Making Smaller Voices Heard in an Ever Noisier World

There comes a time when we read or see something that makes us want to quit our day job, pack our bags, and go do something that actually makes a difference in this world. Few get past their morning coffee before they’re once again off to the office, dreams put on hold. And then there are those who, damn the naysayers and snickers, actually follow through and make the world, in some small measure, a better place to live in. Mark van Luyk, a Creative Director by trade, and his wife, Judith Madigan, an optometrist by trade, did just that. And they’ve succeeded.

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Judith and Mark stepped out of the corporate world in 2006 and after a year of travel and soul searching, established ‘BrandOutLoud’, which in Judith’s words ” specializes in tailor-made branding and communications for non-profits worldwide.” If you’ve ever browsed through brochures and websites designed and illustrated by and for non-governmental and other non-profit organizations, you know the design and graphics can often be sophomoric, and at times depressing to look at. Mark and Judith were determined to change all of that.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

As a Creative Director, Mark understands the importance of branding – “It’s all about knowing who you are and what you stand for”. He’s also quite aware of the role of powerful imagery when it comes to successful communication. “Showing stereotype (aid) images of tragedy, warfare, or disease evokes helping from the point of view of pity. Besides, the world has seen enough of the sad looking malnourished African child with the flies in the eyes” Mark adds.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

Mark’s approach is to present local aid organizations from remote locations around the world as real people, with dreams of their own being turned into realities. And no matter how humble or simple the endeavor may be, there is a strong sense of pride and dignity in the faces of the people he has photographed along the way.

 

As a result of Mark and Judith’s efforts, small local aid organizations now have the ability to sustain themselves by attracting new supporters and expanding their network of partners, becoming more and more independent. They are able to show their story and get their message across using the newly well-designed communication tools.

So far Mark and Judith have met with much success. Rather than chasing leads, organizations are now seeking them out for their expertise in not only ‘branding’ aid organizations, but for their unique ability to design and supply the elements of entire campaigns, and they do it quite well.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

Due to the remoteness of many of the locations the van Luyks travel to, they must travel light. For this reason Mark narrowed his choices of gear down to his Canon cameras (EOS 5D Mark II and Mark III), a set of fast prime lenses, and four Canon 580EX II Speedlites which he uses grouped together or individually depending on the circumstances – with or without a softbox or umbrella (In addition to stills, Mark also shoots HDSLR video for client and promotional needs). To synchronize his cameras and lights, Mark relies on PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitters, PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceivers, and PocketWizard AC3 ZoneControllers, which he cannot praise enough.

© Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

“I work in the field and I have to think about everything going on around me, and we often have to set up and work quickly.  My PocketWizard system allows me to set my lights the way I want them knowing the images will come out dead-on. “I’d rather get it right when I press the shutter release. Sitting at a computer doing Photoshop is not my idea of a fun time.”

 

Mark relishes the fact he can control the entire creative process from soup to nuts. “Knowing upfront how the image will appear at the end makes it easy for me to capture and compose all of the elements together. I can pre-visualize the picture and how it will appear in print or the web before I fire the shutter. That’s a huge advantage.”

 

The resulting images are strikingly simple, and though ‘advertorial’ in style, don’t come off too slick or condescending to either the subject(s) or viewer(s). Mark van Luyk and Judith Madigan are quite clear on the fact their subjects are real people, with real hopes, dreams, and realities, and they deserve the same level of dignity an respect as the more privileged amongst us.

 © Mark van Luyk - BrandOutLoud

To learn more about BrandOutLoud visit http://www.brandoutloud.org/videos/1/

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Mark van Luyk / BrandOutLoud, 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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Breaking the ‘First Three Song’ Rule with Erik Voake

In time, most photographers turn to video as the next logical step in their careers. Not so with Los Angeles-based Erik Voake. In fact, he did the opposite. At 19 he was already directing and producing indie films and videos about off-road racing, skiing, freestyle motocross, snowmobiling, snowboarding, and other action sports.

Other professional accomplishments he’s amassed include being a co-Producer and Director of Photography on the Lionsgate film “A Day in the Life”, a film dubbed a “hip hopera” staring Mekhi Phifer, Omar Epps, Michael Rapaport, and directed by Sticky Fingaz from ONYX. He was also DP on Larry Clark’s ‘Impaled’, a documentary about the effects of pornography on youths’ sex lives, and he recently produced and filmed a documentary titled “Jonathon” that was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

Mac Demarco - Performance

‘Mac Demarco’ – Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

On TV, Voake created the cable reality series “Crusty’s Dirt Demons” a show about the exploits of motocross riders that aired for two seasons on FUSE Networks. But despite his success in the motion picture and TV universe, something was amiss.

Flume - Performance

‘Flume’  – Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

In 2006, not long after seeing the James Nachtwey film documentary – ‘War Photographer’, Voake was offered the opportunity to travel to Bagdad and shoot a documentary on the first deployment of the ‘Band of Brothers’ since World War II (a.k.a. the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army). Sponsored by Sony, it also gave Erik an opportunity to follow the advice of his friend and mentor, photographer Larry Clark, who was urging him to always carry a camera with him because of all of the places he travels and the people he meets. According to Erik, Clark’s advice changed his life.

The still images he captured in Iraq resulted in his first gallery show, which he scrambled to assemble after selling the gallery owner on the idea of a show about the fabled Roxy Theatre. (The gallery owner loved the pictures from Iraq but doubted they were the kinds of images his clientele would want to hang on their walls.)

Smashing Pumpkins - Performance

‘Smashing Pumpkins’ – Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

It was during this time Voake began appreciating the value of traveling light and nimble. Backstage venues are dark, which means you need light, but too much light can be intimidating when you’re trying to gain the trust and confidence of musicians and the lot.

