What's in my Bag (2017)

Hi all,

as 2017 is slowly coming to an end, it's about time for another gear roundup. It's been an exiting year for photographers with technology constantly pushing limits and enabling us to shoot greater pictures.

If you have any questions regarding the kit I'm using please get in touch!

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My new main camera since this year. It's a lovely camera that has never let me down. Image quality is unbelievable and handling super smooth. The main reason why I upgraded from Sony a6000 was the ability to shoot full-frame, particularly for portraits.I also use a custom wrist-strap instead of the strap Sony ships, mostly because it allows me to move the camera more freely and securely.

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My go-to lens. I think 90% of all my pictures are taken with a 35mm lens. It's an incredibly versatile lens, great for portraits as well as landscapes. An aperture of f1.4 renders amazingly smooth backgrounds. Sharpness is stellar. One of the best Sony lenses out there.

Sony8514

Outstanding portrait lens. Perfect sharpness center to corners even at f1.4. Together with the auto-eye-focus of the Sony A7r II you rarely miss a shot.

Sony70-200f4

Great telephoto and portrait lens. Sharpness and contrast is fantastic. Quite lightweight for the focal-length, much lighter and affordable that the f2.8 option. A must-have in any travel bag.

Sony1018f4

One of the best Sony wide angle lenses. Almost distortion free even at 10mm, tack sharp and no noticeable vignette. Super light and compact build. It's an APSC lens so it's "only" 20MP on the Sony A7r II but still a great addition to the kit.

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I'll most likely write a separate post about how quickly I fell in love with this little camera. It's the perfect camera for whenever things get a little bit rougher. I took it snorkelling in Thailand, sand-boarding in Dubai, surfing at the Baltic Sea and it has never let me down. Image quality it brilliant. Together with the handy little Smart Remote this combo will never leave my bag again.

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This is a pretty new item in my bag. Over the years I had many occasion when I wished I had brought a good quality tripod. This one easily fits in the side of my backpack. Also doubles as a light-stand and comes with a handy little carrier bag.

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Having everything organised particularly on long trips has made my life so much easier. No more lost memory cards, no more missing cables. Even when I'm not on the road I keep everything nice and tidy in there so it's always ready to go. It's a cheap and easy way to make travelling much more hassle free.

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I don't board airplanes without them. These headphones are pretty much an upgrade to first class for your ears. Talking seat neighbours, crying babies, singing stag-partys, all that blown away with the push of a button. Bluetooth and a 25hrs rechargeable battery make them the perfect travel companion. 

Surfing into the New Year

Happy New Year!

As this is going to be my first post this year I'd like to wish you all a great 2016! For a couple of years now it sort of has become a tradition to spend some time on the water in between Christmas and New Years. This time we pretty much left straight after the Christmas Festivities and were rewarded with a few fantastic days at the Baltic Sea. Hope the new year's going to be as wicked as 2015 was. Enjoy the photos and see you soon!

Also big thanks to my amazing crew on the beach for staying out in the cold and shooting some amazing photos!

Sunny portraits at the Baltic Sea

Hi,

on our trip to the Baltic Sea a couple of weeks ago we finally got lucky and were able to catch some sunshine. We spend one week on a small island north of Hamburg. It's quite a gorgeous place especially this tim of the year. Dark blue skies accompanied with golden fields of rye circled by the azure sea. The whole place has an incredibly calming and relaxing atmosphere so it's the perfect Big-City-Detox. 

 
 

Of course I wanted to use the opportunity to get outside and shoot some pictures.  These pictures were from of first day, approximately 30 minutes before sunset, all shot on my 85mm:

The next day we took the bikes along the seaside. Following a little trail we arrived at a very picturesque lighthouse just in time when the light became softer and warmer.

We tried a few different things to make the most out of that fantastic scenery. Again pretty much all of these are shot 85mm between, f1.4 and f2.8. For portraits during sunset I usually shot facing away from the sun to get that very smooth and warm fill light. Usually I cool my pictures down a little bit in Lightroom as I personally don't like that overly warm and saturated feel. 

Another day we were lucky to get a boat and explore the surroundings via sea. The Baltic Sea is a top spot for all sorts of water-sports like sailing, wind- or kite-surfing. On a good day the sea ir most likely busier than the land.   

I carried my camera and a 50mm in a waterproof bag. These shots were takes probably at noon so the light was pretty harsh. The camera was set to burst and I was holding it from the boat pretty close to the water surface to get an interesting perspective. Unfortunately focussing on the rear monitor in bright daylight while leaning over the rail of a boat was pretty tricky, but still quite a lot of fun.

These photos were taken pretty much right outside our house on our last evening. 

And finally a map in case you want to go there yourself:

 

How I shot the Perseid Meteor Shower from London

Ok, two things upfront:

  1. Can you photograph shooting stars in London even though the sky is polluted with lights and smog (and clouds for most of the year)? Yes!
  2. Will it be totally awesome and exciting? Most likely.
  3. Are the photos gonna make it in the next National Geographics? Well, unless you're best buddy with the chief editor probably not. But it'll still be fun.
 
