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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Making Waves, 3 January 2014

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

Chip Kalback is a photographer based out of Denver, Colorado who shoots commercial and editorial photography with a focus on environmental portraits and lifestyle sports.  Chip used HyperSync to capture the new standard of performance vehicles, electric cars.  Chip brought along his FlexTT5 as a transmitter and had his lights setup with Plus III radios so he could capture the cover photo and all the images for the feature story in Popular Science magazine.   Chip’s setup for each shot is described in his own words.

“For the cover shot and opening spread I was using a FlexTT5 (Canon) with a Plus III hooked up to an AlienBees B800. Using HyperSync I was able to stop the cars at 1/2000, f/6.3 and ISO 640. My camera setup was a Canon 5D III and a Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZE. 

For the portrait shot of the driver I was using a FlexTT5, with one AlienBees B800 and a gridded beauty dish, and 2 AlienBees B400′s both with tight grids, all three flashes synced with Plus III’s. Those were shot at 1/100, f/8 at ISO 320 with a Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZE.

For the shots in the garage I was using an AlienBees B800 and 2 AlienBees B400′s, all with tight grids on them being synced with Plus III’s, in conjunction with the ambient light coming in from both sides of the garage. Those were mostly shot using my Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZE while again using my FlexTT5.”

Photo: © Chip Kalback

Photo: © Chip Kalback

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9 Questions for Ashley Barker

Ashley Barker is a rising star in the world of snowboard photography.  Only in her mid-twenties, Ashley already has many magazine covers to her credit and has done work for many of the top companies in the sport.  Ashley is not afraid of lighting things up as well.  PocketWizard VP, Dave Schmidt, did a Q&A sessions with her to find out what the Whistler, Canada based Barker had to say about her office(which happens to be on the side of a mountain), the gear she uses and how she is setting herself apart in the industry.

Photo: © Ashley Barker This set-up is two flashes on full power in the middle of the day.  I was trying to get the rest of the scene dark and blue, so I kept the flashes close to the subject. I exposed for the highest settings of the flashes, and 1/320 second using PW MultiMAX radios.    The light you see in the picture is right beside where the riders take off, pointed directly at the camera with a yellow filter.  The second flash is placed 5 feet to my right.  I am shooting with a fisheye lens and the rider is going over my head and slightly to the left where he lands.

Photo: © Ashley Barker
This set-up is two flashes on full power in the middle of the day. I was trying to get the rest of the scene dark and blue, so I kept the flashes close to the subject. I exposed for the highest settings of the flashes, and 1/320 second using PW MultiMAX radios. The light you see in the picture is right beside where the riders take off, pointed directly at the camera with a yellow filter. The second flash is placed 5 feet to my right. I am shooting with a fisheye lens and the rider is going over my head and slightly to the left where he lands.

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Josh Ross Creates a Liquid Apple

The third installment of our series on Josh Ross has just been completed. Previously, Part One and Part Two. Here, in his own words, is how Ross put together his most ambitious product shot, liquid, this time, in three dimensions.

©Josh Ross

©Josh Ross


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Making Waves, 13 December 2013

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

 

 

Sean Setters of The-Digital-Picture.com posted a great review of the the PlusX Transceiver. Sean shows you the real world testing that took place in order to test the PlusX.   The PlusX also made the Phoblographer.com gift list for this year.  Here is the complete list of 30 gifts that any photographer would love.   We also found it on Houston-based, fashion photographer, Dixie Dixon’s  holiday gift guide for photographers…”naughty or nice”.

Photo: © Justin Van Leeuwen

Photo: © Justin Van Leeuwen

 

SLR Lounge shows you all of the gear it takes for them to shoot their typical portrait sessions.  For off-camera lighting they use Plus®X Transceivers or Plus® III Transceivers. “We typically carry 3 or more of these on a shoot, one mounted on the camera and 2 on off-camera flashes. These reliable remotes are extremely important to us because off camera lighting is an important aspect to our style of photography.”

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All videos, photos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and copyrighted by the photographers featured, 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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Sasha Leahovcenco Travels to the End of the Earth

According to the bio on Sasha Leahovcenco’s website, he’s a “Soviet man” who was born in the former Soviet republic of Moldova. Today, Sasha resides in the relatively warm climate of Sacramento, California but recently ventured to the far corner of Siberia to photograph a local community who had never had their photo taken as part of the Help-Portrait project.. We were intrigued by the story and tracked Sasha down to find out more about the experience and just what it is like to work in some of the coldest conditions on the planet.

