Category Archives: How To’s

Using Pocketwizard’s Quad Zone Technology

I recently bought a pair of the new Pocketwizard Plus III Transceiver by LPA Designs and even though I have had a couple of the MultiMax units, I never really looked into the Quad Zone Triggering that has been available. The new Plus III unit makes using this technology very easy and efficient for any photographer, whether in the studio or on the field. In this post, I am going to show how easy Pocketwizard’s Quad Zone Triggering is to use and how it is used on a Plus III.

The Pocketwizard Plus III’s Quad Zone Triggering zones are seen activated in the lower right of the LCD display.

The quad system triggering allows a photographer to “activate” a camera or light that a receiving unit is attached to. I have found this feature to come in handy when in the studio and working with multiple lights. For this example, I set up three different lights and put them all in different zones: a main light (Zone A), a background light (Zone B), and a hair light (Zone C). From the camera’s hotshoe, I can change activate each light individually and choose the look I wanted.

Here is my 9 month old puppy, Carmen, sitting in the hallway at my house. For this photo, I had an Alienbee B800 on a light stand with a Pocketwizard MultiMax set to channel 20, zone A. With all of the zones cleared off the LCD of the Plus III, I then activate zone A by pressing “A” on the unit. The B800 will now go off when I fire my handheld camera. This photo of Carmen, is alright, but it lacks a dramatic feel to it, and is, for sake of a better word, boring.

Main light only, set in Zone A

Now, say I want to add a bit more “pizzaz” to the photo by adding some color to the background, butI need to keep the main light on my subject (Carmen). So I added a 430ex  II on a lightstand camera-left, and put a blue gel on it. Attached to the strobe is a second Plus III unit, set to channel 20 but zone B. In order to activate my background light, I activate zone B on the Plus III on my hotshoe. Then I take a second photo.

Main light set to Zone A. Blue background light set to Zone B.

The photo above is better than the previous photo because I have some nice separation between Carmen and the background, but I feel like it is lacking some definition on Carmen. So I want to add a third light for some definition. I added a 580 EX II on a lightstand high, camera-right. This third light had a Pocketwizard MultiMax set to channel 20, Zone C. Like the other lights, I have to activate zone C on my Plus III, sitting on my handheld’s hotshoe. By having all three zones activated, we get the following photo:

Main light on Zone A, Background light on Zone B, and Hair light on Zone C.

This photo shoes the power of the zone triggering system and how easy it is to use on the new Pocketwizard Plus III.

And for fun, I went for a dramatic photo by removing zone A ( my main light) and keeping my background light and my hair light. This was the result.

Background light on Zone B, and Hair light on Zone C.

All three zones are activated here: Zone A- Main light, Zone B- Background, and Zone C- Hair light

Remote Focus: Basketball

As the 2010-2011 basketball season approaches, I have gotten a few emails about doing remote work. Some of the questions that have come up are:

  • What kind of support do you use?
  • What lens would be the best to use?
  • Is insurance necessary?
  • What is the best way to hook up the camera?
  • How do I avoid glare/flare?
  • What does your set up include?
  • How do I fire flashes/strobes with my remote camera?
  • How do I trigger the remote camera?

Well I am going to attempt to answer each of these questions as I go through another of my Remote Focus Blogs.

First things First: Have a Game Plan

Before ever putting up a remote, in any sport, have a game plan on what the type of shot you want to achieve, and I would suggest to draw out a design of the way you are going to support/clamp the camera to the backboard. When I am positive that I am going to be putting up a remote I go early. Now, I am not talking 45 minutes prior to game time. I am saying early as in at least 2-3 hours a head of game time in order to get your set up put up and so that you are not in the way of players trying to get warm ups taken care of.  As I have stated in some of my other Remote Focus posts, always get permission to put up any kind of remote. The danger for injury due to a falling remote camera can be devastating, so make sure you have some sort of liability insurance as well as permission to place the remote camera prior to even showing up.

