In summer 2015 we embarked on a 14-day expedition to the far north; our journey took us to Iceland, a country bursting with breathtakingly picturesque vistas. We traveled through the mountains and valleys that harked back to Tolkein’s Middle Earth, passing magnificent waterfalls and plains as far as the eye can see before venturing into the void to observe epic sunsets and superb interplays of color painted by nature itself.
This country is a veritable explosion of unique landscapes and kaleidoscopes of Color
When beholding sights like these, it’s difficult to tear yourself away from the window. This country is a veritable explosion of unique landscapes and kaleidoscopes of Color. As rapt as we all are, we’ve still remembered to pack our cameras – after all, we know full well that we are witness to something truly spectacular. We have brought a little equipment with us for work purposes, but no journey like this is complete without a “road trip camera” in your pocket. A small camera that’s always raring to go. We opted for a Sony α7R complete with ZEISS Loxia 2/35 –it’s not something we had to think twice about. Why? Well, the 7R affords exceptional resolution and dynamics, while the Loxia offers 36 megapixels at just f/2 and has a unique look at the same time, which is just what we need for our making-of shots. The Loxia combines all the charm of an old-fashioned lens with the definition and brilliance of modern technology – all in all, a fantastic effect for the photos in our report.
The road trip camera I mentioned earlier gets neither a pouch nor a case on this trip, and certainly not a lens cap or sun shade. That’s because it has a job to do: it has to fit in our pocket, be portable and never be neatly packed away. We have absolutely no regrets about taking our Sony Loxia combo along for the ride to create the making-ofs. After all, on a trip like this we have to capture absolutely everything so that we have something tangible for the future – often we don’t even stop the car, we take a snapshot from the window, just to document all of our experiences on the island; perfection is not the aim here, we’re looking to create lasting memories.
We have brought a few large lenses and cameras with us for our mission in Iceland, and even a RED video camera with a ZEISS Distagon T* 2.8/21 lens. It’s the kind of photo, though, that determines the equipment we use; the Loxia was certainly our camera of choice in the first couple of days.
We unpack the larger pieces of equipment at every stop we make, but the Sony is always in our hands – maybe because it’s just so small, because it’s always ready and waiting, or maybe because it fits the bill every time. For me, this has a lot to do with the chosen focal length in combination with the subject in question. Let me just say: I love 35 mm.
I must admit, I’m a little addicted to this focal length and the Loxia is a camera that comes with its own unique charm. Why a 35 mm camera, you ask? I like its versatile nature. You can get really near to a subject and take close-ups, but you can just as easily shoot in small spaces, which is how I can document life in our hotel, for example. The out-of-focus effect is great, even if the subject is slightly further away. For me, 35 mm is the best universal focal length by far, unlike a 25 or 50 mm. Here in Iceland, we take around 120 photos for the report, each one of them with their own story to tell, stories we’ll happily reminisce about later. During our trip, we often use the road trip camera to take shots of the landscape itself, and we get some really great photos this way.
It’s the ones we take from the helicopter, at an altitude of some 40 to 60 meters, that truly emphasize the definition and brilliance of the lens. What’s more, at this height you don’t need to contend with visual interference, caused for example by hot air, which could affect the image itself.
I think the Loxia 2/35 is the most universal Sony α7 lens on the market
Besides the “ordinary” shots, we’ve taken a liking to lying on the ground in order to get photos from unusual angles. So close to the ground, and with a focal point that’s not too far away, we can achieve an out-of-focus effect that’s far better, and a mesmerizing bokeh even with the sun in the background.
This trip is an awesome experience for all of us and the manual focusing on the Loxia lends the images an entirely different quality. That may well sound a bit strange but it’s something you just have to try out for yourself to really understand what I mean: instead of letting the camera automatically focus on a specific point, using the Loxia, a straight-up manual camera, you can simply start by shifting the focal plane from very near to very far. With the mirrorless Sony camera, you can observe the look of an image as it changes and you’ll suddenly notice that this can mean a different kind of focusing, and maybe even a better image! In that sense, manual focusing has definitely helped us gain a great deal of experience.
To sum up, I think the Loxia 2/35 is the most universal Sony α7 lens on the market. There’s hardly another lens out there that trumps the look and charm of the Loxia; added to that is its compact design, which works a treat in journalistic photography. Small, easy to use and brilliant. What more could you need?
For more info and photos from our Iceland trip from Martin Krolop, please visit: http://blog.krolop-gerst.com/blog/kg-go-iceland-das-foto-tagebuch/
About Martin Krolop
Martin was someone who just fell into a career in photography; he picked up his first camera while still a student. And for some reason, he’s never been able to put it down. It’s safe to say that he’s become very attached to his cameras and to the discipline itself.
His passion for the subject is without a doubt fueled by his work with other photographers and by his love of experimenting with photography and imaging techniques. This is also why he’s so passionate about training sessions, coaching and tutorials. Hopefully that’s evident in everything he says.
At Krolop & Gerst, Martin has discovered an exciting new direction in video production. Creating videos with DSLR cameras is part and parcel of Martin’s day-to-day work and is something he enjoys just as much as photography.