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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Webinar: The Easy Four Light Portrait Studio

pocketwizrd-webinar

Few things interrupt a portrait session more than having to stop in the middle of a great flow to add and subtract lights! Join host Joe Brady as he sets up a four light studio that can be controlled right from the top of a camera with the help of PocketWizard Plus® III radio triggers.

Do you really need to have four lights available? For some shots, you may only want one light, and then perhaps add a hair-light or reflector. Having multiple lights in position gives you creative control to shape the light on your subject to produce a portrait with the feel, drama, shape and impact you are after.

By creating a standard lighting set for your studio portraits, you save time and keep the flow of the shoot undisturbed as you concentrate on your subject. PocketWizard Plus III’s give you the ability to add and subtract lights instantly without having to go on the set so you can maintain that flow. Join us for this free session and see how easily a four light set can cover just about any portrait lighting need.

 

Date: Thursday, February 20th
Time: 1pm EST
Title: The Easy Four Light Portrait Studio
Host: Joe Brady
Register/attend here
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Simon Mackney’s 13-hour day with the British Bobsleigh Team

crop_380-1384962741-2_simonmackneyHere’s a behind the scenes video of Simon Mackney using Plus III Transceivers to photograph the British Bobsleigh team as well as a written account in Simon Mackney’s own words.  Mackney is professional photographer based out of Derbyshire, UK.

“The coach of the Great Britain Bobsleigh team came to us because they wanted images that weren’t your standard boring, normal promotional images.  They already had plenty of those and they were looking for something different.  So we came up with the idea of shooting the athletes with a super hero, film poster kind of style in mind.  We wanted a strong, confident, proud, inspirational, dark, edgy, moody style/look.

The images will be used for a variety of promotional pieces leading up to and during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.  We used PocketWizard Plus III radios with a Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 studio fast flash duration flash units.  With the combination of the PocketWizard radios, the Einstein E640, the Nikon D4 at 11 frames a second and the fast flash duration, we were able to get the shot we wanted.  The guys busting out of the stock, which we used with Bruce Tasker crashing out of the ice shards, we would not have been able to get the shots without the combo. The PocketWizard radios never let us down and they work really well with all our gear.

mackneyGB0026-e

© Simon Mackney

 

© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney

 

© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney

 

© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney

 

© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney

 

Massive thanks to the Great British Bobsleigh athletes Bruce Tasker, John Jackson “Jacko”, Joel Fearon, and Stuart Benson. We had a great, 13-hour long day shoot with the guys at the fantastic 2,200 square foot, drive-in Darley Abbey Photographic Studios.  The shots were taken by Simon Mackney and then edited by Simon and the Mackney team.”

Additional thanks for the following:
Video: Thom our Assistant
Music: Our good friend Artist: rotary; Title: scientific www.soundcloud.com/rotary

And the Mackney Team

Equipment used:
PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers
Paul C. Buff – Einstein E640 to freeze the action and motion
Nikon D4 and Nikon D800E
Capture one, tethered and linked to ipad

Links:
http://simonmackney.com
https://www.facebook.com/MackneyPhoto...
http://www.johnsons-photopia.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/johnsonsphot…
http://pocketwizard.co.uk
http://www.bobteamgb.org

PocketWizard radios are distributed in the UK by JP Distribution.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Simon Mackney, 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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Jaleel King Defines His Moments

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.20.01 PMDefining moments are part of life and they typically arrive with little if any warning, and at any time, day or night. Jaleel King’s life-defining moment came to him at the age of eight in the form of an errant shotgun blast that left him in a wheelchair.

Fast-forward about 30 years and Jaleel still faces obstacles, though these days his obstacles have to do with not having the right lens on his camera when he needs it, or not being able to get high or low enough to get the angle just right. In other words, many of the obstacles Jaleel deals with on a workday basis are the same obstacles other photographers regularly deal with… minus the wheelchair.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using  Lighting AB800s in the back on slave with an AB800 with a beauty dish beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5  Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using AlienBees B800s in the back on slave with an AlienBees B800 with a beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver.
Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger. © Jaleel King

 

 

 

 

 

 
Jaleel King’s work is a mix of street journalism, weddings, and studio portraiture that are striking to say the least, especially considering his journey to this point in his life. Take a browse through his website or Facebook page and you’ll discover a person who is hasn’t allowed a life-altering incident stop him from pursuing his love of photography. In the studio or in the street, Jaleel King has taken life by the gonads and run with it.

Portraits lit with a PCB - Einstein with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 unit inside of a Wescott 50" Apollo  and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5s Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 and AC3.

Portraits lit with a Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 flash with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 Receiver inside of a Wescott 50″ Apollo and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceivers.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger and AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

The idea of wireless flash always appealed to Jaleel King because as he puts it “wheelchairs and cables are a bad mix”. Initially self-taught, for a long time King was unaware of the existence of wireless flash. It wasn’t until he had an opportunity to be on set at a ‘real’ photo shoot that it all came together. For the first time he was able to see how equipment and trained talent can work together to create truly professional photographs. And in his particular case, knowing he could do away with cables – one of the banes of his photographic existence, was all he needed to hear.  From that moment on King knew this is what he wanted to do and nothing would stop him.