Taking some quick notes always help with the final plan.

Remote Gear

Prior to putting up a camera, I check all of my clamps and magic arms to make sure they are all in working order. I make sure that the friction mounts on the magic arms are staying tight as well as the ball joints. I make sure that none of my clamps are broken or cracked and then I also check my safety cables to make sure that they are not fraying or damaged. Below is a list of the gear that I use (Click for more Info):

Getting Down to Business: Putting the Remote Up

When putting up your remote, it is usually easier to put everything together on the ground and then when you get up to the backboard it does not take long to get the rest of it put up. Typically, I put just the camera body on the magic arm base prior to putting on the camera lens. I like to have the ability to put up the magic arms and the safety cables as soon as I have a camera, without a lens, behind the backboard. As soon as I have some of the magic arms clamped in the general area, and the safety cables are attached, I attach my lens and start to aim the camera for the desire shot. Some quick things to note are:

  1. Do not put the camera in the “Box”. The square on the backboard can not have anything inside of it due to it being a distraction to players. Move your set up to one side or the other, or even above and to the side of the hoop.
  2. I tend to focus about halfway between the ground and the hoop, if not more towards the hoop. I will ask a player or someone to help me focus by standing where I want to focus at.
  3. If your camera has live view or something like that, use it. A camera with live view can be invaluable in this case. After I have the camera secured down to the angle that I want it, I use live view to get the focus just right.
  4. Attach the safety cables before anything gets secured. Just because your holding it, doesn’t mean that it is secure.
  5. Make the set up as inconspicuous as possible. No one wants something bright and shiny right behind the backboard.
  6. Bring Windex and clean the glass. It will only help you in the long run.

Once you have everything put up and secured, and you have focused it, tape down the focus and zoom rings to make sure nothing moves. I use Gaffers tape for my remote gear. I also tape over any logos on the camera so that it is a black blob behind the backboard and not a bunch of colors. I remove my neck strap prior to putting up the remote because it only gets in the way in the tight quarters.

Finished Set-up: Canon 40D with 16-35 2.8L Mark II.

Finished Set-up: Canon 40D with 16-35 2.8L Mark II.

Gobos: What are they? How are they useful?

Black Gobo is attached below the camera.

Gobos are pieces of black construction paper, cinefoil, or gaffers tape that block out reflections from behind the backboard. Because you are shooting through glass, and at an angle, you will get reflections from the baseline. In order to cut down on the reflections, a gobo is made and is placed under, and sometimes above- depending on the angle, the camera. Gobos are made out of black cinefoil, construction paper or gaffers tape because it does not transmit light and it is as inconspicuous as possible. You want your gobo long and wide enough that it cuts out all of the reflections but does not enter your frame.  There are several ways to make a gobo, but here is how I do it. I take a piece of construction paper and cover it in gaffers tape. This increases the durability and I can use it more than once. Place the gobo under the end of the lens, and then tape it to the barrel. Tape the other end of the gobo to the backboard with some gaffers tape and voila, no more reflections.

Triggering: What are the options?

Paul C Buff Cybersync Receiver

 

Just like everything else in this world, there are tons of options when it comes to triggering a remote. The first obvious thing to note would be what your surroundings are. If you are like me in a lot of cases, where you are shooting in high schools, triggering via a wired remote would be difficult. So in this instance, going wireless was the best bet. There are many choices on triggering systems and they all have their pros and their cons. The two triggering systems I use are Pocketwizard Multimax’s and Paul C Buff (PCB) Cybersyncs. For basketball, I use my PCB Cybersyncs because I trigger my Alienbee B800s along with the remote camera and it proved to be an easier set up. When I am not using flashes/strobes, I use my Pocketwizards. I am not covering the pros and cons for each trigger in this blog post, but keep an eye out for another one coming soon.

