Tag Archives: Remote Flash

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).


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.

PocketWizard Plus IV

Why should you add a Plus IV to your photography kit?

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 reasons you need a PocketWizard Plus IV. The PocketWizard line of radios are well known for their quality construction and their reliability. We offer many choices of radios depending on your needs for a radio trigger. Whether you shoot portraits, weddings, sports, or just for fun, PocketWizard gives you a competitive edge and opens the door to many creative opportunities.

Top 10 Features and Benefits of the PocketWizard Plus IV

  1. Put your flashes wherever you want: Use a radio on your camera and one for each remote light to easily trigger off-camera flashes for the most pleasing light. Use speedlights or strobes – or both!
  2. Trigger a remote camera: Get creative using remote cameras for unique perspectives. You will need one radio to use as a transmitter (on your main camera or in your hand to manually trigger) and one radio with the correct remote camera cable for each remote camera. Add another PocketWizard and flash and you can trigger a remote camera in sync with that flash using relay mode.
  3. Reliability: By using our reliable 344 MHz frequency in the US (433 MHz in Europe), you can avoid the noisy and crowded 2.4 GHz spectrum.
  4. Top hot shoe with on-camera TTL: This makes it the ideal trigger for photographing events such as weddings because you can have a fill flash on your camera and still have the ability to trigger an off-camera flash. For your remote flashes, the built-in top shoe of the Plus IV makes a great stand for your speedlight – no sync cable required.
  5. Trigger multiple lights from many different brands: If you have a third-party TTL light that has its own trigger, you can mount the transmitter in the Plus IV hot shoe.
  6. Dual purpose: The low profile Plus IV radios are transceivers that be used either a transmitter or receiver.
  7. 32 Channels: 16 Standard plus 16 Quad-Zone Triggering Channels are available to ensure no overlap with other photographers. Learn more about channels here.
  8. Quad-Zone Triggering: activate or deactivate your lights in 4 separate Zones (A, B, C, or D) directly from your camera’s position.
  9. Simple user interface: All Channels, Zones, and Modes can be easily engaged via a keypad located just above your viewfinder of your camera.
  10. Use with any PocketWizard: all PocketWizard radios are cross-compatible so that you can use a Plus IV in conjunction with any other PocketWizard radio of the same frequency. (Learn more about our frequency here.)

PocketWizard Plus IV Video

Check out this video showcasing the features of the PocketWizard Plus IV.

#WhyPocketWizard

Share your reasons why you like the Plus IV and use the hashtag #WhyPocketWizard. We can’t wait to see your photos!

How to Elevate your Ski and Snowboard Photography

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!”

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“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

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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.

Riding at Night in the snow in British Columbia

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/

Inspired? Hit the slopes and tag us!

#PocketWizard     #MakeitPossible

 

 

 

PocketWizard Auto-Relay

Selfies Using Remote DSLR Camera and Remote Flash

Getting together with family and friends this holiday weekend?  Get yourself in the photo using PocketWizards set up for Auto-Relay.

At PhotoPlus Expo in NYC this past October, we hosted an informal photowalk where we showed participants how to set up a selfie using a remote DSLR camera and an off-camera flash using Auto-Relay. Our location was on the High Line, a former elevated train line that has been converted into an elevated walkway, green space and park.

Auto Relay Set Up – Three PocketWizard Radios

PocketWizard Sales and Support Team

In order to take this selfie, we held a PocketWizard Plus III in our hand and used it to trigger our camera in sync with an off-camera flash. This is called Auto-Relay and it requires three PocketWizard radios. Auto-Relay is the only situation where not all PocketWizard radios are set to the same Channel.

  1. We set the transmitting PocketWizard Plus III radio in our hand to Tx only and set it to a desired Channel and Zone.
  2. We set the relaying Plus III for our remote camera to the same Channel and Zone and set the triggering mode to TxRx. We put this radio on our camera’s hot shoe and connected it to the camera with the remote camera cable.
  3. We connected our remote flash with a sync cable to our third PocketWizard Plus III set to Rx Only. We set the Zone on this radio the same as the other radios, but we set the Channel one higher than the other PocketWizard radios. (If we had them all on the same Channel, the timing of the flash would fire before the camera and miss the shot.) We could have used multiple lights – they would all need their own PocketWizard all set up the same.
  4. Making sure all our radios were set to the same Zone, we took our places then pressed the TEST button on the PocketWizard in our hand to take the shot and the magic happened seamlessly.
  5. To capture the best city lights, we used a somewhat slower shutter speed to let in as much of the ambient light as possible.