KP Morgan

© Jaleel King

Jaleel’s lighting system is a mixed bag. Being a Canon man, his system includes Canon 580EX II & 600EX-RT Speedlites, AlienBees B800s, Einstein E60′s, and an assortment of beauty dishes, reflectors, and umbrellas. Depending on the circumstances, his PocketWizard arsenal includes MiniTT1 Transmitters,  Flex TT5 Transceivers,  PowerMC2 Receivers, and AC3 ZoneControllers.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011. Lighting: Canon 580EXII Speedlites on background with PocketWizard FlexTT5. Main light is an Alien Bee 1600 inside a Wescott 24" Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011.
Lighting: Canon 580EX II Speedlites in background with PocketWizard FlexTT5′s. Main light is an AlienBees B1600 inside a Wescott 24″ Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

Lamarr was photographed from 'the Rig' using a Lighting AB1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

Lamarr was photographed from ‘the Rig’ using a
AlienBees B1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3. © Jaleel King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PocketWizard radios were not Jaleel’s first choice of remote triggers, but it didn’t take long to figure out why the pros all seemed to be using PocketWizards, and these days PocketWizard radios are the only brand he takes on assignment.

‘The RIG’ as Jaleel calls it, is essentially a rolling studio with a compact wireless lighting system Jaleel is currently piecing together. The way Jaleel describes it ” I originally thought it would be uber sweet to have a rolling studio so I can do some unique and experimental street work on my own with a light setup ready to go.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the  studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his 'Rig", a studio on wheels so-to-speak.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his ‘Rig”, a studio on wheels so-to-speak. © Jaleel King

“With help from local camera shops, we came up with this Frankenstein contraption that I could attach to my wheelchair. It’s a Manfrotto boom stand with the legs taken off that is attached to my wheelchair with about 4 super clamps and a magic arm. For lighting I was using an AlienBees B1600 with a FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.  I used an AC3 ZoneController to control the power output from my MiniTT1 Transmitter.  I used a Vagabond Mini to power my strobe.”

The RIG is a work in progress and Jaleel is in the midst of tweaking details having to do with weight distribution and not having enough surface area on the wheelchair to keep it from shifting as he moves about. These are minor issues he hopes to iron out soon and there’s little doubt
he will. Now if only he could figure out how to avoid getting the boom arm stuck in low-hanging branches life would be sweet.

 

To see more of Jaleel King’s work and/or contact him go to his Facebook page, his website, or email him at jaleel@jaleelking.com

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Jaleel King, 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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For Drew Gurian it’s not just Rock and Roll

imgresFor Drew Gurian, it’s not just rock and roll – it’s what he does for a living.  Though he doesn’t currently play in a rock band (He was  a drummer in a Philadelphia-based rock band for almost seven years), he’s made a name for himself photographing many well-known bands on the road as well as in the studio.

Based in New York City, a town in which if you specialize in portraiture you better have a specialty and be good at it, Drew Gurian’s niche for the last decade has been in the music and entertainment industry. 

 

Backstage portrait of 'Soulive', a NYC-based soul/funk band (Nikon D800, 24-70 f2.8 lens, Elinchrom Ranger, Elinchrom 74" Octabank, triggered by a Pocket Wizard Plus II

Backstage portrait of ‘Soulive’, a NYC-based soul/funk band
(Nikon D800, 24-70 f2.8 lens, Elinchrom Ranger, Elinchrom 74″ Octabank, triggered by a PocketWizard Plus II)

 

To date Drew has photographed over 300 artists and musicians on and off-stage for a variety of editorial and commercial clients including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Red Bull. His work has also appeared in PDN, Billboard, Bass Player, Kerrang!, USA Today, and other domestic and international publications as a contracted photographer for the Associated Press.

Candid portrait of former Dispatch singer/solo artist, 'Pete Francis', Solo Artist & former member of 'Dispatch' (Leica M Type 240, 35mm f/2 lens, Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Lastolite 24" Joe McNally Ezybox triggered by a Pocket Wizard Plus II)

‘Pete Francis’, Solo Artist & former member of ‘Dispatch’
(Leica M Type 240, 35mm f/2 lens, Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Lastolite 24″ Joe McNally Ezybox, PocketWizard Plus II)

 

More than a stage shooter, many of Drew Gurian’s best images were captured in studio settings or outdoors under controlled lighting conditions. Even when photographing live performances, Gurian takes the time and effort to make sure the lights are just right and everything goes as planned.

Dubai recording artist 'Fatiniza' (Leica M Monochrom, 35mm f/2 lens, Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Lastolite 24" Joe McNally Ezybox triggered by a Pocket Wizard Plus II)

Dubai recording artist ‘Fatiniza’
(Leica M Monochrom, 35mm f/2 lens, Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Lastolite 24″ Joe McNally Ezybox, PocketWizard Plus II)

 

Capturing the action from more than one angle at a live event requires planning and experience, and after a five-year stint as first assistant to world-renowned photographer Joe McNally, Drew has learned a thing or two about getting the job done under the most challenging conditions. (He once shot a studio portrait of a major rock band in 18-seconds flat!)

