This blog post was originally shared
over 5 years ago and yet the story is timeless: Photographer fulfills his artistic
vision while meeting the needs of his client by leveraging the power of
The Big Opportunity!
Alexis Cuarezma is a portrait photographer with a specialty in photographing sports figures. One of his big breaks was when he was asked to photograph an athlete, Shayne Skov, for Sports Illustrated. His assignment: keep it simple on a plain gray background. However, simple is not Cuarezma’s style and who knew when he’d have the opportunity to shoot for SI again? He knew he needed to fulfill the simple assignment, but it was also a great opportunity to showcase his artistry.
PocketWizard to the Rescue
A feature of the MultiMAX II is SpeedCycler which makes it possible to set up multiple lighting scenarios and cycle through them with each click of the shutter. Although SpeedCycler was originally designed for sports photographers and others who needed continuous drive but whose lights couldn’t recycle fast enough, Cuarezma tasked SpeedCycler for something a little more creative.
One Pose, Two Shots, Two Dramatically Different Looks
Using PocketWizard’s unique SpeedCycler functionality, Cuarezma captured two separate exposures in milliseconds – one exposure lit using his dramatic style with colored gels immediately followed by a second exposure per his instructions – simple on a gray background.
The Dream Come True
Cuarezma’s style was well received. He took a chance and turned a simple portrait assignment into a creative, dramatic, and dynamic photo shoot. His “outside the box” thinking ended up with a double-page spread in Sports Illustrated – a dream come true.
Check out Behind the Scenes
Alexis created the behind the scenes video of the shoot – check it out!
To see more of Alexis Cuarezma’s work, check out his website.
The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world and runs through all 5 boroughs of the City. In 2019, there were over 53,000 runners and it was the goal of event organizers to capture 1.8 million images, hopefully capturing every single runner – at least once! To meet that goal, they hired over 70 photographers and placed them in 22 locations.
One of those photographers was PocketWizard’s own Lenny Christopher. Lenny is a professional photographer and videographer and brings that experience to both our support and marketing teams.
Take Care of Your Hands
Lenny has shot many races before, and he said, “Taking 20,000+ images is hard on your hands!” We agree – can you relate? That fine muscle control of half press followed by a full press while holding the camera gets tiring. Now imagine that you are going through that same motion for over 7 hours.
Using the PocketWizard Pedal to Activate the Shutter
Using the Pedal alone wasn’t quite enough for this unique situation. Lenny needed the ability for fine control of focus since he wanted a shallow depth of field and his subjects were on the move. That’s where the PTMM Pre-Trigger Switch came in. This cable is a pre-trigger adapter and offers a switch to turn pre-triggering on or off. When turned on, the camera wakes up and behaves as if you were half pressing the shutter and the camera (set to continuous focus mode) will constantly refocus. With the PTMM Adapter and the PocketWizard Pedal, Lenny could control the shutter and focus simply and easily without tiring his hand.
Benefits using the PocketWizard Pedal and PTMM Adapter
Lenny took over 27,000 photos over a period of 7.5 hours. Using the Pedal helped to relieve the strain he would normally feel in his hands.
It was a cold morning and Lenny was happy to be able to wear gloves since he didn’t need the fine motor control of his fingers.
The PTMM Adapter kept the camera awake and constantly focusing so Lenny could keep one hand on his monopod for stabilization and one to zoom for quick composing and framing of an image, while using the foot pedal to actuate the shutter. The end result was increased speed and stabilization.
Pro Tip: Reviewing Images
When the PTMM cable is on, the camera behaves as if the shutter were being half pressed. As a result, you are not able to review images. You can use the on/off switch to disable Pre-Trigger for quick image review. When you are ready to continue shooting, flip the switch to turn Pre-Triggering back on.
Two Items to Add to Your Kit
The PocketWizard Pedal is a great way to free your hands when capturing an image. And, in a situation where your focus point is changing, the PTMM Adapter is an indispensable tool to keep the focus activated. How will you use yours?
Let’s face it – in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket, it isn’t easy to get your photos to stand out. Especially when you are photographing a popular landmark!