In order to trigger your camera, you need to first choose your triggering method. You will also need a pre-release cable. A pre-release cable keeps the camera “awake” so that when you press the button it will fire. The pre-release cable is inserted into the pin hole inside the camera. Plug the receiver into the pre-release cable, and set to whatever channel you desire. Set the transmitter to the same channel and fire.

Pre-Release Cable

Pre-Release Cable put in Canon 1D Mark II N

Do your test shots prior to getting down from the backboard, but also walk around the gym near your shooting positions so that you know that you won’t have any issues with interference or misfires.

The Next Level: Strobing

Two Alienbee B800s fire during a Kickapoo Chiefs basketball game.

Two Alienbee B800s fire during a Kickapoo Chiefs basketball game.

Now that you have got the remote shooting down, you want to get some cleaner shots and the ambient light just isn’t working for you. You decide you want to go with some strobes. First thing to decide is which flash system you are wanting to go with. I personally went with the PCB Alienbee system. When shooting basketball, I use two B800s that are clamped to some of the poles on the bleachers. I have the lights pointed toward the ceiling and towards the backboard that I am shooting under. In order to trigger the remote as well as the light, you have to take some certain steps. NOTE: For the following, I am using Cybersyncs for triggering. Also, remote camera receiver is set to channel 1.

  1. Plug receivers into the lights.
  2. Set the receiver channel on the lights to the channel 2.
  3. Place a transmitter on the remote camera.
  4. Set that transmitter to channel 2.
  5. Fire the transmitter set to channel 1.

If all goes well, your remote camera should fire and as well as your strobes. The remote camera’s shot will be properly exposed with the strobe. You can not put the transmitter for the remote camera on your handheld camera and expect it to have a properly exposed image. In order to fire the remote camera, you will need to keep that transmitter in your hand. You can put a transmitter on your handheld and set to channel 2 in order to shoot with the strobes.

In order to avoid glaring when shooting with flashes/strobes and a backboard remote camera you need to make sure that the angle of the lights and the angle of the camera are not pointed at eachother. Adding another gobo might also help but would be less effective.

An example of bad glares caused by a misplaced remote camera. The angle caused some extreme glare in the frame.

An example of a cropped photo in order to remove a large amount of glare caused by a misplaced flash/strobe and remote camera.

This is just one example of a remote that can be used during basketball. Your photography is only limited by your imagination and creativity. Look for different types of shots and try out different remote ideas.

Paul C Buff Cybersyncs: How to Fire a Remote Camera

Because of the rising interest in Cybersync remotes to fire remote cameras and strobes I have decided to do a small write up on everything you would need to make this work. Sadly, it will only fire one shot per one press of the shutter button. So, you can not hold down the shutter button and get multiple exposures like you can with Pocketwizards.

SETTING UP JUST A REMOTE:

Materials: (From left to right)
1)mono to mono cybersync cable
2)camera of choice
3)cybersync receiver
4)Wired remote( mine has an extension cable and comes apart) this model can be found here–> http://www.procameragear.com/catalog…roducts_id/157 or you can get the cable from Flash Zebra found here–> http://www.flashzebra.com/shutter_pw/0090.shtml

Here is the remote:

And the end that goes in the camera:


Put the end that goes into the camera in the remote hole on camera (this is on a 1dmkII but will most likely be on the left side of a canon camera- away from the grip- the cable faces forward, so the cable will extend towards the lens).

Note: You must have your camera settings already correct. You CAN NOT change your settings unless you unplug the pre-release trigger.

Plug one end of the mono cable in the end of the remote end:

Plug the other end of the mono cable into your cybersync receiver:


You are good to go if you do not want to use lights:

ADDING LIGHTS

IF you want to add lights, the set up is close to the same.

Plug the mono cable into the cybersync and into the cable release side of the remote. Plug into the camera. Add a transmitter to the top of the camera. In reality you are set up to go but you will have to have two channels set for having the remotes and the lights.

You will need a receiver for each light.

