VIDEO: Mission Las Vegas

What happens when you send two young men to Las Vegas with $500 to spend over 24 hours?

When Dave Schmidt, Director of Sales and Marketing at LPA Design, manufacturer of PocketWizard Photo Products, gave Tech Specialists Ian Ray and Chris Valites two tickets to Las Vegas and $500, he told them he needed an image to promote the recently launched Plus III Transceiver. As with any good photo adventure, the behind-the-scenes has its own story to tell. Here’s just a bit of how Ian and Chris brought their images to life as told by Chris Valites:

How do you fit an entire shoot’s worth of gear into the trunk of a Lotus, which would generously be described as “cramped?” We improvised: we grabbed a T3i, a 5D Mark II, a 50mm Canon lens, a 17-40mm Canon L lens, a handful of 430EX IIs, a tripod, a softbox, a monopod, and of course a set of Plus III Transceivers. Half of that equipment ended up sitting on my lap as Ian drove out to the desert.

©2012 Ian Ray and Chris Valites

Ian had scouted out a location in the desert via Google Earth that would be perfect for the shoot: mountains in the background, and a clear sky away from the light pollution of the Las Vegas strip. We parked the car around 7:30 pm or so and got to work setting up.

Ian and I took turns walking around the car, holding a 430EX II on a monopod into a small Chimera softbox. Attached to this 430EX II via a hot shoe to mono miniphone adapter was a Plus III receiving on Channel 2. We set up a 5D Mark II on a tripod with the proper viewpoint, and set this camera up with a Plus III in the hot shoe with a CM-N3-ACC remote camera cord to receive on Channel 1. To shoot the photos, one of us would be looking from the rough vantage point of the camera towards the car and holding the third Plus III in our hands transmitting on Channel 1. When we saw that we had a good angle on the car, the person at the camera pressed the TEST button on the radio in their hand which triggered the camera and activated Relay Mode to trigger the  430EX II.

We walked around the car shooting all angles and covering as much ground as we could to composite the images together later. When you combine the images in post, that little softbox ends up becoming much, much bigger!

©2012 Ian Ray and Chris Valites

We drove back to the hotel for dinner around 11 pm or so and then did some minor editing and passed out around 1 or 2 am.

The next day we still had the car so we drove back out to the same location and did what any healthy 24-year-old guys would do with a fancy sports car: we took photos of ourselves next to it, showing off. Ian got very lucky with timing and some passing off-roaders left a nice dramatic dust cloud in the background. The setup for this shot was simple. The 5D Mark II with the 50mm lens was in Ian’s hands with a Plus III in the top shoe. A light stand set up with a bare 430EX II was pointed at me with a Plus III attached to the hot shoe via a hot shoe to mono miniphone adapter.

The last shoot of the day was a great test of the range of the radios, as well as exercising Relay mode. We set up the 5D Mark II with a Canon 17-40mm L lens (with a 4 stop ND filter to cut down on the bright desert sun) to a Manfrotto suction cup mount on the hood of the car. We placed a Plus III in the camera’s hot shoe with a CM-N3-ACC cord and set it to TXRX on Channel 1. A 430EX II was taped under the dash with a ¼ orange Roscoe gel and set to RX ONLY on Channel 2. We both took turns driving slowly down the road while the other sat on the side, triggering from a Plus III set to TX ONLY on Channel 1.

On the way out, we sat in the car and mounted the same suction cup setup to the frame support behind the seats, turned the flash off, and got some spectacular shots driving along the road back to the hotel. All shots fired via the TEST button on the Plus III in the passengers hands.

Many hours in Photoshop later, we had our night image built out of the composite shots.  All-in-all, it seemed like a pretty good use of $500.

©2012 Ian Ray and Chris Valites

All images and video in this post are ©Ian Ray and Chris Valites, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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One Response to “VIDEO: Mission Las Vegas”

  1. Jon D says:

    Nice job guys! You could not have spent $500 any better.