Use PocketWizard SpeedCycler to get 2 Dramatically Different Looks in an Instant

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 PocketWizard!

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.


Cuarezma set up two groups of light – A and B as shown highlighted blue and red.

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.

Two dramatically different looks, all captured in camera.

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.

The image as it appeared in Sports Illustrated. We’re so happy to be part of this success story!

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.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission images ©Alexis Cuarezma all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without permission.

3 Tips to make your Photos Stand Out

Let’s face it – in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket, it isn’t easy to get your photos to stand out. Especially when you are photographing a popular landmark! 

We Took the Creative Challenge

Two of us from the PocketWizard team wanted to take a photo of the Vessel, a popular new structure in the Hudson Yards area of New York City. We really wanted to make it pop and do something that no one else had done. Here are some results and our 3 tips that might help you make a photo that truly stands out.

Tip #1: Take Advantage of Available Light and Adapt When Light Changes

We worked all day at Photo Plus Expo and managed to make our way to the Vessel around sunset. This was great timing – it isn’t called the “Golden Hour” for nothing! We were hoping to arrive in time to take advantage of that great natural light, however, as luck would have it, we couldn’t get on the structure until after sunset. We had to be flexible and turn our attention to the available light coming from the cityscape.

Tip #2: Augment Natural Light with Flash to Call Attention to Your Subject

Sometimes it helps to visualize your image before you take it. Knowing that the eye will normally gravitate to the brightest spot of your photo can help you compose the best image. We wanted to highlight the geometric angles of the Vessel, but the available light wasn’t enough. One of us hand-held a flash near the top floor of the Vessel and the other triggered that flash remotely from the ground -using PocketWizards of course! We were able to highlight a specific area of the Vessel and bathe it in bright light.

Set the exposure in your camera for the ambient light and then try adding a pop of flash. Adjust your settings as necessary.

See the two pictures below, the first uses just available light and the second adds a pop of flash to the upper left corner. Your eye is naturally drawn to that area, and the light adds dimension and interest.

Tip #3: Change Your Perspective

Walk around your subject and explore different angles and distances. Try a shot at ground level, vertical versus horizontal, wide versus cropped – be creative! The more you can move around, the more interesting perspectives you will find.

We love the look you can get when you get far from your subject and then use a telephoto lens. It compresses the image making the background appear much closer than it really is. 

The E Release Can Help Your Images Stand Out

We created these images using PocketWizard Plus III radios that were upgraded with the E Release, our new firmware that dramatically improves the triggering distance of your PocketWizard radios. This enabled us to try many different perspectives and ultimately get the look we were going for by allowing us to create a lot of distance between the camera and our flash – almost a quarter of a mile! We think the end result is an image that really pops and stands out from the rest.

 

Try the E Release Today and Expand the Possibilities of Your Creativity

Learn more here!

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

Press play to watch this video to see how this photo was taken.

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

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