Want to up your photography game? To help you capture perfect moments wherever you are, we’ve teamed up with two award-winning photographers as they go on a mission to capture the perfect shot straight from their iPhone.
You can read the review from Instagram Guru and creative director, Matt Scutt, here, and next up is Rob Stothard. A professional photographer, Rob has won multiple awards including being crowned Canon Young Photographer of the Year (2012) and Magnum Photos 30 under 30 (2015).
When ExoLens challenged me to test out the lenses and take a series of high quality photos, I instantly thought of Snowdonia as a location for the shoot. I’ve been interested in climbing ‘Yr Wyddfa’, or Mount Snowdon, for some time, fuelled by the fond but hazy memories of taking the easier route – the train – as a child.
I drove up from London in the evening, arriving at our accommodation at night, totally unaware of the beautiful countryside of the national park that was covered in darkness. The mountain, at 1,085 metres above sea level, is the largest in Wales & England and, due to the recent snowfall, it wasn’t certain that we’d be able to reach the top without ice climbing gear.
Optimistically I set off the next morning, ensuring that I’d catch the morning light we started our attempt to reach the summit of Snowdon at 0700. It’s hard to find a good reason to be at work before the sun rises but you can’t beat the light at the beginning of the day. Great natural light is insurmountable and therefore more than worth getting up for.
Using the telephoto lens:
It wasn’t long before the first light started to hit the snowy tops of the surrounding hills and colour the sky behind it. The ground around us was still in darkness and due to the vast different in light between our position and the surrounding hills, the wide-angle lens wasn’t suitable.
This gave me an early reason for using the ExoLens 2.0x Telephoto lens that I had in my pocket. The lens, at an equivalent of 56mm, wasn’t too long to crop out the wider landscape but was long enough to isolate the area of hilltop I was interested in.
Here the sun barely makes it above the top of mount Snowdon in late November, leaving some areas of mountainside without sunlight all day. Crucially, this means there were regularly parts of the scene in darkness and having the telephoto lens available to get beyond these to focus on the areas of light was a huge benefit.
Read reviews of the telephoto lens and check out the range here.
Using the wide-angle lens:
The iPhone’s standard lens often feels a little too wide for everyday photographs, but up in the clouds it doesn’t bring in enough of the landscape. That’s why the wide-angle lens was the perfect companion for a trip up the mountain.
It can be frustrating as a photographer working in such vast vistas; you often feel like there’s not a lens wide enough to capture the entire scene, but having the wide angle lens in my pocket meant that extended perspective was right at my fingertips.
Greater tests for the lens came on our second day travelling around other parts of Eryri, Snowdonia National Park. Starting in Betws-y-Coed, we spent some time photographing the Pont-y-Pair Falls that run through the centre of town. The angle of the river required shooting into through the haze into direct sunlight and, despite this, there is little to no flare on the lens.
The frame for the ExoLens is particularly impressive, it’s light and solid and fits on the iPhone with ease and securely. Fortunately the kit features a built-in 1/4″-20 tripod mount on the bottom for attaching the iPhone to most tripods, meaning that, with the help of a third-party app for the iPhone, I could produce long exposures of the water falling over the rocks.
Read reviews of the wide angle lens and check out the range here.
Capturing the perfect shot:
To end our trip in north Wales, I visited Harlech Beach, with its beautiful sand dunes and large curve of flat sand. This spot is one that definitely couldn’t be missed in our challenge to capture the perfect shots. Up to that point, the weather had been on our side, and the sunset was no exception as we patiently waited for the sky to warm to a deep colour of amber in the middle of the bay.
Here was another opportunity to test out the lenses, by shooting in direct sunlight. Both the Telephoto and the Wide-Angle lens performed flawlessly, holding detail in the water without blowing out brighter areas of the golden sky.
The verdict? I was very pleased with the performance of this intricately innovative piece of kit. As a professional photographer I can certainly say that I was impressed with the quality of such a portable lens, allowing for much greater versatility when shooting on the move.
Want to be an #ExoPro? Visit the #ExoPro page on our website for top tips and videos from Rob and our other photographers as they show you how to take the perfect shot from your iPhone.