As quoted by Sasha, “We visited people who have never had visitors in their life, stopping by every village and tribe on the way, giving them warm clothes, shoes, gifts, and simply showing them grace and love. The very exciting part of the trip was taking pictures of the natives, printing them on the spot, and handing them to the villagers. This was the very first time that these people had ever had their photo taken. As we travel, our video crew will be documenting the lives of the locals who live in the harmony with nature. We wanted to hear about their lives, struggles, resilience and where they see themselves in this rapidly changing world.”

Photo: © Sasha Leahovcenco

Photo: © Sasha Leahovcenco

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Making Waves, 06 December 2013

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

SLR Lounge’s, Michelle Ford did a review of the PlusX  and we are excited to say that it received 5 out of 5 stars.  Here is the complete video reviewNote: The PlusX was released in February 2013

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BTS: Brandon Lyon & Pentatonix

Hello, my name is Brandon Lyon, I am a commercial portrait and fashion photographer. I work out of Dallas, Texas and I am excited to write my first article for the PocketWizard Blog. I grew up as an only child so I mostly lived inside my imagination, creating stories and characters to entertain me. I also really enjoyed reading. I craved the feeling of falling into a book for hours on end and losing yourself to a different time and place. We didn’t travel much so this was how I got away. I particularly loved science fiction and fantasy. The world was what you wanted it to be, and the rules could be different.

I wanted to share a recent project I shot for the musical group Pentatonix. They are an a cappella group of five vocalists that gained success after winning season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off and are currently dominating YouTube and the world with their fresh and unique arrangements of mainstream music from pop to hip-hop and electronic music.

Photo: © Brandon Lyon

Photo: © Brandon Lyon

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Justin Van Leeuwen’s Distance Test Shoot

Photographer Justin Van Leeuwen of Ottawa, Ontario shoots some great commercial interiors, but his true passion is people. Environmental portraiture is where he really shines, doing his best to catch an individual’s entire personality in just one frame. Here’s his account of an exciting outdoor photo test he undertook.

©Justin Van Leeuwen

©Justin Van Leeuwen

Sometimes we take photos just because we can.

I was walking around the Ottawa River with the Canon 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x Extender, testing it for my review on canonrumors.com. With such a long telephoto reach, one that I’m not typically used to, I started looking, and seeing, things in areas I hadn’t before. This included a really cool cliff opposite Ottawa’s Parliament on the Quebec side. It was covered in graffitti, which meant it was also accessible. It gave me the idea to try to take a really cool and unique shot; a portrait from across the river from Ottawa to Hull, Ontario to Quebec — an interprovincial photo shoot.

I went home to brainstorm the logistics of the shoot. I knew the lighting would be contrasty and unflattering during the day (as it is) which would move the shoot closer to dusk and sunset. I had never been to the cliffs either, and since I would be on one side of the river to take the shots, whoever I would send out there would be on their own. That didn’t sit well with me, so I knew I would have to enlist one or two volunteers as assistants as added security. I also knew I wanted to light it, because taking a photo from 1600 feet away isn’t hard enough, I wanted to do something different and make the image pop.

How are we going to light someone that far away? I know my Canon ST-E3-RT system can’t go that far, neither can my Elinchrom Skyports. I had just read about PocketWizard radios new Plus III Transceiver’s, that not only had a “long range” option, but also offered a relay mode to piggy-back the signal from one PocketWizard radio to the next. I did a little Google Map math, and figured the direct line from camera to location (about 1600 feet) was a bit too close to push the max range on a set of transceivers, which is rated at 1600 feet. Adding a relay point on a conveniently placed island would cut that distance in half and should assure us a successful flash trigger.

©Justin Van Leeuwen

©Justin Van Leeuwen

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Dom Romney on the Road

We’ve looked at the exciting work of Dom Romney previously. It seems like his love of American cars remains undaunted. Here’s some very cool behind-the-scenes photos which accompany Dom’s story of how he got the final shot, in his own words.

©Dom Romney

©Dom Romney

This technique is fairly unusual. What you do is mount the camera to the car, roll the car along the road, and then—when it’s moving—trigger the camera with a long exposure to give the concept of moving with speed.

To create the illusion of speed is difficult. When I shoot, it’s normally just me and a driver. I have to push the car, so I use the PocketWizard to fire the camera while I’m busy pushing. Below is the unedited picture showing the rig, and also me pushing, to give a better idea of how its done.

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