Typically what I do is set the lights to channel 1. I usually have a handheld as well when I shoot. So the channel settings are as followed:

Channel 1- Used to Trigger the strobes:
Receiver to lights
Transmitter on handheld camera, and Transmitter on the remote.

Channel 3- Used to trigger the remote:
Handheld Transmitter
Receiver Attached to remote camera.

Here is the Idea for the backboard remote with Strobes.

http://s955.photobucket.com/albums/a…0Set%20up%202/

Hopefully this answers any questions about the cybersyncs and their use as a remote trigger.

Sport Focus: Football

The fall sport season is quickly approaching and that means one thing. Football. Whether that is on the youth, high school, or professional level, photographers are going to be chomping at the bit to get that one great shot during the up and coming season. Unfortunately, unless you are shooting at the professional level, most games, the lighting will be less than par. There is something that we, as photographers, can do about that however. So sit back and relax while I give a few tips on lighting for this year’s football season.

Shooting high school football is really one of my favorite things to do during the year. It has some great opportunities for action and strong emotions because these kids put everything they can into what they are playing. Last season, as I played with my lighting set up, I found that there is no true fully functional set up for every field. Almost every game, you will have to tweak the settings small amounts or you will need to tilt you flash head or the placement of the strobe is off. Right now, you might be thinking, “Wait, did he just say flash and strobe?”. Yes I did. You see, even with the high ISO capable cameras in today’s market, it is still important to provide your client with the cleanest images possible. By shooting with a flash, you do a few things. First, you are adding light where there is none already. You know those dark under the helmet faces? They don’t have to be there when a strobe is put into the mix. By placing the flash below the lens and camera, you put light up into the helmet, allowing parents to see their child’s face as they run five or ten yards down field. Below is an example of the shot I am talking about.

In that example, you can clearly see the player’s face. Now you might also be thinking, “Isn’t that distracting to the players, coaches, and referees?”. Short answer: no. Last season, while trying out different set ups, I had zero complaints about the flash and more compliments from parents telling me that they were glad that they could see their child’s face.

Below are a few photos of a set up I found useful from last year.

The parts needed for that set up were:

monopod

Triggering system of choice ( I used cybersyncs from Paul C. Buff inc.)

1 “L” bracket

2 pipe clamps

1 hotshoe adapter from flash zebra

PC to mono cable

Flash of choice ( I used a 430 ex).

My set up was about 20″ from the bottom of the lens on the monopod which I found to be a bit too low in some situations. This next year, I plan on doing one of two things. Putting the flash above the camera (less likely) or raising the flash up the monopod shaft. As I experiment with different set ups. I will post  my findings. But for now, let’s get ready for a new season of football.

Remote Focus: Baseball

Because it is the Summer and baseball is known as the “summer time” sport, I figured I would start off with discussing some of the remote work that can be done with baseball. Because baseball is played on a single field of play, the access for remotes may be somewhat limited, so remember to always arrive early and you must clear your remote camera plans with the facility manager and the officials. Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to try out several different remote ideas and techniques. I found that many worked but needed some tweaking, and some techniques that did not work. Lets go over three that I found successful.

Facing Home Plate:

One of the most popular camera positions for remotes is facing home plate. There are many different positions that are available for home plate plays. When placing a camera facing home plate, one of the first things to plan for is where the umpire will be during the play. Many times, they will float up the third or first base lines then as the play comes to a close they will try and end up towards the front of the play. So, if the camera is not placed properly, there is a good chance that you will end up with a photograph of the umpire blocking the shot. When attempting a photograph of a play at home plate, there are multiple places you can put your remote in order to capture a great moment. One place that I tried for the first time last week was on top of the third base dugout. Like many high schools and small colleges, the facility did not have “dug-out” dugouts. They were simply concrete structures with a tin roof. After shooting at the venue several times before, I noticed a spot where a remote camera could be mounted might make a decent shot, so I asked the facility manager and SID if I could get a ladder and see how that shot looked. They said, “Sure” and quickly got me a ladder to climb on up. I was right. From that perspective, unless the umpire was standing right on top of the play, he would not block the shot. So I again asked if I could mount a camera on top of the dugout and got the go ahead. I strongly urge you to try this if you get the chance. Below are set up shots so you can understand what the view was like.

