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.

©Ben Von Wong

ISO 80, 70mm, f/5.0, 1/80 sec shot with a Nikon D800E. ©Ben Von Wong

Random encounters in L.A. enabled Von Wong to assemble a pyrotechnician, a model who knew how to swing a rope with burning darts on it, and someone who suggested the location itself. With this strange confluence of events happening, the crew documented some great behind-the-scenes footage, not to mention they created a few images which deserve to reside in Von Wong’s portfolio for years to come.

©Ben Von Wong

©Ben Von Wong

The Southern California sunset was augmented by a Profoto AcuteB2, softbox with orange gel, and a PocketWizard Plus III radio trigger. That’s it. Just one strobe, one camera, and one Plus III to make them speak to each other.

©Ben Von Wong

©Ben Von Wong

Don’t miss the entire post on Von Wong’s blog to get more details about the execution of these shots, including links to his explanations of rear curtain sync and shutter drag, and tips for photographing fire.

ISO 200, 56mm, f/5.0, 1/200 sec shot with a Nikon D800E. ©Ben Von Wong

ISO 200, 56mm, f/5.0, 1/200 sec shot with a Nikon D800E. ©Ben Von Wong

What is perhaps most moving about Von Wong’s video is that he tackles the subject of why he shoots photographs, as opposed to how he shoots them. His answer in this video is discerning and satisfying. It’s something few photographers address on any level. Don’t miss it.

You can learn more about Ben Von Wong at his site, blog, 500px, and his YouTube channel.

 

All images, video, and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Ben Von Wong, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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