Perseid Meteor Shower 2015

Perseid Meteor Shower 2015

 

Nothing beats a pitch black night in some remote mountain valley. Most definitely not London. You'll get a lot of light pollution and the photos won't be as good as somewhere in the countryside. But on the plus side you can grab a pint on your way back and be in your cosy bed in no time. So let's get started. 

  1. Find a dark park or field where you get as little streetlight as possible. I went to Whitings Hill Open Space which has the benefit of having a small hill in the middle so you won't get any foliage in the way.
  2. Get a tripod and preferably a pretty wide angle lens or a fisheye. I shot on a 10mm (17mm on my Sony A6000), if your camera or lens has Image Stabilisation I'd recommend you turn it off as on a tripod it can introduce vibrations. 
  3. Either use a remote trigger, or if you don't have one use the timer. This way you won't get any jiggle from you pushing the shutter button. Turn off the autofocus and set the focus to infinity.
  4. For as much detail as possible I'd shoot in raw.
  5. Open the aperture as wide as possible. Mine was f4, ISO 1600 and a shutter time of 25 seconds. These settings can vary with different cameras and lenses. Keep in mind that the earth is spinning so if you're exposing too long you will get trails.
  6. In order to actually catch a shooting star you'll need a lot of luck and even more patience. The way I did it, I checked online for the peak time of the meteor shower and where in the sky it was supposed to happen. In my case it was supposed to happen around the constellation of Cassiopeia, which is sort of a big "W" in the sky and quite easy to spot. Then I pointed my camera in that region of the sky and pretty much continuously triggered the shutter. This way I maximise my chances of getting one. 
  7. Try and compose you image as far away from the horizont as possible since the light pollution is stronger closer to the ground.
  8. Once I managed to get the images I wanted I headed back home and brought the photos into Adobe Lightroom. I did quite a bit of editing, mostly contrast and clarity. Also in the latest version of Lightroom the new dehaze feature seems to be doing a pretty good job for stars and bring back features of the Milky Way. Use brushes to lighten up the areas you want to highlight. I also added quite a string denoise on colour as well as luminance. Play with the colour temperature to get a nice galaxy-like hue.   

And that's all I did. Of course all the things will apply and work even better next time you're on a trip somewhere far away from any city and then the results will be breathtaking, promise. Also check out my other picture of the milky way.

What's in my bag

Hi,

the "What's in my bag" theme seems to be pretty trending these days. Personally I'm always pretty curious to see what other photographers usually carry around with them. I don't always carry my whole equipment, but especially when I travel to places I know exactly I won't get a second chance to shoot, I take most of my stuff with me. Thank god all that mirrorless stuff is pretty light weight.

So that's usually in my bag when I travel:

My main camera, the Sony a6000 together with the 35mm f1.8. It's small, light, flexible and image quality is stellar. 

My main camera, the Sony a6000 together with the 35mm f1.8. It's small, light, flexible and image quality is stellar. 

The Sony 10-18mm. Great for landscapes and architecture. A must-have lens for city trips. Renders some amazing pictures.

The Sony 10-18mm. Great for landscapes and architecture. A must-have lens for city trips. Renders some amazing pictures.

Sony 85mm 1.4 with LA-EA2 adapter. My portrait beast. Stellar image quality and a l lovely shallow depth of field. 

Sony 85mm 1.4 with LA-EA2 adapter. My portrait beast. Stellar image quality and a l lovely shallow depth of field. 

Lowepro Photo Hatchback. Fantastic rucksack, spacious on the inside, compact on the outside, safe, comes with a rain-cover. Fits 4 lenses and camera + all the things you need for a day of shooting.

Lowepro Photo Hatchback. Fantastic rucksack, spacious on the inside, compact on the outside, safe, comes with a rain-cover. Fits 4 lenses and camera + all the things you need for a day of shooting.

The Sony 70-210mm, which equals to about 300mm on 35mm. Great quality, light and compact. 

The Sony 70-210mm, which equals to about 300mm on 35mm. Great quality, light and compact. 

My first ever prime lens. 50mm 1.8 renders some bokehlicious sweetness. Amazing portrait lens. Always in my bag.

My first ever prime lens. 50mm 1.8 renders some bokehlicious sweetness. Amazing portrait lens. Always in my bag.

Joby GorillaPod. Always with me, always handy. Does a great job for the size, it's light and pretty versatile.

Joby GorillaPod. Always with me, always handy. Does a great job for the size, it's light and pretty versatile.

Crumpler Ben's Pizza. Small and versatile. Fit's a camera and one extra lens. Good for relaxed walks where you don't need any extra luggage. 

Crumpler Ben's Pizza. Small and versatile. Fit's a camera and one extra lens. Good for relaxed walks where you don't need any extra luggage. 

Autumn portraits at Kew Gardens

Spend a lovely Saturday at Kew, taking the opportunity to shoot some great portraits between the colourful  autumn leaves. Everything shot in natural light, most of it on either my 50mm or 85mm. Enjoy.

Milky Way over the Baltic Sea

Hi,

I took these pictures on my trip to the Baltic Sea last summer. The place where we stayed was quite remote and even though it's quite northern it get's pretty dark at night. And cutting out the light spill from the city helps a lot.

These were all taken on my old Sony 5N so noise performance isn't as good as recent cameras, images still turned out pretty impressive. Enjoy.