March 3, 2012

Australian cricket

A remote camera captures a McGrath milestone

Hamish Blair
 © Hamish Blair/Getty Images
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The photograph chosen for this piece is from the famous 2005 Ashes series in England. Going in to the series Glenn McGrath was on 499 career Test wickets, meaning his first wicket of the series would be his 500th, a significant milestone. The first Test was played at Lord's and I thought that presented an opportunity for a nice photo to capture this moment.

This photo was shot using a remote camera. A remote camera is a second camera I set up somewhere different from where I am shooting. Normally, as I've mentioned previously, I shoot from ground level, usually at fine leg or long-off to a right-hand batsman. I set a remote camera up in the stands somewhere. A typical setup would be with the TV cameras looking straight down the wicket. This camera is set up with a shorter lens than the one I use to shoot action from ground level, taking in a wider view of everything happening on and near the pitch. It has a radio controlled trigger attached to it that links to another trigger attached to my camera, which means when I fire my camera at ground level, the remote camera fires too.

The exact angle etc of the remote camera is usually determined by what is available in the stands at each ground. Every ground is a different size with a different setup. The best photos from a remote camera are, usually, significant wickets; that is when a lot of players from the fielding team are likely to run around in the centre wicket area celebrating. It may be the wicket of a key opposition batsman, a wicket to win a match or series, or a milestone wicket as was the case with this photo.

McGrath usually bowled away from the Members' End at Lord's meaning the famous old stand would be behind him. Normally a remote camera photo is shot from quite high, so all that is in the shot is the players and grass in the background. I thought for this photo it would be nice to set up the camera so it included the stand as well. I found a spot to secure my camera at the front of the stand at the other end, looking back to the Members'.

A lot of sports photography is about working out the best chances of things happening. There was no way of guaranteeing that he would bowl from that end, no way of guaranteeing that he would take a wicket. Also, I had to take an educated guess as to whether he would be dismissing a left or right-hand batsman, as that would impact on where all the fielders would be standing. It was a tough call; both England openers at the time (Andrew Strauss and Marcus Trescothick) were left-handers, but the rest of the batting line-up, aside from No. 11 Simon Jones, were all right-handers. I guessed (maybe more hoped) he would get one of the openers out and went for a set up for a left-hand batsman.

Luckily for me this paid off; he dismissed Marcus Trescothick early on with plenty of fielders in my shot. Justin Langer took the catch and threw the ball so high you can actually see it against the sky above the stand! So I was shooting through my long lens on the boundary and shot the tighter pic (below) of him celebrating (with a lot of slips getting in my way) and at the same time remotely fired the camera mounted up above me and got a nice photo to record Glenn McGrath's milestone wicket.

Glenn McGrath's 500th Test wicket celebrations shot from ground level  © Hamish Blair/Getty Images
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Hamish Blair is a Melbourne-based photographer for Getty Images

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Posted by Ajitesh Mohan on (June 27, 2012, 10:52 GMT)

@ Abhishek Kauntia - Its Brett Lee who is missing. He was fielding at deep fine leg boundary.

Posted by Rob C on (May 29, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

I was at Lords for this match, a little to the left of the remote camera. I got this shot as well though mine is sprinkled with the arms and heads of all the other Australians in Merv's tour group. What a great day for Glenn and for Aussie cricket.

Posted by Rahul J on (May 9, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

the remote camera pic is a few seconds before the pic from the boundary though!! :)

Posted by Rahul J on (May 9, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

super cool!!

Posted by "em" on (March 25, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

Hi hamish, can you please post ur email address. I would like to get in touch with you.

Posted by Darius on (March 7, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Somebody is missing from the tight pic. Would that be Langer?

Posted by Prashath Reddy on (March 7, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

@Rueben Kincaid: That's a very valid point from a true cricket lover.

Posted by raju on (March 7, 2012, 17:13 GMT)

I guess its Brett Lee fine leg missing in the pic, poor fine leggie...

Posted by Hammad Ali "Pakistan" on (March 6, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Great show for a Great team Bowler

Posted by Rueben Kincaid, Pasedena, CA, USA on (March 6, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

I really don't wish to be a wet blanket, and it is indeed a nice photo, but once again we have a cricket photographer who thinks a good cricket photo is one of players celebrating a dismissal, not the dismissal itself. (In fact here we have 2 photos of the same dismissal but neither shows the catch, only happy players).

I would venture to guess that 80% of cricket photos in newpsapers today are of players celebrrating, not catches being taken, wickets being disturbed or even batsmen playing shots. Celebration photos might satisfy sub-editors looking for human emotion but they shed no light on the cricket itself.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hamish Blair
Hamish Blair is a Melbourne-based Australian photographer who works for Getty Images. He covered his first Test match in 1996 and has spent a good deal of his career since following the Australian cricket team around the world. He has photographed over 100 Tests in the 13 years he has been shooting cricket.

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