Posts Tagged ‘FlexTT5’

Erik Seo’s Epic Skiing and Riding Pix Explode off the Page

Without trying to sound cliché, the first word that comes to mind when viewing Erik Seo’s action sports photography is ‘explosive’, and that’s not simply because snow and people tend to be flying all over the place in many of his photographs.

Mostly self-taught, Seattle-born Seo (rhymes with –‘say-oh’) began photographing fellow ski-bums while attending Washington State University with a major in landscape architecture and just enough photography classes on the side to get him hooked for life.

Jen Hudak skiing in the trees at Mt. Asahidake, Hokkiado, Japan

© Erik Seo 2015


For inspiration and visual direction he read books about lighting and studied the work of others in the field whose work he respected. He also shot a lot and pushed himself to see if he could do it even better. Seo decided to shoot full time about 30-seconds after learning his day job had been terminated. It’s a decision he’s content with.

Winter sports photography is as demanding as location photography gets. Challenges include mountain terrain, extreme cold, snow, ice, rain, slippery surfaces with obstructions – not all of which are immediately apparent –  speed, sun glare, or any combination of the above. Add remote-triggered TTL flash into the mix only makes things that more interesting.


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© Erik Seo 2015


Seo’s working tools include Canon EOS 1D  and 5D Mark-series camera bodies with a trio of Canon L-series wide zooms, a fast 85mm and the all-but-mandatory 70-200/f2.8L II zoom.

For flash, Seo uses Canon and Nikon Speedlites, Elinchrom Ranger RX AS and Ranger Quadra flash systems, along with Paul C Buff Einstein flash heads in various combinations depending on the scope and parameters of the assignment.

Tom Wallisch

© Erik Seo 2015


Regardless of whose lighting systems he ends up using, all communications between his cameras and lights go through his PocketWizard remote triggering system, which, as Erik jokingly says, frees him from having to drag along “about 834,234,324-feet of sync cords”.

Erik’s remote triggering system includes FlexTT5 and Plus III Transceivers. He also makes use of PocketWizard PowerST4 Receivers, which enable remote control of Elinchrom RX-series flash systems with PocketWizard ControlTL technologies. Also included in Erik Seo’s PocketWizard triggering kit are AC3 ZoneControllers, which enable three zones of off-camera flash control.

Getting through these challenges requires equal measures of speed, stamina, lightning reflexes, and enough common sense to know when to pull back. (According to Erik it also requires always having a supply of plastic bags and waterproof tape on hand to better ensure moisture doesn’t get into places it doesn’t belong.) It also helps to have camera gear that won’t let you down when things start to rock and roll.


© Erik Seo 2015

© Erik Seo 2015


The combination of bright, high-altitude sunlight and blowing snow can easily push contrast ranges off the charts making fill-flash all but mandatory for revealing detail in otherwise blackened shadows.

To freeze the action Seo often requires shutter speeds shorter than the 1/200th and 1/250th-second top sync speeds of his Canon camera bodies. Using PocketWizard’s exclusive HyperSync® feature, Seo has the option of selecting shutter speeds as short as 1/8000th-second, which is far more effective at freezing fast-moving subjects compared to the native top sync speeds of most DSLR and mirrorless cameras.


Tim McChesney jumping the Death Valley gap in Salt Lake City, Ut

© Erik Seo 2015


“PocketWizard radio’s allow me to craft the light the way I’d like, at any time of day. HyperSync allows me more flexibility in overpowering daylight and punching light into the harsh shadows of my outdoor scenes.”

Erik also makes use of the flexible Quad-Zone Triggering feature of his PocketWizard Transceivers, which allow him to quickly switch between flash systems while adjusting power settings on the fly.


