Thursday, May 14, 2009

A tip for all of you Pocket Wizard using photographers

I was assisting a photographer friend of mine the other day and we ran into a hiccup with our shot.
We were trying to shoot a building from pretty far away, and fire lights inside it. I think the range must have been just out of reach of the pocket wizards we were using as they were not firing with any kind of consistency.

My first thought was to use a relay, about half way between the photographer and the lights.
It had been some time since I had actually used the relay feature so I had to look up how to do it. After a few minutes on Google, I had my answer. The only problem was, in order to have relay mode work on your pocket wizard, the relaying unit has to be on the hotshoe of a camera. We didn't have another camera available to use for this, so I thought we were done for.

While digging through my gear bag, I came across a little piece of equipment that I almost never use anymore but that ended up making a huge difference. It is an $11 hotshoe adapter that I bought from

Photo by Mike McLean

What makes this hotshoe special is that it has a pc jack on the side, which sends a signal to the contact on the shoe of any flash and fires it. I originally picked it up because I had several flashes that did not come with pc connectors and this was the cheapest way to get them to work with pocket wizard triggers. However, you can use it to cheat a relay mode with pocket wizards.

To do relay mode, you need a minimum of 3 pocket wizards. The first is used as a remote to fire the shutter wirelessly. The 2nd normally is on the camera's hotshoe, plugged into the camera's wireless shutter release port. When pw #1 is fired, pw #2 gets the signal and sets off the shutter.
While this is happening, the camera senses something on the hotshoe and sends the signal to fire whatever is up there in sync with the shutter. Here is where relay mode kicks in. The Pocket Wizard automatically goes to the next channel down (in our case, channel 2) and transmits the signal to fire #3, which is already set to channel 2.

As I didn't have another camera to use, I thought of this hotshoe adapter. It has a "hot" shoe and a pc connection. I simply put the pocket wizard on the hotshoe adapter,

Photo by Mike McLean

and then added the cable to it.

Photo by Mike McLean

A quick push of the "test" button on pw #1, set to channel 1, fired the lights that were hooked up to pw #3, which were set to channel 2. By doing this, essentially you can take the range of your pocket wizards from 1600ft to 3200ft. All that for $11.

Pretty nice!

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some More Vehicle Photos to Drool over

Here are a few shots of an Alpha Romeo 8C. It is extremely rare, especially in the U.S.
It showed up at the Ferrari event I was at a few weeks ago, and I couldn't pass up a few minutes of alone time with it!

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