Saturday, August 29, 2015

How to add HSS Sync to the latest cameras using PocketWizard Flex system

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000
Getting this type of photo of the hummingbird I used the PocketWizard Flex system to help trigger my Nikon SB-900 and SB-800 flashes using TTL HSS.

I started to shoot this with my Nikon D750, but it wasn't working. I quickly realized the PocketWizard system wasn't working with the Nikon D750. That was easy to fix.


I fired up the Macbook Pro and plugged my PocketWizard TT5 and later the mini TT1 and updated the firmware to the latest version.


In case you wonder what is up with the green tape, I use it to help me know which channel is assigned to that PocketWizard.


I have the small Mini TT1 on the camera with the AC-3 on top. I have A Channel marked Orange and C Channel marked Green.


First thing I had to do was update the PocketWizard Utility to the latest 1.58 version.


While on the website to update the Utility I noticed the list of all the hardware and the latest firmware. You can click on the release notes to see what they improved.


Once I downloaded the software I then had to install it.


Then the PocketWizard Utility alerted me to download the latest firmware. I had the PocketWizard TT5 plugged in so it knew which firmware I needed.


After the update the Utility shows you a picture of the device you have plugged in with serial number and gives you all the specs including which firmware version is installed.

Now I can easily use the system with my Nikon D750 which was newer than the PocketWizards, thus the reason for the need for a firmware upgrade.

PocketWizard’s newest firmware platform taps into the camera’s digital communications to enable an entirely new level of remote flash capability through our proven radio system. ControlTL allows remote i-TTL for Nikon CLS / i-TTL systems as well as Manual Power Control.  ControlTL firmware is configurable and upgradeable for “future-proof” continuous improvement.

TIP


Go to all the websites of your camera gear and be sure all your gear has the latest firmware. If you are not sure on how to do this just use Google and search for your camera gear and also add the word firmware.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Photographing Hummingbirds with Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S & High Speed Sync Flash

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000
The hummingbird bird feeder we have is close to the house. I have a door with a lot of window panes that I put the two hot shoe flashes using TTL to control their output.


I kept the camera on a tripod so when the hummingbirds came I had very little to do except shoot.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000

The color is so much better than with just available light.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000

For comparison this is the photo I posted yesterday shot with the Fuji X-E2 and the 55-200mm.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/2000
You just can't shoot high speed sync flash with the Fuji system that I know how to do. Maybe later.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Capturing Hummingbirds with Fuji X-E2 with 55-200mm

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/2000
In the past I may have accidentally gotten a photo of a hummingbird, but now with a feeder on our back porch I think I will make a better attempt for the first time.

I am realizing the placement of the feeder may need to change and I may need strobes to really make these fast birds pop.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.4, 1/2500
So to take these photos I had my Fujifilm X-E2 camera on a tripod and to fire the camera I used the Android Fuji app.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.4, 1/2500
The reason I did this is as I stood their with the camera the birds would come flying in and quickly see me behind the glass and take off. Either I build a blind, which I just might do to hide me from the birds or I can just use the remote and go and sit down and wait till I see the pop into view on the screen of my phone.


The only thing is there is a delay with the shutter.


Here the screen grabs from the app:


REVIEW OF APP

The APP will disconnect you from your present Wi-Fi connection and look for the Fuji X-E2.

Once connected you can touch the screen for where you want the camera to focus as long as you are in AF mode.  You can control all the functions of the camera that I could test.

Now that I have capture a few photos of the hummingbird I will now try to get a better photo going forward and hopefully a few different breeds.

Are you stuck in Ground Hog Day like Bill Murray's character Phil was in the 1993 movie?



Back in 1993 Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell starred in Groundhog Day. It was a story where a weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

He is learning from his mistakes and even intentionally makes bad choices due to his bad attitude.


While I would love to wake up each day looking like I did in college that just isn't happening.

Here I am with my Nikon FM2 and the Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/4. The ƒ/2.8 hadn't been made at this time.

The lesson of Groundhog Day was really simple, you don't get 2nd chances so do your best to make your actions positive. You reap what you sow as the saying goes.
"Moore's law" is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. The observation is named after Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit,[note 1] and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975, looking forward to the next decade, he revised the forecast to doubling every two years. – Wikipedia
Since 1975 until a couple of years this was still holding pretty true. The impact this had on the rest of society and particular photography was incredible.

Just in the last 14 months Sony has introduced 11+ top end mirrorless cameras. A few years ago we were talking about short duration flash to stop objects and now we are talking about High Speed Sync as a way to stop action using strobes.

photo by Robin Rayne Nelson

Education


How much have you spent on gear the last few years and then how much have you spent on education? Most of us would benefit by spending more on education than on gear.

Here are some great educational opportunities I recommend for example:

photo by Robin Rayne Nelson
I believe the best way to learn is by doing and having someone with you teaching you as you are doing. The workshops I lead are more about hands on experience and the instructors speaking into your project as you work on it. 

Bill Murray's character Phil in the movie Groundhog Day used the repeat of a day as a workshop where he learned from his mistakes. Since Groundhog Day movie is fictional we have to look for other ways to learn how to make the best choices so we can stop the insanity of not growing but just feeling miserable. 

