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I’m an outdoor and landscape photographer based in Rome. Usually, I live my journeys in the north and center of Italy. My country has two principal mountain chains: the Alps and the Apennines. While working, I often walk for many hours and kilometers to arrive at a wall climb or a suggestive peak to achieve the best view for my photos. As the writer Henry David Thoreau said in his book titled “Walden”:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
In my hiking or climbing activity, the weight of my gear is a very important detail in order to reduce required effort. However, in the end with all the survival and photography equipment included, the backpack still weighs around 15kg. For my shots, I usually use my Canon 5D Mark III with my favorite 2 Samyang lenses: the AF 14mm F2.8 EF and 85mm F.1.4 EF. These two lens sizes are the best to cover all my needs during my short expeditions. The 14mm has the right field of view with a very low distortion in the corners. The sharpness is incredible and it also has a high aperture. When I need to shoot some details, like an animal or I need to isolate a particular point of my subject, the 85mm is the best choice to keep the subject in a suggestive background with beautiful bokeh.
The lens is both compact and lightweight. When I go night shooting, the main problem I face is focusing on the subject adequately at the right distance. Because with my backpack and my tent I always looking for a place without the light pollution of the city and the peak’s mountain is the place where you can see with your eyes a fantastic starry sky with the milky way included. In this case, the focus of both lenses is incredible. Without hesitation, the lenses focus on the distant subject without using the hyperlocal method. Sometimes I use the light of my headlamp placed very far from the camera to have the focus on the right distance. Wet or rainy weather is always a problem, especially when working with electronic components. Another such example would be when taking shots near a magnificent waterfall.
For this reason, it is absolutely necessary for me to have equipment that has protection against moisture and dust. Fortunately, both of these AF lenses are coated against the weather injuries. There have been many situations where my lens or my camera was completely covered by snow during my ice hikes, without sustaining any damage whatsoever. Usually to shoot the stars you need to use a camera setting that gives some light on the sensor. The first method for this is to increase the ISO to catch some light without changing the aperture of the lenses modifying also the DOF. But depending on the quality of your camera, working with a higher ISO can decrease the sharpness of your photo. When looking at the shutter value, this kind of photo must shoot at a maximum of 20 or 30 seconds because with a longer exposition the stars begin to appear very blurred until the result of the star trail effect using shutter time over 30 seconds. A good exposure value for this kind of photo is about:
202-second, F2.8, ISO 1600
To obtain very good quality images your lens must be sharp at the bright aperture of F1.8 or F2.8. And the Samyang AF 14mm F2.8 is one of the best and sharpest lenses that I’ve tested.