cable for each remote camera. Add another PocketWizard and flash and you can trigger a remote camera in sync with that flash using relay mode.
  3. Reliability: By using our reliable 344 MHz frequency in the US (433 MHz in Europe), you can avoid the noisy and crowded 2.4 GHz spectrum.
  4. Top hot shoe with on-camera TTL: This makes it the ideal trigger for photographing events such as weddings because you can have a fill flash on your camera and still have the ability to trigger an off-camera flash. For your remote flashes, the built-in top shoe of the Plus IV makes a great stand for your speedlight – no sync cable required.
  5. Trigger multiple lights from many different brands: If you have a third-party TTL light that has its own trigger, you can mount the transmitter in the Plus IV hot shoe.
  6. Dual purpose: The low profile Plus IV radios are transceivers that be used either a transmitter or receiver.
  7. 32 Channels: 16 Standard plus 16 Quad-Zone Triggering Channels are available to ensure no overlap with other photographers. Learn more about channels here.
  8. Quad-Zone Triggering: activate or deactivate your lights in 4 separate Zones (A, B, C, or D) directly from your camera’s position.
  9. Simple user interface: All Channels, Zones, and Modes can be easily engaged via a keypad located just above your viewfinder of your camera.
  10. Use with any PocketWizard: all PocketWizard radios are cross-compatible so that you can use a Plus IV in conjunction with any other PocketWizard radio of the same frequency. (Learn more about our frequency here.)

PocketWizard Plus IV Video

Check out this video showcasing the features of the PocketWizard Plus IV.

#WhyPocketWizard

Share your reasons why you like the Plus IV and use the hashtag #WhyPocketWizard. We can’t wait to see your photos!

Remote Cameras

PocketWizard radios not only enable you to remotely trigger a flash, they also enable you to remotely trigger a camera. You don’t even have to be within view of your camera. With the right set-up, you could even be hundreds of feet away from your camera in any direction. And it works with all PocketWizard radios on every camera we’ve tested. The photo of our camera tree is our fun demonstration of this versatility!

The Possibilities are Endless!!

Here are a few ways photographers are using remote cameras:

  • Unique vantage points: Capture images from a dangerous or tight location – like racing events, behind soccer or in hockey nets.
  • Ultra-low perspective: This is great for sports photography to make athletes look even more powerful.
  • High perspectives. We have lots of users that are mounting their cameras in the rafters at sports arenas. You can also put your camera on a super high tripod or mount on a pole.
  • Wildlife photos: Put your camera in an inconspicuous location and stay safe by manually triggering from a distance.
  • Epic selfie: Got an amazing shot? Put yourself in it!
  • Photographing Children: Get out from behind the camera and engage with your playful subjects! Use a manual trigger and your subject will forget about the camera.
  • Street photography: Get out from behind your camera for some candid street photos.
  • Your own family photos: Easily put yourself in the family photo. No more hitting the button and running.
  • Capturing multiple perspectives with a single click. This one is BIG! Put one PocketWizard radio on your main camera and one on your remote. Every time you take a photo with your main camera, the remote camera is also taking a photo. It’s like having a second shooter without paying for one. Not only can you tell a more complete story with multiple perspectives, you can actually make more money. Here are some specific examples:
    • Finish Line: At a race finish line, have one camera with a wide angle capturing a wide view and have your main camera outfitted with a zoom to capture the details. Each time you click, your remote captures the wide view at the same time.
    • Wedding: Tuck a small mirrorless camera on silent mode hidden up front during the ceremony. Now you can stand out of the way and not invade the moment. Your remote will trigger and capture the critical moments from a different perspective in sync with your main camera.
    • Architecture Photos: That golden or blue hour window is short. Set up a remote camera to capture a different angle and get multiple perspectives with the same light.
    • Sports: You can capture that amazing play from different angles getting all the action and emotion you are looking for.

Tips for Remote Photography

You will need two PocketWizard radios. One PocketWizard radio to use as a transmitter (attached to your main camera or to hold in your hand to manually trigger) and one PocketWizard radio with the correct remote camera cable for each remote camera. Yes, you can have multiple remotes all linked to a single transmitter.

