Posts Tagged ‘Plus II’

Paul Souders + PocketWizard radios + Grizzlies = Awesome

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© Paul Souders

Paul Souders’ grandmother wasn’t a woman of means per se, but she did manage to squirrel away enough scratch every year to fly off to someplace she’d never been before. Watching her slide shows was Paul Souders’ introduction to, and some may say addiction to, travel photography. Fast-forward to ‘adulthood’ and upteen journeys to places previously unknown to him – camera at side – has become Paul’s Souders’ ticket to ride.

A few years back while taking stock of all of the pictures he’d taken on previous journeys, Souders came to realize his awesome 600mm close-ups of bears, lions, and wildebeests were as awesome as everybody else’s awesome 600mm photographs of bears, lions, and wildebeests. Considering how much time, effort, and money (personal money no less!) went into his work, he started reassessing his approach to photography, and how to redefine the word ‘awesome’ on an upcoming trip to Kenya.

His solution was to have his subjects fill the frame, but not from a comfortable distance as previously seen through a lens the size of a baseball bat, but in-your-face-close with a wide-angle lens. But he still had to figure out a way to photograph what he saw in his mind’s eye without getting eaten.

 

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© Paul Souders

His solution was the PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers* he frequently used for triggering remote Speedlites wirelessly when shooting editorial assignments. He knew PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers could also trigger cameras, but seldom took advantage of this function. Visualizing lion cubs or bears sticking their noses inches from the front element of his camera lens while taking semi-playful swipes at it was exactly what he was after. Right then and there he added his PocketWizard Plus II radio triggers, a few small tabletop tripods, and additional sets of lithium-ion AA batteries to his packing list.
(*Note: The PocketWizard Plus II Transceiver has been replaced by the Plus III.)

Paul Souders’ new vision entailed positioning cameras with wide-angle lenses at ground level along watering holes, nesting areas, and feeding grounds. A big believer in keeping things simple, Souders was careful to keep his camera as innocuous looking as a camera with an ultra-wide angle lens and radio transceiver mounted on it can be.

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© Paul Souders

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© Paul Souders

When shooting on the plains, Souders’ typically scouts out promising camera positions, sets up his cameras – each with a PocketWizard Plus II set to its own channel, and retreats to a safe, non-confrontational distance away. Once out of the way, he sets up a second camera with a long telephoto for capturing the action from a more traditional point-of-view.

On a more recent trip to the Canadian Arctic to photograph bears catching salmon making their way upstream to spawn, Souders’ sealed his camera and lens into a waterproof housing mounted on a heavy-duty studio tripod submerged just below the waterline in order to capture the grace of these great beasts as they dive after schools of fish below the surface of the water.

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© Paul Souders

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© Paul Souders

The type of photography Paul Souders’ specializes in requires patience, perseverance, and the ability to endure punishing environments, not to mention the realities of being a potential snack for a host of predators.

Another reality is the toll these projects take on his cameras, which are often poked, pawed, mauled, sometimes trampled, and inevitably smattered with mud and/or dirt. On a recent trip to Alaska “one and a half out of seven cameras’ were functioning by the time he came home. And don’t ask him how many cameras and lenses met their demise after being crushed, chewed to bits, or knocked overboard. (Trust me… the numbers are painful – SR).

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© Paul Souders

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© Paul Souders

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© Paul Souders

 

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© Paul Souders

© Paul Souders

© Paul Souders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The payoff for his efforts are pictures he never would have dreamed possible before he incorporated PocketWizard radio triggers into his workflow. Thanks to his PocketWizard triggering system, he now has the ability to capture penguins leapfrogging over his camera with inches to spare as they rocket out of the water onto land, or to see exactly how long and sharp a bear’s claws could be from uncomfortably-close distances and perspectives.

When Paul Souders originally purchased his first PocketWizard transceivers, they were merely a means of moving his Speedlites off his camera and out of the way. Little did he know they would some day radically change the way he views the world and photographs it.

To see more of Paul Souders’ work, check out his website.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Paul Souders all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Breaking the ‘First Three Song’ Rule with Erik Voake

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

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

Mac Demarco - Performance

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

 

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

Flume - Performance

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

 

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

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

Smashing Pumpkins - Performance

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

 

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

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

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Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

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

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

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Copyright Erik Voake / Red Bull Content Pool

 

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

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

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

'Tapioca and the Flea'

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

 

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

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

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

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Erik Voake, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

 

 

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Faces of Tradition captured by Joe Coca

Joe Coca traveled to nine different villages throughout the Andean highlands to capture images for the book Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes, released in November 2013.  This was a book project done for Thurms Books, Loveland, CO in conjunction with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco.  The images show the ancient weaving traditions of the Peruvian people and gave the Elders the opportunity to see a photo of themselves for the first time.  Here’s Joe’s story in his own words:

Photo: © Joe Coca

Photo: © Joe Coca

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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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Remote Camera Mountain Bike #Selfies

Whistler, BC-based photographer Dan Carr’s work has been featured in ski and snowboard magazines from Japan to Canada and everywhere in between.  During the winter you will find him shooting alongside the world’s top snow sports athletes and film companies in the never ending quest for perfect images.  After a summer season of improving his mountain bike skills, Dan steps in front of the camera and remotely fires off some images. Here’s how he did it in his own words.