We Took the Creative Challenge
Two of us from the PocketWizard team wanted to take a photo of the Vessel, a popular new structure in the Hudson Yards area of New York City. We really wanted to make it pop and do something that no one else had done. Here are some results and our 3 tips that might help you make a photo that truly stands out.
Tip #1: Take Advantage of Available Light and Adapt When Light Changes
We worked all day at Photo Plus Expo and managed to make our way to the Vessel around sunset. This was great timing – it isn’t called the “Golden Hour” for nothing! We were hoping to arrive in time to take advantage of that great natural light, however, as luck would have it, we couldn’t get on the structure until after sunset. We had to be flexible and turn our attention to the available light coming from the cityscape.
Tip #2: Augment Natural Light with Flash to Call Attention to Your Subject
Sometimes it helps to visualize your image before you take it. Knowing that the eye will normally gravitate to the brightest spot of your photo can help you compose the best image. We wanted to highlight the geometric angles of the Vessel, but the available light wasn’t enough. One of us hand-held a flash near the top floor of the Vessel and the other triggered that flash remotely from the ground -using PocketWizards of course! We were able to highlight a specific area of the Vessel and bathe it in bright light.
Set the exposure in your camera for the ambient light and then try adding a pop of flash. Adjust your settings as necessary.
See the two pictures below, the first uses just available light and the second adds a pop of flash to the upper left corner. Your eye is naturally drawn to that area, and the light adds dimension and interest.
Tip #3: Change Your Perspective
Walk around your subject and explore different angles and distances. Try a shot at ground level, vertical versus horizontal, wide versus cropped – be creative! The more you can move around, the more interesting perspectives you will find.
We love the look you can get when you get far from your subject and then use a telephoto lens. It compresses the image making the background appear much closer than it really is.
The E Release Can Help Your Images Stand Out
We created these images using PocketWizard Plus III radios that were upgraded with the E Release, our new firmware that dramatically improves the triggering distance of your PocketWizard radios. This enabled us to try many different perspectives and ultimately get the look we were going for by allowing us to create a lot of distance between the camera and our flash – almost a quarter of a mile! We think the end result is an image that really pops and stands out from the rest.
Try the E Release Today and Expand the Possibilities of Your Creativity
Daniel Schenkelberg is a professional photographer based in California who has a passion for motorsports. His experience and dedication to the motorsports community is unmatched and gives him great insight for how to set up an epic shot for eye-popping shots whether it’s captured with a handheld or remote camera. Daniel likes to use remote cameras triggered by PocketWizard in order to get an unusual perspective close to the action while staying safe.
The Super Bowl of Off-Road Racing
In September, Daniel made a trip to capture the Crandon World Cup in Wisconsin – often called the “Super Bowl of short course off-road racing”. We gave him an early version of the E Release to see how it would perform.
Typical RF Challenges
Something that Daniel knows is that setting up remote cameras isn’t always foolproof – especially in a crowded and RF noisy environment like a racetrack. The radios communicate with radio waves and radio signal interference can impact the success of a remote camera set-up causing missed shots. A set up done early in the day, might not work later in the day once the environment fills with cars, people, and more electronic equipment. Some things that can interfere with signal transmission include:
Concrete or rock objects
High water-content objects (People and trees are mostly water!)
Electronic “noise” (In a racing scenario, there might be high voltage ignition systems that create electronic noise not to mention a sound system or television crew.)
The E Release is more Resilient to RF Interference
Because of the track set up, Daniel had to set up his remote camera a little further than he usually does – about 250 feet away – almost the length of a football field. The non-ideal conditions and the distance might trip up another radio trigger – but not PocketWizard. The truth is that the E Release upgrade has new technology that makes our PocketWizard radios particularly resilient to RF interference and noise.
More Shots than Ever
Using the E Release, Daniel came out of the event with some epic shots. His feedback was short and sweet.
“The radios were incredibly reliable. I came home with more shots than I have ever captured before.”
~ Daniel Schenkelberg
Thanks for taking it on a test drive Daniel! We don’t want you to miss a single shot! You can check out more of Daniel’s work on his website and get your daily dose, be sure to follow him on Instagram @danielschenkelberg!
If you would like to learn more about how to set up your own remote camera, check out this quick video.
E Release now Available Worldwide!