Settings:
ISO 1250
Aperture: F4.0
Shutter Speed: ¼ sec

For more information, check our our Wiki. Note that Auto-Relay can be accomplished with our other PocketWizard radios in the same manner.

Try it and tag us with #pocketwizardselfie!

PocketWizard Top 10 List of PPE Experiences

We are back in our Vermont home office after four wonderful days in New York City at PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) and we thought we’d share our list of our top 10 PPE experiences.

  1. Our booth looked amazing! Our eagle hunter image taken by the amazing photographer Sasha Leahovcenco stopped people in their tracks. The beautiful image was of course made possible with PocketWizard! 
  2. Our president was also a show-stopper. Matthew channeled his inner steam punk alter ego and donned his top hat to walk the show floor. He won’t soon be forgotten.
  3. We loved hearing photographer Bob Carey reflect on his humorous and inspiring journey of art as a means of healing in his talk at the UniquePhoto booth. (Thank you Unique Photo!) We learned all about his project – The Tutu Project – a wonderful example of how laughter and art can help the healing process. The project helps to provide funds to The Tutu Projecthelp breast cancer patients cover expenses not covered by insurance. We plan to dedicate a blog directly to Bob’s talk shortly – watch for it!
  4. Seeing Bob in action taking one of his iconic tutu photos in the Javits Center was definitely one of our highlights! We love that special pink PocketWizard!
  5. PocketWizard employees are all photographers in our free time. Coming from rural Vermont, we were excited to hit the streets of New York and capture some urban images. Our most memorable adventure involved heading across the East River to capture the moonset over Manhattan. It was worth the early morning wake up!
  6. We hosted a very informal photowalk on the High Line where we practiced taking portraits using an off-camera flash with a city scape background. We all learned a lot and had fun in the process. Look for a blog devoted specifically to what we learned in the near future.
  7. Lenny from our service team conducted another photowalk with students from his alma mater Mohawk Valley Community College. They practiced doing off camera flash and hypersync. Now they are practicing what they learned – we can’t wait to see the results!
  8. With all our photowalks, we got lots of steps in. Our step counters hadn’t seen numbers that high in a while. That allowed us to indulge little…which leads us to our next top experience.
  9. New York food – the best! (Need we say more?)
  10. Finally, one of our top experiences was meeting our diverse group of customers. From seasoned pros to weekend shooters – we loved sharing what we know and learning from our customers. I think some of you know our products better than we do! One line we heard over and over “I’ve been using PocketWizards for years – and they still work!”

One Step to Improve your Photos

Why you need to take your flash off your camera.

So you’ve invested in a Speedlight, but you’re disappointed in your photos. Do they look something like this?

The child is adorable – but we hate that shadow. And his face is pretty flat and one dimensional.

Try taking the flash off your camera. In this next example, we used a single Speedlight and we set it to TTL. We used a MiniTT1 on our camera and a FlexTT5 on our Speedlight.  The flash was simply held to the right of our subject.  Our camera was at f3.2 and we used aperture priority.

This portrait definitely has more dimension! Half of his face is well lit and the other half has a few shadows. In addition to adding some dimension, it adds a little bit of drama which is perfect for this pose.

In this last example, we added another Speedlight to the left with another FlexTT5.

Dimensional lighting with no harsh shadows!

Which one is your favorite?

Remote Flash for Beginners – Rim Lighting

This technique to make a silhouette pop is easy with PocketWizard and your speedlight.

The best time to take a shot like this is either at dawn or dusk, when the light is low but you can still see some environmental details.

These shots were taken at the beautiful Shelburne Farms in Vermont, just a few miles down the road from the PocketWizard headquarters. The moon was nearly full and rising just after sundown so there was still a bit of ambient light.

I placed my light about 6 feet in front of my subjects. In this example, I used a speedlight mounted on a PocketWizard FlexTT5 which was then mounted on a light stand. There is screw mount built right into the PocketWizard radio to make that easy. If you don’t have a light stand, you could put it on the ground or even have your subject hold it. A second FlexTT5 was mounted on my camera’s hot shoe. We set the camera settings to perfectly expose the dark scene without over-exposing the full moon. After some tests, I decided on the following settings:

• ISO: 500
• Aperture: F4
• Exposure Time: 1/200

My advice – take lots of shots, experiment, and have fun! My subjects were thrilled with the results!!