Photoshoot - Matthew Masters, PGA Golfer

Weather always plays a crucial part in the planning of any location shoot. This week has been a game of chance, checking weather reports online and waking up at the crack of dawn to see what loomed overhead. Earlier on in the week had been poor weather conditions, but at 6am this morning and a brief look out the window with a call to my client means I find myself heading to Porters Park Golf Course in Radlett, Hertfordshire. Despite being open 12 months of the year, this course is maintained to the highest of standards and it's easy to see why that at 7am there were already golfers queing to get out on course.  

Matthew Masters is a PGA Teaching Professional. Given that Porters Park is such an idyllic setting, it was a fantastic opportunity to capture some shots of the pro in action. The above image was shot as part of a series, with 2 shots following to show his technique.

Last August I posted a review of the PocketWizard Flex system and this shoot is an example of where they really came into their own. Given that a pro golfer can swing a club at some serious speed, sync speeds of 1/200th won't cut it for the shots I had in mind. In comes the use of their Hypersync function, allowing faster shutter speeds (without the use of high speed sync) resulting in quicker recharge times and a longer battery life. The ability to use faster shutter speeds in an environment like this can provide some striking results such as where Matthew tried to shower me with sand (ISO 160, F3.5, 1/1600th @ 85mm):

Testimony to a great golfer, as despite me asking if it was possible to kick up more sand for the purpose of a dramatic shot, Matthew still managed to pot the ball in one shot! Matthew offers a personal tuition service and is currently undergoing a website revamp, but rather than use stock shots that so many businesses seem to use these days, Matthew wanted a more personal approach with images of himself at his home course:

The 18-hole, 6,362-yard golf course had us spoilt for choices in where to shoot, but with our noble steed for the day we set about making the most of various locations. The weather was ever changing which made for interesting conditions, but we managed to wrap up the 3 hour shoot just before the heavens decided to open.   

Everything worked out as planned in the end, and it was an absolute pleasure to shoot Matthew for his new website. If you are interested in training with Matthew, please feel free to visit his website or facebook page and get in touch.

Kit Bag - Pocketwizards

The Holy Grail of light control. PocketWizard systems are renowned world over, for their ability to trigger off-camera solutions efficiently and effortlessly. When I discovered the new features of the Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 system I had to upgrade from my (still great) ST-E2 Transmitter. They are by no means cheap in comparison to other triggering systems out there on the market, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.

Built on the new ControlTL platform, the dedicated MiniTTI Transmitter has both E-TTL II and manual power control capability, creating the perfect solution for triggering strobes via radiowaves (meaning no need for line of sight).

It has two main feature upgrades over the original PocketWizard Plus II's, the first of which allows us to use TTL (through the lens metering) with your strobes off camera. The second is "Hypersync", which, by offsetting the hypersync value in the firmware (this value depends on your camera and the strobes you are firing so it will require some testing) you are able to achieve much faster flash sync speeds (without the use of high speed sync). As photographers this means we can now cut ambient light and use wide open apertures in bright sunlight, achieve faster shutter speeds to freeze action and all without draining power or experiencing long recycle times, Hurrah!

Another great little function on these, is the pre-flash boost. Which means the pre-flash is fired upto two stops brighter, allowing the camera to make more sense of the information it receives for TTL. The updateable and customisable firmware also means we can set parameters such as when you automatically want the rear curtain sync to enable, and oppositely when you want high speed sync to enable (if at all). They are backwards compatible, and even fitting a Flex TT5 to your camera body will enable you to remotely fire your camera. All in all, I love these little things and wish i'd bought them sooner. The ST-E2 will still remain in my kitbag, as you can use this in conjunction with the PocketWizards for ratio and AF Assist.

Purchased from Lovegrove Consulting where you can grab a great deal, saving £105 when buying a kit of 2x TT5 transceivers and 1x TT1 transmitter. Did I mention you can also trigger them upto 1200ft away?!