A Platypod, Platyball and Me with Neale Blackburn

Words by Neale Blackburn
Edited by Eryka Bagwell

I’m a professional freelance photojournalist working across the UK - Mostly
in the south of England at the moment.

I cover activities such as Football, Horse racing, Youth theater and dance with the occasional wedding thrown in to spice up my schedule a bit.

I currently provide ‘Official club photographer’ imagery for Beaconsfield
Town FC who play in Step 3/Tier 7 of the English FA pyramid in the Southern
Premier League South. I provide home and away match day images for the
first team and as many teams as I can fit in. I'm also responsible for headshots,
press, publicity and social media imagery across the entire club from
First team to U11’s.

I report for the non-league paper and also contribute to various web sites
and magazines as well as local and national papers.

I also cover Point to Point steeplechasing, mainly amateur horse racing over
jumps which is where I first started to explore the use of remotes and my
personal association with Platypod (as a consumer) began.

I was always searching for a quick and easy solution to low angle remote
shots of horses in mid jump to add some drama to the portfolio. I love the
planning and preparation nearly as much as the actual end result.


I was always tweaking and refining my kit for flexibility and ease of quick
resetting to allow me to collect a variety of images from different angles and
set ups within the 6 minute span of one race.



I started off with the Ultra kit and a few accessories that were bundled with it and got on well with it while sometimes struggling with the weight of Nikon pro-spec DSLR’s and glass. I relied heavily on finding a good spot of stable soil and screwing everything firmly in place.

When I saw the Platypod eXtreme on Kickstarter, it was absolutely a no brainer to upgrade my current gear and (with my inner gadget boy in full swing) the Platyball Elite was another easy project to support. The ability to position and set up the shot one handed was a game changer for me at the race course or in a darkened theater where the illuminated level comes into its own.


Then there’s the equally as integral multi-positional feet of the Platypod eXtreme, a boon at the football as they allow quick firm placement and have even calmed the passions of nervous ground staff concerned about me sticking
spiked feet into their expensive 3 or 4g artificial surface.

The Platypod has proved perfect for my niche and I can honestly say they
have made a huge difference to my working experience and I bought them
with my own money! They are well made, sturdy usable well thought out
products and the results, I think, speak for themselves (even if I do say so

Of late, I most often pair the Platypod eXtreme and Platyball Elite with a Sony A7Riv and a variety of prime Sony G master lenses. The flexibility of the Sony and the depth of field advantages of the Prime lenses make for a good combination in low light but I also use the Nikon D5 and Zeiss prime glass when the frame rate needs it and I can’t risk the rolling shutter of silent shooting on the Sony. Both set ups perform perfectly in company with Pocket wizard triggers which I have been using for over a decade and seldom let me down.

A little idiosyncratic perhaps but we’re all individual artists and it works for

Happy trails and Good shooting!

For more information go to www.platyball.com and watch the video features at that page.

Visit the Platypod store to check out all the new accessories to boost your creativity. Click Here  

If you have a final image and BTS that you’d like to share and potentially be featured on our blog (newsletter or social media pages), please contact us via service@platypod.com

Pic - Gabriel The Great - Thomas Murray winning at Kingston Blount races

May 2022
©Neale Blackburn Photography 2022 - www.chasdog.com