Posts Tagged ‘remote camera triggering’

Cheng Han Pursues His Inner Captain Nemo

Cheng Han is the type of person who once he gets something into his head, he won’t let it go until it becomes real, at least when it comes to photography. And the funny thing is, up until not that long ago, photography for Cheng Han was merely a function of recording domestic life.

A visit to his website reveals an artist who is serious about the visual quality of his end products. His environmental studio and location portraits simply cannot be glossed over – each of his multifaceted images requires a careful once over… maybe two.

"Together"

“Together” © Cheng Han

Putting the geek and emotional sides together is the gist of Cheng Han’s photographic personality. “I’m basically a geek and the geek side of me likes puzzles. The creative side of me really enjoys producing surreal images that generate emotional responses… at least on my part, and I hope on the part of others who look at my pictures.”

Cheng is fascinated in creating technically challenging photographs, but when he decided to take his photographic odyssey underwater, he had no idea what he was getting into. (According to Cheng, his notebook contains over 200 production notes.)

At Peace

“At Peace” © Cheng Han

Right off he knew he wanted to include swaths of fabrics entwined around and/or about his models. eBay turned into a good source of fabric samples, not to mention lighting manufacturers he called on to see how their diffusion materials and backdrops would hold up underwater. He then had to see which of these fabrics were color-fast because the last thing he wanted was to tie-dye somebody’s swimming pool. (His first attempt with a red surplus parachute almost resulted in a nasty red stain along the lining of the pool ,which fortunately dissipated before Cheng had to drain clean, and refill the pool.)

Cheng Han’s goal was to create environmental portraits complete with models, make-up, costumes, backgrounds, and lights just as he would in a studio… but all partially or entirely underwater, utilizing the unique ethereal effect of weightlessness underwater in ways that cannot be replicated on land.

Cheng readily acknowledges outside influences. ‘Together’, an image of a woman wrapped in swirling silky material while floating embryo-like in a blue void of fabric and water was inspired by a scene in the movie ‘Gravity’, when Sandra Bullock enters an abandoned spacecraft and momentarily floats curled up as if she was in the womb.

To Be No More

“To Be No More” © Cheng Han

 

In a bid for camaraderie, Cheng goes below the surface with the models in all of the underwater pictures. “It wasn’t easy for anyone – take a breath, go underwater, get into position, avoid hitting the lights, pose, open eyes, focus, shoot, and resurface – all while not breathing.”

The camera and lighting part of the equation is equally challenging, the biggest problem being wireless communication between electronic flash systems positioned both below and above the waterline.

“There’s a lot of information available about underwater flash for photographing sea life and wireless flash on land, but there’s not much information about syncing studio flash above water with underwater flash simultaneously.  And then one day Jean Bruneau, the tech advisor for Aquatica, suggested I look into PocketWizards”.

In conventional underwater photography, the Ikelite underwater flash units would be hardwired to his camera’s Ikelite underwater camera housing and mounted in a series of cumbersome & heavy arms. The challenge was triggering the Elinchrom Quadra flash units that were poised above water along the flanks of the pool. Standard optical and radio remote procedures proved erratic if they worked at all.

Inversion (1)

“Inversion” © Cheng Han

Cheng’s solution was to run a hard-wired sync cord from his camera’s Ikolite flash housing up above the waterline where it was coupled to a PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver. Each Ikelite underwater flash and one of the Quadras were also individually connected to PocketWizard tranceivers via sync cords also above the waterline. The signal from the camera’s transceiver could then trigger all the lighting simultaneously. Any additional Quadras were triggered optically.

Cheng Han - Purgatory

“Purgatory” © Cheng Han

In most of the images the Elinchroms are the main lights and the underwater Ikolite flash units, which are often gelled for atmospheric effects, are for fill. In other cases, the Ikolites are the main light source and the Elinchroms are used for fill. The setup Cheng used allowed total freedom to position lighting with the same freedom you would have in a conventional studio.