The Equipment for this remote was a 1D mk IIn with a 70-200 2.8 IS attached. To secure the remote to the building I used two (2) Variable Friction Magic Arms  and three (3) Super Clamps.  I had a pre-release cord attached to the camera and to a Pocket Wizard Plus, that was attached to a forth Super Clamp. Below is a full frame from this set up:

Taken with a Canon 1D mk IIn with 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 150mm f5 1/2500 ISO 400. Copyright. David Welker

With a bit of a crop, this image can look much better.

Taken with a Canon 1D mk IIn with 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 150mm f5 1/2500 ISO 400. Copyright. David Welker

Set up Pros:

– out of the way from spectators.

– offers a clean background in almost any situation.

– easy to set up, depending on venue.

Set up Cons:

-Access- facility manager may not let you have access to the top of the dugout

– Possible lack of mounting.

A second place for when attempting to get a play at home plate is to the the side of the dugout, mainly on the home plate side, by the back stop. In this situation, you are more likely to have a busier background and interference from umpires or players. There is also a greater chance of being in the view of spectators. I used a single Variable Friction Magic Arm as well as a single super clamp for this set up due to the minimal weight but secured the entire set up with 3 safety cables to the net. The triggering method was a Cybersync receiver hooked up to the pre-release cable plugged into the camera and a transmitter on my handheld or taped to my 300 2.8 IS hood.   Below is the set up (I apologize for not having a better photo of the set up- however it is set up much like a later set up):

And a full framed example photo:

Taken With a Canon 40D with 85 1.8 attached- 85mm f4 1/2500th ISO 200. Copyright David Welker.

As stated above, it is very common that this type of remote set up does not offer the best background. But it can provide a great context shot if there is some emotion from the team behind home plate. Below is a cropped version of the shot above:

Taken With a Canon 40D with 85 1.8 attached- 85mm f4 1/2500th ISO 200. Copyright David Welker.

Set up Pros:

-Easy access and set up.

-Possible great layering opportunities.

-Good low point of view.

Set Up Cons:

-Easily bumped- For some reason many parents like to go in this spot near the dugout to shoot. So the chances of having your remote bumped or moved.

-Most likely to have a bad background.

The third type of home plate remote  that I like to use is usually placed on the first base side just up the line or just towards the backstop from home plate. This remote is useful for getting the base runner’s emotion while sliding into the catcher or home plate. For both of the following, I used a single Variable Friction Magic Arm as well as a single super clamp with the magic arm being screwed into the tripod collar for the 70-200. The triggering method was a Cybersync receiver hooked up to the pre-release cable plugged into the camera and a transmitter on my handheld or taped to my 300 2.8 IS hood. Below  is a few of the set up shots (sorry about the quality- taken with my Blackberry Storm):

A Second Set Up Type:

And the full framed example shot from said remote position:

Taken with a Canon 1D mk IInwith 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 200mm f5.6 1/2500 ISO 1000. Copyright. David Welker

Also, the cropped version:

Taken with a Canon 1D mk IInwith 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 200mm f5.6 1/2500 ISO 1000. Copyright. David Welker

Second Set up full frame example:

Taken with a Canon 1D mk IInwith 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 120mm f4.5 1/1600 ISO 125. Copyright. David Welker

And the cropped version:

Taken with a Canon 1D mk IIn with 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 120mm f4.5 1/1600 ISO 125. Copyright. David Welker

Set up Pros:

– Offers good emotion photos.

-Possible clean backgrounds.

-Easy access and set up.

Set up Cons:

– Easily bumped- For some reason many parents like to go in this spot near the dugout to shoot. So the chances of having your remote bumped or moved.

So that covers the popular home plate remote locations. There are others that may work but many smaller venues do not offer such opportunities for other remotes.

