In gravity with John Wilhelm


John Wilhelm is an IT Director at a Swiss University and a part-time hobby photographer, describing himself as a “photholic”.

John brings some fantasy into his images with the technique of compositing and photo manipulations. He usually takes photographs of his three young daughters and his wife to create unique and eclectic photo manipulations.

Elinchrom asked John a few questions regarding his experiences with the newly released Skyport Plus HS for Sony and his work as a “Photoholic”.

“The Skyport Plus HS is an easy-to-use device and the results are stunning!”

John, you finally got the Sony version of the Skyport Plus HS transmitter! Are you happy?

Yes, absolutely! It was a hard time seeing the “Canon & Nikon guys” playing around with their cool HS stuff and not being able to be part of the game. But seriously: As expected, Elinchrom has delivered great results with the Sony Skyport Plus HS. It’s an easy-to-use device and the results are stunning.

“I often felt that I needed to freeze a subject in motion.”

What sparked your interest in the Sony Skyport Plus HS?

In the past, I often felt that I needed to freeze a subject in motion or that I wanted to use my ELB 400 flashes during broad daylight with high aperture. I’m a Sony user, so it’s great that this is finally possible for me!

Can you guide us through the compositing process for the image with all the toys in gravity?

It may look very difficult but actually that was an easy thing to do. I placed two Quadra HS flash heads with small octas and a camera on a tripod in my children’s room. Then, I placed a radio-remote trigger on the Sony a7r and I was ready to go.

I threw many toys, clothes and other furniture from my kids’ rooms up in the air and I tried to hit the remote trigger at the perfect moment.

I could also have done this in my studio but making this on location allowed me to blend the objects easily in post-production with Photoshop (only a few detailed masks were needed). Then, I brought other images of my girls which had been taken in another location and added them into the image.

After a few hours of tweaking, it was done!

“Most composers hate un-sharpness or noise, and so do I.”

Your main work is based on compositing and mixing 3D with real photography. What more can Hi-Sync technology bring to compositing?

Most composers hate un-sharpness or noise, and so do I. To separate an object with blurred edges is difficult. However, separating sharp objects and adding any kind of blur at a later point is much easier. To achieve this, the Hi-Sync system is really helpful as it can help shooting moving objects without motion blur. I guess that’s the most interesting thing for a “photo composer”.

Any tips for anyone who wish to use the Sony Skyport HS?

Because it’s so easy to use I have only one tip: Buy it!

Do you use self-medicate for your “photoholicism”?!

No, my doctor told me to buy at least one new gadget every month 😉

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