PocketWizard’s Moonshot

You never know when creative inspiration will strike. Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Sarah Lavoie, was inspired by Michael Heeney’s amazing photos from Lone Rock Point and had the creative idea for an epic family portrait at this beautiful location.

Inspired by the PocketWizard’s E Release Range

The new E Release firmware upgrade is a simple way to get incredible range for off-camera flash and remote cameras. The extended range in regular mode is up to 5 times further than our legacy firmware. Sarah wanted to put it to the test by taking an epic family photo in front of a rising full moon. In this case, she wanted to be far away so that she could use a long zoom and she needed a flash to light the family at twilight. A zoom gave her the compression she wanted for the full moon appear closer and larger. PocketWizard Plus IIIs upgraded with the E Release gave her the power to trigger two speedlights from a distance.

PocketWizard Made the Distant Triggering Possible

The speedlights were triggered from a distance of about 2300 feet (700 meters). It is also worth noting that the distance was spread over water and with an elevation rise – both of which are notoriously challenging for any radio triggers. That is, any radio trigger other than PocketWizard!

Behind the Scenes Video with the E Release

Tips for Long Distance Off-Camera Flash

  • Update your PocketWizard radios with the E Release. Learn more here.
  • Have a way to communicate with your subject(s). In this case, Sarah was so far away that the family could barely see her and they felt like they were posing for no one. They also could not see the moon and needed to know where to stand and when to smile.
  • Train your subject(s) on how to set up and test your flash and radios. Send them with spare batteries just in case.
  • Use technology to help you plan. Sarah used an app called PhotoPills to help her plan when and where the moon would rise.
  • These photos were taken in TxRx Mode – Sarah did not need to use Long Range Mode (LR) to get this distance. When using LR with a flash, you may lose a stop or two of sync speed. Sarah was using a 200-500mm lens on a canoe – she didn’t want to reduce her shutter speed any more than necessary – and she didn’t need to!
  • Be creative – the E Release opens a world of opportunity!
  • Tag us! #whypocketwizard

Explore the Possibilities!

With PocketWizard, we can help you Make it Possible!

Shoot this Look

3 PocketWizard Plus III Upgraded with the E Release:

  • Plus IIIe on the camera
  • 2 Plus IIIes attached to speedlights with a flash sync cord mounted on light stands

E Release Makes everything that PocketWizard does best even better

Introducing the E Release! The E Release is a firmware upgrade for select PocketWizard radios that improve their reliability, range, and performance. Basically, everything that PocketWizard does best, made even better.

When we needed someone to test our E Release firmware upgrade, we thought immediately of local photographer Michael Heeney. We love his outdoor adventure photography and we wanted to see what he could do to push the limits of our E Release in challenging environments. He did not disappoint.  

Challenging the PocketWizard E Release

by Michael Heeney

Michael Heeney
Michael Heeney

Vermont is my home and it suits my outdoor lifestyle. When I’m not working in my studio, I enjoy rock climbing, ice climbing, biking, canoeing, and basically any activity where I can be outside.

I’ve used PocketWizard radios for my whole career. They are always on my camera. I use them in my studio to trigger my lights and I also use them when I’m shooting outdoors to trigger remote cameras and remote flashes. They are very versatile and they are always in my bag.

When You Only Get One Chance, Use PocketWizard

When I’m shooting outdoor adventure photography, I usually only get one chance to capture the moment. That’s one reason I choose PocketWizard as my trigger. I know that once I set it, I can rely on it. When I’m using remote cameras to capture multiple angles, I need to trust that they will fire because I don’t have time to check on them.

When PocketWizard told me about the E Release, a firmware upgrade for my PocketWizard radios to allow them to trigger from even further distances, even in difficult environments, I told them about a project I wanted to do. We all agreed that it was a perfect opportunity to challenge the upgrade.

The Project

A new rock-climbing area called Lone Rock Point recently opened up here in Burlington and my friend Tim Heaghney was working on an unclimbed route there. Once I heard that, I knew I had to document it.

The spot is gorgeous and gets beautiful light around the golden hour. The golden hour is short, and I knew that the climb was tough so I couldn’t ask Tim to try it again and again. I needed to get it right the first time.