You will need a cable. The remote camera needs to connect to a PocketWizard radio with a remote camera cable. While we engineer our cables to be the best, accidents can happen! You may want to have a back up! Find your remote camera cables here.

Make sure your internal camera clocks are in sync on all your cameras. When you import into your editing application of choice, your images can sort by time.

Safety is first! Make sure your remote camera is secure and isn’t going to injure anybody or isn’t going to get damaged itself. You may need to ask permission before you set up. There are many tutorials on the web on how to secure your equipment to minimize accidents.

Video Tutorial

Watch this quick video on how to set up a remote camera.

How do You Use Remote Cameras?

Share your examples of photos using a remote camera and tag us! #PocketWizard #RemoteCamera

Elevating your Photos with PocketWizard

Our PocketWizard team connected with students from Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) at the PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) last fall.    

Mohawk Valley Community College

MVCC Photography Professor Jerome LaLonde brought his students to New York City to attend PPE to learn a little about the photography industry. The group met with photographer Lenny Christopher, a MVCC alum and former student of Professor LaLonde. Lenny is also a member of PocketWizard’s support team.

Working with the students, Lenny led a workshop teaching them on how to use off-camera flash and the benefits of using PocketWizard to take advantage of HyperSync.  

Lenny Christopher, PocketWizard with Professor Jerome LaLonde, MVCC

High Line Photowalk

One of the highlights of the workshop was when Lenny took the students on a photo walk on the High Line – an elevated park above NYC and demonstrated the benefits of how to use flash creatively to elevate the student’s images. This unique vantage point helped give a different perspective on the busy city and allowed time for the students to play with the PocketWizard radios and lights. It was fun to see the students get excited by flash, and the HyperSync capabilities opened their eyes to new creative possibilities.  HyperSync is a feature patented by PocketWizard and enables the ability to use a flash at a high shutter speed. When used with portraiture, photographers can use a fast shutter speed to control the ambient light and take advantage of using a wide open aperture to achieve a soft background even on a bright sunny day.   

Portraits on the High Line: Upper left and Right by Tammy Matthews and lower left by David Yahnke.

The PocketWizard Off-Camera Flash Challenge

After the walk, Lenny challenged the students to use a PocketWizard to elevate their portraits for a chance to win a set of PocketWizard radios. We asked the students to submit their top photos at the end of the semester for our team to review. The students went back to campus in Utica, NY and had the rest of the semester to submit.  

We saw some amazing images and judging was tough.  In the end we choose our top 3 which are posted below.

The Top Three

The winning image: Paddy by Colleen Szatko-Blush
Instagram: @photoblushny

The winning image is a black and white portrait taken by Collen Szatko, using off camera flash and shot on 120 film!  The judges loved how sharp the image was and they loved the feel and story it told.  The off-camera flash really helped tell the story and helped to accentuate the features of her model.  

Misty Chalk by Nic Phelps
Instagram: @bleedinirisphotog
High Key Toned by David Yahnke
Instagram: @davyank95

Want to learn more about how you can use HyperSync to elevate your photos? Follow this link.  

Behind the Scenes – Photographing the Super Bowl

Last week we gave you a little insight into what goes into setting up remote cameras for the Super Bowl by speaking with photographer’s assistant Shawn Cullen. After the big event, we caught up with Shawn to see how it went and get some more detail about what it’s like to shoot one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

How Many Photographers Does it Take to Photograph the Super Bowl?

In short, the answer is a lot! And, it takes a lot to support them.  For USA Today Sports, there were 12 photographers, 10 runners, at least 8 editors and IT staff to make sure the network stayed up. The photographers were stationed as follows:

  • 2 photographers, one on each sideline
  • 2 photographers, one in each end zone
  • 4 photographers on the upper level, one level up from field
  • 1 photographer stationed in an upper level shooting position
  • 2 photographers roaming upper levels for action and beauty shots
  • 1 photographer dedicated to triggering the 6 remote cameras. (See last week’s blog for more information.)

