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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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March 8, 2007 7:30 PM

Increasing the odds.

Posted by Rod Mar

Last night's basketball game between Washington and Arizona State down here at the Pac-10 tournament didn't tip off until 8:30 p.m.

Which poses a challenge for any photographers shooting the game, since most newspapers have a first deadline around 9:00 p.m.

One such paper is, by coincidence, The Seattle Times.

(Okay, weird. I wrote about deadlines FOR THE NEWSPAPER but linked you to our website. To be clear: the website doesn't have deadlines. Wow. This information superhighway stuff can get mighty confusing...)

So, I was left with about 30 minutes to make a photo for the first editions of the newspaper. Also, our great sports and photo editors and designers were kind enough to build in just a little extra time for me.

In order to increase my odds of getting a good photo in that amount of time, I decided to use a remote camera on the other side of the floor from which I was shooting.

This way, I could be sure to have photos of both UW (who was facing me) and ASU (who was facing away from me) since I wouldn't know the winner of the game before I had to transmite pictures.

I placed a camera with a wide-angle (16-35mm) lens on the ground, aimed up at the basket. Added a remote receiver, and placed it in front of a good friend of mine, Robert Hanashiro of U.S.A. Today.


To fire the camera, I attached a remote transmitter to the camera I would be using as my "long" camera — the one I would be shooting with when the action was on the far end of the court.

In order to get the proper angle looking up, I attached a very complicated and expensive riser device to the bottom of the camera.

Acutally, I took two AA batteries, laid them end to end, wrapped them in tape and taped that to the bottom front of the camera.


Since there are plenty of media time outs in these games, I was able to periodically check on the composition and focus.

At the beginning of the game, I saw that the television cameraman underneath the basket was getting into the frame of my remote camera, so I moved it over another few feet.

It's funny to edit a remote camera like this. Since I'm firing the remote camera using another camera, sometimes I'm not aiming at action in front of the remote.

The result is that a great majority of photos are of nothing, or a ref's leg, or, or "more nothing".


While editing, I quickly looked through the remote images, and then stumbled across one I liked. Since the photographer is not looking through the lens of a remote camera when the photo is taken, finding a good one is akin to finding a $20 bill in an old pair of jeans.


Under the expert eye of photo editor Barb Kinney, we decided to crop the photo in order to eliminate the dead space at left.

Here's how it looked in the paper:


Comments welcomed, as always!

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