Micro Sync II Review with Tom Keller

Hey everyone,

We got a chance to send Tom Keller one of our Micro Sync II remote firing units to test out with his steel wool photography. For those of you who don’t know what the Micro Sync II is, it’s a lightweight wireless system for remotely firing and syncing strobes, flashes and cameras. Check out the video at the end of Tom’s review to learn more! So here’s the review that Tom sent us after he had taken the MS II out on a few trips… and he sent pictures!!!

Tom: When I first received the Micro Sync II I thought it would come in quite handy with the
Steel Wool Photography I shoot. It’s light weight, made from plastic and metal and
pretty durable. At first I was having some issues with the receiver turning on and
syncing but after some quick trouble shooting it turned on and I haven’t had a problem
since.

I have never used a remote trigger before so I was eager to try it out. Since I typically
go out with a partner, it was exciting to come up with new ideas to take advantage of
MSII. We took the remote camping with us at Lake Tahoe to test our creativity and the
device and it turned out great. Because of the landscape, it was not ideal to travel from
the camera to the desired position for either of us so MSII made this shot of “Sleeping
under the Sparks” possible.

Photo 1

Just recently I took this photo “Light Keeper.” I was able to take multiple shots in a row
with MSII to allow the model to change poses without wasting time and sparks from
the steel wool.

Photo 2

Although I typically have a partner with me I occasionally go out alone and this is
when Micro Sync II really helps me out. It allows me to better prepare for photos farther away and not have to race against a timer.

Photo 3
Photo 4

All in all I think it’s a great product. It works great for lone photographers taking multiple shots at a distance or for close up group shots. It allows a photographer to get more creative with his work because there is one less restriction.

Photo 5

Here’s how I’ve incorporated the Micro Sync II into my photo shoots. My typical night shooting starts around 11pm. Once we arrive at a location, we set up the camera angle with Marissa standing where I plan on spinning. She helps focus the camera lens by shining a light at the camera. With the camera already in focus I then turn the camera off and take out the MSII, plug the firing cord into the receiver and then into the shutter release input. I then turn the camera back on to wake up the receiver and take a couple test shots before we start spinning. Lately, Marissa and I have been doing shots with her posing with props or silhouettes to switch it up a bit while I spin in the background. Once we’re both ready and sparks are flying, I use the remote in my other hand to trigger the camera to shoot. If sparks are still flying by the time the shutter closes, Marissa changes her pose and I’ll fire a second shot. The MSII really comes in handy in these situations when we’re both in the shot.
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For more information on the Micro Sync II watch the video below and visit the website: www.microsyncdigital.com

For more information on Tom Keller check out these links:
Tom’s previous post on Steel Wool Photography
Follow him on Facebook
Follow him on Instagram: @tomkellerphotography
Send him an email: Tommokeller@gmail.com

Become a part of out Instagram community by following @tamracphoto, and like us on Facebook to stay up with everything Tamrac!

Flaming Steel Wool Photography with Tom Keller

We love our Instagram community and wanted to spotlight the work of Tom Keller who’s been doing some really cool things with steel wool, his camera, and lighter! So here’s Tom’s images and what he has to say about them. Enjoy!

I first came across a picture of steel wool on Instagram. I’ve never seen this
before and was very intrigued by it. After doing some research my Fiancée Marissa and I
went out and got the necessities. We experimented in our back yard that night but
quickly got the hang of it and ventured out into the nearby neighborhoods. Places like
parks, bridges, rivers, and train yards offer interesting backgrounds and features to
photograph with. It’s usually j ust the two of us with one spinning while the other sets the
timer and possess.

001

The spinning vortex is one of the first pictures that Marissa and I shot in the backyard. I
started spinning at the back of our yard and randomly decided to walk towards the
camera while spinning. This became one of many successful experiments.

002

After a couple weeks of experimenting with steel wool my fiancé and I started getting
creative. We came up with the idea of using an umbrella to get a force field effect
creating this image under a bridge here in Sacramento; “Protector of Art.”

003

The exposures we use are between 15-20 seconds long and it can be tricky posing still
for that long. In this colorful picture done in my backyard, you can see that I shifted
positions while spinning causing a partial ghost effect but my fiancé did great.

004

Spinning orbs are amazing; it’s like an explosion of sparks! The way to spin an orb is to
find a set point on the ground (like a leaf or rock) and spin slowly around it with the
bottom of your spin hitting the top of that point. We found this Underpass interesting and
did a lot of experimenting here.

005

This silhouette shot was taken in a large storm tunnel in Houston Texas. I posed while
Marissa (my partner in life and in late night shenanigans) spun behind me creating the
silhouette and flaming water effect. We both got soaked this night, but getting down and
dirty is all part of the fun.

