Here’s Looking at You, Reggie
Often we photographers will go to extremes to get a unique image. After recently acquiring a Canon G12 “point-and-shoot” consumer camera, I noticed it had a remote control port.
The bells went off in my head. Could I actually use a small consumer camera as a remote?
So for last night’s men’s basketball game vs. Maryland, I mounted the Canon G12 on the catwalk above the scoreboard at the BankUnited Center.
The Canon G12 is a 10mp consumer point and shoot camera with some pro features. Relevent to the image above, it has a 28-140mm f2.8-f4.5 lens, a hot shoe and the ability to manually expose and focus. But it’s main unpublicized feature is its ability to sync at a higher shutter speed than usual when using external flash due to its CCD sensor. With the right strobe and shutter speed, a photographer can overpower the sun on an outdoor shoot. That’s actually the reason I purchased one.
While mounting an overhead camera is nothing new, it’s the first time I’ve done it at the BUC. In the old Miami Arena, the catwalks were perfectly positioned above the rim on each end of the court. I often mounted a remote above one of the hoops there, as you can see from this shot of Darius Rice. In the BUC, the catwalks are farther out along the perimeter of the floor, with one climbing to a platform above the scoreboard. The view is at a slight angle, and through a hanging speaker assembly.
The next challenge was actually firing the camera. Using Pocket Wizard brand radios to trigger the shutter was easy, but the “shutter lag,” the time it takes for the camera to respond and fire the shutter, was my concern. Sure enough, it took an average of a second and a half between my pressing the button on my radio and the camera actually firing. While that may not seem like a long time to some, to me that’s the time between the ball leaving a shooter’s hands and it getting to the rim.
While I came up with six usable images, the “shutter lag” issue took some of my attention away from using my main camera. I just could not go from using my handheld setup to firing the radio in time to catch a rebound. So while this setup isn’t practical for every game use, it is workable for an occasional different look.
Image details: Canon G12, 140mm, 1/500 sec, f5.6 @ 200 ASA. Used with Speedotron 2401SX strobes, triggered via Pocket Wizard radios.