One area of technology that has quietly become available to many photographers are remote triggers. Back in the day this was big news; you could set up your camera aimed at a bald eagle nest and fire away from your blind. Or set up cameras at the horse race track at ground level for stunning shots. For me, I used remote triggers to create endless stock images, often with myself as the model. I vividly remember working on images for National Geographic Adventure in the desert; I set up my camera with remote trigger at a roadside pullout and aimed my 500mm lens at a distant pinnacle. Leaving the camera 1/2 mile away, I rock climbed up the pinnacle, set up a yellow tent, and stood there looking out over an amazing desert landscape. I was starring in my own stock shot, and was sure it would make the cover…until I heard Molly Hatchet blaring on the radio. Looking back at the pullout, a bunch of ‘good old boys’ had pulled in beside my camera, and were amazed at their luck finding $10,000 worth of gear just sitting there for them to take. As they walked towards it, I frantically hit the remote shutter causing the camera to take pictures. They stopped in the their tracks, not sure if the camera was possessed. In the meantime, I practically jumped from the pinnacle, raced back up the road, and said hello to the ‘boys’. Honestly, they were really nice, and offered me a beer. They were quite amused at what I was doing.
Technology aside, remote triggers still give you great creative liberties. Just this last weekend I wanted to create a sea kayaking shot. Not an image of the boats on the water, but I wanted to photograph the boats on top of my car. Think road trip and lifestyle image. To set this up, I used a Manfrotto magic arm attached to my car rack. This arm clamps down on anything, and can be positioned in really contorted angles. I attached my D810 to the arm, and used a Pocket Wizard Plus II and remote cable to fire my camera.
The great thing about the Pocket Wizard system is the range. With fresh batteries you can easily trigger your camera a 1/4 mile away. And today, any Nikon camera with built in wifi can be triggered from your smart phone using the Nikon smart phone app. No extra transmitters needed, just set it up and shoot away. Think about what images you can create using your camera remotely. Remote photography opens up a new area of creativity for photographers.