The contact page of Walter van Dusen’s website features a picture of his daughter with a caption that reads “Every wedding that I photograph is preparing for my daughter Hannah’s wedding. That’s how important your wedding is to me”. And he means it. Some photographers approach weddings as cookie-cutter catalog work. New England-based Walter van Dusen approaches weddings with a passion.
With 20 years as a correction officer under his belt, Walter has the steely nerves required to deal with the heightened emotions and meltdowns that often go hand-in-hand with wedding days. Careful to avoid repetitive grip and grin-ish wedding photography, van Dusen makes a conscious effort to spend up-front time in order to get to know the soon-to-be-married couple, and sometimes their families and significant others in their lives.
Özkan Özmen at work
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.
Photographer Bobbi Lane has shared with us many of her secrets for creating gorgeous portrait photography in two Webinars. Here, in her own words, she goes into detail about the most recent session she gave for PocketWizard viewers.
- ©Bobbi Lane
The idea for my portrait of the young woman with the nest and egg and feathers came out of a dream. I am a committed believer in exercising creativity and going through several processes to help develop ideas. One of the first steps in that process is brainstorming with other creative people, then writing down words to trigger ideas, and then letting it rest a bit and coming back to revisit the ideas in a few days. My associate Matt Burdick and I were sitting around one day talking about “what’s cool.” We tossed around a lot of concepts and then I arrived at “feathers.” I’ve been a birder all my life, even worked one summer at a bird observatory/banding station in Manomet, Massachusetts. I find and collect feathers wherever I go. To me, feathers are really cool.
Dylan Patrick left Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to pursue his acting career in New York City. A few years after graduating from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in 2006, Patrick began his photography business in earnest. Finding his love of photography equalled his desire to act, he was soon earning a living as a photographer. Always a fan of cinema lighting, this photographer enjoys using shadows for added drama. Via word of mouth, other actors began to seek him out for their headshots because of the cinematic influences in his work. What actor doesn’t want to look like a movie star?
“Many of my clients, both current and prospective, as well as agents, casting directors, and even other shooters, have told me they love how my shots actually look like film stills,” Patrick says. “I stumbled upon my style on my roof shortly after getting the PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceivers, and I’ve slowly fine tuned ever since. You could say high-speed sync and PocketWizard helped me find my style. I’m always more excited to shoot on sunny days now, and I’m constantly looking for brilliant angular light, which is where a vast majority of the color comes from in my images.”
Currently a resident of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan, Patrick hasn’t strayed far from the Great White Way. He was recently kind enough to explain, in his own words, how he created this portrait of a fellow actor on the streets of New York.
Kristin Wetherington, ©Dylan Patrick
Don Toothaker is a Massachusetts photographer who covers a wide range of subject matter. He also conducts classes at New England Photo Workshops. In his own words, Don was willing to take the time to address creativity, light, and how he executed the below photo.
Creativity is a powerful thing. As a photographer, too often I struggle with expressing myself from a different perspective. I know my camera equipment, I feel confident in my compositions, and I am secure photographing a variety of subjects but, despite all of that, creativity remains a personal nemesis.
Every Tuesday night my son takes hip-hop lessons at a local dance studio. The second story studio is large, but like many studios, is mostly bare. Sitting one night watching the class I was struck by the open expanse of the studio, the many windows, and one particular door. I loved the way light spilled into the room each time the door was opened. Looking at the door, the light, and the windows I was inspired to create a particular image. All I needed was a ballet dancer. All I needed was some creativity.
Now that we’ve covered HyperSync© and Remote Camera Triggering in our recent newsletters and blog posts, we’re going back to the basics by focusing on simple off-camera flash using the MiniTT1, FlexTT5 and AC3 ZoneController for both Canon and Nikon. The MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios allow you to take full advantage of the simplicity of TTL flash while taking your flash off the camera to improve your images. Add the AC3 ZoneController when using more than one off-camera flash for full creative control right from the camera. We’ve pulled together some existing content from our site which provides the basics of off-camera flash using PocketWizard ControlTL radios and accessories.
The following Behind the Scenes videos provide a quick overview of the MiniTT1, FlexTT5 and AC3 ZoneController in use by a variety of professional photographers.
Cliff Mautner provides a behind-the-scenes look of the MiniTT1, FlexTT5 and AC3 in action during a bridal shoot and gives a good overview of using the AC3 ZoneController in his work flow. The full story can be found here.
©Ben Von Wong
HyperSync® enthusiast Ben Von Wong keeps getting drawn to rocks and water. In his most recent shoot, no fire was involved this time, but his model had to contend with wildlife. An octopus. Deceased. On her face.
Jen Brook also had to endure lying on cold boulders and wearing clothing in some frigid-looking water. Fortunately, Ben made quick work of the shoot, and shot at speeds only possible with HyperSync technology. Using PocketWizard gear to shoot at speeds of 1/1000th, Ben called on FlexTT5 transceivers, the AC3 ZoneController, and the AC9 AlienBees Adapter.
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
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.
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
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.
My colleague Matt Hill has succeeded in fusing his two main artistic passions, night photography and cut paper art, in his ongoing project entitled Night Paper. It’s been exciting to watch him find the heart of this amalgamation, and even more exciting, it has culminated (for the time being) in a live art experiment in New York. Read his own account of the execution and find full details of how you can witness this in person below.
NIGHT PAPER is a personal project I started dreaming about over five years ago and began executing last July. It’s the combination of long exposures at night and surreal, hand-cut paper fashions. I live for playing with time-dialtion and by introducing portraiture at night, especially when they are only wearing paper, makes for a visually challenging combination of the practices. I’m constantly surprised by how well they blend and continue to evolve together. And, it must be said, all of these images are done in-camera. There are no composites in this series. Also, since this involves tasteful nudity in the context of fine art, you may want the NSFW warning if you are in the wrong place…