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iso800, f/6.3, 1/320

As summer drew to a close in Whistler, British Columbia, I was about ready to pack the bike away and dust my skis off when I had an idea……
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Patric Söderström on Sports and Remote Coverage

Patric Söderström is well-prepared. His clients, which include Sweden’s biggest news agency, T.T. Nyhetsbyran, and two soccer teams, Mjällby AIF and Kalmar F.F., know when they hire Söderström, he’s going to get the shots they want. Armed with a veritable arsenal of Nikon bodies, lenses, and PocketWizard radio triggers, Söderström is able to cover an entire field of action with a mere press of one button. Here’s what he wanted to share with us regarding his sports photography.

©Patric Söderström

©Patric Söderström

The photo above is a penalty shot during a game between Kalmar FF and Brommapojkarnas IF in Sweden’s highest league, Allsvenskan. It was the last game Kalmar FF’s goalkeeper Etrit Berisha played before getting transfered to S.S. Lazio in the Italian Serie A. Kalmar was down one goal, 1-2, when they got a penalty kick in the closing minutes of the game. Etrit Berisha stepped up and scored, making the game a draw. During the game he had executed some insane saves, and here he saved another point for his team. A great way for him to say goodbye to the fans. It was shot at Kalmar FF’s home stadium, Guldfageln Arena, in Kalmar. I arrived at the arena about 60 minutes before kickoff.

I got lucky with the shot since he placed the ball in the corner of the goal where I had my Nikon D800. It only shoots four frames per second but when you get the shot, you can really crop a lot to get to the intensity of the picture.

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Dixie Dixon Captures Edgar Gomez

Remy, ©Dixie Dixon

Remy, ©Dixie Dixon

When Houston native Dixie Dixon was a student at Klein High School she was paid to photograph Little League games. Wielding her trusty Nikon FG, she made ten dollars per hour, and shot every weekend, including soccer competitions. “Not bad for a kid,” she says, grinning.

Dixon’s father was a hobbyist photographer, and provided her first camera. Her grandfather was a landscape photographer.

Not many professional shooters can match Dixon’s claim of only working as a photographer, but it’s true. She shot for the high school yearbook, and one of her shots made the cover senior year. At that point she decided she wanted to pursue photography for a living.

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Jack Haley’s Photojournalism and PocketWizard

Photojournalist Jack Haley of MPNnow.com and the Messenger Post Newspapers regularly incorporates PocketWizard radio technology into his daily assignments. Rarely knowing what subject matter and conditions he’s going to find before his arrival, his PocketWizard Plus® II radios are still an integral part of his gear, helping him capture everything from sports action frozen in place to impressive environmental portraits. He recently shared information with us on shoots he completed for “Spring Sports Stars.”

Jack Haley/Messenger Post Co-Player of the Year Tommy Wagner of Victor, New York. ©Jack Haley/Messenger Post Newspapers

Co-Player of the Year Tommy Wagner of Victor, New York. ©Jack Haley/Messenger Post Newspapers

This baseball player’s action portrait was shot at 1/320 with a Nikon D300s and two Nikon SB-80DX flashes. No diffusers were used.

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Brett Warren’s Porcelain Fashion

© Brett Warren

© Brett Warren

Brett Warren is a Nashville based photographer whose work is at once charming, beautiful, and rich with details that really tell a story. He was recently profiled in Native Magazine and he shot a series especially for them, inspired by the theme of the issue, green and sustainability.

He writes:

I had wanted to shoot a story inspired by the porcelain figurines that you find at thrift stores, or your grandparent’s curio cabinets, for some time. As far as technique goes, I wanted to be sure and illuminate the girl’s skin to create a shiny highlight that could be translated as porcelain.

I used my trusty PocketWizard Plus II atop my camera to communicate with the built in PocketWizard on my Profoto AcuteB2 kit. It always communicates instantly, and makes for an easy-going shoot with perfect lighting every time. I let the sun flood the back of her head, and filled the front with directional strobe light for an ethereal feel.

(more…)

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No Ambient Light? No Problem

© Adam Szarmack

© Adam Szarmack

As we all know, weddings (usually) don’t take place in brightly lit football stadiums. Receptions, especially, tend to take place at night and whether they’re indoors or out, the ambient lighting conditions are going to be challenging for the photographer.

Adam Szarmack is a Jacksonville wedding photographer who’s come up with a number of ways of creatively overcoming the low-to-no-ambient-light dilemma from silhouettes to starry nights. 3 photos, 3 lighting diagrams, 3 stories, and very little ambient light follows. (more…)

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