Sometimes shooting from one angle isn’t enough. Like this weekend when I was asked to take pictures of an engineering project in Petersfield, Hampshire, where I needed to split myself in two. One of me shooting from the ground, the other from the roof (see photo of camp-looking man). But short notice and budget prevented this option, so I had to improvise.
I needed to get shots of a crane lifting large steel braces to the roof of a college building, and I knew the best shots would come at different stages of the process and from both ground-level and roof-top vantage points, so I decided to cover both angles.
Setting up a ground-level camera and attaching a remote switch, I was able to be on the roof as the structure was lifted, but fire the remote camera below to get the alternative angle.
This also meant I didn’t have to run through a building site and up onto a roof to get pictures of the steel frame as it arrived at roof level.
I wasn’t sure the radio transmitter and receiver would talk to each other over such a large distance and with the signal also having to pass through the building once myself and the remote camera were out of line-of-sight.
Using Pocket Wizards I was able to press the fire button on the transmitter to fire the remote camera. As the trigger transmitter was mounted on my camera’s hot shoe I was also able to fire the two cameras at once if I wanted and it didn’t matter where I stood, the remote camera fired reliably.
You can buy a special adaptor to plug a pocket wizard directly into a camera, but I made a lash-up version some years ago using a Canon remote switch which I adapted to take a lead from my Pocket Wizard receiver. It’s a bit messy, it means I have to use manual focus, but it works very well.
Alternatively you can now buy some pretty cheap remote trigger sets, and though I can’t say what their range is it’s probably enough to open up some new options for firing a remote camera for self-portraits and other more creative applications.
If I’d had more time to discuss options with the crane operator and the building contractors I would have loved to have made a picture from a camera clamped to the steel structure as it was lifted into the air, but chances are I would have had a couple of useable pictures and a difficult-to-explain insurance claim for my efforts. Maybe next time…