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One year with Sony Alpha cameras and ZEISS E-mount lenses. Developing my own photographic eye in a in a scratch book manner. Hunting the stream of inspiration and sharing it through a popular blog platform.
This is what 'Days of Zeiss' is all about.




Controlling the flame

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/25 – f/18, 30sec, ISO800, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/25 – f/18, 30sec, ISO800, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

One thing that can damage your photography is burning your flame of inspiration at too high temperature. I experience this from time to time and usually it's the case of not letting go of my original vision. I might, for example, have a picture that is 'ok' but not quite there and I insist on editing on it too long in hope for salvation – only to find out after couple of days that I'm actually fed up with the picture and it's not serving my photographic pleasure at all anymore. Usually this results a drop of inspiration for couple of days as I get a feeling that I cannot get anything done. I used to suffer this kind of drops more often before I understood that it is actually the same flame of inspiration that can make my photography 'fly in the zone' and also 'crash it into to ground' – and what actually happens depends on how high temperature I let the flame burn. Controlling my expectations and learning to let go have definitely been educational experience to me and nowadays I feel that it's usually more productive to move on the next idea than try to edit things beyond what is reasonable.

I feel that similar kind of stuff can be projected to the camera setup your using. When you are getting great results the setup is also great and inspiring. But when things don't go as you've planned, the grass starts to look more green on the other side of the fence. It's very humane feeling, but as you already know, often a wrong projection. So the question is, does the high quality equipment such as Sony & Zeiss stuff change this cognitive behavior in some way. Based on my experience over the few months, I would say that while it has become a lot harder to blame my tools, I'm still experiencing same kind of highs and lows as I've always have – not a big surprise really since one cannot really buy mental things like inspiration and passion. But using high quality tools have definitely given me certain kind of mental reference points which makes it easier to orientate myself in my own cognitive sceneries. For example, I don't have to worry about the gear or daydream about it, which clears space for other kind of thoughts and targets in healthy way. 'Having it all here' helps me to concentrate on photography itself rather than the tools themselves, and I feel this raises a new kind inspiration in me. Of course one can be disappointed with any gear, even the Zeiss Otus lenses, if one has unrealistic expectations and projections, but so far I have to say that using this setup is more liberating than it is driving my inner expectations. It's all about the flame and controlling it.