Facing Second Base:

The second type of baseball remote I would like to cover is one facing second base. This remote is useful when looking for plays at second such as turning double plays or pick offs. When placing this remote, I typically put it on the first base side, near home plate and as close to the dugout if possible. Many times there are supports for the backstop and I place the remote next to those supports. Typically for this remote, you need a lens that is at least 300mm, or a camera that is capable of a extreme crops. For the next few examples I used a Nikon D3s body and a 300 2.8 VR for baseball and a Nikon D300s and 70-300 VR II for softball. These were triggered by Pocketwizard Plus IIs and a motor drive cord. Due to the weight of the 300 3.8 and the D3s, I had to use two (2) Variable Friction Magic Arms with body screws and two (2) super clamps. (Thanks to NPS at the Sportsshooter Academy VII).

Set Up Example:

A full framed example from this set up:

Taken with a Nikon D3s with 300 2.8 VR attached- 420mm f4.5 1/3200 ISO 160. Copyright. David Welker

After a Crop:

Taken with a Nikon D3s with 300 2.8 VR attached- 420mm f4.5 1/3200 ISO 160. Copyright. David Welker

Set up Pros:

– Somewhat out of the way.

-Easy to set up.

-Easy access.

Set up Cons:

-Easily bumped by fans trying to take photos above your position.

– 300mm lens required or a camera that takes extreme crops well.

Facing First Base:

The last type of baseball remote is one facing first base. Much like the one that faced second base, this one is for special situations. This remote set up works best for dives back into first base. The set up is exactly like that of the second base, but is from a lower point of view to catch the base runner diving back into the base. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the set up, but, I use a single Variable Friction Magic Arm and a single super clamp to secure it.  Typically when placing this remote I will secure it to the fence or outer barrier of the field. Below is a sample shot from this type of remote:

Taken With a Canon 40D with 70-200 2.8 IS attached- 178mm f4 1/2000th ISO 200. Copyright David Welker.

Set up Pros:

– Provides a unique perspective without having to stay on your stomach to take it.

– Easy access.

-Easy set up and tear down.

Set up Cons:

-Easily knocked around.

Overall, what has been discussed is my experience in baseball remote cameras. For this sport almost anything can work as long as you can get permission and get the access to the camera itself. The one great thing about remotes in baseball is that they provide you with a second angle to a single play if you decide to use them.

Tips and Notes:

-When able to, cover your remote camera with something black and non-suspicious. This will help not draw attention to it.

-Focusing- this will be addressed later as well, but for baseball, I try and focus right on the base for remotes on the outer bases. When focusing for home plate remotes, I will typically focus about three (3) feet up the baseline to provide a greater chance of catching a sliding tag.

– Remember that safety is the most important along with the spectators view. So please make sure you secure everything and that it is not blocking even the smallest fan.

– Refer back to my first remote post (Click Here) for set up procedures and basics.

Please send all inquiries to Dwelker@turfimages.com or comment below.

So You Want to Use a Remote?

For photographers, a remote camera can be a very useful tool for getting photos from different angles while only shooting from one position. It also allows us to have access to a shot that we otherwise would not be able to get due to space,  fans, or other situational problems. Remote Cameras can be used in virtually any sport.  Baseball, Track and Field, and Basketball are some of the more popular sports that remotes are used in. Over my next few posts I will be going over different types of remotes for different sports (With different angles and ideas), some basic equipment needed, as well as different triggering techniques and safety. I am hoping to have several other very qualified photographers help me with the blog posts and to give their experiences and tips.

Remote Basics

One of the first questions that needs to be answered before starting out on the course of placing a remote is the reasoning behind it. Why do you feel the need to place the remote? Is there truly a need  for it? Typically, when placing a remote camera at an event or game, I have a game plan or a certain shot in mind prior to even arriving to the venue. Pre-planning is key when wanting to do any type of remote endeavor. TIP: Take a notepad with you to games, and write down different ideas for shots that can possibly be done by remotes.

