Got me on the line

Ok being a Gemini I'm constantly dealing with my need to be free wheeling and being open to serendipity while having the control that I want to produce produce that which is in my head. However there are some ways to yes have it kinda both ways. Long ago I essentially kept my cameras welded to my tripod then when I got into journalism I kept said tripod in a closet because all my subjects were moving and delightfully uncontrolled. Studio photographers are used to having their cameras connected to their computers so that they shoot not to a flash card but straight to the computer so that the guy manning said computer can check every image as they come in.

For a while now I've been teathering my cameras to either my laptop or, when I'm doing still lives in the office, my main workstation. You need a simple piece of software to do this with our DSLR's and all the manufacturers make one for atleast their pro models. Since I'm a Nikon dude I use Camera Control Pro from Nikon and it lets me shoot driect to the computer or even control the camera from the computer.

My main use for this is either to not have to stop to do a critical check on an image that I've shot on a big monitor or to just keep shooting without bothering to download cards. I have a mobile hard case that my laptop fits into with an exteral hard drive and two card readers along with a 25 foot USB cable to connect my cameras to the laptop. This really comes in handy when the client or art director is on the shoot so that they can sit at the laptop with a cuppa joe and watch the images that I shoot just seconds after they were made. This way they can fine tune my coverage and sign off on the take. No guessing about wether we "have it", because they've seen it. Yeah!

I did a shoot for a regional business mag about a fitness challenge for CEO's. The shoot took place at the athletic club and I brought the viewing station for my AD. She basically sat and gave me critique as I shot. She was very happy to not have to either hope I was getting what she wanted or have to stop me while I was shooting to check on what I was doing. The added benefit was that I was photographing the fitness test as it was going on so we had very limited time. The teathering really kept things flowing.

CEO Challenge

The AD was just around to camera right. This was shot with 3 lights and ambient on my Nikon D700 and AF-S 17-35 using f/9.5, 1/30th sec, ISO 200 @ 24mm. The lights were triggered via my Pocket Wizards – don't leave home without them. The setup looked like this:

CEO Challenge setup

Now, no joke but a little over an hour after I shot the above image I had another shoot for a different business pub about a company that makes military radio systems that go into among other things, unmanned aircraft. Well it's a all a bunch of little boxes and circuit boards so how am I going to make something interesting out of that. No repeating yourself! The did tell me that they do heat and cold testing of every unit before they get shipped. Ah-hA! Show me the ovens! Well that led to how the heck am I going to make a photo from that? Simple put the camera into the oven and have their test dude putting a rack of radios into it. But how do I frame the shot and compose the subject when I can't look through the lens and having to pull the camera out every few frames would be a total pain?

Answer: teather the bugger and use Live View mode so that I can see in real time throught the lens while I'm out of the frame then trigger the camera from the laptop when I see what I want. Oh-yeah!


This was done with 4 lights and ambient on my Nikon D700 and AF-S 17-35
using f/11, 1/250th sec, ISO 200 @ 20mm. The lights were triggered again via
my Pocket Wizards. The setup looked
like this:

FreeWave Setup

I added the blue and green gels to put some color into the totally white room.

Now I had dropped on my lap a toughie: we need a shot to illustrate people who have a disparity of food prefferences in their relationships. You know the kind: he's a meat and potato guy but she's all about sushi. Oh and we need it in two days. Huh? I'm booked solid for the next three. What am I going to do? Easy – shoot myself but not on the tried and true timer and run or even use my lovely Pocket Wizards to trigger the camera and then check every few frames … use it teathered!


My wife is the one with the pretty hands. This was shot with my D700 and 80-200 @ about 150mm ISO 200 f/8. The camera was about 15 feet away but my laptop was just out of the frame so we could see if the shots were worth a damn. Angela actually did the camera triggering since I needed both hands to ham it up. Oh and I love asparagus – it's called "acting" baby!

Foodie Setup

So there ya go. Sometimes being on a leash isn't that bad.

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