Clayton Vila transferring from one wallride to the opposite side

© Erik Seo 2015


More than just a flash trigger, Erik also uses his PocketWizard system for triggering cameras remotely. “I use PocketWizard radios to control my lighting, but also (use them) to wirelessly fire a second or third camera connected to PocketWizard motor drive cables. It’s always good to have another camera blasting away at 10fps when you only get one pop of flash power per attempt… You never know if you will get more than one opportunity to photograph the action so the more cameras you can have covering the action, the better. Some of my best photos including my cover shot of one of Powder Magazine’s Photo Annual have been captured through remotely-fired cameras.”

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Shot from helicopter at a distance of about 2000′ from remote flash. © Erik Seo 2015


Seo can also testify to the range and accuracy of his PocketWizard flash triggering system. “Last winter I did a photo shoot for Aspen Skiing Company out of a helicopter from a distance of about 2,000 feet from the subject and we were able to successfully HypersSync with my Elinchrom Ranger’s and Paul Buff Einstein flash units.  Both Seo and his client went home happy that day.

“Thanks to people at PocketWizard for creating the tools I need to shape the light to my liking.”

To see more of Erik Seo’s work, check out his website.

To learn more about the benefits of getting your flash off your camera and triggering it remotely, please visit

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Erik Seo 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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MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 now TTL compatible with Nikon D750 & SB500 as well as the Canon 7D Mark II

Crop of D750_7D MK II

Photo taken outside our office during one of many snowstorms we’ve had in Vermont this winter. Photo © Heather Simons

Latest TTL firmware update further expands extensive list of compatible cameras

So. Burlington, VTFebruary 20, 2015 – LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, the world leader in wireless control of cameras, flash lighting and flash power control with Sekonic light meters, announces today a new update to its ControlTL firmware for both Nikon and Canon versions of its MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios. Firmware version 3.800 for Nikon includes compatibility with the recently released D750. Additionally, firmware version 6.800 for Canon now provides TTL compatibility with the Canon 7D Mk II. Any current owner of the ControlTL system can easily install this version via USB and update for free using the PocketWizard Utility. PocketWizard Utility version 1.54 or later is required before installing this update.

“This firmware release makes us compatible with most current Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras. Once we receive our pre-ordered Canon 5DS and 5DS R, our Engineers are geared up to get a firmware update out for these cameras as fast as possible,” said Heather Ambrose, Marketing Director at LPA Design, the company that manufacturers PocketWizard Photo Products.

For more information on how to update PocketWizard products via USB connection and to view current release notes for Nikon firmware update version 3.8 and Canon firmware version 6.8 visit:

For a complete compatibility list, please visit:

About PocketWizard

Incorporating the latest radio technology, PocketWizard radio triggers exceed the demands of the professional and serious amateur photographer with durability, ease of use, advanced capabilities and legendary reliability.  PocketWizard products, including the PlusX, Plus® III, Plus® II, MiniTT1® and FlexTT5® are made by LPA Design, based in South Burlington, Vermont and sold by distributors around the world including the MAC Group in the USA.



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On-Camera Flash versus Off-Camera Flash: Part 1

This is part 1 in a series of posts created to show the many benefits of freeing your flash and getting it off your camera.  Although this information may be very basic for some, we have found that there are many photographers who have yet to discover the benefits of getting their flash off their camera.  You will see through a series of very basic images, how an image can come to life by simply taking your flash off your camera and putting it where you want it to be.  I’ve provided a simple overview of the series and then more details on each of the photo.  All photos were taken in Aperture Priority mode using one or two Nikon Speedlights set to TTL.  A MiniTT1 for Nikon with AC3 ZoneController was used on a Nikon D800 camera and FlexTT5s were used to trigger the Speedlights.

Oncamera vs offcamera example two gavin
The first series of images were taken by Heather Simons, our Technical Support Specialist, outside of our office in South Burlington, VT. Our model, Gavin, is the son of our Administrative Assistant and provided us with many creative poses and constant entertainment.  We really had a great time working with him on the images for this post.

DSC_7046 edit_600x400_72dpi

1/500 sec; f/3.2; ISO 160


This first image was taken with the flash directly on the camera with the camera positioned directly in front of the subject.  There is uniform lighting across the subject which tends to make the photo look somewhat flat and non-dimensional.


