Pocketwizard AC9 a Game Changer with Alienbees High Speed Sync 1/8000

Nikon D4, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 125, ƒ/1.8, 1/1250

Today, for the first time, I was shooting with my Alienbees outside with shutter speeds above 1/400. That is all I could sync before using my Pocketwizards and plugging into the Alienbees with a 1/8 plug.

I bought the Pocketwizard AC9 to combine with my Pocketwizard TT5 and then used the phone cord to plug into the back of the Alienbees B1600.

With this combination, I could shoot up to 1/4000 on my Nikon D750 and up to 1/8000 on my Nikon D4.

Nikon D750, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 1000, ƒ/1.8, 1/4000

As you can see, here is the D750 with Flash @ 1/4000.

Nikon D750, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 1000, ƒ/1.8, 1/4000

This photo is with no flash outside. So you can see how much the flash helps.


Now with the AC3 on top of the Pocketwizard Mini TT1, you can control the power of the Alienbees.

Here is the chart of how that would work:

  • +3 = Full Power
  • +2 = 1/2 Power
  • +1 = 1/4 Power
  • 0 = 1/8 Power
  • -1 = 1/16 Power
  • -2 = 1/32 Power
  • -3 = 1/32 Power
You also have the 1/3 increments to use in between. 
So here is the basic setup I was using. Here is the list of gear:
  • 2 – Alienbee B1600s
  • 2 – Vagabond Mini
  • 2 – Cowboystudio 7’ 4 Section Portable Adjustable Stand
  • 2 – Westcott 2001 43” Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrella
  • 2 – Pocketwizard AC9
  • 2 – Pocketwizard TT5
  • 1 – Pocketwizard Mini TT1
  • 1 – Pocketwizard AC3
  • Nikon D4
  • Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8
I pack the lighting gear all into this Seahorse SE-920 with padded dividers. This technique is a super basic kit that I can fly with to jobs where I need something a little more powerful and now capable of still shooting at ƒ/1.8 to get that great BOKEH.

Halloween Photography Tips

Coolpix P7000, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/7

The time for Halloween is just days away. Halloween can be fun for photographers to document their kids through the years and get some fun photos.

Coolpix P7000, ISO 1061, ƒ/2.8, 1/280

Take the time and photograph your family getting ready for Halloween. Here I am with my daughter and her friend a few houses down as we take time to carve our pumpkins.

Coolpix P7000, ISO 1600, ƒ/3.2, 1/230

A couple of years ago, I set up a background in our garage, took photos of the kids as they came by, and then posted a gallery for them to get their photos. So many parents loved having lovely pictures of their kids.

Coolpix P7000, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/640

I set it up in the garage rather than our house because the parents could see their kids throughout the process, and I got more photos. However, had I requested people to come into our house, I am not sure that would have gone.

This lighting is a super simple setup. Two strobes pointed onto the white background. They are one-stop brighter than the two lights that are on the subject.

This setup works reasonably well when you don’t know what everyone will wear.

Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/80–Off-camera fill-flash using the Nikon SB-900. The flash is on the Pocketwizard TT5. The trigger is by the Mini TT1 on the Camera. The AC3 to control the flash’s output is an accessory I added to the Mini TT1. 

My daughter has a very creative imagination. One year she wanted to dress up as a princess of the enchanted forest. e went out in our backyard, and I captured her where she loved to play, but now in her Halloween princess outfit.

This same year I took photos in my home studio that I set up in our basement.

Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/200

Some photos we like best through the years of our kids are from Halloween. They had so much fun dressing up and having fun with their friends.

Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/1600

Since my daughter’s birthday is just a few days after Halloween, she has had many Halloween-themed birthday parties. So, here she is with her friends going putt-putt before going out for trick or treat later that evening.

Halloween Photography Tips

  • Take photos of your family getting ready for Halloween. Carving pumpkins or shopping for pumpkins on a farm
  • Set up a small studio or space to make Halloween photos. You may even want to create a small set.
  • Photograph your kid in a natural setting that compliments their theme for their costume