'behind the scenes' Category

Aaron Ansarov and the Siphonophores

© Aaron Ansarov

© Aaron Ansarov

Aaron Ansarov started photographing washed up jellyfish as part of his My Backyard series, a project he started with his son, looking for photographic inspiration close to home in Delray Beach, Florida. “Portuguese man-of-wars are not jellyfish, they’re siphonophores, which mean’s they’re actually a group of organisms, called zooids, who depend on each other to live,” Ansarov has said. The collection of Zooids has taken on a life its own and have spread around the Web like crazy. It’s easy to see why, the images are intriguing.

To photograph these fascinating creatures, Aaron uses a light table, lit up by an Elinchrom Ranger RX pack and triggered by a PocketWizard Plus III. He says he got his hands on the Plus III’s right before starting the Zooids project and that “their low profile and light weight make them very easy to work with.”

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HyperSync and the Classic Norton

Dave Schmidt has shared his passion for Norton bikes in the past. Here’s his account of his latest shoot with a Norton motorcycle utilizing HyperSync® technology.

Take One, no flash F/4 1/1000, ISO 100. ©David Schmidt

Take One, no flash, F/4, 1/1000, ISO 100. ©David Schmidt

Personal Experience
We never seem to have enough time to shoot around here but testing the new firmware was a good excuse to take some pictures. It worked out well as our friends at the Classic Bike Experience had a beautifully restored ’69 Norton Commando they wanted some pictures of and dropped it off at our studio for a few days. (We photographed another Commando in 2011 and wrote about it here). Click here for a Behind-the-Scenes look at the shoot.

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Flashing the Headless Horseman at Night in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

© Matt Hill

© Matt Hill

On June 23, I was fortunate to be invited back to teach flash lighting to Lance Keimig‘s workshop, “Finding Your Way in the Dark” at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I’ve done this for a few years now and I enjoy showing fresh minds the possibilities when using multiple off-camera flashes combined with light painting and long exposures at night. Here is one setup for you and you can read the rest at MattHillArt.com.

Our first setup tried to take advantage of the rising full moon and open sky. Unfortunately, the clouds were not really cooperating (but it wasn’t raining!).

The white balance was set to Flash to match the three strobes we had trained on the horse and rider. The orange glow was from NYC and White Plains light pollution – we were facing east/southeast. If we had gelled the lights with a CTO, then we could have set the white balance to Tungsten and made the skies a little more blue. But it was fitting when shooting a Headless Horseman in the cemetery of ill-repute (but I must say quite lovely at night), to have this somewhat garish orange sky.

Sometimes, there were planes in the sky. This one almost looks like a light saber. It is a little too sci-fi for this aged tale, but I like it anyway.

© Matt Hill

© Matt Hill

I prefer black and white for night photography, so here is my final pick. The color version is for illustration.

© Matt Hill

© Matt Hill

Below is a lighting diagram for this setup. There were FIVE light sources:

  • Ambient
  • Profoto AcuteB with Magnum Reflector and 10-degree grid
  • Nikon SB-900
  • Vivitar 283
  • Tungsten Flashlight

I scrawled out the measured light readings for you, too. I used my trusty Sekonic L-758DR with PocketWizard Transmitter inside to walk the scene and trigger the PocketWizard Plus III radios on every flash. I used Quad-Zone Triggering to set each on a separate zone so we could trigger different variants of the scene without having to hustle over to each light and turn it on/off.

I had one Plus III on my Nikon D700, and Lance would count down so that everyone got to open their shutters, then I would release mine so everyone got the flash in their 3-second exposure. I also carried a Plus III in my hand for those times when I went out to make minor adjustments and could trigger the flash for everyone from anyplace in the scene.

lighting-diagram-01

© Matt Hill

I have even more examples and a second setup, complete with lighting diagram over at MattHillArt.com. Check  it out!

And drop by Lance Keimig’s website for more of his workshops and a fantastic film. I also highly recommend that if you want to learn more about the craft and history of Night Photography that you pick up a copy of his incredible book, “Night Photography: Finding Your Way In The Dark.”

 

 

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Laura Barisonzi’s HyperSync Dance

We’ve been fans of Laura Barisonzi’s environmental portraits for years, and enjoy seeing what she’s up to at any given point in time. She has an ongoing personal project entitled Dance, and she took a few minutes out to share with our readers how she pulled off one of the images. Here’s a breakdown of the process for this shot in her own words.

An image from Laura Barisonzi's ongoing project, "Dance." ©Laura Barisonzi

An image from Laura Barisonzi’s ongoing project, “Dance.” ©Laura Barisonzi

I had scouted this alcove at a Manhattan park location up to a year before the shoot and had it in my head for a long time as somewhere for a dramatic shot. Once I began my personal project on dance, this location was at the top of my list for locations which could convey some of the formality of a theater or stage, but still have the grit and interest of being outside in an urban setting.