The Set Up – Multiple Cameras for Multiple Angles

  • Main camera with me above Tim showing him climb
  • Remote camera mounted on the rock wall showing the action at a tight angle
  • Remote camera at the base of the rock wall showing Tim from the bottom
  • Remote camera on an island which was at a distance to show a wide angle of the entire scene to really give a sense of place.
Setting up the remote camera on Lone Rock.

It was the camera on the island that I knew was going to be the most challenging. Not only did I have to swim to get it in place, but I had to set it up hours before Tim even showed up. And to top it all off, it was several hundred feet from where I was going to be with my main camera.

If you have ever worked with radio triggers, you probably know that getting them to fire over water or in environments like Lone Rock Point with rocks and other obstacles can be a challenge. (PocketWizard note: water usually dramatically limits radio transmission.) Using the PocketWizard E Release, I was able to capture four perspectives with one click of my shutter. I didn’t miss a shot. 

My Gear is my Lifeline


When I’m climbing, I rely on my equipment to do its job and keep me safe – it’s my lifeline. Same with my camera gear. During a shoot, I can’t be thinking about the gear, I need to be focused on my subject and getting the shot. That’s why I choose PocketWizard. It’s the most reliable trigger I have ever used and now with the E Release, it’s more reliable than ever.

Check out the Video of the Shoot!

About Michael Heeney

Michael earned his B.A. degree in 2002 from the University of Vermont where he studied Studio Art and Art History. From 2004-2005, he attended The New England School of Photography in Boston, where he graduated with honors in both Advertising and Fashion Photography. His client list includes Swarovski Lighting, Comcast, Burton Snowboards, New York Magazine, Gordini USA, United Way, GX Magazine, Anichini, Navali, Edible Green Mountains, Gardener’s Supply Co., and Scarpe di Bianco. When Michael is not working for a client, he enjoys travel, canoeing, rock climbing, archery, going to the fair, feeding stray cats, and adventures, big or small. You can check out his work on his website. https://michaelheeney.com/.

Learn more about the E Release

For more information about our new E Release, a firmware upgrade that delivers significant benefits for photographers including a tremendous triggering distance that is more than double our current range and more than double the number of available channels, check out the E Release Website. The E Release is available now for the PocketWizard Plus III and Plus IV (FCC units only In North and South America).


PocketWizard – What’s on the Horizon?

Stay Tuned for an Announcement from PocketWizard!

PocketWizard is 29!

In July, we celebrated our 29th anniversary! We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you to all our loyal customers and dealers for helping us to achieve this milestone. As we enter our 30th year of doing business, we are looking for ways to evolve as well as delight and inspire our customers. 

We don’t make Disposable Products

For the past 29 years, PocketWizard has used the same reliable radio technology and it has served us well. We have a reputation of making quality products that withstand the test of time and offer backwards compatibility. Our users know that if they buy a radio today, it will still work with the radios that they may have purchased 10 or even 15 years ago. Backwards compatibility is important to us because we care about our customers and we care about the environment. We feel good that our products are not ending up in the landfills due to obsolescence. Our radios are not designed to be disposable. 

But, We Want New Features AND We Want Backwards Compatibility

Our current technology has limited our ability to make enhancements. We want to add new features and allow photographers to do even more with our radio triggers. But we want to keep backwards compatibility. We want it all. 

Can We Have it All?

Stay Tuned for a Big Announcement Next Week! 

Subscribe to our E Newsletter

If you would like to be the first to know about product announcements, promotions, educational opportunities and more , subscribe to our E Newsletter! Click here to subscribe.

PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit

We’re so excited to introduce the PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit!  It’s a complete PocketWizard PlusX radio trigger kit that’s easy to set up and is a fun addition to any type of party of event. Whether you are a professional event photographer or a hobbyist who wants to bring a little fun to your next party, you are going to love it!

What’s in the PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit?

  • 3 PocketWizard PlusX Transceivers
  • 1 PocketWizard Pedal
  • Flash sync cable set
    • Locking PC sync cable
    • 3.5mm (1/8”) miniphone cable
    • 6.5mm (1/4”) phono adapter
  • 1 Remote Camera Cable 
    • You will need to select the appropriate cable when you order.  Check our Cable Finder to identify the one you will need.
  • PocketWizard G-Wiz Vault storage bag

Use this kit in conjunction with your own camera and flash.