006

I always carry my GR1 Ruck from GoRuck and Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a Sigma 10-
20mm lens. After a lot of trial and error throughout the months, I developed a plywood
cut out that mounts 12 spinners and fits perfectly in my Ruck. This makes for an easy
“reload,” to cut down wasted time during the night. The actual “spinners” are made up of
an ordinary wire cooking whisk stuffed with 0000-000 gauge steel wool tied on a long
rope. A few other musts are a tri-pod, headlamps (not only to see but to focus the
camera) and lighters. Also, be sure to only spin after rains, during the winter months, or
near large bodies of water to prevent possible fires.

007

This over head spin was done alone in Lake Tahoe, CA. I learned from this experience
that the mechanics of this photography works much better with a partner. For this
picture I had my headlamp positioned facing the rocks to get a little more color from
them.

The Steelwool Photography community is still small but very innovative and filled
with great artist. Marissa and I have come up with many new ideas using the various
techniques we’ve developed so far and can’t wait to experiment with them this summer
in new adventurous places.

-Tom Keller, TK Photography

To keep up with Tom and his fiery shenanigans:
Follow him on Facebook
Follow him on Instagram: @tomkellerphotography
Send him an email: Tommokeller@gmail.com

For a cool tutorial on steel wool photography from our friends at Photojojo, Click Here!

Become a part of out Instagram community by following @tamracphoto right now!

Q & A with Travis Burke

DCIM100GOPRO

Travis Burke’s diverse and creative approach to action and adventure photography stems from his own perspective on life. He approaches it with a dedication to conquering anything thrown at him and to not living with regrets. Whether hanging from a 500’ bridge, riding a jet ski over shark infested waters or hiking alone in the dark of night to remote locations, Travis is constantly pushing himself and the limits of his photography. Travis’ client list includes working with world-class companies such as ESPN, Skullcandy, GoPro and more. His drive for adventure and mastery of photography has earned him the staff photographer position for GrindTV.com. He is currently satisfying his thirst for adventure shooting stories for Grind’s featured blog called “The Bucket List”.

 

Tamrac: How did you get into photography?

Travis: Back in 2008 I was planning a solo road trip to Yosemite National Park and decided to pick up a DSLR camera to try and capture the experience. I had no knowledge of shutter speeds, Aperture, ISO or any other camera settings at the time. After spending a week camping, exploring, and hiking to the top of Half Dome with my camera, I knew I had found something I was passionate about. Its been an amazing journey ever since.

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Tamrac: You were recently featured on Yahoo for your assignment into the Antelope Canyons in Arizona.  Can you tell us more about that?

Travis: A few months ago I took a ninety-five day road trip around the Western United States and got to explore some amazing places. I wrote a story for GrindTV about one of my favorite locations, the Antelope Canyons. The unique shapes, light, and pure beauty of these slot canyons make them some of the best in the world. My boss at Grind submitted the story to Yahoo News and it ended up being featured on the front page. It brought some great exposure and we’re currently working on getting some more featured stories up soon!

DCIM100GOPRO

Tamrac: Not only do you love to photograph Action Sports but you also love to be a part of them yourself!  Do you have a favorite sport and why?

Travis: Ever since I can remember I have had a love for all action sports. I started skateboarding at age 3 and as a teenager skateboarding took over my life. I got to the point where I was attempting tricks that few very skaters in the world were trying at the time, but after multiple ankle injuries I basically had to give up the sport. That left me with a very empty feeling inside and it wasn’t until I started pushing myself again in multiple other action sports that the feeling went away. Now any free time I have is spent devoted to trying to progress in every sport. From rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, kite-skateboarding, slacklining and a million others.

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Skateboarding and action sports in general have taught me a tremendous amount about life. If you have confidence, dedication, willpower and a positive attitude you can accomplish just about anything in the world.

008

Tamrac: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who want to shoot action and adventure photography?

Travis: Be passionate about what you’re shooting! I have found that if I participate in the activity and know it well, it gives me a better understanding of the angles, tricks, timing, and overall representation of the sport.

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Tamrac: Tell us one place that you have not been but would love to photograph and why?

Travis: There is a little place called Havasu Falls in Arizona that I am excited to check off my bucket list later this year. It’s a mixture of backpacking, breathtaking waterfalls, remote locations, and cliff jumping. Everything I could ask for in an awesome adventure.

 DCIM100GOPRO

Tamrac: How has Social Media helped you as a photographer?

Travis: Social Media has played a huge role in my photography. It’s a great way to share my images as well as follow other creative individuals that inspire me. I have met new clients, made friends, sold images, and obtained sponsorships because of it. It’s a great tool that everyone should be utilizing these days.

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Tamrac: What is your favorite action movie?