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Lucas Gilman Using HyperSync in the Surf

©Lucas Gilman

©Lucas Gilman

Originally from the mountains of Western Colorado, Lucas Gilman is all about shooting in the great outdoors. From India to South America, Gilman has shot for an astounding array of clients, including National Geographic, The New York Times, Outside, Nikon, and Patagonia.

I recently had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his career and the above video. Here’s what he had to share with our readers.

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Brett Warren’s Porcelain Fashion

© Brett Warren

© Brett Warren

Brett Warren is a Nashville based photographer whose work is at once charming, beautiful, and rich with details that really tell a story. He was recently profiled in Native Magazine and he shot a series especially for them, inspired by the theme of the issue, green and sustainability.

He writes:

I had wanted to shoot a story inspired by the porcelain figurines that you find at thrift stores, or your grandparent’s curio cabinets, for some time. As far as technique goes, I wanted to be sure and illuminate the girl’s skin to create a shiny highlight that could be translated as porcelain.

I used my trusty PocketWizard Plus II atop my camera to communicate with the built in PocketWizard on my Profoto AcuteB2 kit. It always communicates instantly, and makes for an easy-going shoot with perfect lighting every time. I let the sun flood the back of her head, and filled the front with directional strobe light for an ethereal feel.

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Ben Von Wong Playing with Fire

©Ben Von Wong

ISO 100, 24mm, f/10.0, 3.7 sec shot with a Nikon D800E. ©Ben Von Wong

For some time now we had been hoping to get new content from Ben Von Wong on the PocketWizard blog. He recently posted details of a stunning shoot on his own blog with us in mind, and we’re very thankful.

Not too long ago, Von Wong found himself in Los Angeles with a bit of downtime. Instead of enjoying the weather or sightseeing, he hit the road and made the strange drive from the L.A. basin to that iconic, below-sea level rift lake known as the Salton Sea.

If you’ve had the chance to see the Salton Sea, you know there’s plenty of amazing photo opportunities, especially as night falls. The manmade ecological disaster has created very few good things, and even though selenium and increasing salinity are problems, nature’s beauty, plus the decay of things left behind provided Von Wong with a gorgeous setting for his impromptu photography project.

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Carla Ten Eyck Revisits the 1920s

©Carla Ten Eyck

©Carla Ten Eyck

With Hollywood attempting to successfully translate Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby to the silver screen for the fourth time (or fifth, depending on who is counting), everyone from the fashion industry to photographers around the world are revisiting the fashions of the 1920′s.

Carla Ten Eyck lives and works out of her childhood home in Hartford, Connecticut. Frequently publishing in magazines and on the Web, Ten Eyck also teaches photography workshops. She is currently working on a book featuring editorial shoots from all over the world with stylist Beth Chapman and designer Candice Coppola called The White Dress in Color due in the Fall of 2013. Here are her thoughts regarding a recent Gatsby-inspired photo shoot.

After the jump, she describes a recent shoot in her own words.

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Portraits of Vermonters by Caleb Kenna

©Caleb Kenna

©Caleb Kenna

It’s always great to see a series of photographs which tell a story. Whether it’s photojournalism from a war-torn population to a series of fashion looks in an exotic locale, groups of photos with unifying themes make us feel and think differently than a single image can.

Caleb Kenna knows this, and presents a wonderful cross-section of Vermont residents. Known for their free-thinking, tenacity, self-reliance, and Yankee wit, the subjects Kenna has captured are more varied than famous son’s Robert Frost’s time, but are just as at home in the beautiful state they call their own. Here are some of his thoughts on this series.

©Caleb Kenna

©Caleb Kenna

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May Tech Tip: What’s That For, PocketWizard?

“Somebody To Love”

This year’s camera body is amazing! It’s your main squeeze, your baby, your precioussssss! What to do with last year’s camera body; Old Black Betty? Occasionally you tote it around as a spare, “just in case something happens.” 99 times out of 100, nothing ever happens. It sits in the bag patiently waiting for you, vibrating the dust off its little sensor joyfully, gleeful at being powered up for maybe the second time this year. It’s making sad little puppy-dog eyes at you right now, actually, but you can’t see it buried among all the spare radios, batteries, and flashes. Poor thing!

Photo ©Chris Valites. Eyes by Steve Miller.

Photo ©Chris Valites. Eyes by Steve Miller.

Make it happy and put it to work! At your next wedding or ball game, use it for a little self-serve photo booth. While your customers enthusiastically mash a big red button and take nicely framed and beautifully lit self-portraits, you’re off making artful money shots somewhere else. The masses are entertained and you have one more folder on the DVD you can deliver, or one more line item to offer in your package deals, setting yourself apart as a dynamic photographer.

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