Hello, my name is Brandon Lyon, I am a commercial portrait and fashion photographer. I work out of Dallas, Texas and I am excited to write my first article for the PocketWizard Blog. I grew up as an only child so I mostly lived inside my imagination, creating stories and characters to entertain me. I also really enjoyed reading. I craved the feeling of falling into a book for hours on end and losing yourself to a different time and place. We didn’t travel much so this was how I got away. I particularly loved science fiction and fantasy. The world was what you wanted it to be, and the rules could be different.
I wanted to share a recent project I shot for the musical group Pentatonix. They are an a cappella group of five vocalists that gained success after winning season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off and are currently dominating YouTube and the world with their fresh and unique arrangements of mainstream music from pop to hip-hop and electronic music.
Photo: © Brandon Lyon
Photographer Justin Van Leeuwen of Ottawa, Ontario shoots some great commercial interiors, but his true passion is people. Environmental portraiture is where he really shines, doing his best to catch an individual’s entire personality in just one frame. Here’s his account of an exciting outdoor photo test he undertook.
©Justin Van Leeuwen
Sometimes we take photos just because we can.
I was walking around the Ottawa River with the Canon 200-400mm f/4 L IS 1.4x Extender, testing it for my review on canonrumors.com. With such a long telephoto reach, one that I’m not typically used to, I started looking, and seeing, things in areas I hadn’t before. This included a really cool cliff opposite Ottawa’s Parliament on the Quebec side. It was covered in graffitti, which meant it was also accessible. It gave me the idea to try to take a really cool and unique shot; a portrait from across the river from Ottawa to Hull, Ontario to Quebec — an interprovincial photo shoot.
I went home to brainstorm the logistics of the shoot. I knew the lighting would be contrasty and unflattering during the day (as it is) which would move the shoot closer to dusk and sunset. I had never been to the cliffs either, and since I would be on one side of the river to take the shots, whoever I would send out there would be on their own. That didn’t sit well with me, so I knew I would have to enlist one or two volunteers as assistants as added security. I also knew I wanted to light it, because taking a photo from 1600 feet away isn’t hard enough, I wanted to do something different and make the image pop.
How are we going to light someone that far away? I know my Canon ST-E3-RT system can’t go that far, neither can my Elinchrom Skyports. I had just read about PocketWizard radios new Plus III Transceiver’s, that not only had a “long range” option, but also offered a relay mode to piggy-back the signal from one PocketWizard radio to the next. I did a little Google Map math, and figured the direct line from camera to location (about 1600 feet) was a bit too close to push the max range on a set of transceivers, which is rated at 1600 feet. Adding a relay point on a conveniently placed island would cut that distance in half and should assure us a successful flash trigger.
©Justin Van Leeuwen
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.
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.
Regular readers of the PocketWizard blog are no strangers to the photography of Bob Carey and his Tutu Project. We’re strong supporters of Bob and Linda Carey and the good work they’re doing to directly support cancer patients via the Carey Foundation. Now it’s your opportunity to not only help a charitable organization, but get yourself some very hard-to-find pink PocketWizard gear.
How would you or the photographer in your life like to show up on set rocking a pink G-Wiz Squared Gear Case? Now’s your chance, with all proceeds going directly to the Carey Foundation.
The Tutu Pink G-Wiz Squared Gear Case from PocketWizard is a padded, rip stop nylon case that holds up to four PocketWizard Plus® III Transceivers. The case opens from the top via a three-sided zipper giving you full view of the contents. The G-Wiz Squared features a zippered interior pocket for connector cables and other small accessories. Padded touch fastened dividers allow you to configure the case to suit your gear needs and help guard against incidental contact and impact. Snap Closure attachment straps allow you to mate the case with another bag. They can be yours via this eBay auction.
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.
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.
MAC Group, the U.S. distributor for PocketWizard Photo Products, announces a Fall Rebate Program. From now until November 30, 2013 you can receive money back on all your favorite transmitters and transceivers.
Get $15 off your purchase of a Plus®X or Plus® III.
Get $25 off your purchase of a MiniTT1® or FlexTT5®.
How it Works
Purchase one or more of the items above from your local PocketWizard dealer in the United States. Save the receipt and send it along with the filled out rebate form, which can be found via this page, and the original silver product label(s) from product packaging to this address:
PocketWizard Fall Rebate
Dept # MG13-9454
P.O. Box 472
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-0472
You can receive money off each radio purchased. There is no limit!
If you’re wondering which PocketWizard radio unit is best for you you can read more about them here:
Offer available in the U.S. only.
Canadian photographer John Rathwell is best known for his sports shooting. He’s the kind of artist who prefers capturing a kayak being piloted through rapids over a pitcher waiting for a signal, a surfer in frigid waters over a soccer match, or a closeup of a skateboard humming on blacktop over a golfer walking to the next tee. He recently was kind enough to explain how he got the below photo of mountain biker Felix Wilberg. Here’s Rathwell’s own account of how the shoot came together.
Felix Wilberg as photographed by John Rathwell. ©John Rathwell
Here is a shot of downhill mountain bike sensation Felix Wilberg at Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Quebec. The goal going into this shoot was to come out with something really showing the speed and intensity these guys come into banked turns with. I find the sense of motion is left out in action sports photos way too often, and, with flash, it’s so easy to have motion and still keep your subject sharp. The flash duration will freeze your subject, but the ambient light will still continue to absorb into the sensor.
My first few attempts at the shot where at 1/50th of a second and the background was put into an abstract blur. I didn’t realize how fast these guys actually come into the corners. I ended up moving up to 1/100th of a second for the shot to get just the right amount of motion blur in the background.
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.
We previously featured news about Melody Hood’s Breakout Session with ClicknMoms. If you participated in this educational opportunity, you had the chance to win four PocketWizard Plus® III Transceivers and a G-Wiz Squared bag!
Kerry Riordan of Blu Lemonade Photography in the greater-Boston area attended Melody’s Clickin Moms session, and was the winner of the Plus III transceivers and the G-Wiz bag. Kerry chose the color blue.
Kerry Riordan of Blu Lemonade Photography. ©Kerry Riordan
From Kerry’s POV
When I saw renowned photographer Melody Hood was going to be offering a Clickin’ Moms breakout session, I knew I would be signing up immediately. Her amazing ability to move beyond capturing moments, to creating stories is magic. The mood, the lighting, the atmosphere; she weaves them all together in a way that is not contrived, but rather timeless. You see her images and create your own backstory. They evoke that kind of response. And as if this breakout couldn’t get any better, PocketWizard announced one lucky participant would win a set of PocketWizards. What?!? This was the marriage of two beautiful things and clearly a no-brainer.
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.