Cheng Han - Carmen 01

“Carmen” © Cheng Han

Currently Cheng is trying to further push his boundaries by attempting to construct even more complex sets for use underwater with the goal of making the underwater aspect of the photographs secondary to the look and flavor of his photographs.

And a box of donuts says PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers will be an integral part of his lighting system.

To learn more about Cheng Han’s work, visit his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Cheng Han, 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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Moshe Zusman’s ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’ Now Available on DVD

They say to err is human, but when it comes to wedding photography and similar one-time-only events, to err can be costly, not to mention painful to explain to your client. Moshe Zusman is a Washington DC-based photographer with a specialty in photographing weddings and special events.

He’s also a repeat winner of the WeddingWire Brides Choice Award, and his work has appeared in numerous publications including People Magazine and Rangefinder Magazine, as well as on Fox5’s morning TV show. Moshe is also an instructor at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts and he runs an annual Master Class Workshop at WPPI.

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As a photographer, Moshe knows his stuff, and he’s also made his share of mistakes (as have the rest of us), but he’s also learned from his misses and near misses and has channeled these lessons into a thoughtfully informative DVD titled ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’.  (Scroll down to see Trailer.)

Wedding Photography Washington DC MD VA Fashion Fusion Edgy Styl

Extremely personal in real life as well as on screen, Zusman begins the presentation by showing viewers shortcomings of his earlier work, mostly having to do with mixed light sources, dark backgrounds, uneven exposures and flash fall-off, and other issues we’ve all experienced in one form or another.

Wedding Photography Washington DC MD VA Fashion Fusion Edgy Styl

The bottom line for Zusman’s philosophy is that “lighting is everything”, and the first thing he does at an event is assess the majority light sources and balances his lights accordingly. Are there large windows? A skylight? A large source of tungsten light, or even fluorescents? How high are the ceilings? Is there a balcony where we can place lights and PocketWizard radios?

He then goes on to explain each of these issues in terms of why they happen and how to correct the problem using simple, easy-to-manage lighting accessories, including the heart of his camera and lighting system, his PocketWizard Plus III radio triggers (he swears by them!).

Zusman prefers PocketWizard wireless triggers over Canon’s wireless triggering system because PocketWizard triggers are universal – they can be used with flashes from all manufacturers. If need be, he can even use flashes from several manufacturers in the same set-up with zero compatibility issues.

As for lighting, Zusman shows how you can light a large venue using a battery of compact Speedlites synced to PocketWizard Plus III radios and mounted onto 12’ cushioned light stands using Speedlite clamps. (He even demonstrates why you don’t want to have your gear mounted on non-cushioned stands.)

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Moshe goes on to explain how you can get a large swath of even, relatively shadowless light over a wide area by placing the lights far from the action and at a higher angle rather than up close to the action.

Equally valuable is how he explains and demonstrates the easiest way to correct for mixed lighting scenarios without having to gel a thousand chandeliers. (Spoiler alert – You gel the Speedlites with a color correction filter that will change the flash’s 5500°K Daylight white balance to whatever the white balance is of the room’s dominant light source.)

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Moshe Zusman’s easy-to-understand and execute shooting tips, which can be readily applied at conventions, parties, and other events, large or small, teach you how to bring studio lighting concept into large public venues and do it right.

“The beauty of this setup is its simplicity – I can fit all the gear I use inside a small carry-on size Pelican case and take it anywhere I need to photograph an event. The setup is simple – with tall light stands, any speedlite of your choice and a PocketWizard  triggering system – you’re all set!

 

Perfect Venue Lighting – Moshe Zusman Photography Workshops – Trailer from Moshe Zusman on Vimeo.

To learn more about or purchase a copy of Moshe Zusman’s ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’ DVD visit Moshe’s website.

Note – Moshe Zusman’s ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’ DVD is also available through B&H Photo.