Users of the PocketWizard Plus III and Plus IV can now benefit from the E Release! Check out our E Release landing page for more information.
The new E Release firmware upgrade is a simple way to get incredible range for off-camera flash and remote cameras. The extended range in regular mode is up to 5 times further than our legacy firmware. Sarah wanted to put it to the test by taking an epic family photo in front of a rising full moon. In this case, she wanted to be far away so that she could use a long zoom and she needed a flash to light the family at twilight. A zoom gave her the compression she wanted for the full moon appear closer and larger. PocketWizard Plus IIIs upgraded with the E Release gave her the power to trigger two speedlights from a distance.
PocketWizard Made the Distant Triggering Possible
The speedlights were triggered from a distance of about 2300 feet (700 meters). It is also worth noting that the distance was spread over water and with an elevation rise – both of which are notoriously challenging for any radio triggers. That is, any radio trigger other than PocketWizard!
Behind the Scenes Video with the E Release
Press play to watch this video to see how this photo was taken.
Have a way to communicate with your subject(s). In this case, Sarah was so far away that the family could barely see her and they felt like they were posing for no one. They also could not see the moon and needed to know where to stand and when to smile.
Train your subject(s) on how to set up and test your flash and radios. Send them with spare batteries just in case.
Use technology to help you plan. Sarah used an app called PhotoPills to help her plan when and where the moon would rise.
These photos were taken in TxRx Mode – Sarah did not need to use Long Range Mode (LR) to get this distance. When using LR with a flash, you may lose a stop or two of sync speed. Sarah was using a 200-500mm lens on a canoe – she didn’t want to reduce her shutter speed any more than necessary – and she didn’t need to!
Be creative – the E Release opens a world of opportunity!
Tag us! #whypocketwizard
Explore the Possibilities!
With PocketWizard, we can help you Make it Possible!
Shoot this Look
3 PocketWizard Plus III Upgraded with the E Release:
Plus IIIe on the camera
2 Plus IIIes attached to speedlights with a flash sync cord mounted on light stands
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Introducing the E Release! The E Release is a firmware upgrade for select PocketWizard radios that improve their reliability, range, and performance. Basically, everything that PocketWizard does best, made even better.
When we needed someone to test our E Release firmware upgrade, we thought immediately of local photographer Michael Heeney. We love his outdoor adventure photography and we wanted to see what he could do to push the limits of our E Release in challenging environments. He did not disappoint.
Challenging the PocketWizard E Release
by Michael Heeney
Vermont is my home and it suits my outdoor lifestyle. When I’m not working in my studio, I enjoy rock climbing, ice climbing, biking, canoeing, and basically any activity where I can be outside.
I’ve used PocketWizard radios for my whole career. They are always on my camera. I use them in my studio to trigger my lights and I also use them when I’m shooting outdoors to trigger remote cameras and remote flashes. They are very versatile and they are always in my bag.
When You Only Get One Chance, Use PocketWizard
When I’m shooting outdoor adventure photography, I
usually only get one chance to capture the moment. That’s one reason I choose PocketWizard
as my trigger. I know that once I set it, I can rely on it. When I’m using remote
cameras to capture multiple angles, I need to trust that they will fire because
I don’t have time to check on them.
When PocketWizard told me about the E Release, a firmware upgrade for my PocketWizard radios to allow them to trigger from even further distances, even in difficult environments, I told them about a project I wanted to do. We all agreed that it was a perfect opportunity to challenge the upgrade.
A new rock-climbing area called Lone Rock Point recently
opened up here in Burlington and my friend Tim Heaghney was working on an unclimbed
route there. Once I heard that, I knew I had to document it.
The spot is gorgeous and gets beautiful light around the golden hour. The golden hour is short, and I knew that the climb was tough so I couldn’t ask Tim to try it again and again. I needed to get it right the first time.
The Set Up – Multiple Cameras for Multiple Angles
Main camera with me above Tim showing him climb
Remote camera mounted on the rock wall showing the action at a tight angle
Remote camera at the base of the rock wall showing Tim from the bottom
Remote camera on an island which was at a distance to show a wide angle of the entire scene to really give a sense of place.
It was the camera on the island that I knew was going to
be the most challenging. Not only did I have to swim to get it in place, but I
had to set it up hours before Tim even showed up. And to top it all off, it was
several hundred feet from where I was going to be with my main camera.
