by Geoff Waugh Published 01/12/2008
People often ask me, 'Geoff, do you shoot events?' To which I reply, 'yes but not as you know them.' My job as an editorial/ corporate photographer has a completely different remit to that of an event photographer. I don't go with the intent of catching every competitor and then selling to them afterwards.
My fee has already been established (but it takes longer to get at that money!) and my job is to provide a story from that event whatever that may be. Sometimes I am there to photograph certain people, sometimes to photograph the event in a news style, which means, I must be there at the beginning and, if it is a race of any kind, most definitely at the end to catch the victory celebrations, the podiums and the champagne spraying.
At most of the events I go to there will be a lot of photographers, and there will be a 'pack mentality'. I try to disengage from this and wander off to do my own thing - this can be impossible, dependent on what you are shooting; F1 or other dangerous sports, will have very strict rules on where and how you can shoot. I am always after a different view and angle. A colleague once said to me, 'I always see you in a field somewhere, don't know what the heck you have seen, but then I see the finished article and am shocked.' That sort of response fires me up.
I often want to give the viewer a look at how the rider/racer may have seen their event. Along the way, I have collected a few pieces of 'equipment' that help me achieve certain different points of views images.
For example, in image , a magazine was running a feature about preparing a mountain bike for winter, mud riding. The concept was to get right into the mud and run the image as the opening spread. So I went straight to the local DIY store and bought a large sheet of Perspex. We found the muddiest section of trail we could find in deepest Epping Forest and I propped the Perspex up to the side, but very close, to the track. I set my Nikon D200 camera up on a mini-tripod behind the Perspex and attached a radio, remote release into the ten-pin socket. A Pocket Wizard transmitter was put into the hotshoe. Because I was shooting low and upwards I wanted to use some flash to catch the wet mud splashes as they rose from the wheels.
To this end I used a 'secret' stand that I found in an angling shop. It is a telescopic bank stick and has a camera thread adapter screwed into the top. This is so anglers fishing alone can plonk their digi compacts on the stick and take a shot of themselves with their leviathans via a self timer! It is perfect for me to attach the plastic-threaded stand that comes with the SB-800 and then the flash itself. Having lined up the view using the rear LCD, I stuck the flash 'stand' into the soft ground to the right of the camera, about three metres away and pointing towards the riders at an angle of about 45 degrees from the camera plane. The SB-800 was fired with a Pocket Wizard receiver.
Then I stood back at a safe distance (it was cold and I had flu!) and fired the camera and flash with the radio release. The resulting image made the grade and was run as a DPS. It showed what the art editor had asked for and, importantly, left room for a headline and any other text. Job done.
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