Brad Trent published Part One of a two part post on Strobist. Trent chronicles a recent shoot he did of singer-songwriter Nadia Ackerman for her new album. Ackerman had an idea for the cover shot, which tied into the title of the album, The Ocean Master. Her idea was to be photographed floating in water. The only problem was Ackerman’s record label, management, and anyone else you can imagine with a stake in her career success provided zero budget.
Location fees and insurance liability issues prevented shooting at any indoor pool in New York. Since it was winter, they couldn’t do it in a river in the Atlantic Ocean. Trent is a pro, and his can-do attitude doesn’t fail him on this shoot.
Be sure to read the post and the 23 photos which illustrate it for all the details of this multiple set-up shoot. Behind the scenes photos also show Trent rocking a few PocketWizard Plus II units. Can’t wait for Part Two!
See more of Brad Trent’s innovative work at his site. Follow him on Twitter for frequent updates.
Zack Arias and Joey L. shoot it out at the GPP 2011.
Last year’s shootout with Joey L., Zack Arias and David Hobby generated a tremendous amount of PR, and everyone was curious how Joey L. was going to top his performance. Would he be equally or even more outrageous this year? Would there be surprises? Would he shoot it seriously? Who would the audience choose as winner? Watch the video to find out the answers to these and other questions.
What really makes this video worth watching is portrait great Gregory Heisler jumping into the mix, which ramps up the competition into a three-way race. All shooters relied on PocketWizard technology to make their shots happen in the brief time they were permitted in front of a live audience.
After this year’s shoot, Arias wrote a blog post about his thought process. Check it out for greater insight to the entire event.
Last month we wrote about Neil van Niekerk’s review of the PocketWizard AC3 ZoneController. Neil shows no signs of stopping his informative posts. Most recently, he’s posted a great behind-the-scenes article about a recent shoot at the Steinway Piano offices. Robert Wyatt, a pianist affiliated with Steinway, was the subject of this portrait session.
“I used multiple off-camera speedlights and different light modifiers to get portraits with impact,” van Niekerk writes. Two lighting set-ups are documented in his post. The photographer used three Nikon SB-900 speedlights, triggered by PocketWizard FlexTT5 units, including an additional one on his camera.
Ending his article with the following paragraph, van Niekerk explains a psychological benefit of using PocketWizard gear, along with total control over his desired light shaping:
“I chose to work with speedlights… because of how much control the new PocketWizard FlexTT5 allows me. Being able to change the power of each flash from my camera, made the shoot easier … and it makes me look so much more in control and cool in front of a client, when I’m not moving around, hurriedly adjusting my flashes’ individual outputs throughout the session.”
Check out Neil’s new blog and site for more info on his work.
Educator and photographer Neil van Neikerk recently posted a review of his initial experiments with the PocketWizard AC3 ZoneController.
Bangkok-based British photographer Bronek Kaminski covers all of Southeast Asia for various news and editorial clients. Images from both of the following shoots ran worldwide in newspapers and magazines. They were taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 580EX flashes.
“With the elephant shots, the mahouts had been working all day, it was midnight by the time I managed to get some time with them, and they were really keen to finish,” Kaminski recalls. “As soon as I got the last shot, they told me to come up onto one of the elephants. We set off to a stall, bought some beers which were passed up to us, and we finished off the day sitting around in their camp drinking.”
At long last, we have the final installment of T. Michael Testi’s marathon review of the PocketWizard MiniTT1, FlexTT5, AC3 and AC9 units all for Canon cameras. The first part was a general overview of the products and their capabilities. The second part was a detailed look at the seldom-covered AC3 and AC9 units.
In Part 3, Testi tests his PocketWizard gear at a Gary Thomas Extreme Lighting Workshop to chronicle the Outwest Outlaw Roller Derby team. The venue has spotty lighting at best, and even appears to have unfinished walls. Testi mentions dialing strobe power up or down with his AC3 in several shooting scenarios without completely halting his workflow. He shoots both sports action and more posed portrait work during this workshop.