DSC_7071 edit_400x600_72

1/320 sec; f/3.2; ISO 160


For this second image, the flash was taken off the camera and placed to the right of the subject.  Getting the flash off the camera and placing it at a different angle provides some nice shadows on the left side of Gavin’s face.  This lighting effect just happened to work out perfectly with his expression.  Gavin is quite the ham!


DSC_7056 edit_400x600_72

1/250 sec; f/3.2; ISO 160

And for this final image, we added a Speedlight to the left of Gavin in addition to using the Speedlight on his right.  Adding the second speed light provided additional lighting to help balance the light, which worked well with his pose.  When compared to the first image, the light is softer and there are softer shadows which create more depth to the photo.

Oncamera vs offcamera example one gavin


The second series of images were taken inside our studio and were a collective effort between Heather Simons and myself.  Again, all photos were taken in Aperture Priority mode using one or two Nikon Speedlights set to TTL.  A MiniTT1 for Nikon with AC3 ZoneController was used on a Nikon D800 and FlexTT5s were used to trigger the Speedlights.

DSC_6898 edit_HSorig_600x400_72dpi_

1/60 sec; f/3.2; ISO 160


The first image was taken using an on-camera flash and the direct light is quite apparent.  There are harsh shadows (notice the one on the back wall!!) and the image appears fairly one dimensional and flat.


DSC_7033 edit-600x400_72dpi

1/60 sec; f/3.2; ISO 160

For the second image, we placed a Speedlight to the right of Gavin and you can see a shadow on the left side of his face which gives it dimension.  Again, Gavin nailed the pose for the lighting.  We just love the effect we achieved by simply moving one Speedlight off camera.


DSC_6940 edit_600x400_72dpi

1/60 sec; f/3.2; ISO 160

And for the final image we kept the Speedlight to Gavins’ right and added one to the left.  This provided great lighting on both sides of his face which worked well for this pose. The image has some dimensionality to it and is dramatically different from the first photo.  This was done simply by moving the flash off the camera, placing it to the side of the subject and adding a second flash to fill in the light.

One thing to note with all of this is that Heather Simons and myself are far from Professional photographers.  In fact, I would say we are quite amateur at best.  We simply were having fun in the studio with a great model that kept us entertained while we created content for our Blog. This entire shoot took about 45 minutes.  The point I am making with this is that it’s really quite easy to free your flash from your camera and put the light where you want it.  All you need is a few PocketWizard wireless triggers and the creative possibilities are endless!

Until the next post,

Heather Ambrose
PocketWizard Marketeer

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Jaime de Diego Freezes His Subjects in Their Tracks

Born in Stuttgart Germany, but raised since knee-high in Madrid Spain, Jaime de Diego is fluent in Spanish but admittedly awful in German. None-the-less, in the span of the past dozen years Jaime has managed to turn his teen-years passion for motor sports and photography into a career as a sports photographer with a weak spot for motorcycles. Never quite one for sitting about, Jaime grew up mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing and hiking. Throw photography into the mix and you have the makings of a natural-born sports shooter.

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© Jaime de Diego

Having paid his dues running here, there, and everywhere photographing running, biking, and motorcycle championship races, Jaime has slowly built a client list of equipment manufacturers that actually pay him to photograph their products for brochures and advertising needs. Early on, Jaime came to terms with the fact if he wanted to play with the big boys, i.e., satisfy the needs of his clients, he would have to step up his game.

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© Jaime de Diego

de Diego first realized he needed wireless triggers while shooting his first assignment for Runners World Spain. Part of the job involved photographing a runner on a dark road at night. Though he got the shots he was after, he vowed to never again light a night scene, static or running down a road using an on-camera flash and the headlights of his car.

