Perth-based photographer Lewis Williamson lives by his creative creed on turning the simple and natural to be sublime, especially with the scenery found in his hometown Mandurah. A lover of Australia's wide skies and open spaces, the photographer has put Lomography's new Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm f/2.8 Art Lens to the test by expanding the picturesque horizons and perspectives yet to be captured on the already scenic coasts of Western Australia. Find out Lewis' experience with the newest wide-angle lens from Lomography.
Hi Lewis! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Lewis Williamson. I’m a photographer from Mandurah, Western Australia. I mainly focus on portrait photography and documentary-style landscape photography. I love to capture where I live and try to showcase the feel of the smaller town that I live in.
How did you get into photography and where/whom do you draw inspiration from?
I started photography around late 2015 and early 2016, I mainly wanted to capture a holiday in Japan, and I found my phone wasn’t cutting it, so I got myself a cheap DSLR.
Shortly after this, I saw some work from people shooting film and I found my dad's old Pentax P30 and shot my first roll of film. After this, I was hooked on film and photography in general. I find inspiration lately from photo books. Lately, I’ve really been loving Cape Light by Joel Meyerowitz. I love the way he captured very basic compositions but the light was so incredible that it made the simple composition look so beautiful. I also find inspiration from many of the incredible photographers on Instagram.
A lot of your imagery revolves around intimate, bright moments. Does the film medium give you better creative possibilities to create this soft atmosphere?
I believe that film helps me to capture images in a way I like. I often find digital shots too sharp and precise. And I feel like the way that film renders color and light are incredible and it helps me to capture the feel that I like in my images.
You recently tried out a prototype of our new Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm f/2.8 Art Lens – could you tell us about the photos you shot with it?
When Lomography approached me to test out the Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm lens I knew that I wanted to shoot some wide shots at the beach. I was lucky enough to be heading to Rottnest. Which is a small island off the coast of Western Australia. I was also very excited to try it around the beaches of Mandurah where I live. I had the M-mount copy of this lens which I was able to use with my Minolta CLE and then adapt it to my Sony A7iii.
What was the widest lens you have worked with in the past? In your opinion, what’s the best reason to shoot with wide-angle lenses?
The widest lens I have used is a 16 mm. I don’t often find myself shooting very wide with my film cameras as there aren’t many affordable or interesting options out there. Generally, the widest most people go with old manual lenses is around 24 mm-28 mm. And I find that having an ultra-wide lens gives you the ability to take photos that are a bit different or that can stand out from what everyone else can be doing.
How was the experience shooting with this lens? What did you like the most?
I liked shooting with the prototype of this lens. It was small enough and also fast enough to make some interesting shots and not have it feel like it got in the way of my shooting
style. It was light, and with the external viewfinder I had, it was able to make some shots I was very happy with. I also enjoyed shooting in manually on my Sony... it was good and fun for getting up close and personal with the quokkas on Rottnest. My favorite thing about the lens was the 2.8 aperture. It's super handy for shooting around sunset.
You were able to test the lens in various situations, including portraits – which is not typically the first thing that comes to mind when using ultra-wide lenses. Did you have a different approach for composing your portraits than when using standard lenses?
I enjoyed using this lens for portraits, the shoot allowed me to get a lot of beautiful beach background in the shots. And I was able to get some fun shots in the tiny phone booth because it was ultra-wide. I find that making sure you composed with your subject closer to the center of the frame with wide-angle lenses is super important. If they get too close to the edges they can get distorted.
What was your experience filming with the Atoll Art Lens? Have you ever used ultra-wide angle lenses for video before?
I liked using the Atoll for filming. I film a lot with my 16-35 mm, but that is only an f4 so getting that extra bit of light when it's darker is super nice. It also helps that it is
manual focus and not focus by wire if you have to do precise focusing.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
I don’t have too many upcoming projects planned at the moment, I recently finished one -- documenting the way the local government went about closing play equipment near me
during the earlier lockdowns from COVID-19. It was interesting going out to playgrounds that I used to go to as a child and see them all closed down and covered in danger tape. I plan on spending a lot of this year trying to document and take photos of Mandurah and hopefully, after a while doing this I will have enough good work to maybe put together a project.
We are back on Kickstarter with the Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm f/2.8 Art Lens . Embrace a whole new perspective with a lens designed for full-frame mirrorless and compatible with M-Mount cameras. Discover our new Art Lens and back up the project on Kickstarter!