'DJ Jay Daniel', Brooklyn, New York Leica M Type 240), 35mm f/2 lens, Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Westcott shoot-through umbrella, Pocket Wizard Plus II

‘DJ Jay Daniel’, Brooklyn, New York
(Leica M Type 240, 35mm f/2 lens, Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Westcott shoot-through umbrella, PocketWizard Plus II)

 

Gurian is personable, which enables him to better connect with his subjects and develop their trust, which goes a long way when you shoot portraits for a living. This comfort level is reflected in many of the casual and more formal portraits in his portfolio.

Depending on the assignment, Gurian’s choice of lights range from Nikon Speedlights to Rosco LEDs, to Profoto and Elinchrom studio lights. Same can be said for his camera choices, which are currently the Leica M (Type 240) rangefinder, and Nikon’s D4 and D800. Regardless of which lights and cameras he’s using, Drew Gurian always packs his PocketWizard Plus IIs and Plus IIIs.

Unlike press photographers who are typically restricted to shooting the first three songs from the photo pit, Drew strives for full access to the venue, which enables him to secure secondary cameras to one or more positions above, to the side, or anywhere around the stage for that matter.Time permitting, his unlimited access makes it possible to test his lights and cameras before the lights dim and the show begins.

The three images below show Gurian setting up during a 2011 Dispatch Reunion Tour show. In addition to matching Nikon D3s  bodies at his side in the photo pit, he also secured a remote camera onto a vertical lighting truss off to the right side of the stage to simultaneously capture secondary wide-field images of the action. To ensure all three cameras worked in concert with one another, each were  equipped with PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers.

Securing remote cameras in place at one of the stops on the 2011 Dispatch Reunion Tour. Nikon D3s, 14-24 f/2.8 lens, Pocket Wizard Plus III (visible in Drew's right hand)

Securing remote cameras in place at one of the stops on the 2011 Dispatch Reunion Tour.
(Nikon D3s, 14-24 f/2.8 lens, PocketWizard Plus II (visible in Drew’s right hand)

Both cameras I had with me in the photo pit had PocketWizard Plus III's mounted on them, so every time I took a photo, the camera I mounted on-stage was also triggered. Nikon D3s, 24-70 f/2.8 lens

Both cameras I had with me in the photo pit had PocketWizard Plus II’s mounted on them, so every time I took a photo, the camera I mounted on-stage was also triggered.

As Gurian captured shot from the photo pit, the PocketWizard-equipped remote camera that Drew mounted onto a vertical lighting truss earlier captured secondary wide-field stills of the same scene. If you look in the photo pit, just in front of the band, you can actually see me taking that last photo. Nikon D3s, 14-24 f/2.8 lens, Pocket Wizard Plus III

As Gurian captured the shot from the photo pit, the PocketWizard-equipped remote camera that he mounted onto a vertical lighting truss earlier, captured secondary wide-field stills of the same scene. If you look in the photo pit, just in front of the band, you can actually see me taking that last photo.
(Nikon D3s, 14-24 f/2.8 lens, PocketWizard Plus II)

 

As you can tell from the pictures, everything worked as planned.

Partly as a result of his shooting successes over the past decade, Drew has had several speaking engagements, and has taught workshops in the US, Asia, and the Middle East.Aside from the fun-factor of meeting new faces and interacting with others in the field, these seminars have given him an opportunity to mentor others as others have mentored him in the past.

To see more of Drew Gurian’s work visit his website. 

 All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Drew Gurian, 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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.52 PM (more…)

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Making Waves, 17 January 2014

making_waves_logoMaking Waves is a weekly round-up of current posts featuring PocketWizard products.

Dean Blotto Gray, photographer for Burton Snowboards takes snowboarding off the mountain for his recent shoot, which is referred to as a ‘street mission’.  Among his 195 pounds of gear that is packed for the shoot the PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers are guaranteed to make the trip.  “Lights, Camera, Action”

Photo: © Dean Blotto Gray

Photo: © Dean Blotto Gray


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What’s That For, PocketWizard?

PocketWizard VP, Dave Schmidt gives you an inside look on how to use PocketWizard ControlTL® system’s Manual Power Control with ANY camera.

Are you one of the many photographers who have added a mirrorless camera to your bag?  Would you like to use your PocketWizard MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® with that system?  Well, you can and have complete control of your compatible remote flashes using Manual Power Control.

Photo: © Dave Schmidt

Photo: © Dave Schmidt

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Faces of Tradition captured by Joe Coca

Joe Coca traveled to nine different villages throughout the Andean highlands to capture images for the book Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes, released in November 2013.  This was a book project done for Thurms Books, Loveland, CO in conjunction with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco.  The images show the ancient weaving traditions of the Peruvian people and gave the Elders the opportunity to see a photo of themselves for the first time.  Here’s Joe’s story in his own words:

Photo: © Joe Coca

Photo: © Joe Coca

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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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