Travis: The Art of Flight. It’s a snowboarding movie that has incredible cinematography, extreme progression of a sport, adventure and an awesome soundtrack.

DCIM100GOPRO

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?

Travis: I’ve been using Tarmac bags since my first exploration into Yosemite. The diverse selection available makes it easy to find a bag that fits my exact needs. They are rugged enough to handle the elements while protecting my gear and still making it easy for me to access everything I need.

DCIM100GOPRO

Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?

Travis: Expedition 7x, Adventure 10, Jazz Messenger 2 and Explorer 15.

Photographer Spotlight – Q&A with Max Roper

We’re excited to to partner up with concert-photography maven, world traveler, and entrepreneur, Max Roper. We got to pick his brain about some of the visually striking images he’s captured and packaged it all up this this blog post for your enjoyment! So read on and enjoy!

Mute-Math – Drum Jump!

Tamrac:  Tell us about your first experience with photography and when you knew it was something you wanted to do.
Max:
  I am a fairly new photographer in general, I got my first DSLR back in 2009 and started just taking photos of anything I was doing. I travel a lot so I was very excited to start getting some good documentation of my travels. Music is a huge part of my life so I think once that was blended with photography, I was into it!

Black-Keys

Tamrac: How did you get started with concert photography? Did you know the bands or just show up with your camera in hand and start taking awesome photos?
Max:
I love and play music and was going to shows all the time and I thought that I would try and sneak my camera in to get some shots of this artist I was seeing at a smaller venue. I separated the camera up between a few of my friends and I got it in. After the show, I posted the photos on the artists facebook page and they loved them. It was really unexpected. I honestly really had no idea what I was doing, but they really liked my photos. That encouraged me to continue.

MUTEMATH-Dallas

Tamrac: What kind of camera gear do you usually take on your concert shoots? Do you ever use a flash as a fill or use only stage lighting?
Max: My first camera was the Nikon D80 and I loved it, so now I am a Nikon dude! I use the D700 now and pretty much just the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. Once in a while I will bring out my fisheye or the 50mm 1.4 if it will work for the shoot I am on. The 24-70 f/2.8 is pretty much my go-to lens. About 90% of my shots are with that lens.  I bought a flash a few years ago and the first time I tried to take it out it got dropped in a lake and that was that. I am a big proponent of using only stage lighting.

Jay-Z

Tamrac: You’ve managed to capture some epic moments in concerts (Mute Math drum jump). Are some of these simply being at the right place at the right time and do you also have an idea of how the show will go so you’re able to plan your shoot out?
Max: Thanks :). That Mute Math concert was actually the 4th concert I had taken photos at so I was still getting into the swing of how it all works. I had never seen them before. They were just unreal! Still to this day, they are one of the most amazing bands touring. That night may have had a bit of luck on it. I was also just so into their energy. I think it contributed to how good all of the shots came out. Since then I’ve been on a few tours with bands where I’m shooting their show every night which allowed me to really learn the pace of their sets. You can be very calculated in that type of situation.

Mumford-and-Sons

Tamrac: From all of the concert shoots you’ve been on I’m sure you’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff. Do you have any funny or crazy stories you can share?
Max: There is always something crazy happening at every concert. Haha. I was taking photos in New York once and it was a pretty insane show; mosh pits everywhere and crowd surfing galore. I was up front and taking photos and some dude from the crowd that was (obviously) pretty drunk decided that it was the best call to pour the remainder of his beer all over me and my camera. My camera was a bit sticky but it was all good. He ended up apologizing. It was pretty funny afterwards.

Tamrac: So what do you like to do when you’re not shooting Jay-Z or traveling around the world?
Max: I have a few things going on. I do tech stuff over at Red Bull and just finished up the Red Bull Stratos project where we had an athlete skydive from space. The project went very well and I am glad he is alive. I also have a tech startup called Appetize. It’s a mobile app that allows you to order food/drinks/merchandise at stadiums and get it delivered to your seat. It is going very well and we have some pretty awesome products that I am very happy about. I love the blues. When I am not working on my other projects, I am playing some blues guitar.

Gimmelwald

Tamrac: Are there any projects or opportunities on the horizon for you that you’d be able to share with us?
Max: I am a licensed skydiver and am trying to get as many jumps as possible to be able into get to base jumping. I am pretty excited about it and plan to start base jumping everywhere I travel to. Hopefully some of my photography can carry over into that space and I can starting getting some new and innovative shots.

Tamrac: Lastly, do you have any advice for other photographers that have been inspired by your work?
Max: Every photographer should strive to be as unique as possible. Just trying to copy someone else won’t get you very far and ultimately will just put you in the cloud of others. Strive to be as personally creative as possible!

To see and learn more about Max:
Website: www.maxroper.com
Instagram: @maxroper
Twitter: @maxroper