Defining moments are part of life and they typically arrive with little if any warning, and at any time, day or night. Jaleel King’s life-defining moment came to him at the age of eight in the form of an errant shotgun blast that left him in a wheelchair.
Fast-forward about 30 years and Jaleel still faces obstacles, though these days his obstacles have to do with not having the right lens on his camera when he needs it, or not being able to get high or low enough to get the angle just right. In other words, many of the obstacles Jaleel deals with on a workday basis are the same obstacles other photographers regularly deal with… minus the wheelchair.
Jaleel King’s work is a mix of street journalism, weddings, and studio portraiture that are striking to say the least, especially considering his journey to this point in his life. Take a browse through his website or Facebook page and you’ll discover a person who is hasn’t allowed a life-altering incident stop him from pursuing his love of photography. In the studio or in the street, Jaleel King has taken life by the gonads and run with it.
The idea of wireless flash always appealed to Jaleel King because as he puts it “wheelchairs and cables are a bad mix”. Initially self-taught, for a long time King was unaware of the existence of wireless flash. It wasn’t until he had an opportunity to be on set at a ‘real’ photo shoot that it all came together. For the first time he was able to see how equipment and trained talent can work together to create truly professional photographs. And in his particular case, knowing he could do away with cables – one of the banes of his photographic existence, was all he needed to hear. From that moment on King knew this is what he wanted to do and nothing would stop him.
Jaleel’s lighting system is a mixed bag. Being a Canon man, his system includes Canon 580EX II & 600EX-RT Speedlites, AlienBees B800s, Einstein E60’s, and an assortment of beauty dishes, reflectors, and umbrellas. Depending on the circumstances, his PocketWizard arsenal includes MiniTT1 Transmitters, Flex TT5 Transceivers, PowerMC2 Receivers, and AC3 ZoneControllers.
PocketWizard radios were not Jaleel’s first choice of remote triggers, but it didn’t take long to figure out why the pros all seemed to be using PocketWizards, and these days PocketWizard radios are the only brand he takes on assignment.
‘The RIG’ as Jaleel calls it, is essentially a rolling studio with a compact wireless lighting system Jaleel is currently piecing together. The way Jaleel describes it ” I originally thought it would be uber sweet to have a rolling studio so I can do some unique and experimental street work on my own with a light setup ready to go.
“With help from local camera shops, we came up with this Frankenstein contraption that I could attach to my wheelchair. It’s a Manfrotto boom stand with the legs taken off that is attached to my wheelchair with about 4 super clamps and a magic arm. For lighting I was using an AlienBees B1600 with a FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter. I used an AC3 ZoneController to control the power output from my MiniTT1 Transmitter. I used a Vagabond Mini to power my strobe.”
The RIG is a work in progress and Jaleel is in the midst of tweaking details having to do with weight distribution and not having enough surface area on the wheelchair to keep it from shifting as he moves about. These are minor issues he hopes to iron out soon and there’s little doubt
he will. Now if only he could figure out how to avoid getting the boom arm stuck in low-hanging branches life would be sweet.
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