Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More testing!

shutter speed 1/640 aperture f 4.0

shutter speed 1/1250 aperture f 2.8

shutter speed 1/640 aperture f-4

shutter speed 1/8000 aperture f 2.0

shutter speed 1/5000 aperture f 2.0

shutter speed 1/2500 aperture f 5.6

shutter speed 1/8000 aperture f 5.6

The photo's above are examples using the new Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 off camera flashes. The photo's of Dave are jpgs right out of the camera. No work was done to them at all. Zhenni (Jen) on the other hand are RAW files and have been retouched since this was a real shoot.

Have you noticed when you buy a new electronic device the instruction come in different languages. I think they do that so if you don't understand it in English maybe it will make better sense in Portuguese.

The new Pocket Wizard TT1 and TT5 transmitter and transceiver unites have been challenging me for some time. Much has been written about them but I think they are being returned as fast as they are being purchased. The common thread I hear is they're to complicated. When things don't work the way you expect them to you naturally turn to the DIRECTIONS. As I went through the 45 pages of techno jumbled word game. I'm still somewhat lost. The first page should say massive brain power is required and then in little print it should say once you understand the direction results may vary. But I'm always up for a challenge and I really want to understand these things and use them to their fullest capabilities.

I won't get into the flash RF (radio frequency) interference or the proposed anti-magnetic cloth shield you might want to buy to extend its range. Or tuning the head in the opposite direction so to reduce RF noise or using the off camera cord to separate the flash from the TT5 transmitter. These are all work around proposals by photographers trying to get them to work as they claim. Which in my opinion is absolute FBS! You shouldn't have to purchase anything! It's already supposed to do what it claims without buying a freaking Kryptonite shield. What happen to plug and play! OK enough of that!

As far its operation. Unpredictable and inconsistent results. It could be operator error and this is why I'm working this thing hard. When it works its wonderful and I really want it to work.

For those that don't know what I'm talking about. The premise is to be able to shoot multiple off camera speedlite flashes / radio controlled / E-TTL and have independent flash head ratio controls with use of a controller. Sounds great and it is.

This allows all kinds of creative tools which we didn't have before. For example; I made a portrait in the middle of the day not a cloud in the ski at ISO 100 the shutter speed was 1/8000 of a seconds and the aperture was f- 2.0 and the strobe light was perfect on the subjects face. The shallow depth of field was beautiful. In this shot the ski and background were underexposed slightly. Think about that f- 1.4 off camera E-TTL strobe capability. WOW! The same shot @ f-5.6 the sky was almost jet black and he subject was perfect again!

My problems come when I try to use ratio's and a softbox. As I would expect output through a softbox is difficult since I'm using limited flash. Therefore the box has to be close. But the ratio thing has got me scratching my head. The "instructions" recommend using an addition EXII flash on top of the TT1 transmitter as a master controller for the other flashes. I don't have three EXII flashes and I would hate to have put a $450.00 flash on the camera and use it as a controller. So I'm using the ST-E2 speedlight Transmitter as the controller. As per the "instruction" it is supposed to work but I haven't quite figured it out yet. I can get to work in some scenarios but not all. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mert and Deb

My sister-in -law Debbie with her mother Mert

This Is Mert. Mert is my sister in laws mother who is now 87. Mert loves to have her smoke breaks. Fortunately for her she doesn't seem to have any health issues as a result of smoking most of her life. My in laws visited this weekend and as usual all I can think about is taking photographs. I wonder if it gets in the way sometimes?

I purchased the new Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 last Wednesday and wanted to run it through some tests. Since my family is tired of me photographing them I asked Mert to be my subject. She stepped up and we had fun. Good Ole Mert is a kind soul that still has a healthy sense of humor and tolerates younger people pretty well.

As far as the pictures go they weren't intended to go in the hall of fame just a test shoot in the back yard. While I screwing around with my equipment the rest of the family's went about their business in the back yard.

A friend of mine commented the photo's don't look light. They look like natural light. Maybe I balanced the light to evenly. I'm at a 2 to 1 ratio. That's highlight to shadow ratio. Maybe I should have tried a 4 to 1 ratio. Next time I will be more expressive. The Pocket Wizard mini TT1 and the Flex TT5 should be a plug and play unit. So far that isn't quite the case. Their seems to be some problem with them especially with distance. Inconsistent flashes or no flashes. Now there are a lot of variable why this could occur so I'm not throwing them under the bus yet. Although it does seems typical of manufacturers these days to sell their goods before they are perfected. I guess the sales helps pay for the R&D moving forward. Good thing is all I need to do is go to my computer for product updates which I upload directly into the TT1 & the TT5 software. Rumor is they are working on a few glitches. Isn't technology amazing!

I only have one TT1 and one TT5 at this time. I hoping to get a couple more TT5's so I can start using multiple lights more creatively. When Pocket Wizard gets the bugs out this will be great advancement for serious photographers who use lights. I know of a company who makes a product called Poppers. I have seen these used and they're very impressiveness.

For those of you that don't know about these systems what they will do is allow you to use multiple flashes / that are fired by radio frequency while in ETTL mode. The flash syn speeds go as high as you want or need. For example; the photo of Mert standing with people in the background was shot near sunset on an overcast evening using a small soft box. My shutter speed was 1/1250th of a second @ f-1.4. The photo of Debbie with her mother was shoot at 1/1000th of a second @ F 1.4. Both times the off camera radio triggered flash synched correctly with the camera. Very very cool.