When possible, the photographers are connected to the network to transfer images as soon as possible after they are taken.  When network connectivity is not possible, 10 runners are stationed to grab cards from the photographers and run them to the command center. The cards are placed in labeled bags and the runners are instructed to never take their hands off the cards. The command center was set up in an unused ticket office where editors review and select the best images to put on the wires.

Preparation is Key

On Super Bowl Sunday morning, USA Today had a staff meeting with everyone where they review the game plan and what to look for including players, coaches, half-time performers, singers, cheerleaders and the crowd. While this historic game did not have huge amounts of scoring action, there was still plenty to capture. While Shawn didn’t know exactly how many photographs were taken, he estimated around 75,000 or more.

Remote Trigger Radio Frequency and Interference

PocketWizard radios communicate wirelessly via radio waves. Just like any radio, they operate on certain frequencies and some frequencies are better than others. In North and South America (and some parts of Asia) we use the 340 – 354 MHz range because it is the least crowded frequency range for our class of wireless triggering devices. Other frequencies, used by our competitors, like the 2.4 GHz band, have many more interfering devices on them. These frequencies are getting more and more crowded as they are used by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and wireless microphones. That makes the PocketWizard frequency the best because it is the least crowded which improves reliability and reduces the possibility of missed shots.

PocketWizard Best Practices to Minimize Radio Interference

While our frequency range is the most reliable, there are a few best practices that we can share to enhance reliability and Shawn has a few of his own tricks.   

  • Whenever possible, try to maintain a line of sight between the radios and keep the antennas parallel. While radio does not require line of sight, it does help dramatically.
    • When working in the catwalks of large stadiums, Shawn feels he gets the best reception by pointing the antennas slightly downward.
  • Make sure the radios are not near any large metal, concrete, or high water-content objects. People and trees are mostly water!
    • Hard to avoid any of this in a large stadium! To minimize interference, Shawn uses a long cable to keep the radios as far from the camera as possible and 2 of our non-metallic 4 inch mounting bars (MB4) screwed together to position them as far from the metal stadium supports as possible.
  • Do not mount the radios close to the ground – try to have them several feet above the Earth or building floors whenever possible.
    • In order to get that awesome low perspective, try and mount the PocketWizard above the camera if the camera is low.

Shawn swears by Long Range mode to extend the signal even farther. “Dead spots” have a number of causes, but the solution is usually the same: move the radio a few inches or feet away from the problem area.

Super Bowl Remote Photo

Test, Test, and Test Again.

The Super Bowl 2019 was played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, arguably the best venue in the NFL. Some of its features include a 360-degree Halo Video Board that frames the roof opening – it is the world’s largest LED scoreboard at 63,000 square feet. Fans enjoy complete connectivity with 2,000 TV screens – even  embedded into bathroom mirrors and on the 101-foot-tall “Mega Column” three-dimensional video board. The venue has 1,800 wireless access points where 71,000 people can concurrently stream. Read more about the stadium here.

While all of these amenities make for a great fan experience, they can interfere with radio signals.  At the Super Bowl there is a frequency coordinator who manages all the frequencies to minimize interference.

Whether you are shooting your child’s pee-wee football game, or the Super Bowl, or best advice is to test, test and test again your set up and adjust where necessary. 

Want to learn more about radio waves?  Check out our Wiki!

Want to see some of the epic photographs taken by USA Today sport photographers?  Check out their gallery of their 100 best photos.

Super Bowl Photography!

Who’s ready for some football? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to photograph the biggest event in sports? We talked with Shawn Cullen who works as a photographer’s assistant with USA Today Sports and was setting up on Friday for Sunday’s big event. He explained how he sets up to captures this epic event.

Remote Camera Set-Up

Shawn has 6 remote cameras all set up in the catwalk aimed at key areas on the field.

  • Two at the 50 Yard Line – Both are aimed at the logo in the center to capture all the activity at the center of the field including the coin toss. One remote camera is equipped with a super wide lens to capture the end-to-end field overview including the scoreboard. Shots from this camera are helpful since capturing the scoreboard will give you an overview of the game at any time.
  • One at Each 25 Yard Line – Aimed at the roman numeral logo LIII.
  • One at Each End Zone – Pointing down the field poised to capture a field goal and the trophy presentation.

