In April i bought a Sony A7II and got the brand new ZEISS Batis 18mm 2.8 for testing. I did a video test for the Website Netucated.com, that you can find here. Moreover i did a written test for kwerfeldein.de which can be found here. Both tests are in German. I just wanted to quickly show you a few photos i took with the lens.And this is what the lens looks on a Sony A7II. Pretty big, huh?
All of those photos are shot on a Sony a7rII and ZEISS Loxia 21mm, 35mm & 50mm
As a born and bred Waikato kid, my beach of preference has always been Raglan. The laid-back atmosphere of the town and the wild, usually empty beaches provide an escape from the stresses of everyday life, and is only 35 minutes drive from Hamilton. But since we went to Raglan several times on our last trip (see here), I thought we could try a different West coast beach, and so we ended up at Kawhia. The road to Kawhia is a stunning combination of native forest and rolling hills with the coast on the horizon, and we stopped many times to admire the view.
Like Raglan, the ocean beach at Kawhia has sooty black sand, caused by molten lava from the nearby volcanoes hitting the water and shattering into billions of fragments. It’s magnetic, so be careful of your cameras and phones! The rough black sand gives the beach a natural, untamed look; it’s a whole different experience to those pristine white powder beaches that are overcrowded with tourists baking in the sun.
The beach is also thermal, meaning that if you dig a hole in certain places, hot water bubbles up through the sand. We saw plenty of people digging their own hot tubs on the beach, but in the 30 degree heat we were more interested in cooling off in the waves instead.
After a few hours exploring, we were getting hungry. For some reason, all of the places in Kawhia that sell fish and chips seemed to be closed. A friendly resident saw us wandering up and down and asked if we were looking for somewhere to eat. He pointed us to the Kawhia Hotel that does takeaway fish and chips that are “the best in town”. We ate them next to the wharf with the seagulls circling hungrily, a delicious end to a perfect day trip.
All of those photos are shot on a Sony a7rII and ZEISS Loxia 21mm, 35mm & 50mm
Are you brave enough to travel the long journey to escape from European winter into New Zealand summer? We made this 50 hour trip, taking us through China to Auckland and finally Hamilton, NZ. We traveled from frozen streets at -8°C to 99% humidity with 29°C. On the first days you usually end up completely jet-lagged, but that doesn't mean that you have to stay on the couch all day. Here is little inspiration for the time-shifted visitor of the Waikato-area.
I don't think there are many longer haul trips than Europe to New Zealand. Basically if you fly much further, you’ll be flying back towards Europe. I’ve done this journey more times than I can count on all my fingers, but it doesn't get much easier. One thing I can really recommend, is finding out if your airline offers a complimentary hotel with a longer stopover. A hot shower and lying flat in a bed for a few hours is so worth it. My carry-on always includes a complete change of clothes, plenty of moisturizer and a tablet loaded up with movies in case the TV screen on the flight refuses to play ball, as was the case on both my long haul flights. Maybe I’m just unlucky but those screens are always dodgy, and a 13 hour flight is no fun when you have nothing to kill the time.
It takes around 4 days to adjust to the 12 hour time difference, but I find that there is something special about those precious few mornings when we wake up before even the first Tui bird song or cicada chirping, when a thick mist lies over the fields around our house and the air is fresh and chilly, laden with the scent of fresh grass.
Late summer is the best time of year at Matangi. The sun is shining nearly every day. Fruit of all kinds are falling from the trees and the vegetable garden is enthusiastically producing fresh ingredients for dinner. I love wandering out to the veggie patch to pick herbs and lettuce and mixing them straight into a summer salad. Chris is particularly fond of the large, sweet grapefruit that he calls “the best damn grapefruit I’ve ever eaten”. Roses are in bloom around the property and the cicadas drown out the sounds of cars passing.
This trip was a particularly nostalgic one for me. I spent my childhood living in the tiny country community of Te Pahu on the foothills of Mt Pirongia, where we had all the space in the world to run and play and be free. We walked alongside the bubbling Kaniwhaniwha stream, where I remember swinging off the old knotted rope into the water and climbing up onto the rocks to dry off in the sun. We used to take school trips down to the stream to study the wildlife in the area, and we were told of the Maori legends about the sacred volcano looming in the distance. The track leaves the river and meanders through native bush, the trails flanked by Nikau Palm trees, hence the name. I know that I’m home when I can smell the dense, rich sub-tropical forest, where the air is cool and dew drops hang from the fern fronds despite the 30 degree heat beating down on the canopy above.
This was our first hike after hibernating through German winter. My friend Alex runs the track every day. While he didn't even break a sweat, we emerged at the summit of this small volcano red in the face and out of breath. The view was definitely worth the effort. Kakepuku is teaming with wildlife, from pheasants to moreporks (a tiny NZ native owl), tui and kereru, and even a baby hedgehog on the footpath. The hike features a mystical ancient Ponga glade with charcoal black tree trunks.
If you're thinking about bringing a lot of photography equipment with you - don't do it. I did and ended up short of breath while ascending the long stairway just before reaching the top with my heavy backpack. And when i finally made it, i didn't miss any of my lenses but i missed some more water instead (i was dumb enough to leave the second bottle in the car so i could carry more lenses). If you're a very fit person, you'll be fine but if you have average fitness don't underestimate this 90 minute hike. Anyway you are able to see some typical New Zealand forest while climbing Mt. Kakepuku and New Zealand forest is nothing like European forest. It's proper bush and can get to points where no sunlight get's through anymore. You'll also notice another very characteristic New Zealand noise: The cicadas sitting in the trees, accompanying you on your walk. Those bugs are one first catchy memories i have of this land.