How to Set Up your Photo Booth

Connect the pedal to one of the PlusX radios. Elevate the PlusX at least 6-12 inches off the ground. Use a tripod or light stand for best results. Set it to Channel 1.

Put a second PlusX in your camera’s hot shoe and also set it to Channel 1. Connect the PlusX to your camera with the included remote camera cable. Place the camera on a tripod or sturdy surface. For best results set the camera to manual focus and lock down the focus.

Connect the third PlusX to the flash via the appropriate flash sync cable. Set this PocketWizard to Channel 2. We used Channel 1 and Channel 2 in our example but you can use any Channel you like, just be sure to use the same Channel for the radios connected to the camera and foot pedal and use a Channel that is one higher on the PocketWizard connected to the flash. This is called Relay Mode.  



Use any type of photography light that you choose as long as it has a sync port for a flash sync cable.

The guests simply push the pedal with their foot to take their photo. Add a fun backdrop and props and you are good to go!

We set one up at our summer company picnic!  Good thing we’re not camera shy!

Click here to find the PocketWizard Photo Booth Kit on Amazon!

Hands free photography

Have you ever wished you could step away from behind the camera when taking a photo? Sometimes you need an extra hand or another body to hold a reflector, flip a bride’s veil into the air or distract the baby or pet of the family. With PocketWizard, taking a photograph “hands-free” is possible when using a remote camera triggered with a foot pedal.  

Putting the PocketWizard Pedal to the Test

Portrait of Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography
Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography

To test our new pedal, we reached out to a local Vermont animal portrait photographer, Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography. For the past 10 years, she has volunteered her time and talent to the local animal shelter, the Humane Society of Chittenden County (HSCC) in Burlington, VT. Her photos are used to promote animal adoptions by sharing them on the HSCC website and on social media. The photos are also displayed as art around the shelter and even inspire local artists to paint portraits of the animals.

Kelly goes to the shelter every Friday to take photos of the new animal arrivals. On the day we met with her, the shelter had gotten 40 new kittens – our work was cut out for us!

PocketWizard Pedal Set-Up

Kelly’s set up included a remote camera triggered with a foot pedal and two lights – one to light her subject and a second to light the backdrop with colored gels. For this, she needed 4 PocketWizard radios. Since we needed to fire the lights at the same time as the remote camera, Kelly needed to use PocketWizard’s unique relay functionality that is built into our radios. To do that, all Kelly had to do was set the Channel on her lights one Channel higher than the Channel used by her remote camera. This set up works with all PocketWizard transceiver radios.

  • Camera was set up on a tripod
  • One PocketWizard was set on her camera attached to the camera using a remote camera cable
    • Set on Channel 1
  • One PocketWizard was attached to the pedal via the miniphone port
    • Set on Channel 1
    • This PocketWizard was placed on a small tripod to keep it elevated off the floor for best radio transmission
  • One PocketWizard for each light
    • Each set on Channel 2 (one higher than the transmitting radios)

Taking Photos with the PocketWizard Pedal

Kelly put her camera on a tripod, set the focus and then got out from behind the camera. She moved the foot pedal so that she could get closer to the animals to engage them with toys and her hands. It was also great for her to be closer to the animals to keep them keep them from jumping off the table and hiding!  After taking some with her foot, she moved the pedal on top of the table to get the animals to take a selfie.

Cat taking a selfie using a PocketWizard Pedal and PocketWizard PlusX

The set-up was portable enough that we could move it to a smaller room where some kittens were housed. In this small space, Kelly appreciated not being stuck in a tight corner behind the camera.

“I love working with this pedal! I find that the minute I go behind the camera, the animal loses interest or will become alarmed by the scary looking lens which looks like a big eyeball. Working with the PocketWizard Pedal, I can stay closer to the animals to keep them relaxed and hold their attention. With only a few minutes to capture each animal, the pedal really helps me move quickly.”

~Kelly Schulze, Mountain Dog Photography



The PocketWizard Pedal is available on Amazon or at the PocketWizard Shop.

