One Shot: The Highest of Highs

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Throughout my career as the official PDC photographer I had  always looked for different ways of capturing the action, ways in which the sport and the participants had not been photographed before.

I was intent on getting shots that did not just show a player throwing a dart ,I wanted to portray these highly skilled ,highly competitive sports men and women in the same way that those in other sports are projected. My aim was to capture the moments of their triumphs , of their disappointments ,showing the joy of winning and the despair of defeat and illustrating the fun, the fans and all the razzamatazz that makes  today’s game so successful and the top players so recognisable.

The World Championships have become as much a part of Christmas as Turkey and Brussel sprouts and stands alongside the other events that make up the Jewels of the annual sporting calendar. For 16 days the best players on the planet battle it out for the ultimate accolade of “Champion of the World”.

On New Years Day 2020 for the final between Peter Wright and Michael Van Gerwen, I arrived at the historic Alexandra Palace at lunchtime having arranged with my colleagues at Sky TV to clamp a remotely triggered camera high above the stage in the lighting nest. I have never been  a lover of heights or ladders but in the words of Dianna Ross and The Supremes song ,it was “Up The Ladder To The Roof” to securely attach the camera to the rigging and attempt to get a unique photo of the  champion lifting the trophy.

If being on top of a ladder with my head wedged between the stage lights was a challenge for me ,the next step was even harder,  stretching my neck to look through the viewfinder to angle and focus the camera with one hand ,on the area below me , where experience led me to expect the the winner to celebrate, while firmly gripping the top rung with the other.

Pre-sets checked and completed it was time to put the camera to “sleep” and get back down to terra firma, have a strong “cuppa” and prepare for the final.

The “Peoples Palace” was packed to the rafters as ’Snakebite’ and ‘Mighty Mike’ battled it out with the Scotsman triumphing 7-3 to claim his first World Title.

As MC John McDonald introduced the presentation party ,I took my position in front of the Oche and awakened my remote camera and as Peter received the Sid Waddell Trophy and raised it above his head, the canons shot out the ticker tape and wirelessly, I fired my remote camera.

After anxiously waiting for the arena to clear , I could now climb back up to retrieve the camera and hope that I had triggered it at the right moment. Nervous with expectation I scrolled through the images and to my delight I had nailed it and got the photo I had hoped for, mission accomplished!


Lawrence Lustig is a former official photographer to the PDC. For the technically minded he fixed a pocket wizard wireless receiver to the flash mount on a Canon 1D MK 11 N with a 16mm-35mm zoom lens set at 16mm with an exposure of 1/640th sec at f4.5 on 1600 iso triggered by pocket wizard transmitter linked to his Canon 1DX Mk 11.

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