Custom IDs – A Premium Difference Only Offered by PocketWizard

PocketWizard Plus III radios are attached to each camera. The radios are tuned with a Custom ID which is a private digital code that ensures that only you can trigger your remote camera.  In crowded shooting environments, like the Super Bowl, Custom IDs give you the confidence to know that your remote camera isn’t going to be accidentally triggered by another photographer. While all the PocketWizards are set to Custom ID, they are programmed to different zones. PocketWizard Plus III units offer the ability use 4 different zones. All the cameras are connected to an ethernet cable so that the image editors can have fast access to the images to review and post online as quickly as possible.

Long Range Mode

The radios are all set to Long Range mode to extend the range. The Plus III Transceiver can trigger a remote up to 500 meters (1600 feet). An indoor football stadium is not an ideal shooting environment as there is a lot of noise. Using Long Range Mode nearly doubles the effective triggering distance in almost any environment. 

During the game, the remote cameras will be triggered by USA Today photographer and engineer James Lang. The cameras are all connected through a VLAN network and a video feed from the camera’s eye piece gives James the camera’s view. James remotely triggers the cameras when the action is right. 

On Friday, two days before the game, all the remote cameras are set and tested individually. In fact, USA Today photographers are required to participate in a “Burn Test” where the photographers fire all cameras at the same time to test the network. This is to simulate what might happen at any critical point in the game when everyone is trying to capture the action. This is done so that they can anticipate and correct any issues that might arise.

Shawn and James – good luck at the game, we can’t wait to see your photos!

Shooting the Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse

The photographers that work for PocketWizard can’t wait to photograph the upcoming lunar eclipse called the Super Wolf Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. Depending on where you live, it will start on the evening of Sunday, January 20, 2019 and for others, in the early morning of January 21. To check when the eclipse will be happening for you, check out the Time and Date site here.

In preparation, we wanted to share with you our tips and equipment along with some of our favorite links to help you  successfully capture this celestial event.

Plan

Make sure to choose your location wisely. We like to use the scouting app Photopills when looking for the best locations to shoot. They even wrote a guide for the lunar eclipse that you can read here.

Once you know where you will shoot, check the weather to make sure you’re prepared. You don’t want to be out in the cold without a hat or in the rain with no chance of seeing the moon.

Equipment

An iPhone isn’t going to cut it when trying to shoot the moon. For this shoot you’re going to need a DLSR or mirrorless camera. A tripod will also be necessary to make sure your camera is stable as possible.

To further reduce camera shake you will want to use a trigger release. Our favorite is using two PocketWizard Plus III radios. One radio goes on your camera’s hot shoe and connected to the camera with a remote camera cable. The camera is triggered by pressing the “Test” button on the 2nd radio you hold in your hand. This setup will allow you to trigger several cameras at once or even from your warm living room or car while your camera braves the cold.

Try a Time-Lapse

You can also consider a time-lapse. Check out this tutorial on PhotographyLife.com which as some amazing examples.

For this you will need to use a MultiMAX II with intervalometer with a remote camera cable. This will allow you to shoot the whole event in a sequence and then stitch it together in photoshop later. This is a  great option if you are trying to highlight the landscape as well as the moon. For information on how to set up the MultiMAX II, check out the user guide, page 35.

Camera Settings

We suggest you shoot in Manual mode and keep your aperture around F/8 and your shutter speed at 1/250 to freeze the movement of the full moon. You might be surprised as how fast it is moving. Try and keep your ISO as low as it can go and increase as needed. Check your images and adjust your settings accordingly. Visit our friends at B&H for a great tutorial on photographing a lunar eclipse with an in-depth discussion on settings.

Get creative! The eclipse will last a relatively long time. Using a PocketWizard and off camera flash, try a pop of light in the foreground to capture some foreground elements or to capture a rim lit silhouette. Follow this link to earlier blog for inspiration.

Get some good shots? Share them on Instagram and tag us! @PocketWizard.  We can’t wait to see your creative approach!