Flash Friday

When you say…

I’m a natural light photographer!

do you really mean…

I don’t know how to use my flash! 

If you are like many photographers, you’ve invested a lot of money in your equipment, including a speedlight. Have you become friends with it yet? If not, we challenge you to get to know your speedlight a little better this weekend.

Check out this great example of the same portrait taken outside without flash, and then with a flash by photographer Fred Pompermayer.  Without the pop of flash, he would have missed this beautiful shot.

Yes – natural light is wonderful! But it isn’t always where we want it and you can’t control its location or its strength. By using the controls on your flash, you can adjust the strength and by getting your flash off your camera, you can control its location.

To start using off-camera flash, get yourself 2 PocketWizards to radio control your flash wirelessly. One goes on your camera, and the second connected to your speedlight.

Set your exposure on your camera to get the background perfectly exposed – then add your flash and adjust as necessary. By getting the exposure just right in camera, you will save yourself tons of time in post. No more bumping up the shadows and living with grainy photos.

Try adding a pop of flash to your portraits and tag us – #pocketwizard – we’d love to feature your masterpiece on our Instagram feed. The more you use it, the more you will like it – it’s like having a little sunshine in your pocket.

Ultimate Bike Selfie

We recently saw an amazing picture of a rider on a mountain bike trail in the UK. The photo was a selfie taken by the rider, James Vincent. He used a remote camera set up that was enabled by PocketWizard. I reached out to James to see if he could share how he set it up. 

The Bike Selfie – Born of Necessity

As well as getting paid to take photos of other mountain bikers, I spend a lot of my time testing bikes and kits for Singletrack Magazine and it’s pretty unfair to ask your riding buddies with regular jobs to sacrifice their precious weekend rides to muck around taking photos of various test kits. My need to take bike selfies is born out of necessity rather than some vain egotistical desire, or at least that’s what I tell myself anyway.

Don’t Use Cheap Triggers (You Might Crash)

This is actually the second remote trigger setup I’ve developed. Initially, I tried using cheap triggers, but they weren’t latching, and when you’re dropping in to a steep chute or jump, the last thing you want to be thinking about is moving your thumb to an awkward position and pressing a button repeatedly to get the shot.

Use the Right PocketWizard Cable

PocketWizard BT1/BT3 Cable

Fortunately, the PocketWizard Plus III has an input for an external trigger cable and using a button trigger cable (BT1 or BT3) with a little bit of tape to lock it “on”, I could send a continuous signal to the receiver unit that’s hooked up to the camera so that I was free to focus on riding the section cleanly.

The Selfie Set-up

You will need 2 PocketWizard radios set to the same channel. Put one on your camera and mount the other on your bike. Pop your camera on your trusty tripod of choice and frame the shot, then set your focus on the feature before switching the camera to manual focus mode (the last thing you’ll want after all this is to miss focus). Get in place and when you are ready, press the remote trigger, lock it down with the tape, and get your hands back to a comfortable position just before you drop into the feature. Once you hit the jump and clear the section, remove the tape.  Simples.

Use Relay Mode to Pop a Flash in your Selfie

Want to pop a flash? You will need a third PocketWizard radio attached to your flash with a flash sync cable. This Channel needs to be set 1 Channel higher than the other 2 radios in order to work. This is called Relay Mode.

PocketWizard Cable Inspiration

Inspired?  Our Button Trigger cable is just one of the specialty cables we offer to help you pull off your own epic selfie.

Remote Photography for High School Sports

Our Sales Manager took a set of PocketWizard Plus IIIs to her son’s high school lacrosse game and ended up with a great example of using a remote camera to capture two very different perspectives at the same time. We asked her to write up a quick overview of her experience. This technique works with any two PocketWizard radios!

Find a Safe Location for a Unique Perspective

I enjoy taking pictures of my son’s lacrosse games and sharing them with the team. This particular game was taking place on a field we had never played on. It was unusual because it was on a bit of a plateau and as I was walking up to the observation area, I noticed that if I set up a low camera in one section, I could capture some photos as they ran past me with nothing but the sky in the background.