I would love to work with you and help you develop some new skills to help you be better prepared and able to anticipate what clients need. Give me a call or write to me so I can save a spot for you this January in Chiapas, Mexico.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

President Jimmy Carter and my fellow Photojournalists have something in common

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500
I was blessed today to see in person former President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School at his hometown church Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/3.5, 1/15
To get this opportunity I realized last week when he announced his diagnosis with cancer that I had put off hearing him teach for too long. I immediately went to the church's website to see when he was teaching. Here is where you go to see when he is teaching http://www.mbcplains.org/.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/250
I was there when every network was there covering the lesson. You can here some of the sound bites from today's lesson here.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/8, 1/250
 After the service my wife and I had our photo taken with the Carters.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 10000, ƒ/8, 1/500
The Atlanta Journal & Constitution sent Ben Gray to cover the event. I was enjoying watching my colleagues work while I was just taking it easy being a spectator.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/500
Here is the Associated Press photographer David Goldman acknowledging he is on the other side of the lens for once.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1100, ƒ/8, 1/500
Here Ben Gray is taking a photo of the caption information and being sure it is with the photo for later when he is sending this back to the office for publication. In the background is David Goldman talking to a subject he just finished interviewing.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 200, ƒ/3.5, 1/500
I ran into Ben Gray later downtown where he was filing photos from outside the store while his family is inside shopping. He brought his family to enjoy the historical moment with him.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/500
You could see the media taking places where they could find them. Here another photographer is editing and filing under tree in front of Maranatha Baptist Church.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/160
Just the day before I hosted the Christians in Photojournalism group at my church in Roswell. Here is Patrick Murphy-Racey, a Sony Artisan, giving us the inside scoop on Sony's latest cameras.

In the past Ben Gray has been the keynote speaker. Other times we have had other journalists speak. It is important for photojournalists to know their colleagues. We try to help each other when and where we can, but we still must also work hard to get the angle others are missing.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/140
Here David Stembridge is sharing some of his work to the group during our 5-minute shows. This is where anyone can show their work to the group in just 5-minutes.

You see photojournalists care deeply. They care for their subjects and they care for the public. We care that we are informed about our fellow man.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/160
Just like President Jimmy Carter was a statesman he was also a Sunday School Teacher. Today was lesson 698 in Plains, GA. Here is photojournalist Patrick Murphy-Racey who is also a Catholic Deacon blending the technical aspects of photography with his faith.

Patrick said "They say you can never step into the same stream of water, because the water is constantly moving. This is why I must stay abreast of technology, because when I step on the floor each morning from my bed just like the stream I cannot expect it to be the same as yesterday."

Today President Carter boiled down the responsibilities of the Christian as simply as "loving the Lord your God with all your heart and to also love the person in front of you, not matter friend or enemy."

He talked today about dealing with conflict. He said "in real estate it is all about location, location, location. In conflict resolution it is all about communication, communication, communication."

While President Jimmy Carter saw his calling as through public service by holding public office photojournalists see our calling as the role of the communicator. We are helping make our world a better place to live through helping us see our conflicts and helping us see the solutions as well.

President Jimmy Carter and photojournalists believe in serving and the key for our effectiveness is in our ability to communicate.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Shooting HS Football Look for Competition

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Here are four photos from the same play. Which one would you choose to use if you were the editor for a publication?

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
The runner is now further down the field.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
I think the first two are better than the last one because you can see the other team just missing tackles. This gives you a sense of competition.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Now this last photo is the runner actually scoring. Is this as important as creating the tension of the actual play? You can say in the caption he scored.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Here the defensive player is reaching for the ball and it makes you wonder will he go down?

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250
Now this photo you pretty much know the guy is going down. So not as much tension.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/800
Here this runner is going out of bounds. Not even the team is all that concerned in this photo. Not that much tension.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Notice the difference here where the offensive player may get by and the defensive team on the sidelines is wondering as well with all those expressions.

Now you can't make this happen, but you can position yourself to get more possibilities when it happens. I like to shoot from the endzone to capture more expressions and people running towards the goal which is where I am. The players look like they are running in the direction of the audience.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Throw Back Thursday tips for copying old photographs


Throw back Thursday

If you are on social media you know that today people post old photos and remember loved ones. This is a photo of me and my little sister with our great grandmother "Mama Benfield".

Our family had a print of this and this is how I made a copy of the photo.


I put the photo on a table and using a tripod put the camera parallel to the table. I put two hot shoe flashes off to the sides at 45º to the table. Got a good exposure and custom white balance.

The reason for the custom white balance is to counter act any color bounce from the room.

Then I just took a stack of photos and copied away shooting in RAW.

My grandfather R. Knolan Benfield

My grandmother Emma Hartsell Benfield

My mother Bonita Benfield Leary

My sister Emma and my Dad David Leary with me

My sister Emma, my grandfather "Daddy B" and grandmother "Nana B"
I brought all the photos into Lightroom. Kept them in color and made adjustments using the sliders. Here is the first photo.


After I made all the adjustments using Temp and Tint even for contrast control then I switched the photo to Black and White before exporting.


The good news with all this copy work is now they are digitized and searchable.


After I exported the images as JPEGs I opened them with PhotoMechanic, which I prefer over Lightroom when working in metadata and identified each photo in the caption. Now for the first time we know when for example my mother had this photo taken of her.

Now on PC or Mac when you search for "Bonita Leary 3rd Grade" this photo will pop up in the search even if you don't have the software to see the embedded text.

As you scan old slides, negatives and then make copies of your prints be sure to add the text so they are searchable and in the future your family will know the who, what, where, why and when for the photos. This will make them even more valuable to the generations that come after us.