Did you know that you can use our Atoll Ultra-Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens in so many different creative ways? From an amusing vlog in a small town in Southern Spain to an incredible rock music video? The videomaker and photographer from Argentina Nicolás Peña shows us how to make the most of this versatile Art Lens.
Hi Nicolás, welcome to Lomography! Could you introduce yourself to the readers of our online Magazine?
My name is Nicolás Peña and I am a cinematographer from Argentina. I currently live and reside in Finland where I love to spend most days out in nature with my camera, appreciating every corner of this magical country.
Tell us about your photographic background. What is your story? When did you start photographing?
I started to get involved in the audiovisual world in Argentina when I was 15 years old. I was riding BMX with my childhood friends and somehow I felt the need to be able to document our progress. Then one day I took the compact camera I had at home and went out to record and take pictures of my friends. That's where I fell in love. Having the ability to be able to freeze a moment or store a few seconds of footage was everything to me. From then on, I got more and more involved until I took a film course to become a DoP. Months later I quit and began to study and train myself in a self-taught way until today.
You filmed a vlog with our Atoll Ultra-Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens in Mijas Pueblo, Spain. How was the experience?
I had a whole day off to go out and create content, so I decided to go to Mijas Pueblo (Old Town near Fuengirola), as its streets are very striking and were ideal for the focal length of the Atoll Ultra-wide 17 mm. The experience was very positive. I managed to capture the images I had in mind in a simple way, especially when composing the image, since the 17 mm in full frame gives you a large field of view to add the elements you want to show in your composition. I mounted it on a gimbal with a follow focus so I could focus when I wanted to and the rest was pure composition and camera movement.
Something I loved about the Atoll was its behavior in terms of distortion. When I did push-in camera movements, the vertical lines remained straight without distortion (something I personally love.) On the other hand, the sharpness at closed apertures (F8 for example) is very good, providing a 100 percent focused and clean image. I think the only thing I don't like so much about the lens is how complicated it can be to add a filter (Something necessary for me, since I'm a big fan of using NDs.) But other than that, I rate the performance of the optic positively in all aspects. Its bokeh at F2.8 is creamy, making it attractive for vlogging.
Recently, you also shot a music video with the same lens and it came out great! Would you recommend it for this kind of shoot?
Yes, it was a coincidence, because I had in mind to make handheld camera movements and I wanted to do it with a wide angle that would give me the possibility to work in an open aperture to get bokeh at the same time and separate a little the talent from the background, so I tried a 14 mm F2.8, a 28 mm F2, a 24 mm F4, and none of them convinced me, until I remembered I had the Atoll 17 mm F2.8 in the backpack. Then I put it to the test and it was perfect. I have no choice but to recommend it. It's small, 2.8 and a super nice 17 mm focal length for those kinds of situations.
Which camera did you use for these videos and pictures?
I used my usual camera, my trusty Sony A7III. I think you don't need big equipment when you know what elements to place in a composition and you know why you place them in an image. That's what carries the most weight when it comes to telling a story.
You have a very interesting YouTube channel. Why did you decide to start it? And what is the most challenging thing to keep up with a YouTube channel?
I decided to start my YouTube channel because I wanted to share my knowledge learned in a self-taught way and thus be able to give value to all the young filmmakers who are joining this world of audiovisual art. I think the most difficult part is to be constant and bring content with a background full of value. For me that is the most “complex” part of maintaining a YouTube channel.
What should we expect from your next videos? Do you have any interesting projects planned?
Currently, the path I am trying to develop with my channel is none other than to share my knowledge in a closer way. Trying to create a learning atmosphere, but as if it were a friend-to-friend chat. In the future, my plans are to try to take the channel towards the direction of the “independent filmmaker” through travel. To show what lies beyond, but from the vision of a “solo” filmmaker. Although it sounds a bit complex at first glance, I think it's an original idea, which if you have a certain eye and personality, can be a curious success or a sweet failure. For my part, I'm working on it in parallel. But no doubt, it will be a start of 2023 full of surprises.