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Chris Henderson (Light) Paints a Really Big Truck

Henderson headshotA big challenge in any creative profession is staying ‘fresh’ in your approach to your work, which as anybody who photographs shoes for a living can attest, can be problematic after a spell. For Chris Henderson, a UK-based corporate/industrial photographer with a specialty in photographing unusual, and often large-scale subjects in a variety of environments, maintaining a creative edge has been a priority over the course of his 30-year career.

Henderson takes lighting seriously, be it natural ambient lighting with a reflector or two, or photographs in which he has to light the entire scene.

A recent project that involved photographing a massive mining truck in real-world surroundings proved to be a perfect test bed for a lighting painting scenario he had been working out in his head for some time. Just as he lights each facet of a product in a studio set precisely, Henderson’s plan was to light each of the contrasting shapes and forms of the massive mining truck independently, batch process them for consistency, and merge the best portions of the resulting images together post-capture in Photoshop. But first he had to photograph the individual components, and to do that he turned to his PocketWizard remote triggering system

Henderson photographed the project engineer separate from the truck. He then shifted the lens focus to the truck for the balance of the exposures.

Henderson lit the project engineer using a PocketWizard-triggered Elinchrom Ranger and a reflective bounce reflector. He then shifted the lens focus to the truck for the balance of the exposures.

 

Henderson’s hand-held lighting system consisted of an Elinchrom Quadra Ranger RX Hybrid monopack synced to a PocketWizard Flex TT5 Transceiver, both of which were mounted on the end of a telescopic boom pole. The camera,which was mounted on a sandbag-stabilized heavy-duty tripod, was triggered manually by Henderson (seen holding the light in the inset pictures) using a hand-held PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver from each lighting position to a PocketWizard Plus III wireless trigger, which was attached to the camera via remote camera cable. When the camera was triggered, the shoe-mounted PocketWizard Flex TT5 triggered the Elinchom flash head, which was synced to another PocketWizard Flex TT5. Each exposure was PocketWizard controlled from start to finish.

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CH final image

The PocketWizard side of the story doesn’t stop there. Chris wanted to maintain control over the brightness levels of the surrounding skies and foreground, which was limited by the relatively slow 1/200th-second top sync speed of his Canon EOS 5D Mark III. To get around this limitation, Henderson took advantage of the HyperSync function of his PocketWizard trigger system, which enabled him to dramatically darken the skies by syncing his camera to his flash at an effective 1/1000th-second at f/8.

The final image is composed of portions of about 45 individual exposures that were sampled, tweaked, and merged together into a single powerful image. By setting the camera remotely and securely, and methodically lighting each portion of the vehicle to emphasize the shapes, scale, and textures of its massive surfaces, Chris was able to create an unearthly iconic image in a real-world setting. What’s also notable is that despite the size, logistics, and scale of the truck and the fact it was photographed in a field of mud and far beyond reasonable reach of an AC outlet, Henderson’s PocketWizard remote triggering system enabled him to capture the image single-handedly.

“I have used other radio triggers… and had nothing but problems, the main ones being poor range, misfires, and electrical noise interference when working in… large industrial complexes”. Since switching to PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers, they’ve become his ‘go-to’ remote triggering system. “They have proven to be robust, reliable, and each time I use them I am confident they will perform faultlessly.”

PocketWizard wireless technologies have allowed Chris Henderson to shoot in ways previously impossible. In his own words, PocketWizard radio triggers have added an extra creative string to his bow and changed the way he goes about creating photographic images.

To see more of Chris Henderson’s work visit his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Chris Henderson, 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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Seth Hancock Spends 10-Minutes with a Stranger

Seth-Hancock-Self-PortraitWhen photographer Seth Hancock and his wife decided to move from Los Angeles to New York they agreed she would pack up their belongings (and the dog) and take the express route cross country so she could get their new digs in order while he followed up on a personal photography project he had been thinking about for the prior three years. Specifically, Seth had a hankering to take a cross-country jaunt photographing random strangers along the way. Sure it’s been done before, but Seth’s project had a set of parameters that made it rather unique.

