Meet Mr. Wizard

Don Herbert, Mr. Wizard, in action

When I was a kid, there was a great show called “Watch Mr. Wizard” that was designed to get all us baby boomers interested in science. Don Herbert, the genial host, would explain all the mysteries of science is such a friendly, avuncular way that for most of my childhood, I actually thought I wanted to be a scientist.

That was before I discovered the liberal arts, of course; where all you needed was the courage of your convictions and a good line of patter, and you really didn’t have to know a thing! You mean, I can get by with a good line of bulls__t  and nothing substantive behind it?  Where do I sign up?

Fortunately, though, there were some kids who really got the message, and  Michael Bass was probably one of them. He spent his salad years as a dentist, but as his son got into sports photography, Michael let his inner tinkerer out–to the benefit of photographers everywhere.

Michael modifies complicated gear and solves problems for any shooter using remote cameras and cords, strobes, Pocket Wizards, you name it. You need a custom modification to solve a special problem? He’s probably already done it well, and reasonably priced, for a dozen guys before you. Just check out his site for the staggering array of custom mods that are “business as usual” for him. He adds stuff by the minute, it seems, so if you don’t hit the site every week, you’ll be overwhelmed by what he’s got on the docket.

One of the great mods he did for me was putting an extra hotshoe on a Nikon SC17 cord. This allowed me to put AC manual Dynalites in the corners of a big ballroom where I was shooting a dance for a story about a military academy, and trip them with Pocket Wizards, while at the same time, I had an SB 800 on the end of the cord, that gave me TTL for my on camera flash. Nikon_OCC_20

I was able to waltz around the ballroom and shoot the dancers with TTL, and have the big units providing background light and controlled from the Pocket Wizard so they wouldn’t go off everytime someone took an iPhone or point and shoot picture.

He’s also made pre-trigger cords for remote firing my D90s and D300s with the Pocket Wizard, replaced broken feet on speedlights, and stuff like that. While it seems that sport shooters are his main customer base, he’s open to any and all requests….if you dream it, he will make it.

Yes, Dorothy, there is a wizard out there, but he ain’t in Oz or in Kansas either ! He’s in Connecticut…..


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the referral to Michael Bass’s website, I’ve always wanted to get cold shoes modified for the Nikon locking pin but had no idea that anyone was doing this kind of modification.

    1. Hi Michael: Yes, Mr. Bass is a good find. If you can dream it up, he can probably make it. cheers, Bob

  2. Heck Bob I didn’t know they had T.V, back when you were a kid. Thanks for post is Don a Canon friendly guy? I have a gig shooting a large Cave and this might help.
    Tim the Student

    1. Hi Tim: Good to hear from you. Don was Mr. Wizard, Michael Bass is the “new” wizard and he’s dealing with sports guys all the time, so he’s all up on Canon stuff. cheers,BK

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