Longtime Amigo and Lomographer Edward Conde is a chameleon of photography. With 10 years of photography, amongst which six spent on film throw some extremely low ISO film at him and he'll shoot the sharpest, sunniest rolls. Give him some grungy film, he'll photograph incredible urban scenes. This time, Edward tested out the new Atoll Ultra-Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens. Up, close, and personal, he captured some beautiful portraits, grandiose landscapes, and scenes from the buzzing downtown Los Angeles.
Hey Edward! It's great to have you back again at Lomography! What have you been shooting lately?
The 2020 lockdown stopped me from going into the city to photograph. Because of the pandemic guidelines in place, that lead me to start shooting landscapes and some astrophotography. I temporarily relocated to an area near Yosemite and I spent some time in the mountains during the fall/winter seasons. I just recently made a trip back to the streets of Los Angeles for the first time in over a year.
Are you working on any project we should keep an eye on for the future?
I am at the beginning of curating a large number of images I shot in 2018 for a possible book or zine. Other than that, just waiting for life to go back to normal so I can get back to familiar areas and reunite with some of my photography friends for a Photowalk or two.
How was it shooting the Atoll Lens?
It was fun shooting the lens. It made me think a bit about how I want to compose the scene and what would be in the frame. Being wide, there was a lot that was caught in the frame, so simply moving it slightly in any direction changed what was being captured in the image.
Have you ever shot with such a wide lens before?
I own the LC-Wide which has a 17mm lens. So yeah I had an idea of the focal length but shooting it on my Fuji or Bessa cameras, was altogether a different experience from the phenomenal LC-Wide.
What camera did you use it with?
For film, I used the Bessa R4m because it has a 21 viewfinder and that got me an idea of what the captured area would be. I also was able to find the 17mm viewfinder that I use often with my LC-Wide for composing and attached that to my Bessa R3a for a day of shooting. I also shot with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for some night shooting in Downtown Los Angeles. On the Fuji, the focal length is somewhere in the area of 24mm. Still pretty wide!
From the pictures you sent us do you have a favorite?
From the night shots that I took with the Fuji, I have a couple of favorites, the bus that was just about to depart from the stop and the man standing at a door of a store. Both of those images I had to capture quickly and with a twist of the lens to get the scene in focus.
How would you incorporate the Atoll Lens in your workflow?
I think this lens for me would be used mostly in tight street areas where I can set the hyperfocal distance and just capture things happening around me.
What would you like to shoot with this lens?
I can think of two places right now where this lens would be fun. Santee Alley and Placita Olvera in Los Angeles. These are tight shopping areas with a ton of people. I would also like to try the lens for Astrophotography on film and digital.
Do you have any tips to share with readers who want to shoot with the Atoll Lens?
Keep an eye on your framing. If you are trying to purposely exclude something in a scene, move around a bit and see if the shot is better from a different angle. Rangefinder shooters should know that the lens hood will partially cover the lower corner of the viewfinder. I used the external viewfinder I have for the LC-Wide and I was able to compose easily and meter through the camera viewfinder. Starbursts will show up around f8 or so if you are shooting at night. This was an awesome surprise when I reviewed the images on my X-Pro2 and then tried it when I shot on film.