As a landscape photographer, İlhan Eroğlu gets to experience the very best that the planet has to offer in terms of locations. But as all landscape photographers know, it is the time of year and the weather that define the light that can make an image.
“Winter is like a fairytale” explains İlhan, “there is something magical about the first snow fall before anyone steps on it, which is why it’s one of my favourite times of year to photograph.”
Travelling the world with İlhan is his trusty Sony α7R III. The camera provides him with the perfect combination of size and weight, and the 42.4 megapixel BSI sensor can capture up to 15EV of dynamic range, which allows İlhan to squeeze every bit of detail out of his chosen scene. In terms of lenses, he carries three that allow him to capture everything from 12mm to 200mm – the FE 12-24mm f/4 G lens, and the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 and the FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master lenses.
Using a remote release also allows İlhan to keep his hands off the camera, preventing any slight movement. Using the Sony RM-VPR1 release also means he can fire the cameras shutter with his hands in his pocket, to keep them warm. “I always have gloves, but prefer not to wear them when I am actually shooting and setting up the camera. I prefer to have hand warmers in my pockets.”
The appeal of the winter landscape is easy to see, as İlhan explains, “the light in winter has a magical effect! During sunrise you can capture the bright shimmering light as it glistens on the snow. The conditions also allow me to capture more content during the day, as the sun is not as bright or overhead during the winter months. I’m a coffee lover,” İlhan jokes, “so I also always make sure I have a flask of coffee so I can drink, enjoy the view and stay a little bit warmer whilst I wait for the perfect light.”
With all the talk of shimmering sunshine it can be easy to forget that isolated winter landscapes can often be a hard environment to work in. The freezing temperatures, wind and rain can make it a challenge. The weather conditions can also quickly change, so İlhan advises that photographers are well researched and well prepared for both the conditions and to shoot landscapes.
“One day in Bavaria, Germany, my wife and I went to shoot sunrise at a beautiful location where the sun rises behind a mountain, with lake and wooden sheds in the foreground,” İlhan describes. “It was dark and cloudy, but we drove as close as we could to the location. Because of the darkness and heavy snow, we decided to wait in the car; sunrise was coming, but with the heavy cloud it seemed there would be no opportunity to take a good photo. As you may have guessed, suddenly all the clouds disappeared and we had to run quickly through the snow. I got the photograph that I wanted, but importantly also learnt a valuable lesson: Be in place, ready to shoot, even if you think the weather isn’t any good.”
Having been a Sony user since the original Alpha 7R was released, İlhan has grown as the camera has developed saying, “I feel like the camera is now just part of me”. One area of improvement that he has noticed in the cold weather is the battery life. With the NP-FZ1000 batteries used in the current Sony Alpha 7 and Alpha 9 cameras, İlhan has no issue shooting hundreds of images in cold environments. “I get great cold weather performance from the camera,” he says.
“I remember shooting in Lofoten Islands, Norway,” İlhan says. “I had been trying to photograph the Northern Lights on this beach during a very cold and windy night. I had been shooting for 9 days in these conditions, but on this night the tide was different and I had waves suddenly splashing over me. After chasing this image for so long the last thing I could worry about was the camera, so I kept shooting, determined to get the shot. Of course, I got the image and the camera was fine.”
If all the talk of cold weather hasn’t put you off shooting winter landscapes yourself then perhaps the best advice that İlhan offers is, “to make sure you enjoy the adventure of being outside. Shooting winter landscapes involves spending a lot of time in the cold so remember to appreciate your surroundings as much as concentrating on the shot.”
"The world is a huge canvas for me. In every country I visit, I paint my own pictures by taking photos"