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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.




Being there

Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/25 – f/8, 1/80sec, ISO100, raw Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

Sony A7 & ZEISS Batis 2/25 – f/8, 1/80sec, ISO100, raw
Photograph by Toni Ahvenainen

In previous post I told you that I’m starting to learn (at least some of) the characteristics of my Sony/Zeiss setup. I can put this tacit knowledge to use in my photography and use it as a repertoire for creating better images and photography experiences. And if using this very nice Sony/Zeiss setup has had one effect on me, it is that I don’t worry about gear anymore and because of that I tend to gravitate more towards actual shooting; thinking how I should approach some particular scenery or situation, exploring more my own thoughts about making images and always returning to same question ‘what does this image tell me and does it have that something in it which would make it stand out from the rest of the images in my own catalogue’. In short, I’m gravitating towards real-life and away from the test-diagrams, ‘the next best thing’, upgrade-continuum, reviews, etc.

But I need to be honest here: one doesn’t really need a Sony camera or bunch of Zeiss lenses to ‘be there’ or to ‘experience life’ photographically speaking. There are loads of very experienced and great photographers out there who work with something else. The equipment doesn’t make one a successful photographer and this is how it will always be. However, this truth is sometimes reduced to an exaggerated claim that ‘equipment doesn’t matter’, which I have to disagree as an internet aphorism. If you are a passionate and discerning photographer you already know that equipment matters a lot and finding the right tools which fit into your aesthetic and intellectual approach is very important for the flow. If you’ve gone through several different camera bodies you certainly know that some of them were better for you than others, and pretty often it isn’t the newest one. Never mind the specs there were some particular bodies and lenses which made you enjoy the process more than with others. Being sensitive for these kind of experiences is important since otherwise you’ll just end up chasing the specs and upgrades and never really create the right relationship with your photography.

If there’s been one setup in my life that has really affected my photography it was the Sony Nex-5N + SEL50F18 combination (though after 100 000 shots with that body I got pretty tired of it as it didn’t have viewfinder and the ergonomics lacked). I also had a kit lens SEL1855 to go with it, but quite a contrary, it was always the lens I didn’t glue with at all, since I always had to be on my toes not to cross the point where its performance would degrade very fast (and still I was at the low end of it). With the current Zeiss lenses I’m pretty much freed from these kind of technical limitations (with some very few exceptions) and I feel they are taking the place of ‘the number one’ photographic tool. But we’re not there yet, because as you know, what it really takes is creating the images you really love before the relationship will blossom. Viewing the shots that are most precious to you, and at the same time, remembering what you used to take them is the path for creating right relationship with you and your photography. With the shots like the one today, I’m entering into that positive swirl which will help me to get into that flow. It’s a good thing with a strong ‘being there’ feeling.