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|| News Item: Posted 2004-05-30

In The Bag: Horse Racing
By Bill Frakes, Sports Illustrated

Photo by Bill Frakes / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Bill Frakes / Sports Illustrated

Remotes at the 2002 Belmont Stakes.
(Editor's Note: One in an ongoing series on what working photographers have in their camera bags.)

Inside which (?) bag is what I wanted to respond when Bert asked me to write this "What's in the Bag." Column for the Sports Shooter Newsletter. I'll show up at the Belmont Stakes with about 25 cases. Each packed with different items critical to the remote process.

Whenever I see a uninformed comment on the message board referring to the ease of making images with remote cameras, I always wish that person would have to be one of my assistants for one day at a major event where we are doing multiple remotes, they'd get over themselves pretty quickly. And they'd learn just how precise this all is.

I'm using the remotes to make images I can't make with a camera in my hand, usually because it is simply not possible for a person to be where the remote is. Sometimes I'll do it for redundancy, or because I can only hold one camera in my hand. But trust me, I can and do see through all of the cameras in my mind while the action is taking place, and that's the trick. Ask John McDonough, or Bob Rosato who do it all the time.

It's not accidental, those cameras didn't get to the locations by themselves, they didn't compose themselves, they didn't figure out where they needed to be focused, or fired.

The following components are in my bags.

18 Nikon F3 bodies
4 Nikon F4 bodies
4 Nikon F5 bodies
2 Nikon 1DX bodies
4 Nikon F3 H high-speed bodies
3 Canon EOS 1N bodies
2 Canon EOS 1V bodies
3 Canon 1D bodies
3 Canon 1D Mark II bodies
1 Hassleblad X Pan
1 Canon 1Ds body
2 Strip cameras, custom built. One of which shoots 220 film.
2 Holgas, including a Holgaroid
1 Canon EZ 550
1 Nikon DX 80
1 Gossen light meter

Photo by David Callow

Photo by David Callow

Bill Frakes with assistant Courtney Harris at the track and field finish line during the 2002 Sydney Olympics.
Nikon Lens selection:
2 14mm
1 16mm
1 17-35mm
1 20-35mm
1 28-70 mm
3 50mm
2 80-200mm
4 180mm
3 300mm
4 400mm
3 600mm

Canon lens selection:
2 14mm
1 15mm
2 16-35mm
2 28-70mm
2 50mm
2 70-200mm
2 300mm
4 400mm
3 600mm
1 1200mm

Miscellaneous items:
3 heavy duty Kart-a-bag equipment carts
2 pair of rain pants, extra boots

Remote equipment:
5 Pocket wizard transceivers with custom channels
6 Prerelease triggers for the 1D, 1D Mark II, 1 Ds, and 1Dx bodies, with adapters.
45 Ball heads of assorted sizes, but mostly big ones
1 Box of Key Lime Luna bars for Jason
15 Bogen Magic Arms
30 Bogen clamps
5 Gitzo carbon fiber monopods, the big ones.
6 Gitzo carbon fiber tripods, 1 of which is really, really big
14 custom made aluminum plates with riser attachments (produced by Pat McDonough of the Courier Journal in Louisville)
40 MC 4A cords
10 MC 25 A cords
7 pushbutton triggers, loving constructed by Jason Parkhurst, my assistant
2 foot pedal triggers
50 black garbage bags
300 feet of zip cord
100 add-a-taps
1 bag of rubber bands
2 ladders
3 Sets of Kata rain covers
2 Lightware long lens covers
1 Entrenching tool
1 Car Battery
7 rolls of gaffer tape, mixed gray and black
8 Motorola radios
2 Tarps, a couple of rolls of plastic drop clothes
10 Sharpies
My notes, and a list of everyone's cellphones.
And a couple of special things that you can see if you show up at the finish line.

(Bill Frakes is a Sports Illustrated staff photographer based in Florida. He is famous for the number of remote cameras he uses at the finish line of major horse racing events, as well as important track & field meets.)

Related Links:
Bill Frakes' personal site

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