Nowadays Jaime shoots in the studio and on location with Canon EOS 1DX cameras, and depending on the particulars of the assignment, Elinchrom and/or Quantum flash systems outfitted with Lastolite light modifiers. Regardless of the particulars, his lights are triggered wirelessly using PocketWizard radios.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.30.21 PM

© Jaime de Diego

Capturing dazzling, in-your-face photographs of runners, bikers, and other fast-moving subjects is not always easy. Even when down-shifting into tight turns, motorcycles move fast and create a dust-up as they blow by your camera and regardless of how bright the skies may be, you need flash if you want to truly stop the action.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.30.39 PM

© Jaime de Diego

When shooting fast-action sports and studio assignments within the sync speed parameters of his camera system Jaime relies on his PocketWizard Plus III and PlusX flash triggers. For shots that require flash sync speeds faster than the 1/250th-second sync speed cap of his DSLRs, Jaime taps into the HyperSync® feature of his FlexTT5 and MiniTT1 radio transceivers s in order to ramp the camera’s top sync speed upwards of 1/8000th-second. Once set to HyperSync, Jaime can stop anything that passes his camera lens as well as shoot at the widest lens apertures. Combined with fill-flash, he can also darken blue skies to near black when needed in order to make his subject seemingly pop from the background.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.30.11 PM

© Jaime de Diego

Even when shooting stylized portraits and products in the studio, Jaime de Diego incorporates PocketWizard radio triggers into his workflow simply because they are dependable, predictable and simple to use.

The following is a Behind the Scenes video of one of Jaime’s recent shoots using the Plus III Transceiver.

To date, most of Jaime de Diego’s clients are made up of the Spain-based affiliates of larger international corporations such as Adidas Spain, Nike Spain, Under Armour Spain, BMW, and Repsol. Jaime de Diego’s primary goal these days goal is to move into the international arena. Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s little reason why he shouldn’t accomplish that goal.

(Note – When last seen Jaime was busy brushing up on his German, English, French, Japanese, …)

To see more of Jaime de Diego’s work, check out his website or like him on Facebook.

To learn more about the benefits of getting your flash off your camera and triggering it remotely, please visit

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Jaime de Diego 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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Upgrading Firmware at the Speed of We-Need-it-Yesterday

New cameras are exciting, especially when they incorporate new technologies that improve camera performance or the user’s creative capabilities. What’s not so exciting is when you take your new camera out on assignment only to find out it won’t perform as accurately and/or consistently as well as your previous camera model. In all likelihood it’s firmware related – causing communication problems between the new camera and your flash triggering system. The language might be the same, but the new dialect causes confusion.

When the PocketWizard product engineers at LPA Design catch wind of new cameras, they prime the coffee machine and, using the earliest available production cameras from Nikon and Canon, begin testing every facet of the camera to determine how well it works or doesn’t work with PocketWizard products before releasing firmware upgrades. During these test trials the engineering team determines what needs to be tweaked or in some cases, completely re-engineered to better ensure PocketWizard triggering devices perform as expected.

A recent case in point is Nikon’s introduction of their newest DSLR, the D810, which replaces Nikon’s popular D800 and D800E. PocketWizard’s engineering team performed exhaustive tests with the new camera to assess and remedy any compatibility issues with the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio transceivers. Considering the complexity of the upgrade process, it’s pretty impressive when you hear LPA’s engineering team was able to hammer out the bugs and release a reliable firmware upgrade in two weeks’ time.

Nikon's new D810 with a fully-compatible PocketWizard FlexTT5

Nikon’s new D810 with a fully-compatible PocketWizard FlexTT5


A conversation with Patrick Clow, LPA Design’s Technical Support Manager, explains the complexity and attention to detail that goes into testing compatibility issues between new camera models and PocketWizard radios before releasing firmware upgrades. Between Canon and Nikon, PocketWizard’s engineering team must establish complete compatibility between PocketWizard’s product line and about 60 cameras and 20 flashes. And this figure doesn’t include Sekonic light meters and the various studio flash systems PocketWizard radio triggers are compatible with.

As Patrick describes the process – “There are lots of factors in testing: each shutter speed, every aperture, image stabilization, lens choices, camera battery levels, flash choices, rear curtain sync, MASTER devices and modes, zones, shooting modes, flash durations, and lots more.  When you start to multiply all of the factors together, you quickly get into the millions of possible combinations – you couldn’t test them all in several lifetimes.”

