Fun With Pocket Wizards

First off, I debated even posting about this. But it was so fun I just had to. The names have been obscured to keep this from getting back to me.

Besides, I might want to do it again.


I had my bare bones gear bag with me in a local mall this weekend, as I was heading to the Apple Store for a little tech support. My laptop was with me, of course, but I also had a Canon G7, an SB-26 and a set of Pocket Wizards.

You know -- just in case. Month-old news photographer habits die hard.

So I am heading to Mecca The Apple Store, and I pass one of those let-us-shoot-yer-kid places where the fertogerfers wear the dorky photo vests and try to keep the little rugrats smiling for long enough to make a frame that mommy will buy. I kid, of course. But it is probably what I will be doing after you guys finally figure that I am a talentless hack posing as a blogger.


I would like to state right here and now that no shooting was happening at this point. I was not interfering with a shoot. There was no one there. Did I mention that there were no clients in the store?

What I did see was one of the Photographer Associates playing around with a camera, on top of which sat a Pocket Wizard Plus Model II, set to channel one. She was idly popping off frames, and the flashes were firing.

So, I sit down on a nearby bench in the mall, and reach into my too-cool-for-me new Oakley vertical laptop bag. My hand finds the PW transmitter, sliding over the familiar curved corners by feel. My thumb slides the power switch to "on." My forefinger selects channel one.

(Think Clint Eastwood in an old westen, quietly drawing his six shooter from under his smock as the razor held by a very nervous barber shaves Eastwood's neck a mere quarter inch from the jugular. Just like Clint, my hand just knows where to go.)

Photographer Associate brings the camera up toward her eye. When the camera gets to about neck-high, I fire the Pocket Wizard. Her studio flash goes off.

"Well, that's odd," her face seems to say.

She stares at the camera, lowers it, and starts to bring it up again. At the exact same location on the draw, I fire the flash. She stops in mid lift. She is beginning to detect a pattern. I am trying as hard as heck not to laugh.

Camera down. Nothing.

Camera comes up - neck level (pop.) Down. Neck level (pop.) Down.

She sits there, staring at the camera. Wondering what in the world would cause her flashes to fire every time her camera gets to a certain height.

Neck level (pop.)

(A smartass photographer, without a day job. That's what's causing the flash to fire.)

I do this several more times, all the while thinking, "Please-oh-please-oh-please go get the manager so I can NOT make it pop when they are watching and you try to demonstrate your new altitude-based synching issues. (Then of course I will start right back as soon as the manager leaves.)

But she doesn't bite. She just shakes her head, (no worries - not her camera, right?) puts it down and walked away.

So I head to the Apple Store and got my tech support. And bought some more computer stuff, 'cause I am pretty sure they pump in some kind of gas at The Apple Store that just makes me wanna buy things.

But I'll be back, missus Photographer Associate. And I will have my Pocket Wizard with me. Every time.

I am a little troubled at how fun this was for me. And how easily I could spend half an afternoon there doing the same thing again. Because I have that kind of time.

I ask you: Was I being an assho not-very-nice person?

Worse, am I a total dork for finding it so funny?

Would you have done it?

Would you do it again?

What would you do when the manager comes over to her?

Joker, jerk or dork? Hit me in the comments.

(Wonderfully appropriate Devil photo by Strobist reader TuckerUK)


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