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Remote gold

by Shawn Thew

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German defender Jerome Boateng clears the ball from the line and hits the camera during the UEFA EURO 2016 group C preliminary round match between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille Metropole, France, 12 June 2016. epa/Shawn Thew

Setting up a remote camera is always a gamble. For EURO 2016 match 07 between Germany and Ukraine at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille Metropole, France I was on the pitch three hours before kickoff claiming a spot behind the goal for my camera. About 1 ½ hours before the game I was mounting the Canon 1DX with a 16-35 mm lens to the tripod, setting the exposure and focus, attaching the network cable, attaching the remote foot pedal release cable and, as the skies were threatening, fixing the rain cover over the top. Next up I ran the remote release cable back to my photo position about 100 feet away and ask for a colleague to give me the thumbs up that the camera is firing when I push the foot pedal. I get the thumbs up that the camera is working and receive word from the photo desk that pictures are being transmitted. I’m good to go, game time.

I shoot the game action primarily with a 200-400 mm lens on a Canon 1DX and a 70-200 on another Canon 1DX, both with network cables to transmit my selects to the picture desk in Frankfurt. The game was exciting, Germany scored an early goal at the other end but Ukraine was fighting back hard and putting pressure on the Germans in front of their goal. I was shooting and sending pictures and then a thought popped into my head…remote camera, foot pedal! It’s not equipment that I normally use and I’d forgotten about it. Now, foot on pedal, I’m shooting pictures with the remote. There is always, because you cannot see it, a doubt…is this working?

There was a lot action in front of the German goal as the Ukrainians tried to even the score. With a flying kick German defender Jerome Boateng cleared the line when goal keeper Manuel Neuer was caught out of position as the Ukrainian team thought they had scored. The crowd of about 50,000 went wild! I was shooting hand held and pushing the foot pedal like I was Michael Schumacher in his beloved Ferrari. There is always, because you cannot see it, a doubt…is this working? I send an email to the desk, “Anything showing up in the remote folder?”

At halftime I walked out to check my remote camera and to my disappointment it had somehow been knocked over. It happened in the pregame warmups and I had repositioned it and now it had happened again and I didn’t see. All the preparation gone to waste. I set it back up and thumbed on the monitor to have a look at the images. Roof, roof, roof, roof…about 100 pictures of the stadium roof and then, to my surprise, remote gold. A series of about 30 pictures of Boateng clearing the line, flying through the air into the back of the goal, sliding backwards and in the end knocking my camera over. Remote gold! I look at my phone and there was a reply from Gernot* to my inquiry, “Yes my dear!! Picture of the week. Boateng falling into the goal.”

Sometimes you get lucky.

Shawn Thew is epa’s Chief White House Photographer, based in Washington D.C., USA.
*Gernot Hensel, epa’s Head of Sports and Deputy Editor-in-Chief

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