“For the numbers geeks out there, we use a pairwise system to generate grids of test setups. They are still gargantuan, so we edit those grids based on our experience, knowing what changes we made in the firmware, and targeted (towards) the cameras we want to test. In its simplest form, each camera gets a bare minimum of 10 hours of testing assuming nothing pops up.  If it does, we often end up testing it all over again.  The latest firmware had 15 new cameras in it, several requiring multiple rounds of testing as we reverse engineered unique behaviors.  We also re-tested previously compatible cameras to ensure continued stability.  It was a really big project.”

In many ways, firmware upgrades involve thinking the process through backwards. “Our compatibility and features are built entirely on reverse engineering someone else’s totally custom, non-standardized and evolving communication interface and then applying precision timing to that hard-won knowledge. Microseconds matter to us. We do things differently from virtually everyone else in the industry and that’s why we can pull off technologies like HyperSync®, or controlling the power level of studio flashes like the AlienBees with a Nikon or Canon Speedlight.”

New cameras inevitably come with unknowns and according to Patrick, Nikon’s new D810 didn’t disappoint LPA’s Engineering team. “The latest cameras had some interesting things going on under the hood.  TTL for the D810 and D4S, for example, acts differently than previous Nikons at a specific focus distance so we had to figure out how to work through that anomaly.  We did it, and we even modified our own firmware so that if Nikon changes that behavior with a future camera firmware upgrade, or releases another camera with the same behavior, we should still be good to go.” Canon’s newest DSLRs came with their own set of issues.  “Even within the same generation or family of cameras, (Canon cameras) can have strangely different behaviors.  In the past we’ve spent considerable effort figuring out these behaviors and making special cases to manage them.”

“With this last round of firmware we went beyond that – we retooled a major piece of our system to be more flexible.  It should allow us to roll with the punches much more easily and add new cameras to the ControlTL system  more quickly. PocketWizard firmware update version 3.700 for Nikon includes full compatibility with Nikon’s D810 as well as Nikon’s D610, the D4S, Df, D7100, D5300, D5200, and D3300. PocketWizard firmware update version 6.700 for Canon has also been released, bringing full TTL compatibility to Canon’s EOS 70D, 1D X, 6D, T5i/700D, T5/1200D, T4i/650D, and SL1/100D. With these two new releases, all currently manufactured DSLRs from both Nikon and Canon perform with full TTL capability when using the ControlTL feature on PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 Transceivers.

Canon EOS 7D with PocketWizard Flex TT5

Canon EOS 70D with PocketWizard FlexTT5


In closing our conversation, Patrick made a point of mentioning his support team at LPA and the time and dedication they pour into their respective responsibilities.  “Thousands of hours, several drums of coffee, and a few dozen buckets of peanut butter pretzels have gone into this milestone.   “I just want to give a shout out to the engineers and testers that made it happen: Tim, Steve, Mark, Gary, Andrea, Ryan, Sarah, Zack, Ian, Heather, and Seth (and Steve, Chris and Ashley).  We have a great support team with Lorei, Heather, Nick, Hannah, Deb, and all the great folk at MAC Group!  Thank you!”

For more information on how to update PocketWizard products via USB connection and to view current release notes for Nikon firmware update version 3.7 and Canon firmware version 6.7 visit:

The PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 are now fully compatible with the following recently released Canon and Nikon DSLRs:
Canon – EOS 70D, 1D X*, 6D*, T5i / 700D, T4i* / 650D, T5 / 1200D, SL1 / 100D
Nikon – D810, D610, D4S, Df, D7100, D5300, D5200, and D3300
* Now with TTL compatibility.

For a complete compatibility list, please visit:  

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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.


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

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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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.





CH final image

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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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 –

Twitter –

Facebook for 10 Minutes with a Stranger –

Seth Hancock’s Facebook Page –

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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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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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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