Testi ends his three part review with the following two paragraphs. They follow in their entirety.
Again and again, I am amazed at the reliability and quality of all of these pieces and how well they work together in any situation. I also love the HyperSync ability that comes with the ControlTL system. This is what allows you to shoot at faster speeds than your camera would normally allow — all the way to 1/8000 second with full power flash. It allows you to capture more creative shots than you can with regular flash.
I also like the fact that everything just works together. There are no cords and no Velcro — just the FlexTT5 and the Speedlite. The ability for the system to work seamlessly with the Alien Bees and the flash unit made this a joy to work with. If you want the ultimate in the ability to control your flash and strobes from right on your camera, then I very highly recommend you add the AC3 and the AC9 to your MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units.
Thanks for the details, T. Keep up the great work!
Bowling Green, Kentucky photographer Daniel Houghton recently posted about something we don’t recommend. He was able to use PocketWizard Plus II units to fire his Profoto heads underwater. Yes. Underwater.
Back in October he photographed open-water marathoner Mallory Meade. After shooting Meade from a boat as she swam in a lake, they moved the photo shoot to an Olympic-sized pool. Houghton got underwater and was able to fire his Profoto heads with his PocketWizards submerged.
PocketWizard radios utilize a high frequency radio signal transmitted on at a very low power, which work great when the radios are transmitting through air. Unfortunately, the requirements for a reliable system underwater is the exact opposite of this. You’d need a very high powered, low-frequency transmitter to get any sort of reliable range (think military submarine or whales). In the limited testing we’ve attempted with our radios underwater, your triggering distance would most likely be measured in inches or centimeters instead of meters or feet. PocketWizard does not recommend submerging your equipment in water of any kind.
Be sure to read the full post here, along with the rest of Houghton’s work.
Buckinghamshire, U.K. photographer Glyn Dewis recently got his hands on the new PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units for Nikon cameras. He posted a blog story about his experience, including two beautifully-subtly lit images taken outside at dusk or near-dark.
He plans to push PocketWizard’s HyperSync technology, and we look forward to seeing the results.
Dewis writes, “After a few more photo shoots using them I’m going to be putting together a review here on the blog but for those of you interested, first impressions are that they’re good…real good!” So is your photography, Glyn! Keep the great images coming. Cheers!
St. Louis wedding photographer Stephanie Zettl has published a review of her new PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 for Nikon on Neil van Niekerk’s blog Tangents.
The review covers her initial testing of the units after an overview of her experience using off-camera flashes, particularly the Nikon Creative Lighting System’s line of sight functionality and associated limitations. She explains her more recent advanced lighting set-ups with flash units hidden, and gives some wonderful example photos to illustrate this. These creative new shots would be impossible with line-of-sight flashes. New PocketWizard Nikon units to the rescue!
Zettl provides a variety of sample shots (including behind-the-scenes images), both indoor and outdoor, which amply illustrate her methodology and results with the new technology.
“The Pocket Wizards are an industry standard when it comes to consistent, reliable radio triggers,” Zettl writes. “In my initial testing of the product I was really pleased with the results. It was extremely easy to set up the units. I would almost call them plug and play. In every shot, the units fire consistently and accurately. This meant I was able to set my lights and focus on my subject versus worrying about if my OCF unit would be able to see my commander as I moved around,” she also writes.
Zettl ends her review with the promise of “more detailed testing to come.” We can’t wait to see more interesting breakdowns of her workflow as she puts PocketWizard technology to the limits. Be sure not to miss the work on her site, or her own blog.
One of our peeps got a note from a fellow Vimeo user sharing this video.
Ella Manor has posted Power House, a short fashion film. Some beautiful still images and video can be seen, particularly toward the end of the piece.
The moody, atmospheric project also has an accompanying Making of Power House, in which the PocketWizard Plus II can be seen multiple times. The popular and creative tools from Lensbaby were also key in the production’s final results.
Be sure to check out both videos, and see her site for more original portrait photography.