making good high distance photos? why and how

Making good distance photos?

Why and How

By Sabrina Barbante

http://about.me/sabrina.barbante

There are many reasons why we may need to make pictures pulling the trigger at a certain distance from our camera. Both technical and expressive reasons.

Technically speaking, we may need to make an aerial picture, from a high position that we may not physically reach, with the relevant suitable tools (i.e. Aerial balloon or mast photos).
Or, we may need to shoot in a dark setting, with a high level of exposition so that the trigger vibration may compromise the good definition of the picture.

Cam Ranger iPad_LiveView_Small

If we consider  a merely expressive necessity, I’ve noticed in my experience that if I want to make a close human portrait, the model will make very interesting face expressions if there is no one physically behind the lens. It’s a kind of ‘morning mirror authentic’ attitude and it could give you very interesting results.
Then, more simply, sometimes we may just need to be one of the subjects of the picture itself, and we want to reach a more interesting and articulated result than the limited one of the self-timer.

So, now that I’ve confessed the reasons why I recently felt like shooting at a long distance from my camera, I’d like to tell you about some devices I’ve used, some of which got me very satisfied.
The very first tool I tried to use, with my Canon EOS1100D, is a Remote Switch Canon RS-60E3.

It is a compact remote control, with a one meter cable to connect to the camera,  2-button functions.
The cable allows you to release the shutter without the direct contact with the camera. The use of this cable is recommended to avoid the effects due to camera vibrations when shooting on a tripod, as well as to activate long exposures.
The main limit, as you may understand, is the fact that it is impossible for the photographer to reach a position farther that 90cm from the camera. So, it is almost impossible to use this device to be included in a high quality self portrait (unless it is a very close-up one). If the exposition is very long and the dark very deep, you may also suffer from the vibration of the shutter in the final result.

More recently, a photographer, a friend of mine, made me try a new (a bit more expensive) device, called CamRanger (found at AerialClick at 269€ + VAT). It is a tool that is used to control a Canon or Nikon DSLR directly from the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, PC and Android device. It connects wirelessly to the machine, autonomously without the need for a WiFi hotspot: it creates a WiFi hotspot which will connect to the device.

This tool allows, for example, to enlarge the area of ​​focus in order to optimize it. The frame rate for the image transfer is 6-18 fps . Among the adjustable settings: AF points, highlights, shadows, grids, aspect ratio.
All the problems of focus and adjustments that are encountered with self-timer and remote control are solved with this device, which also allows you to remotely monitor and adjust the aperture, ISO, Metering Mode, white balancing, exposure bracketing and autofocus.

It took me some minutes to clearly understand all its potentials, since is not as immediate as the remote switch… But after I used my friend’s one, I’ve included it in the list of my Christmas/birthday wishes!

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About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography