Posts Tagged ‘MultiMAX’

Tandem Lighting Setups Using SpeedCycler On A Recent SI Photo Shoot

Alexis Cuarezma is a portrait photographer with a specialty in photographing sports figures. Considering the fact he’s named after Alexis Arguello, a three-time world champion boxer from his native Nicaragua, and studied art, graphic design, and photography at California State University at East Bay, this shouldn’t be a big surprise.

Barely a decade into his career, Alexis Cuarezma is an alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop (Barnstorm XXIV), and counts the LA Times, the NY Times, Sports Illustrated, HBO, Ring Magazine, SEEN, Boxing News, Fighting Fit, and other publications among his current client roster.

Cuarezma has always been fascinated with light, and as a photographer, he aims to control it to the best of his abilities in the studio as well as on location. While he appreciates the qualities of available light, the images Alexis Cuarezma captures for his clients require more than a click of his heels and a Hail Mary shout-out – they have to be lit.

Alexis Cuarezma honed his photographic skills early on by photographing his kid brother and his little league teammates. In short time he began shooting boxers at their respective gyms, which lighting-wise are as dismal as it gets. In Alexis’ case, this was in his favor – he preferred to light the ring his own way.

Cuarezma’s dramatic lighting techniques ultimately came to the attention of Brad Smith, Director of Photography at Sports Illustrated, who he met at the Eddie Adams Workshop. It was through Brad that one of Alexis’s biggest dreams came true – an assignment from Sports Illustrated.

The ‘good news, bad news’ part of the story is that while Smith loved Alexis’s lighting style, the shot he needed of Stanford University’s Shayne Skov (since drafted as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers!) was going to be silhouetted and had to be shot against a medium-gray background. Brad’s instructions were basically “You’re going to have to get a grey seamless. You know how to light well, keep it simple and have fun.” For Cuarezma the fun part of it would have been to shoot it his own way. And that’s where PocketWizard radio triggers came into play.

Alexis happened to be on the market for new radio transmitters. The ones he had been using were not reliable when he needed them most, and even when they did work, they were limited in what they could do. The features and user reviews of the PocketWizard MultiMAX caught his attention, most notably its SpeedCycler feature.

SpeedCycler makes it possible to shoot studio flash flat-out at up to 10 frames-per-second by syncing with multiple flash units that can be triggered in a rapid, alternating sequence.  This enables him to capture high-power strobe-lit action sequences far faster than he’d be able to shoot with a single light source.

alexis 5

On the left is the lighting setup I drew out to figure out how many PocketWizard radios I would need and where to place them. On the right is how the drawing looked like in real life

 

But Cuarezma had a different take on the SpeedCycler feature. Rather than using the SpeedCycler feature to trigger identical lighting setups, Cuarezma’s idea was to light and capture the shot according to Smith’s direction – gray background and all, immediately followed by a second exposure that would trigger a second set of lights set up the way he saw the shot in his mind’s eye.

Cuarezma knew his time with Skov would be limited, and if he wanted to please his client – which he did, and please his own creative itch, which he also wanted to do, he would have to go beyond the framework of a conventional portrait shoot.

alexis 4

Cuarezma’s Canon 1D Mk IV can capture up to 10 frames-per-second, or one exposure every 100 milliseconds. Theoretically, by incorporating a PocketWizard MultiMAX radio trigger and four PocketWizard Plus III’s into the equation, he could capture two separate exposures in 200 milliseconds – one exposure lit as per his instructions against the gray background immediately followed by a second exposure lit in a lighting style Alexis Cuarezma can proudly call his own.

alexis 6

Two of the many ”ping-pong- lighting sequences Alexis Cuarezma shot in two frame-per-second bursts, each triggering it’s own lighting set-up. The bottom left shot is the one that ran across a double-page spread in Sports Illustrated. And yes, it’s not against a plain gray background – it’s the shot Alexis lit his own way.

 

After a series of false starts and a firmware update for his Plus III Transceivers, Alexis was set to go, and the accompanying images say it all.

As for the payoff, Sports IIlustrated was delighted with the results of Cuarezma’s first time out on assignment, and they ultimately ran one of his ‘renegade’ images across two pages. And in this business it really doesn’t get better than that.

Alexis 1

The image as it appeared in Sports Illustrated.

 

See how Alexis Cuarezma lit his Sports Illustrated spread using two entirely different lighting setups and PocketWizard’s SpeedCycler feature here.

To see more of Alexis Cuarezma’s work, check out his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Alexis Cuarezma 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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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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Dave Hahn Burst-Fires with the MultiMAX

Dave Hahn of New York’s CSI Photo has been covered on the PocketWizard blog previously. Known for his atypical but exciting camera angles used at sporting events, Hahn covers burst-firing in his own words.

Dave Hahn at work.

Dave Hahn at work.

Over the next few months I will be writing about a few of the differences between the PocketWizard MultiMAX transceiver and the Plus® III radio triggers. As you know the Plus III transceiver is packed with a host of great features for the advanced photographer. But, over the next few months I will be explaining some of the more advanced features of the MultiMAX transceivers for when you may want to step up your game.

In this review I am going to talk about how you can set the contact time of the MultiMAX. Why might you want or need to adjust the contact time of you transceiver? Let’s say you shooting sports, where you know where the action is going to be, such as basketball or maybe baseball. And you’re going to be using a camera as a remote from a location that you would not be able to check to see if you are getting the shot you want. Here is where adjusting the contact time would help. If you camera fires at five frames per second and you would like to shoot 3 frames each time you would simply set the contact time to 0.6 seconds. To adjust the contact time you would go into the menu of your receiving MultiMAX by pressing: MENU(*) B A and using the up and down keys to adjust the time.

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Tech Tip: Quad Zone Triggering

One of the key features of the PocketWizard Plus® III is “Quad-Zone Triggering.” This feature traces its roots back to the MultiMAX® where it has proven itself to be a game changer for many professional photographers. With the feature now found in the more affordable Plus III, more photographers have this capability within their reach. So what does it do?

Quad-Zone Triggering allows photographers to assign lights or cameras to one of four zones; A-B-C or D and then they can turn a zone on or off with the simple push of a button on the transmitting radio. This could be used to turn a single light on or off, or a group of lights on or off (you can have as many lights or cameras per zone as you want). It can also be used to turn a remote camera, or group of cameras, on or off. We’ll take a look at each scenario.

Building your Lighting
You’re in a studio situation taking portraits. You’re using five different lights; one is the key, one is a fill, two are for the background, and one is for highlights. You want to be able to see the impact of each light and make sure you have the proper power setting. Without Quad-Zone Triggering, this would be a very challenging task unless you had a group of assistants to turn the various lights on and off. With Quad-Zone Triggering you simply select the light you want to turn on/off from the transmitting radio and take a shot. Each light or group of lights (in this case the two background lights) is assigned a zone, either A-B-C or D. Turning on one zone at a time allows you to see just the light from that zone making it far easier to make adjustments.

Multiple Lighting Setup
You’re shooting a wedding reception and you want to offer a variety of images and a few different looks to the couple. Prior to the reception you’ve set-up several lights around the room with Plus III’s as the receiver and assigned a zone to each light and/or a zone to groups of lights. Using Quad-Zone Triggering, you can turn the light(s) from each zone on or off at-will right from your camera to change the lighting on the fly and create different images from the same scene.

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Josh Ross and His Gatorade Sculpture

Continuing from our first story on Josh Ross, this exciting shooter continues to develop as an inventive conceptual product photographer. Here, in his own words, is how Ross put together this exciting shot featuring Gatorade.

Gatorade product shot, ©Josh Ross.

Gatorade product shot, ©Josh Ross.

This shot was an evolution of my work with a natural splash caught on camera. I wanted to create a shape with the liquid. While out for a run one day, a Gatorade ad in a local store window caught my eye and served as inspiration. I was attracted to Gatorade and the lightning bolt logo because I felt like it allowed for a powerful story that really spoke for itself.

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Josh Ross Flashes the Bull

There’s nothing like highly-professional product photography. It gives consumers confidence not only in products, but in brands themselves. When there’s compelling conceptual psychology and movement in product photography, the image strives to reach another level. Here’s how photographer Josh Ross put together this Red Bull photo shoot, in his own words.

©Josh Ross

©Josh Ross

The inspiration for this shot was a combination of recent client work and serendipity. I shoot with Dynalite gear. As much as I love my M1000wi pack, it’s not a speed demon when it comes to flash duration. I had recently done a shoot for Senna Cosmetics where I needed to freeze makeup powder falling in the air, and found it impossible to do. I ended up using speedlights. After the shoot was over, I did some research about what my options were. It looked like I could choose another light setup with a fast flash duration—meaning either a very large check, or lower quality lights.

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Remote Cameras Behind Home Plate with the Los Angeles Angels

© Matt Brown

© Matt Brown

Over on The Halo Way, the official photo blog of the Los Angeles Angels, photographer Jordan Murph has put together an educational post on how he and team photographer Matt Brown use remote cameras during games and what you’ll need to set one up yourself.

Why use a remote camera for sports photography? Lots of reasons! “They provide us with different angles from our hand held cameras in case we get blocked,” Jordan writes, “and they can give a unique view from a location that is impossible to physically photograph from, or they can just provide extra coverage.”

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A Day in the Life of a MultiMAX in Africa

©Jeff Neu & Dana Allen of PhotoSafari

Dana Allen, Managing Director of PhotoSafari contacted us with an interesting story about some recent close encounters he and his coworker Jeff Neu had on the job on the Busanga Plains of Zambia. Being photo pros, this team knows what they’re doing and how to photograph the local wildlife. No one, though, was prepared for what this beautiful female lion was interested in doing with the camera gear.

©Jeff Neu & Dana Allen of PhotoSafari

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VIDEO: Moshe Zusman on Perfect Light

The talented and always-wonderful Moshe Zusman recently gave a lecture at B&H’s Event Space, demonstrating how to get perfect wedding shots, no matter what kind of lights you have or your location.

In order to get well-lit, white balanced subjects, Moshe recommends setting up a number of color-balancing gelled strobes that compliment the location’s lighting, high on light stands above the room. His assistants, he says, can set this up in six minutes.

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