Gymnastics

Gymnastics

1/1600 sec at f/5.0, ISO 200

January 3, 2011 - The last photoshoot of 2010 is over and done, it’s a wrap! Back in December of 2010 while I was teaching my action photography class at Van Arts I had the pleasure of working with a couple of gymnast girls at the Phoenix Gym in Vancouver. Or I should say my students did, I was too busy running around helping them with lights and timing and angles and all that teacher stuff that I do. Which is not really what I wanted to be doing…

So to make up for it I called the girls up again and arranged to get together for another shoot, this time with no students. I’ve been playing around with the new Pocket Wizard Flex TT5’s and MiniTT1 for Nikon for a while now, testing I guess is a better description, playing sounds too much like fun. Anyway I’ve been messing around with different settings, and using them with my MultiMAX’s as well, figuring out a few different things.

MiniTT1 and MultiMAX Together

One of the things that I always wished I could do with my MultiMAX high speed sync trick was to shoot a sequence, unfortunately it’s pretty much impossible. I tried a lot of different things, custom cables, multiple remotes, none of it really worked in a way that I was satisfied with. So one of the first things I set out to do with the MiniTT1 when I got it was to stick a MultiMAX transmitter on top of it and shoot a sequence using the SpeedCycle feature and 4 flashes. It worked, but that’s not what I want to talk about here. Almost accidentally while setting it up and playing with Hypersync offsets I noticed that the MultiMAX on top of the TT1 was HyperSyncing on its own. With the MiniTT1 HyperSync offset set to 0 and a MultiMAX transmitter on its hotshoe, my Nikon flashes synced at 1/1000 at full power no problem. I tested this a bunch of different ways in the office, and then decided to test it in the real world.

All the photos in this shoot were taken with a Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 on my Nikon D3s. The TT1 had the HyperSync delay set to 0, and classic transmit channel set to 1 to avoid any confusion with what was doing the triggering. I placed a Pocket Wizard MultiMAX set to transmit on channel 25 on the shoe of the TT1, no special set up. I used a combination of Nikon SB800’s and SB900’s hooked up to Pocket Wizard MultiMAX’s set to receive on channel 25, again no special set up. The flashes were set to full power and used with Honl grids and snoots to control the light. I shot the following photos at shutter speeds ranging from 1/1000th to 1/1600th, you’ll notice in the B&W image that was shot at 1/1600th that there is a slight bit of shutter showing at the bottom of the frame. This was intermittent, and I’ll put it down to small inconsistencies in the shutter or possibly flash duration variances due to short recycle times (ie not always fully charged when fired)

How Does it Work?

While I don't actually know exactly how this works, my personal thoughts are that the camera is tricked into seeing the TT1 as a TTL flash and therefore sending a monitor pre-sync signal. That monitor pre-sync signal is passed through the TT1 to the shoe on top, which has the MulitMAX on it. The MultiMAX gets the monitor pre-sync signal and fires the flashes, which at full power have a long enough duration to still be emitting a bunch of light when the shutter opens. If this is truly the case then it doesn't need to be a MultiMAX on top of the TT1, any standard trigger system should work. I reached out to the fine people over at Pocket Wizard and asked about this. After a bit of head scratching they got back to me and assured me that what I was doing wouldn't work and that I should use their equipment as intended. What do you think?


  • 1/1000 sec at f/5.0, ISO 200

  • 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

  • 1/1600 sec at f/5.0, ISO 200

  • 1/1250 sec at f/6.3, ISO 200

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