About a week after posting a picture he shot of a band named ‘Chelsea Girl’ on Flickr, Erik got a call from Spin Magazine. They wanted to buy the picture. One thing led to another and before he knew it, Voake had talked them into an assignment photographing a music festival in nearby Michigan, which in turn led to a gig shooting Lollapalooza and the South-by-Southwest music festival. That was in 2009 and Erik Voake has been a music shooter ever since.

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Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

“I’m a photographer – not a director, not a producer, I’m a photographer – I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. My mom was an art teacher, and she told me when I started taking pictures, I finally came into my own. When I picked up a camera… I became Erik Voake.”

Voake began shooting portraits of many of the performers he met along the way. His lighting style is of the ‘less is more’ school and he tends to minimize his lights to a ring light or for larger, softer swaths of light, a beauty dish (“Nothing beats a beauty dish”).

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Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

For backstage shooting he relies on Canon Speedlites. And for syncing his cameras and lights, Erik Voake relies on his PocketWizard Plus II radio triggers. “PocketWizards radio triggers are all I use and all I need. They work every time. Period.” (Note: The Plus II has been replaced by the Plus III Transceiver)

One of Voakes niftier gigs these days is being an official photographer for all of the Red Bull Music Concerts, which feature some of the biggest bands around. A particularly cool thing about working directly for Red Bull is that he has the run of the arena, and in particular, a green light to set up lights around the stage pre-show rather than have to deal with on-camera flash, or more troubling stage lighting, which can change quickly, wildly, and flippantly.

By rigging the stage and syncing through his PocketWizard radio triggers, Erik is able to guarantee his results. And that’s not easy to do on the concert circuit.

'Tapioca and the Flea'

‘Tapioca and the Flea’ – Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

Another noteworthy detail about shooting the Red Bull Concerts, is that since Red Bull was a private sponsor and was paying the bills, Voake was able to break the number one rule of concert photography, specifically –  ‘No flash for the first three songs!’

As Erik Voake summed it up, “We made music history. We were able to break the ‘first three song rule’, and we got some amazing pictures along the way. At first everybody was ‘Hey, what’s up?’, but it all settled rather quickly and everyone including the musicians notice the difference in lighting quality. And he gives much credit to his PocketWizard wireless triggers for pulling it all off.”

To see more of Erik Voake’s photographic work visit his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Erik Voake, 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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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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Dylan Coulter Photographed These Olympians Back in July

THE MAKING OF THE CITI SOCHI WINTER OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN PHOTO SHOOTClick on link for a Behind the Scenes look at the photo shoot.

Brooklyn-based photographer Dylan Coulter has made a name for himself creating iconic portraits of athletes, models, and other notables. For the past two years he has also been the person responsible for photographing the Citibank Winter Olympic Teams (last year he shot the London-bound teams, this year the Sochi-bound teams), a position he takes great pride in. “It was a real honor to be called back for a second year” says Dylan, and you can tell by the tone in his voice, he means it.

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Evan Lysacek – 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Figure Skating © Dylan Coulter

Unlike most Olympic photographers who had to journey to Sochi to earn their paychecks, Dylan Coulter had to make his magic in a four day window of time about seven months earlier in the New York metropolitan area. His original plan was to take the athletes to venues that at the very least approximated the appearance of the sports each of the athletes excelled at, but due to the logistics of shooting the entire team in a short window of time, that idea was nixed. So it was off to the studio.

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Billy Demong – 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Nordic Combined © Dylan Coulter

Rather than build elaborate sets or shoot against backdrops that somehow suggest the type of sports the athletes participate in, Dylan decided to go bare-bones by shooting each of them against white backgrounds. Some images with little more than strips of gaffers tape on the floor for positioning purposes. Dylan also shot portraits of each of the athletes close-up and full-body for other applications in the Citibank campaign.

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Dan Jensen – 1994 Olympic Gold Medalist – Speed Skating © Dylan Coulter

Perhaps the strongest and most difficult photographs he captured were the simulated multiple exposure sequences, a style he originated on a project for ESPN Magazine. Unlike traditional multiple exposure pictures in which a single movement is captured at set intervals on the same exposure, Coulter’s simulated multiple exposure sequences are made up of individual posed images that are lit and composed one at a time and pieced together in post production.

Ted Ligety - 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist - Alpine Skiing  © Dylan Coulter

Ted Ligety – 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist – Alpine Skiing © Dylan Coulter

If it seems like a demandingly complex workflow, you’re right, but the final images are stunningly perfect at each stage of the final photograph. “Getting the form right was a big challenge, and the athletes were real troopers and performed as professionals” as they went through their paces, often repeatedly. The athletes also served as consultants in a sense when they reviewed the images, making sure each frame captured the proper form, attitude, and body English.

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Julie Chu – 2002, 2010, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Women’s Ice Hockey – © Dylan Coulter

Dylan Coulter views the athletes he was hired to photograph like he views other photographers and others who practice crafts that require training and discipline, “It’s always exciting to see the differences in form between athletes, the way they run, pitch, serve a ball, there side arms, overhand, and I try to represent each of these professional athletes authentically.”

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Julie Chu – 2002, 2010, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Women’s Ice Hockey – © Dylan Coulter

“My PocketWizard Plus III remote triggers were instrumental in getting me through this assignment. They didn’t only trigger the lights, but in several shots they triggered an overhead camera we rigged for some birds-eye view photographs we shot. I know it’s been said before, but being able to work wirelessly makes life so much easier.”

To see more of Dylan Coulter’s photographic work visit his website or Facebook page.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Dylan Coulter, 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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Webinar: The Easy Four Light Portrait Studio

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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.

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© 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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