Q&A with Jerry Grajewski
Canadian photographer Jerry Grajewski was willing to discuss a particularly grueling photo shoot he did under some extreme conditions. Here’s what he had to say about his work and the images below.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I’m a commercial photographer in central Canada with more than 15 years of experience shooting a wide range of commercial and editorial assignments.
What’s going on in the above photo?
I am using a Canon speedlite on a tiny lightbox to fill from over camera. It was set really low not to cast any shadows. The client is holding it on a broomstick boom, hanging on for dear life. Unfortunately you don’t see it in the video, as we were in the testing stage. Same with the welding shot. Orange filter on speedlite, big umbrella set high behind the camera.
You’re an enthusiastic PocketWizard user.
From photographing polar bears in the Canadian North to large ad campaign studio set-ups, I’ve relied almost exclusively on PocketWizard radios. In fact, I have started planning future lighting equipment upgrades around this amazing system.
PocketWizard technology has proven to be extremely versatile and a fantastic, long-term investment. I initially started using PocketWizard Plus II transceivers to trigger my Profoto generators in the studio and controlled location environments. As my business grew, I had to diversify my shooting capacity and equipment.
What gear are you using?
I purchased the MiniTT1 with the AC3 ZoneController, FlexTT5 for the Canon Speedlites and haven’t looked back. With these new radios I control lighting from the camera position, eliminating the need to hike back and forth between the pack and camera.
What does that do for you and your images?
Being able to concentrate on the photographic process instead of interruptions of needless exercise has really shifted the balance from the set-up time to shooting time exponentially, not to mention freeing up creativity and consequently, increasing the quality of my work.
Can you give a real world example, please?
A recent photo shoot I did for Richlu Manufacturing work wear catalog, is a perfect example how PocketWizard played a central role in production.
The creative minds at Honest Agency requested a wide variety of location lifestyle shots, off-figure studio captures of garments, and finally, an in-studio cover shot. The creative brief called for a gritty look that portrayed the harsh environments in which the product will be used. Acquiring these images meant shooting in bridge factories, construction sites and rooftops—most times shooting in camera-seizing -35 degree Celsius weather!
This was a technical challenge on other fronts as well: the garment colors had to be accurate; extreme mixed-lighting conditions were almost always present. Since we were shooting on our location host’s schedule, time was never on our side. With so many factors to consider, less time flipping switches and more time behind the camera was crucial. After careful planning, the set-ups were quick: balanced, supplemental lighting was controlled by the MiniTT1, AC3 and FlexTT5 and the studio lights were triggered by five PocketWizard Plus II triggers.
Let’s talk about how you got the shots in this catalog spread.
In the shot on right, the safety line has reflective stripes, which only glow when lit from lens axis, and are more obvious. Again, my assistant, who was actually my client, was holding a FlexTT5 and Canon speedlite over my head. The photo on left was done in studio. I used a Plus II on two Profoto 2400 packs.
The images are great, especially considering the conditions they were shot in. Anything other thoughts?
It’s not often that a $100 piece of equipment brings on a fundamental change in running a photography business. But since discovering the PowerST4 and PowerMC2 receivers, with an ability to wirelessly control studio strobes and integrate seamlessly with my existing PocketWizards, I’m now considering future lighting equipment upgrades solely around the PocketWizard system.