This blog post was originally shared
over 5 years ago and yet the story is timeless: Photographer fulfills his artistic
vision while meeting the needs of his client by leveraging the power of
The Big Opportunity!
Alexis Cuarezma is a portrait photographer with a specialty in photographing sports figures. One of his big breaks was when he was asked to photograph an athlete, Shayne Skov, for Sports Illustrated. His assignment: keep it simple on a plain gray background. However, simple is not Cuarezma’s style and who knew when he’d have the opportunity to shoot for SI again? He knew he needed to fulfill the simple assignment, but it was also a great opportunity to showcase his artistry.
PocketWizard to the Rescue
A feature of the MultiMAX II is SpeedCycler which makes it possible to set up multiple lighting scenarios and cycle through them with each click of the shutter. Although SpeedCycler was originally designed for sports photographers and others who needed continuous drive but whose lights couldn’t recycle fast enough, Cuarezma tasked SpeedCycler for something a little more creative.
One Pose, Two Shots, Two Dramatically Different Looks
Using PocketWizard’s unique SpeedCycler functionality, Cuarezma captured two separate exposures in milliseconds – one exposure lit using his dramatic style with colored gels immediately followed by a second exposure per his instructions – simple on a gray background.
The Dream Come True
Cuarezma’s style was well received. He took a chance and turned a simple portrait assignment into a creative, dramatic, and dynamic photo shoot. His “outside the box” thinking ended up with a double-page spread in Sports Illustrated – a dream come true.
Check out Behind the Scenes
Alexis created the behind the scenes video of the shoot – check it out!
To see more of Alexis Cuarezma’s work, check out his website.
The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world and runs through all 5 boroughs of the City. In 2019, there were over 53,000 runners and it was the goal of event organizers to capture 1.8 million images, hopefully capturing every single runner – at least once! To meet that goal, they hired over 70 photographers and placed them in 22 locations.
One of those photographers was PocketWizard’s own Lenny Christopher. Lenny is a professional photographer and videographer and brings that experience to both our support and marketing teams.
Take Care of Your Hands
Lenny has shot many races before, and he said, “Taking 20,000+ images is hard on your hands!” We agree – can you relate? That fine muscle control of half press followed by a full press while holding the camera gets tiring. Now imagine that you are going through that same motion for over 7 hours.
Using the PocketWizard Pedal to Activate the Shutter
Using the Pedal alone wasn’t quite enough for this unique situation. Lenny needed the ability for fine control of focus since he wanted a shallow depth of field and his subjects were on the move. That’s where the PTMM Pre-Trigger Switch came in. This cable is a pre-trigger adapter and offers a switch to turn pre-triggering on or off. When turned on, the camera wakes up and behaves as if you were half pressing the shutter and the camera (set to continuous focus mode) will constantly refocus. With the PTMM Adapter and the PocketWizard Pedal, Lenny could control the shutter and focus simply and easily without tiring his hand.
Benefits using the PocketWizard Pedal and PTMM Adapter
Lenny took over 27,000 photos over a period of 7.5 hours. Using the Pedal helped to relieve the strain he would normally feel in his hands.
It was a cold morning and Lenny was happy to be able to wear gloves since he didn’t need the fine motor control of his fingers.
The PTMM Adapter kept the camera awake and constantly focusing so Lenny could keep one hand on his monopod for stabilization and one to zoom for quick composing and framing of an image, while using the foot pedal to actuate the shutter. The end result was increased speed and stabilization.
Pro Tip: Reviewing Images
When the PTMM cable is on, the camera behaves as if the shutter were being half pressed. As a result, you are not able to review images. You can use the on/off switch to disable Pre-Trigger for quick image review. When you are ready to continue shooting, flip the switch to turn Pre-Triggering back on.
Two Items to Add to Your Kit
The PocketWizard Pedal is a great way to free your hands when capturing an image. And, in a situation where your focus point is changing, the PTMM Adapter is an indispensable tool to keep the focus activated. How will you use yours?
Daniel Schenkelberg is a professional photographer based in California who has a passion for motorsports. His experience and dedication to the motorsports community is unmatched and gives him great insight for how to set up an epic shot for eye-popping shots whether it’s captured with a handheld or remote camera. Daniel likes to use remote cameras triggered by PocketWizard in order to get an unusual perspective close to the action while staying safe.
The Super Bowl of Off-Road Racing
In September, Daniel made a trip to capture the Crandon World Cup in Wisconsin – often called the “Super Bowl of short course off-road racing”. We gave him an early version of the E Release to see how it would perform.
Typical RF Challenges
Something that Daniel knows is that setting up remote cameras isn’t always foolproof – especially in a crowded and RF noisy environment like a racetrack. The radios communicate with radio waves and radio signal interference can impact the success of a remote camera set-up causing missed shots. A set up done early in the day, might not work later in the day once the environment fills with cars, people, and more electronic equipment. Some things that can interfere with signal transmission include:
Concrete or rock objects
High water-content objects (People and trees are mostly water!)
Electronic “noise” (In a racing scenario, there might be high voltage ignition systems that create electronic noise not to mention a sound system or television crew.)
The E Release is more Resilient to RF Interference
Because of the track set up, Daniel had to set up his remote camera a little further than he usually does – about 250 feet away – almost the length of a football field. The non-ideal conditions and the distance might trip up another radio trigger – but not PocketWizard. The truth is that the E Release upgrade has new technology that makes our PocketWizard radios particularly resilient to RF interference and noise.