The ’10 Minutes With a Stranger’ project was a 47-day trip (original estimate 15 days… tops), in which Hancock encountered over 150 strangers, engaged them in conversation for 10 minutes while figuring out how to make an equally engaging portrait of his newest friend. Lastly – and this is where he connects the dots between himself, his subject, and the viewer, he had each of them write something personal about themselves in a journal he carried for that very purpose.

The ground rules for the journal entry were that the entries had to be truthful, honest, no longer than a single page, written in first-person, and be specifically about themselves. ‘Fortune Cookie’ or ‘Yearbook’ responses, as well as ‘innocuous, blasé, wistful, or disingenuous’ responses would not be accepted. The results of Seth’s efforts and execution of ’10 Minutes with a Stranger’ are remarkable to say the least.

Kevin, Mechanic, Deluth, Mn

Kevin, Mechanic, Duluth, MN

 

In preparation for the trip Seth packed two cases of Elinchrom Rangers, stands, umbrellas and cables for lighting his subjects. It didn’t take more than his first day out to realize there was no way he could make an honest connection with his subjects, gain their trust, and make a worthwhile portrait if he also had to deal with the distractions of setting up a hit-and-run portrait studio.

Christina, USAF, Bristow Va

Christina, USAF, Bristow, VA

 

Jim, Cider Maker, Minneapolis, MN

 

Rather than waste precious time futzing with studio lights, he mounted a  MiniTT1 Transmitter onto his Nikon D3s, FlexTT5 Transceivers onto his SB-800 Speedlights with Lumiquest Big Bounce diffusers, and he was good-to-go.

Though he earlier tried syncing his camera and flash using a TTL sync cord, he found the length of the cord greatly impeded his ability to get the shots he saw in his mind’s eye. The only way he could get it right was to go wireless. ‘I couldn’t have done it without my PocketWizard wireless triggering system. They literally unchained me.”

Joey Z, Carpenter, Buffalo NY

Joey Z, Carpenter, Buffalo, NY

 

Arlene, Freelance Writer, Minot ND

Arlene, Freelance Writer, Minot, ND

 

One aspect of going wireless that appealed to Seth’s framing and composition was the ability to quickly change the position of the Speedlight while handholding it off to the side or from above. Other times he would stand the Speedlight on a table or ledge, using the flat bottom surface of the FlexTT5 Transceiver as a table stand for the Speedlight. And in a few shots, his subject is actually holding the Speedlight in their hand, which is about as cooperative as a stranger can get when you’re taking their portrait.

Andrea the Giant, Pro Wrestler, Salt Lake City UT

Andrea the Giant, Pro Wrestler, Salt Lake City, UT

 

Something Seth had no control over was when and where he would encounter his next subject, which meant he was often shooting under contrasty midday sunlight. Here, too, his PocketWizard radios made his day by enabling him to shoot at wider, portrait-appropriate apertures and correspondingly faster shutter speeds under the brightest of lighting conditions using the HSS/Auto-FP Sync function of his PocketWizard/Speedlight portrait lighting system.

Seth makes a point of noting his PocketWizard triggering system transmits iTTL information, which is critical when shooting in such narrow time parameters.  While there were several occasions when he synced with his Speedlight in Manual Mode, there were equally as many occasions when he needed to be able to pump anywhere up to three stops of additional light onto their faces in order to make the person stand out from the background without having to compromise other visual elements in the picture.

For Seth Hancock, PocketWizard radio triggers are so much more than a Speedlight accessory, they are creative tools unto themselves.

To see more of Seth Hancock’s work visit the following links:

Portfolio – http://sethhancock.com

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/thesethhancock

Facebook for 10 Minutes with a Stranger – http://www.facebook.com/10minuteswithastranger

Seth Hancock’s Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/thesethhancock

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Seth Hancock, 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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Walter Van Dusen Gets Ready for Hannah’s Big Day

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.47 PMThe 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.