Once at the game, I will walk around the area to see if that shot is possible with a set up that is out of the way and out of play. The second thing I look for after scouting the area is see where the cleanest backgrounds are. When shooting with a handheld camera, it is sometimes nearly impossible to get clean backgrounds. But when placing a remote, you have total control over what the image will look like. Composition, background, focus,  and other varying components are all within your power. So make sure that you think those through before placing the remote.

So the time comes when you know the type of shot you want and have an idea of where you want to place your remote. You get your Manfrotto Magic Arms and Super Clamps ready to be put into place.  Now for the set up. Depending on the sport that you are wanting to use the remote in, please remember that you are technically a guest or media, and that paying fans have the higher right to view the game then you, so make sure that even the smallest attendees can have a clear view of the field or playing surface. The last thing you want to have is someone complain and you have to pull down your remote. Remember that planning is everything and doing some early scouting helps tremendously.

Set Up Procedures

Different sports will have slightly different procedures for set up. Depending on the type of remote set up, you will need different equipment, but, below is a typical set up for most remotes.

1. Get Permission: Talk over your ideas with officials and building managers prior to even starting to place a remote. You do not want to put up your

2. Safety, Safety, Safety: Put up any and all safety precautions necessary in providing total security and safety for fans, players, and others in attendance. For many situations, this will include safety cables. I recommend the Lowel 3-Pack. Make sure that your camera, magic arms, clamps, and lens  are all securely fastened to the mounting point. I really can not stress this enough. Safety has to be the number one priority.

3. Ready Camera: Attach the camera to the mounting structure (Magic Arms or floor plate) as well as attaching the safety cables to the camera and mounting devices.

4. Place Camera and Secure: Simple stuff. Make sure the Camera is in place and angled in the manor in which you would like, and make sure it is nice and tight to the mounting surface.

5. Focus: There are several ways to do this. One way would be to have someone stand in the certain spot that you would like to focus, use the autofocus to get the focal point. After gaining said point, turn the camera to manual focus and use gaffers tape to secure the zoom ring and focus ring.  A second way of focusing is using what many modern DSLRs have, “Live View”. By Using “Live View”, the photographer is able to focus to the micro adjustment onto a specific spot while zooming into that spot and making sure the focus is exact. After securing focus, tape down focus and zoom rings. The last try is trial and error. The old mantra “If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again.” comes to mind with this one. There are many times that you may have to just guess. That may be because of a lack in access to playing field or court, or it may be just because you are not able to fine tune the focus completely. Either way, this may just be your last resort if you some how can not find the exact focus.

6. Set Up Your Triggering System: Later on I will be covering the types of triggering systems and their pros and cons. Many of which are well known. For this step, set it up and make sure that your signal strength is strong enough that you get a clear signal every firing. Always try and make sure your receiver has a clear signal path from the transmitter, this can be accomplished by putting it off the camera and on its own super clamp in order to provide more space between the mounting surface and the receiver.

7. Exposure: Meter the scene and expose correctly. Many times the light will change if shooting outdoors, so make sure that you check your remote a couple times throughout the time that you are there. Typically, when shooting outside, I check the remote every 15-30 minutes depending on the situation that I am going for and to make changes if needed.

8. Check and Recheck: Before walking away from your set up, make sure that everything is tight and secure. (Remember, Safety is the most important) Also check to make sure that you have fresh batteries in both your receiver and your camera, as well as a fresh memory card as well.

9. Final Tests: Depending on how long I get to an event prior to the start, I typically leave about 30 minutes for last minute testing and trials. These last minute tweaks are what allow me to know exactly how the camera will react and I can make sure that everything is firing and working. TIP: NEVER do your final tests 5 minutes before the start of the event unless your are clearly out of the way of participants or fans.

So that concludes remote basics. I hope it was helpful for some. Next up, Remotes pt. 2: Different Remote Types (With Examples).