Remote Camera Set-Up

I set up my remote camera on a mini-tripod low to the ground with a wide angle lens. I set the remote camera to manual focus and guessed the focus point. For settings, I set the camera to f16 and aperture priority and my ISO was set at 800 which enabled the shutter to be fairly fast at 1/500th. I also set exposure compensation to +0.7 so that I wouldn’t end up with complete silhouettes against a bright sky.  I placed a PocketWizard Plus III on the remote camera and connected it to my camera with a PocketWizard remote camera cable. (Check out our Cable Finder to find the cable that works for you.)

I set the other PocketWizard Plus III on my main body which was using a 200-500mm zoom and shot away! I was able to roam a little and still have my remote capture the wide-angle shots.

The two shots displayed may not have been taken at the same instant but they are close, as I shot about 10 frames to capture the action and then chose the best ones from each camera’s series.

Share your favorite remote shots and tag us! #whypocketwizard

Remote Camera Wide Angle Perspective

Remote Camera Capture

Zoomed in Perspective

Up close Lacrosse Photo

ControlTL Overview

Easy to use and packed with features, our ControlTL line of radios is our most popular line of radios for wedding photographers and others who need the ability to set up quickly and start capturing the moment fast. Despite the different names, the FlexTT6 for Canon and the FlexTT5 for Nikon offer the same great features – here’s an overview of the top 12.

ControlTL

ControlTL (Control the Light) taps into the camera’s digital communications to enable remote TTL communications: changes in ISO, aperture and shutter speed are seamlessly passed along for reliable and flawless flash output.

Basic Trigger Mode

Use basic trigger mode and the radio can be used on virtually any camera that has a hot shoe.

Manual Power Control

Use the camera’s exposure compensation controls for basic manual control of remote flashes or add an AC3 ZoneController for even more control and flexibility.

TTL with AC3

Zone Control

Add an AC3 ZoneController to adjust power to 3 different Zones of light independently, in manual or TTL, from your camera’s position.

Radios can act as either a transmitter or a receiver

PocketWizard ControlTL radios are auto-sensing transceivers meaning they can act as either a transmitter or a receiver. They intelligently know when to transmit and when to receive.

Long Range Performance

Our legendary range is up to 800 feet (240 meters) for TTL triggering, and up to 1200 feet (365 meters) for basic triggering. Unlike our competition that relies on the crowded 2.4GHz frequency, our radios use 344 MHz in the US and 433 MHz in Europe giving range and reliability that is the favorite of the most demanding photographers. Link here for tips on how to extend your range.

Automated HyperSync

Our patented HyperSync technology allows photographers to achieve faster X-sync speeds (sometimes up to 1/8000 of a second) with full power flash on any type of flash, including speedlights, mono-lights and power-pack systems. With HyperSync, you can cut the ambient light and use wide-open apertures, even in bright sunlight. 

Optimized High Speed Sync (HSS)

With Optimized High Speed Sync, you can trigger a Speedlight flash all the way up to 1/8000. ControlTL optimizes this amazing feature and provides more light (which equals greater working distance), faster recycling times and more flashes per battery set. Use this feature to shoot wide open in bright sun for amazing results.

Compatible with all PocketWizards

The ControlTL radios are compatible with any PocketWizard radio for triggering manual flash or remote cameras. Even with your 20 year old radios.

20 ControlTL Channels

With 20 different channels available, you can program the two different configuration settings to custom settings for more flexibility on the fly.

32 Standard Channels

The 32 Standard Channels integrate with our Standard Channel radios and make it easy to find an open channel for manual triggering.

Remote Camera Trigger

Get creative using remote cameras for unique perspectives. Use multiple remote cameras to capture all the angles at your next event. (You will need one radio to use as a transmitter – attached to your main camera or to hold in your hand to manually trigger – and one radio with the correct remote camera cable for each remote camera.)

To find the right cable for your particular camera, you can use the Cable Finder

Check out the FlexTT6 and Flex TT5 Video Overview

3 Tips to Improve your Sports Photography

Spring sports are in full swing!  We asked our friend and sports photographer Robert Hanashiro to share some of his tips for capturing that epic shot – you know the kind…not just capturing peak action, but the spirit of the game. We hope you enjoy this guest blog by Robert, and if these three tips get you hungry for more, check out the Sports Shooter Academy that is happening next week in California.  