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What’s up Pussycat? Özkan Özmen goes on a Portrait Safari

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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.

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Dave Hahn on Remote Camera Triggering

We’re seeing more and more great work by photographers dusting off their old camera bodies and utilizing them to help cover more action via remote camera triggering. Particularly useful at sporting events, here’s another talented shooter, Dave Hahn, getting different angles for his photojournalism business, CSI Photo in the New York metro area.

We previously covered Dave’s remote camera triggering indoors. Check out all the outdoor images as Dave explains how he executes remote camera triggering in his own words.

©Dave Hahn

©Dave Hahn

Sure, one of the biggest features with PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers is the zones, but when you start looking at some of the additional features the transceivers pack into them, you’d be amazed!

Since you’ve upgraded your DSLR and your Rebel is now collecting dust, you may want to think a little differently. Remote cameras could be the way to go for you. PocketWizard has a couple of great transceivers to start you on your way.

First, there is the PlusX. This is an upgrade from the Plus II with six additional channels. The PlusX is an excellent choice to get you started, and priced just under 100 bucks. But before you dive in, you might want to consider the Plus III. Ed. note: The Plus III, with 32 channels and Quad-Zone triggering, was intended as a replacement to the Plus II. However, the PlusX is a good replacement, as well.

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Scott Kelby Answers all Your Remote Camera Questions

Scott Kelby has been doing a lot with remote camera triggering lately, with some great results using remote cameras at Atlanta Falcons games. We’ve posted a few previous stories about his exploits, and now he’s back with the definitive guide to remote camera triggering.

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He goes over what you need, how to set up it, and gives a couple of tips on where to place your cameras. He’s been depending on the PocketWizard Plus III’s to trigger all four of his cameras and he says:

“I used these for the first time during the play-offs and and I’m in love with these things. The range is incredible… so you can put remotes in crazy places. It also has 32 different channels so you don’t have to worry about someone else firing yours.”

He hopes the video inspires more people to try remote camera triggering and we do to! “Once you do it one time,” he says, “you’re going to absolutely love it!”

See more videos from Scott at scottkelby.com and for more videos, check out KelbyTV.

 

All video and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Scott Kelby, 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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Setting up a Photo Booth from Start to Finish

Considering almost everyone has a camera of some form or another with them all the time, it’s kind of crazy how popular (and fun) a good old fashioned photo booth can be.

In this AdoramaTV video presented by Mark Wallace, you’ll learn how to set up a photo booth that will automatically process and display your photos. All guests need to do is pick up the PocketWizard Plus III, stashed by the entrance, and click away to remotely fire both the camera and the flash.

Don’t forget, silly faces are mandatory and strictly enforced!

 

All video and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©AdoramaTV, 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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Scott Kelby’s Remote Camera Round-Up

©2013 Scott Kelby

©2013 Scott Kelby

The photography instructor behind KelbyTraining.com and host of KelbyTV.com, Scott Kelby is back with an end-of season review of his foray into NFL photography. Here at PocketWizard, it’s been a thing of beauty to watch his journey from remote camera newbie to seasoned pro, all during the course of one football season.

scottkelby.com

scottkelby.com

To catch the dramatic intro at a Falcons game, Scott used four cameras: “three mounted and one hand-held — when I fired my hand-held camera, with a PocketWizard [radio trigger] on top, it fired all the three other remotes, all capturing the same moment, but from different angles, perspectives and focal ranges.”

He used a mix of Plus® II’s and borrowed Plus® III’s to fire his cameras, but liked the Plus III’s so much after the game he ordered four of them for himself.

Read the full post to see images from the game as well as his setup. Also see his Q&A with his readers, where the remote cameras were a popular topic.

 

All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Scott Kelby, 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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