The Best Laid Plans

As the official league photographer for the Tulsa Shock this year I have setup more remotes than I typically do during the summertime. I really enjoy the work. It's fun and challenging and makes me flex my brain a little.  It's a skill set that sets the pros apart from the vast sea of amateur sports photographers and one that can really only be learned with lots and lots of practice. And for the most part I usually produce some nice images.

The thing about remote cameras is that they are awesome. The other thing about remote cameras is that they are.... well.... remote. Meaning you cannot access them during the game for the most part. So you have to get everything right the first time. I have a checklist in my head of settings I need to change on the camera and the remote equipment. I have threatened (usually after some type of screwup) many times to write it down and carry it in my remote bag, but it has yet to actually happen.

But like all things technical, there are bound to be new issues. You would think after more than a decade of shooting sports I would have a grasp on all the issues that I face, all the little things that could go wrong. But tonight as I setup to shoot the Sparks vs Shock game at the BOK Center, I came across a completely new issue. As Tim and I set up the overhead remote for some kickin' basket action we hung the 300mm 2.8 from the upper catwalk of the arena. This is where the problem started. The heat and humidity that Tulsa is experiencing seems to be concentrated at the top of the arena! The upper catwalk is placed just a few feet above the air conditioning outlets for the building. Meaning that it's like being in the attic of your house! The minute we crossed the last few steps onto the upper deck the 300mm (6 lbs of aluminum and glass) immediately fogged up. The problem is that a lens like this is not like your eyeglasses, it takes more than just a few minutes to warm up and unfog. With limited time, we guessed at the focusing and headed back downstairs.

After the first half we went back up and made some adjustments, refocused the camera and checked the take from the first half. Unfortunately it was just as I had feared. 

The lens remained fogged for the entire first half of the game. Luckily the Shock were shooting at that end the second half and I made some nice frames, so all was not lost. 


Big thanks to Tim Berry for helping out tonight. It's always a must for me to have a second set of hands when hanging things out over the catwalk for games. Sure, I could do it myself... but with so much else to go wrong... why take the risk!? 

All Images in this post are by Shane Bevel/NBAE/Getty Images and used by permission of the NBA and Tulsa Shock.