Posts Tagged ‘HyperSync’

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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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.

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© 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.

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© 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.

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© 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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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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Walter Van Dusen Gets Ready for Hannah’s Big Day

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.47 PMThe contact page of Walter van Dusen’s website features a picture of his daughter with a caption that reads “Every wedding that I photograph is preparing for my daughter Hannah’s wedding. That’s how important your wedding is to me”. And he means it. Some photographers approach weddings as cookie-cutter catalog work. New England-based Walter van Dusen approaches weddings with a passion.

With 20 years as a correction officer under his belt, Walter has the steely nerves required to deal with the heightened emotions and meltdowns that often go hand-in-hand with wedding days. Careful to avoid repetitive grip and grin-ish wedding photography, van Dusen makes a conscious effort to spend up-front time in order to get to know the soon-to-be-married couple, and sometimes their families and significant others in their lives.

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

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Making Waves, 17 January 2014

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

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

Photo: © Dean Blotto Gray

Photo: © Dean Blotto Gray


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What’s 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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What’s that for, PocketWizard?

This month’s feature is basically a road map for HyperSync®.  Why a “road map?”  Because HyperSync, a tool that could be used for all kinds of genius photography, seems to attract wheels. Motorcyles and BMXBicycles. And more motorcycles. Last month I called it BikerSync®. Mark Wallace, a motorcycle guy himself, wheeled down the road less taken and rallied a grand tour Webinar on HyperSync.

Shooting Portraits with HyperSync.

Here is some information we sent out to viewers before the Webinar. The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began, but the trip is a little smoother if you have the key to your magic decoder ring.


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Ben Von Wong Lights an Octopus

©Ben Von Wong

©Ben Von Wong

HyperSync® enthusiast Ben Von Wong keeps getting drawn to rocks and water. In his most recent shoot, no fire was involved this time, but his model had to contend with wildlife. An octopus. Deceased. On her face.

Jen Brook also had to endure lying on cold boulders and wearing clothing in some frigid-looking water. Fortunately, Ben made quick work of the shoot, and shot at speeds only possible with HyperSync technology. Using PocketWizard gear to shoot at speeds of 1/1000th, Ben called on FlexTT5 transceivers, the AC3 ZoneController, and the AC9 AlienBees Adapter.


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HyperSync Wedding Portraits by Eric Uys

Sure, you can use PocketWizard’s HyperSync® technology to freeze exciting high-speed sports action, but did you know you can also use it to create stunning portraits outdoors no matter what the natural lighting conditions are?

Here’s some examples of what photographer Eric Uys regularly pulls off using HyperSync for portrait sessions, including some behind-the-scenes shots by his assistant, Tarryn Ward. 

In his own words, Uys gives us his thoughts on how he uses HyperSync to create work clients keep returning to him for.

©Eric Uys

©Eric Uys


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