Sports Photography by Guest Blogger: Robert Hanashiro 

I admit it. I am a big fan of NCIS. The long-running series about a Naval criminal investigation team revolves around former Marine “gunny” Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a steely-eyed no-nonsense team leader played by Mark Harmon.

As any fan of the show knows, Gibbs has a list of 36 rules that not only influence the lives of him and his team but are also life lessons unto themselves.

I hold a sports photography workshop in Southern California where we take students, working photographers and aspiring sports shooters to cover various events. Sports like college baseball, football, track & field, water polo, soccer and basketball, mixed in with horse racing, surfing, boxing and beach volleyball make up the Sports Shooter Academy schedule.

So in the spirit of “Gibb’s List” here are Bert Hanashiro’s Top Three Sports Shooting Tips:

1) Shoot Through The Play (and Don’t Chimp)

Just because the base runner has been tagged out at home plate or a receiver has made an acrobatic catch doesn’t mean the action is over or a cool moment won’t happen. One of the most aggravating things I see when I am out covering a sports assignment is seeing photographers habitually looking at the screen on the back of their camera an instant after a play. “Chimping” — looking at the LCD screen — is a disease that needs a cure. Maybe a slap on the back of the head like Gibbs does when one of his team screws up?

We all want that instant gratification of seeing a remarkable play we captured— or what we think is a remarkable play. Digital cameras are remarkable tools. But constantly looking at the LCD screen serves no real purpose other than take your eye and concentration away from the game. That remarkable image you captured ain’t going anywhere. So, stay focused on covering that game, you can look at it when there is a break in the action, during a timeout or when the game is over.

2) Clean Up Those Crappy Backgrounds

Camera auto-focus is so good these days that anyone that can afford to buy the latest, greatest camera and telephoto lens can make claim to be a “sports shooter.” But just because that running back or point guard is tack sharp does not make you a real Sports Shooter. One of the telltale signs of someone who is, what I call a “camera pointer” rather than a photographer, is cluttered, distracting, messy backgrounds.

Using telephoto lenses with a wide-open aperture to limit the depth of field is one way to clean up those crappy backgrounds. Another is to look for an elevated spot to shoot from. This serves three purposes. First, it moves the distracting background out of your angle of view, so the field essentially becomes your background. The second cool thing about shooting from a high vantage point is that it gives you a different and often unique look at the game. The third thing is the light is different from above and you can use shadows creatively.

3) Use A Remote Camera to Give the Viewer a Different Perspective

Rigging a remote camera can accomplish a couple of things, the most important is giving your viewer a unique, different look at the sports you’re covering. You can place a remote camera in places that you cannot stand while covering a game, or place it in a spot that gives you an unique angle. The other purpose a remote camera gives a Sports Shooter is providing an alternative angle. For instance, if you’re covering a basketball game, you can use a remote camera on the opposite side of the court so you can literally be in two places at one time.

There are several caveats using remote cameras and the foremost is safety. With all aspects of sports photography, “safety first” is always #1. Be very careful where you rig your camera, make sure your camera is away from players, referees, fans, popcorn vendors, and others that potentially could bumping into it. If you are rigging a camera high, use safety cables for both the lens and camera body. If you’re in an unfamiliar venue, check with the management about any rules they have concerning remote cameras.

After you’ve rigged your remote, ask for help to pre-focus your lens by getting a stand-in. I cannot tell you how many remote photos I’ve lost because I wasn’t as careful to pre-focus as I should have been. And always, always, always, get to the game early, even more so if you are planning on rigging a remote. Of course the best method to trigger your remote camera is a radio transceiver made by PocketWizard. (Note: I am not being paid by PocketWizard to mention their products or to write this post!) I have been using PocketWizard radios with great success for about 30 years at some of the biggest events (Olympic Games, NBA Finals, NCAA Tournament, World Series, NHL Stanley Cup) to the smallest (youth league sports).

Thanks Robert for the great tips! If you’re inspired to learn more, it’s not too late to register for next week’s event, but hurry, there are only a couple of slots open. If next week is not in the cards for you, look for their future academies and start planning now!