This article was written by Steve Boyle for the Better When You Tether series of articles by professional photographers who experience the benefits of shooting tethered in various shooting environments.
Tethering On-Location with No Restrictions
As primarily an on-location photographer, I have found two instances in which tethering in the field is essential: when the camera is inaccessible and when the client requires review or approval of the images.
This behind-the-scenes series shows a recent shoot of a project for Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. It required direct overhead images of athletes, making the camera inaccessible for on the fly adjustments.
The goal was to photograph 6 athletes, from above, on their field/court or in the pool. Swimming was made easy by the diving board and volleyball was simplified by an elevated track. With soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and track, I built my own structure to capture the required angle.
I had done this in the past to create a 30+ person portrait for The History Channel with 40 feet of speed rail atop two hi-boy rollers and ran 30 feet of tethering cable to control the camera. This project for Kenyon carried a smaller budget, less time and several locations.
By placing the camera and ring flash at the end of a Mathews Mini Boom mounted to a c-stand maxed out on height and loaded with all of the sand we had, I was able to achieve the angle that I desired with a wide zoom. In hindsight, I’d highly recommend the strongest, bulkiest stand that you can get your hands on – junior roller at minimum.
With the camera mounted about 15ft in the air, I had no choice but to tether to my laptop to control not only the shutter but the focus and framing via Canon’s LiveView feature. Before I got Tether Tools JerkStoppers, I’d run through a few feet of gaff securing my cables at every connection, including the connections of the USB extension cables. Thankfully the TetherPro USB cables with JerkStoppers offer a much more secure connection.
Once the ring flash was metered and the camera secured parallel to the ground, composing and shooting to the laptop was a breeze since I was tethered.
Another photographic accessory that should go hand in hand with on location tethering, especially outdoors, is a laptop hood – or thinkTank Sunscreen. Shooting the images to the computer is no good if you can’t see them!
About Steve Boyle
Currently residing on the East Coast, Steve travels the country to create compelling imagery for advertising and editorial clients. When working with athletes he strives to capture their physicality, intensity, and inherent competitiveness.
Steve attended the University of Missouri and received a degree in photojournalism. Before beginning his freelancing career, he spent a year as an assistant & lighting tech for Sports Illustrated and briefly held a desk job as a photo editor at a fitness magazine.
His favorite pastime is sitting around a campfire and devouring a bag of peanut M&Ms.