If you have ever worked with radio triggers, you probably know that getting them to fire over water or in environments like Lone Rock Point with rocks and other obstacles can be a challenge. (PocketWizard note: water usually dramatically limits radio transmission.) Using the PocketWizard E Release, I was able to capture four perspectives with one click of my shutter. I didn’t miss a shot.
My Gear is my Lifeline
When I’m climbing, I rely on my equipment to do its job and keep me safe – it’s my lifeline. Same with my camera gear. During a shoot, I can’t be thinking about the gear, I need to be focused on my subject and getting the shot. That’s why I choose PocketWizard. It’s the most reliable trigger I have ever used and now with the E Release, it’s more reliable than ever.
Check out the Video of the Shoot!
About Michael Heeney
his B.A. degree in 2002 from the University of Vermont where he studied Studio
Art and Art History. From 2004-2005, he attended The New England School of
Photography in Boston, where he graduated with honors in both Advertising and
Fashion Photography. His client list includes Swarovski Lighting, Comcast,
Burton Snowboards, New York Magazine, Gordini USA, United Way, GX Magazine,
Anichini, Navali, Edible Green Mountains, Gardener’s Supply Co., and
Scarpe di Bianco. When Michael is not working for a client, he enjoys
travel, canoeing, rock climbing, archery, going to the fair, feeding stray
cats, and adventures, big or small. You can check out his work on his
Learn more about the E Release
For more information about our new E Release, a firmware upgrade that delivers significant benefits for photographers including a tremendous triggering distance that is more than double our current range and more than double the number of available channels, check out the E Release Website. The E Release is available now for the PocketWizard Plus III and Plus IV (FCC units only In North and South America).
In July, we celebrated our 29th anniversary! We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you to all our loyal customers and dealers for helping us to achieve this milestone. As we enter our 30th year of doing business, we are looking for ways to evolve as well as delight and inspire our customers.
We don’t make Disposable Products
For the past 29 years, PocketWizard has used the same reliable radio technology and it has served us well. We have a reputation of making quality products that withstand the test of time and offer backwards compatibility. Our users know that if they buy a radio today, it will still work with the radios that they may have purchased 10 or even 15 years ago. Backwards compatibility is important to us because we care about our customers and we care about the environment. We feel good that our products are not ending up in the landfills due to obsolescence. Our radios are not designed to be disposable.
But, We Want New Features AND We Want Backwards Compatibility
Our current technology has limited our ability to make enhancements. We want to add new features and allow photographers to do even more with our radio triggers. But we want to keep backwards compatibility. We want it all.
Can We Have it All?
Stay Tuned for a Big Announcement Next Week!
Subscribe to our E Newsletter
If you would like to be the first to know about product announcements, promotions, educational opportunities and more , subscribe to our E Newsletter!Click here to subscribe.
We’re so excited to introduce the PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit! It’s a complete PocketWizard PlusX radio trigger kit that’s easy to set up and is a fun addition to any type of party of event. Whether you are a professional event photographer or a hobbyist who wants to bring a little fun to your next party, you are going to love it!
What’s in the PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit?
3 PocketWizard PlusX Transceivers
1 PocketWizard Pedal
Flash sync cable set
Locking PC sync cable
3.5mm (1/8”) miniphone cable
6.5mm (1/4”) phono adapter
1 Remote Camera Cable
You will need to select the appropriate cable when you order. Check our Cable Finder to identify the one you will need.
PocketWizard G-Wiz Vault storage bag
Use this kit in conjunction with your own camera and flash.
How to Set Up your Photo Booth
Connect the pedal to one of the PlusX radios. Elevate the PlusX at least 6-12 inches off the ground. Use a tripod or light stand for best results. Set it to Channel 1.
Put a second PlusX in your camera’s hot shoe and also set it to Channel 1. Connect the PlusX to your camera with the included remote camera cable. Place the camera on a tripod or sturdy surface. For best results set the camera to manual focus and lock down the focus.
