Airborne cricket bat? Remote camera helps to get the shot

March 26, 2012 | By Gareth Copley | Sport

I’ve been covering the ups and downs of the English cricket team home and aboard for the past seven years so. I’ll be honest with you, it’s a great way to see the world while the UK is getting battered by all sorts of horrible weather during the winter months back home.

The snag is that cricket tours aren’t short, and you often disappear for two or three months at a time. When you go off for months on end on established cricket tours like Australia, India or the West Indies, there’s always plenty to keep you interested as a photographer. You visit six or seven different cities, and each of them has their own different cricket grounds, hotels and training grounds.


Kevin Pietersen of England throws his bat in the air after being dismissed by Abdur Rehman of Pakistan during the 3rd Test match between Pakistan and England at The Dubai International Cricket Stadium on February 3, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

So, two months in the United Arab Emirates with matches only being played at two different cricket grounds was going to be a challenge to keep my mind and pictures fresh.

To add to that, England’s opposition were Pakistan, who are playing their “home” matches there due to the security issues back home. So you could rule out big crowds turning up and providing these two grounds with a bit of atmosphere — as well as acting as a background for my pictures (empty seats don’t look good in pictures). The key was to look for different angles and try not to keep taking the same pictures each day, and also cross my fingers and hope someone did something a bit different.

My picture of Kevin Pietersen throwing his bat in the air after being dismissed by Pakistan bowler Abdur Rehman is a bit different.

Cricketers don’t normally throw their bats in the air after being dismissed, they normally just walk off head down in a grump — which is often a very dull, but important picture. The picture was taken by one of my remote cameras placed high up in the stands. These cameras are often lifesavers; basically every time I take a picture with my main camera sat pitchside, it also fires off a frame at the same time. It provides a wider view of the field of play, which I collect at the end of the day. I then have to trawl through hundreds of rubbish images to see if any of them look something like a proper picture.

On my ground-level version of the same picture, there isn’t even a bat in view; Kevin had thrown his bat that high in the air it had disappeared out of my frame.

My first thought was, “bugger, I guess I’ve missed that picture then.” But luckily, at the end of the day when looking through the pictures taken on the remote camera, things had fallen into place a bit better.

It had all the elements to illustrate the story of that day’s play, a bunch of celebrating Pakistani players, a despairing English batsman and to add a little bit of interest to the picture, a floating cricket bat hanging over them all.

And the best thing about this picture, there isn’t an empty seat in sight.

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  • Michael

    Great story. Thanks for the ideas presented.


  • Andy Tiplady

    Great picture and nice story, nice to see you getting the opportunity to explore different angles to help tell the story. Great stuff Mr Copley.

  • Vaughn Ridley

    a few ‘positive’ blog comments

  • Mick Brinkmann

    Awesome stuff.Could you Tell me what Camera,Lens you use for this Shot?
    Is it from a wide angle,then cropped?
    Cheers Mick

  • Gareth Copley

    It was taken on Nikon D3s camera with 300mm f4 lens. The original frame was a wider landscape but I cropped it to an upright picture. Composition is a lot about luck with remote cameras as you don’t know where the subject is going to be at the certain moment, but you can make an educated guess.