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.
This month’s feature is basically a road map for HyperSync®. Why a “road map?” Because HyperSync, a tool that could be used for all kinds of genius photography, seems to attract wheels. Motorcyles and BMX. Bicycles. And more motorcycles. Last month I called it BikerSync®. Mark Wallace, a motorcycle guy himself, wheeled down the road less taken and rallied a grand tour Webinar on HyperSync.
Shooting Portraits with HyperSync.
Here is some information we sent out to viewers before the Webinar. The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began, but the trip is a little smoother if you have the key to your magic decoder ring.
©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.
Sure, you can use PocketWizard’s HyperSync® technology to freeze exciting high-speed sports action, but did you know you can also use it to create stunning portraits outdoors no matter what the natural lighting conditions are?
Here’s some examples of what photographer Eric Uys regularly pulls off using HyperSync for portrait sessions, including some behind-the-scenes shots by his assistant, Tarryn Ward.
In his own words, Uys gives us his thoughts on how he uses HyperSync to create work clients keep returning to him for.
For years we’ve been drawn to what photographer Garth Milan continues to do. Sponsored by Red Bull, among other corporations, Milan is a master at freezing the action of extreme sports of all kinds. We recently caught up with him again, and he was kind enough to explain how he overpowered the Southern California sun and stopped motion at the same time. Here is his account of his most recent shoot.
This particular shoot with Red Bull athlete Curtis Keene posed two fairly large problems. One was the bright Santa Monica midday sun, and the other was the fact the trails we shot on were miles away from the nearest parking spot, which meant we had to hike up the normally “downhill” trails with any and all gear needed for the shoot.
All that being said, my assistant and I started our blister-inducing hike up with a camera body and several lenses, along with an Elinchrom Ranger, equipped with the PowerST4 to enable my PocketWizard to HyperSync® at any and all speeds. After one of the most intense hikes of my life (considering how much gear we had), we arrived at our destination to find, just as I thought, the lighting was less than ideal for shooting with the natural, ambient light.
Pete Webb creates some gorgeous photographs. He has just discovered the world of HyperSync®, and it’s opened up a new avenue of the types of images he can execute. Webb informs he now has the ability to create photos he “could only have dreamed of” previously. His informative story follows.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2000th. ©Pete Webb
Last week I received the email reminder to download the new firmware update for my PocketWizard radio triggers. I was pretty excited about this, as plug and play HyperSync was something I desperately wanted to use and desperately wanted to work.
First thing to do was plug my triggers into the PocketWizard Utility and update. With the new firmware updated, a quick look at the HyperSync tab told me there was nothing to select, so I carried on and went straight out in the field to use them. (I think the main tab to be aware of is if you are using speedlites and want to use HyperSync, then you need to turn off “High Speed Sync” HSS, so check the HyperSync-only box. If you leave it unchecked then you can set where HyperSync takes over from HSS).
I was told using HyperSync with my Elinchrom Ranger RX with ‘S’ heads and my FlexTT5 Transceivers that everything should be fairly plug-and-play, as it indeed proved to be. I called up Morvelo, one of my cycling clients who sent me one of his team riders dressed in all the latest gear and on a nice expensive bike, and headed to one my favorite little locations at the top of one of Sussex’s best bike climbs.
Sebastian Kienle as photographed by Donald Miralle, 1/500th, f/4.5. ©Donald Miralle.
HyperSync® is one of the most revolutionary features for flash photography since the flash bulb. It’s also the least known or understood concept in flash photography despite it being four years since it was first introduced.
Simply put, HyperSync is a feature in our ControlTL® radios that lets you use shutter speeds above the normal x-sync limitations when using studio flash. It is very dependent on the camera and flash models being used but with the right combination of gear you can use shutter speeds all the way to 1/8000th of a second with studio flash!
How is this possible? The ControlTL radios with this feature (MiniTT1, FlexTT5, PowerST4, PowerMC2) are able to advance the timing of the flash triggering so at speeds above x-sync you’re still getting light from the flash to expose the sensor. Normally, if you tried to go above your camera’s x-sync speed with a flash, you would get “clipping” or a black bar across your image. That part of the sensor missed being exposed by the flash because it was exposed prior to the flash firing.
© Olli Krause
HyperSync is great for freezing super fast action but it can also be used to help create a totally different style of photography. If you like the look of the super smooth, creamy backgrounds that you can get shooting at a wide aperture AND want to photograph outside in the sun, then this trick is for you!
You can use HyperSync to ratchet up your shutter speed, allowing you to keep your aperture wide open, even while using flash in bright sunlight.
There really isn’t anything acclaimed Korean photographer Manchul Kim can’t shoot. Take a look at his portfolio and you’ll see everything from conceptual still life shots to rock band album covers. In this shoot, Manchul takes on skateboarding for DC shoes and Lee Sanglee.
Manchul Kim has known Lee Sanglee, a Korea DC Shoes team rider, for over ten years. Lee is one of Korea’s most experienced skateboarders and he has been active publishing books and DVDs as well as teaching the younger generation how to skate.
© 2012 Manchul Kim
© 2012 Ryan DeCesari
Ryan DeCesari (a.k.a. Denver Photo Guy) was looking to gear up for the coming ski season and get some high speed sync happening. Looking back on his blog, you can watch his experiments evolve as his research leads him to what he needs to get the results he wants.
In his most recent two posts, he shares the results of his latest experiments, using PocketWizard’s HyperSync® with a MiniTT1® and FlexTT5®. He headed out to Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado for a test run and reports after “about 10 minutes with my laptop and the PocketWizard Utility to dial in the Hypersync function… I was able to get up to 1/8000 exposure.”
Later, in a more detailed post, Ryan sprints up the learning curve and tries out the classic dropping-objects-in-a-fishtank shoot, and gets some results that he says “utterly stunned and shocked him.” Using just one strobe, Ryan was able to shoot at 1/8000th and freeze motion perfectly. He writes, “The heavens lifted angels and choirs began to sing I sat back in my chair struggling to understand what this meant for my photography…… I settled on the idea that for an investment of around $800 I had a set up that could play with the big boys I had a super powerful strobe that could be transmitted from extreme distances and the ability to sync that strobe at its full power setting up to 1/8000 of a second shutter speed.”