Portraits: Drummer DJ Swanson


Don't be fooled by DJ's name – he's a drummer through and through. You may recall DJ Swanson from the shoot with his band Interplause late last year.

For this set of solo portraits, we decided to try something a bit different, and shot DJ with one of his Yamaha drum kits. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to test out the new Pocketwizard ControlTL units (FlexTT5 and MiniTT1) for Nikon. How'd these new flash triggers do? Hit the full set to find out.



Drummer DJ Swanson photographed in St. Louis, Missouri on February 17, 2011 by music photographer Todd Owyoung (© Todd Owyoung)



Photographer's Notes:

Cameras Used:

  • Nikon D3

Lenses Used:

Lighting Equipment Used:

For me, this shoot was all about the new Pocketwizard FlexTT5 and MiniTT1 units. If you haven't already, you can check out my review of these new Pocketwizard ControlTL units for Nikon over at FlashRAW.

For the most part, I used a mix of four remote speedlights for this set, all attached to the Pocketwizard FlexTT5 units – two Nikon SB-900s and two Nikon SB-600s.

On my Nikon D3, I used the Pocketwizard MiniTT1 and the Nikon SB-900 speedlight as the commander unit. The beauty about the Pocketwizard ControlTL system is being able to control CLS groups exactly as you can with your Nikon speedlights but now with the reliability of radio transmission. No more line-of-sight issues or having to worry about bouncing the IR signal to get the lights to fire.

The key lights in this set are two Nikon SB-900 speedlights fired in a cross-lighting configuration, firing perpendicular to the camera axis.

The fill light here is provided by a small, 15″ Lastolite Ezybox Softbox, through which I fired a Nikon SB-900.

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My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon Z 7:
I use two Nikon Z 7 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all mirrorless camera with amazing AF, great speed and fantastic resolution.


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8S:
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens. The range is ideal for stage front photography and the image quality is superb.


Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.


Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.

See My Full Kit for Concert Photography

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