I still love shooting with my iPhone and while the camera of this little piece of technology get's better and better, i enjoy mobile photography more and more. It's not only great for capturing memories but also for serious photography when I don't have a big camera with me.
My Instagram-stream became something like a social diary with highlights of my year. I've been on as many hikes as never before, was on trips to shoot photos for ZEISS and Mercedes and went to Mallorca to take promotional photos for a german musician.
I still use VSCOCam for processing most of the time but also got hooked with RNIFilms. Some time ago, i even bought proper lenses to go onto the iPhone from Moment. So far i only own the wide angle lens but i like it so much that i will definitively give the 60mm a go too!
For 2016 i decided to use my Instagram account not only for my mobile photography but also for my other shots, just like i use Flickr. It seems like the days where Instagram was a mobile-only network are gone and i feel like i'm missing out on sharing and discussing in this big community. So it'll be best, if you simply follow me 😉
At the beginning of 2015, I wrote an article in a german photography online-magazine about how and why i use manual focus. I turned out that ZEISS read that article and they contacted me a few days later. They asked me if I would be interested in doing some photos and texts for them with some lenses they would send me. Who would say no to that? I ended up with the Distagon 25mm 2.0, Apo Sonar 135mm 2.0 and the Otus 85mm 1.4.
For about a month I took these lenses with me everywhere i went together with my Planar 50m 1.4. I tried to deliver as much variety as possible and as much bokeh as possible 'cause I guess that's what they wanted. I took trip to the Black Forest, areas in Switzerland and France and just walks in my hometown. On many of those photos you'll see my girlfriend but also Luke was with me for a few days. He studies photography in Leeds and contacted me over the internet to ask, if he could join me on a few trips. So he came over and visited me.
They must have been pretty happy with a few of those photos as they used them for their brochures and in photography magazines to advertise their lenses, which is a great reference for me now. Also i have to say that i'm more of a fanboy now. I always imagined ZEISS as a pretty old and conservative company but the contacts I made there were so nice and open for all ideas that i brought to them. It was great working with these guys.
Although those photos are already over a year old, I felt like it's worth posting them (as well as some other unpublished New Zealand photos). This is again a "traveling to..." post. Most of you have anyways seen the famous places in New Zealand on other photos. What really took my attention was driving to those locations on endless highways and through changing Landscapes. My girlfriend had to stop many times while we where taking this 5-hour-ride from Queenstown to Milford Sound because I was so fascinated by what I saw out of the car window. Sometimes, i even just snapped photos right out of the car 😉 As we got closer to Milford Sound, the landscapes changed more and more from open fields to big mountains disappearing in the clouds with curvy streets. Looking at those photos really makes me wanna be on the street again. Lately it feels like i'm spending all my time in my office, processing wedding photos. So i guess i have to try to get out a bit more to show you guys new stuff!
Traveling became a big part of my life. Not only am i traveling a lot between my new hometown and my family but also I started discovering the area around Stuttgart, the place I live. The national park called "Black Forest" contains many different shapes and views and i love traveling and exploring the mountains, forests and lakes. My Fuji X100s does a really great job when it comes to document all those travels and all the things i see and think are worth capturing.
Maybe you remember my blog-entry about Glenorchy? Not only that little town was blowing my mind but also the surrounding area. The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is filled wit great views, mountains, a big lake and a lot of wind! Basically you can stop every 10 meters, get out of the car and have new stunning view. If you're very adventurous, you can drive through Glenorchy and further into the mountains, mostly over gravel roads. You will cross a giant dried out river and a forest that's very well known as "The Forest of Middle Earth" from the "Lord of the Rings" movies. And at the end of all that, there is a sign, saying "Paradise". A village with about 3 houses. Paradise's population definitely has more horses than people and if you drive further, your at then end. Simply at the end. No more roads, you can't go any further. You see a few sheep behind a fence but that's it. Well done, New Zealand.
Five years of photography, way more than 100.000 frames, about 40 weddings and becoming a full time photographer just to shoot one roll of film that shows me: I know nothing about photography. Sure, if i shoot digital and have as many shots as i want, i can try. I don't really need to see light or the right scene, i can just shoot until i get it right. But wen it comes down to one frame, everything gets a lot harder.
Yeah, it takes some practice and nobody can just shoot film at the first try but when i look at some frames i wonder what i thought when i shot them. The background was completely overexposed and blown out and the foreground was still to dark... simply bad light. Also the colours are many times not what i expected them to be. I used Kodak Portra 400 here, which might not have been the best decision for that kind of day but i had no other roll and wanted to try to make the best of it.
So you see what i mean? Yeah, i can shoot digital, no problem at all! But i understand now why people say "you need to know what you're doing, when you shoot film". Anyways, i love that my results are bad. That means that i found something new to discover and will continue shooting film. I already shot another half roll of Fuji Pro 400H. I guess it's all about the practice.
In this post you'll find my favourite frames - speaking of color. I'd say the first three are the best. I feel really sorry for my girlfriend, she did a great job with posing for only one frame and i messed it up so much 😉
Have you guys had any experience with film? What are your favourite films?