More Shots than Ever
Using the E Release, Daniel came out of the event with some epic shots. His feedback was short and sweet.
“The radios were incredibly reliable. I came home with more shots than I have ever captured before.”
~ Daniel Schenkelberg
Thanks for taking it on a test drive Daniel! We don’t want you to miss a single shot! You can check out more of Daniel’s work on his website and get your daily dose, be sure to follow him on Instagram @danielschenkelberg!
If you would like to learn more about how to set up your own remote camera, check out this quick video.
E Release now Available Worldwide!
Users of the PocketWizard Plus III and Plus IV can now benefit from the E Release! Check out our E Release landing page for more information.
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
PocketWizard G-Wiz Vault storage bag
You will need to purchase a remote camera cable separately which is specific to your camera. Check our Cable Finder to identify the one you will need. 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 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!
Click here to buy the Photo Book Kit in the PocketWizard Shop!
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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!
The photographers that work for PocketWizard can’t wait to photograph the upcoming lunar eclipse called the Super Wolf Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. Depending on where you live, it will start on the evening of Sunday, January 20, 2019 and for others, in the early morning of January 21. To check when the eclipse will be happening for you, check out the Time and Date site here.
In preparation, we wanted to share with you our tips and equipment along with some of our favorite links to help you successfully capture this celestial event.
Make sure to choose your location wisely. We like to use the scouting app Photopills when looking for the best locations to shoot. They even wrote a guide for the lunar eclipse that you can read here.
Once you know where you will shoot, check the weather to make sure you’re prepared. You don’t want to be out in the cold without a hat or in the rain with no chance of seeing the moon.
An iPhone isn’t going to cut it when trying to shoot the moon. For this shoot you’re going to need a DLSR or mirrorless camera. A tripod will also be necessary to make sure your camera is stable as possible.
To further reduce camera shake you will want to use a trigger release. Our favorite is using two PocketWizard Plus III radios. One radio goes on your camera’s hot shoe and connected to the camera with a remote camera cable. The camera is triggered by pressing the “Test” button on the 2nd radio you hold in your hand. This setup will allow you to trigger several cameras at once or even from your warm living room or car while your camera braves the cold.
Try a Time-Lapse
You can also consider a time-lapse. Check out this tutorial on PhotographyLife.com which as some amazing examples.
For this you will need to use a MultiMAX II with intervalometer with a remote camera cable. This will allow you to shoot the whole event in a sequence and then stitch it together in photoshop later. This is a great option if you are trying to highlight the landscape as well as the moon. For information on how to set up the MultiMAX II, check out the user guide, page 35.
We suggest you shoot in Manual mode and keep your aperture around F/8 and your shutter speed at 1/250 to freeze the movement of the full moon. You might be surprised as how fast it is moving. Try and keep your ISO as low as it can go and increase as needed. Check your images and adjust your settings accordingly. Visit our friends at B&H for a great tutorial on photographing a lunar eclipse with an in-depth discussion on settings.
Get creative! The eclipse will last a relatively long time. Using a PocketWizard and off camera flash, try a pop of light in the foreground to capture some foreground elements or to capture a rim lit silhouette. Follow this link to earlier blog for inspiration.
Get some good shots? Share them on Instagram and tag us! @PocketWizard. We can’t wait to see your creative approach!
PocketWizard radios have a well earned-reputation for being the most reliable, feature-packed and easy-to-use solution for remote flash and camera triggering. And, our triggering distance is legendary. In ideal conditions, our Plus III can work up to a distance of 1600 feet (500m) – that’s a distance of over 4 football fields!
While they are incredibly reliable, we know that sometimes things don’t go as planned. Here’s a video that will help you with some basic troubleshooting techniques.
If you need a little more help than this video can provide, our support team is available to help from 9AM – 4PM EST, Monday – Friday. You can reach our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This video covers basic troubleshooting for PocketWizard Plus II, Plus III, Plus IV, PlusX, and MultiMAX radios.
Some helpful timestamps and links:
The photo above, orginally posted on Instagram by Andrew Jay (@andrewjaybw), caught our attention: Those colors! That snow! That lighting!! We reached out to him to see if he would share some of his secrets.
“For this photo I used 2 PocketWizard FlexTT5s on 2 Nikon SB-900 Speedlights and a PocketWizard MiniTT1 on a Nikon D5. I used a 70-200mm VRII at 200mm and my settings were: 1/1250, f2.8 and ISO 400. Using the PocketWizards, I was able to use a fast shutter speed with HyperSync to capture the powder spray. To generate the best light for this shot, the subject in this photo wore a small hiking backpack with the speed lights and PocketWizards attached!”
“I love using remote/off-camera flash – it’s a great way to create dynamic and unique lighting. Photography is basically painting with light and PocketWizards make it possible.” ~Andrew Jay
For the sweet shot below, Andrew gave us the following information:
Nikon D3s, 70-200mm at 116mm: 1/250, f4, ISO200
Made possible with 2 PocketWizard FlexTT5s and a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and 2 Nikon SB-900 Speedlights.
Andrew’s secret for the best powder days? Ski and ride British Columbia! One of his favorite mountains is Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, BC. Check out more of Andrew’s amazing work on his website: www.andrew-jay.com/