Connect the third PlusX to the flash via the appropriate flash sync cable. Set this PocketWizard to Channel 2. We used Channel 1 and Channel 2 in our example but you can use any Channel you like, just be sure to use the same Channel for the radios connected to the camera and foot pedal and use a Channel that is one higher on the PocketWizard connected to the flash. This is called Relay Mode.
Use any type of photography light that you choose as long as it has a sync port for a flash sync cable.
The guests simply push the pedal with their foot to take their photo. Add
a fun backdrop and props and you are good to go!
We set one up at our summer company picnic! Good thing we’re not camera shy!
Click here to find the PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit on Amazon!
Click here to buy the Photo Book Kit in the PocketWizard Shop!
Have you ever wished you could step away from behind the camera when taking a photo? Sometimes you need an extra hand or another body to hold a reflector, flip a bride’s veil into the air or distract the baby or pet of the family. With PocketWizard, taking a photograph “hands-free” is possible when using a remote camera triggered with a foot pedal.
Putting the PocketWizard Pedal to the Test
To test our new pedal, we reached out to a local Vermont animal portrait photographer, Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography. For the past 10 years, she has volunteered her time and talent to the local animal shelter, the Humane Society of Chittenden County (HSCC) in Burlington, VT. Her photos are used to promote animal adoptions by sharing them on the HSCC website and on social media. The photos are also displayed as art around the shelter and even inspire local artists to paint portraits of the animals.
Kelly goes to the shelter every Friday to take photos of the new animal arrivals. On the day we met with her, the shelter had gotten 40 new kittens – our work was cut out for us!
PocketWizard Pedal Set-Up
Kelly’s set up included a remote camera triggered with a foot pedal and two lights – one to light her subject and a second to light the backdrop with colored gels. For this, she needed 4 PocketWizard radios. Since we needed to fire the lights at the same time as the remote camera, Kelly needed to use PocketWizard’s unique relay functionality that is built into our radios. To do that, all Kelly had to do was set the Channel on her lights one Channel higher than the Channel used by her remote camera. This set up works with all PocketWizard transceiver radios.
Camera was set up on a tripod
One PocketWizard was set on her camera attached to the camera using a remote camera cable
Set on Channel 1
One PocketWizard was attached to the pedal via the miniphone port
Set on Channel 1
This PocketWizard was placed on a small tripod to keep it elevated off the floor for best radio transmission
One PocketWizard for each light
Each set on Channel 2 (one higher than the transmitting radios)
Taking Photos with the PocketWizard Pedal
Kelly put her camera on a tripod, set the focus and then got
out from behind the camera. She moved the foot pedal so that she could get
closer to the animals to engage them with toys and her hands. It was also great
for her to be closer to the animals to keep them keep them from jumping off the
table and hiding! After taking some with
her foot, she moved the pedal on top of the table to get the animals to take a
The set-up was portable enough that we could move it to a
smaller room where some kittens were housed. In this small space, Kelly
appreciated not being stuck in a tight corner behind the camera.
“I love working with this pedal! I find that the minute I go behind the camera, the animal loses interest or will become alarmed by the scary looking lens which looks like a big eyeball. Working with the PocketWizard Pedal, I can stay closer to the animals to keep them relaxed and hold their attention. With only a few minutes to capture each animal, the pedal really helps me move quickly.”
If you are like many photographers, you’ve invested a lot of
money in your equipment, including a speedlight. Have you become friends with it
yet? If not, we challenge you to get to know your speedlight a little better
Check out this great example of the same portrait taken outside without flash, and then with a flash by photographer Fred Pompermayer. Without the pop of flash, he would have missed this beautiful shot.
Yes – natural light is wonderful! But it isn’t always where we want it and you can’t control its location or its strength. By using the controls on your flash, you can adjust the strength and by getting your flash off your camera, you can control its location.
To start using off-camera flash, get yourself 2 PocketWizards to radio control your flash wirelessly. One goes on your camera, and the second connected to your speedlight.
Set your exposure on your camera to get the background perfectly exposed – then add your flash and adjust as necessary. By getting the exposure just right in camera, you will save yourself tons of time in post. No more bumping up the shadows and living with grainy photos.
Try adding a pop of flash to your portraits and tag us – #pocketwizard – we’d love to feature your masterpiece on our Instagram feed. The more you use it, the more you will like it – it’s like having a little sunshine in your pocket.