Özkan Özmen is a portrait photographer based in Frankfurt Germany with a penchant for photographing subjects that can bite your head off. No, we’re not talking about models and celebrities with attitude here. We’re talking lions, tigers, and rhinos. As Dorothy famously said to the tin man… “Oh MY!”
According to Özkan, he’s always been into things that crawl, chirp, growl, and purr, and it wasn’t long after he began taking shooting studio portraits for a living that he decided to put together a compact lighting kit and try his luck outside of the comforts and convenience of his studio. Özkan Ozmen’s personal project ultimately took him on a multi-continent journey in which he’s captured wonderful portraits of the sort of wildlife most of us only see in zoo and safari parks, though seldom as in-your-face.
Özkan understood the logistics – not to mention danger involved in trying to capture tight portraits of wild animals using lights. Still and all, rather than being technically boxed in by the harsh ambient lighting conditions common to shooting in the extreme locales he planned on visiting, his goal was to light his subjects and select-focus at wider lens apertures similar to the way he would when shooting portraits in his studio.
We’ve written about Adrien Broom’s career and her use of PocketWizard radio triggers before. We recently caught up with her while executing another project which bears all the hallmarks her elaborate sets and photography are known for.
While walking through the streets of New London, Connecticut, Broom came across the New London Antique Center. In the window was a taxidermied lion which she absolutely needed to photograph. Since the owners were unwilling to rent the lion, she rented the Center on a day it was closed. A crew was brought in, and bears, birds, and other examples of taxidermy were taken to the top floor, which was empty.
A lot of things have to come into place for a successful photo shoot, especially when shooting outdoors. Add some animals and things become very challenging — just the kind of challenge photographer Adrien Broom thrives on. It is not surprising then that Adrien and her team of models, stylists and construction crew, pulled off an amazing photo shoot at the Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, Connecticut.
The city of Memphis has learned what many other U.S. communities have discovered for quite some time. Greenways made from abandoned railways are a huge public asset for citizens to enjoy year round. They create a sense of community, better the local quality of life, and have the added and real fiscal payoff of curbing illness and medical costs as the populace gets healthier from more exercise.
Despite the objections of local naysayers who couldn’t learn from longstanding examples such as Seattle’s gorgeous Burke-GilmanTrail, the Greater Memphis Greenline is now a reality, and local walkers, joggers, cyclists and in-line skaters can attest, it’s a major hit.
Not to be left out of the fun, photographers have been actively capturing some of the folks enjoying this public asset. Possibly the most interesting project happening on the Greenline is a photo rig built and run by Joe Sankey of Sankey Photography. In a recent blog post, Joe details a bicycle rig which features, among other things
a tow-behind trailer
a camera (unspecified make and model, presumably a Nikon due to flash units used)
Sankey goes into some detail about how he set up the rig, and the video shows shots captured of fellow cyclists. Both our readers and ourselves love to see interesting ways PocketWizard technology is applied in the field, and this one definitely is not your typical off-camera flash set-up. Nice work!
Photographers write us often with details about their use of PocketWizard units on specific photo shoots. We love to share their experience, particularly when the results are this exciting. Timothy Armes has reached out and pointed us to a blog post with full details of how he achieved the below image.
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.
Keith Pytlinski is still hiking to remote locations and coming back with some great photography. With all the excitement over the Nikon-compatible PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units, Pytlinski wanted to test the Canon versions of thoseproducts on this recent mountain bike shoot.
Pytlinski shot in a few locations, with strobes out of his line of sight at different distances. It seems the furthest he set up on this shoot was 100 feet, with rock between the Pytlinski and his strobes. The PocketWizards did their job well, according to this demanding pro shooter of extreme sports.
Readers can see more of Pytlinski’s photography at his site. It’s definitely worth checking out!
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.