two figures on a clifftop overlooking the sea

The Outer Limits

Gábor Nagy

I don't really like to shoot sunsets,” admits travel specialist Gábor Nagy, “and I don't like clear blue skies either. I find those conditions just as beautiful as everyone else, but they aren’t what I want to capture.”

“The pictures I want,” he explains, “come when it's raining, snowing or misty, or when I’m 2000 metres up a mountain’s sheer arête and fighting with the elements. I think if you still have the courage to take out your camera and shoot in those situations you’ll find the most rewarding moments. Of course, you need the right kind of camera though.”

top of a mountain poking through the clouds

© Gábor Nagy | Sony α1 + FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM | 1/250s @ f/5.0, ISO 100

Alongside Gábor’s day job in a creative agency, his photographic approach has seen him take on a second career, serving travel agencies and tourist boards with imagery, and attracting almost 50,000 followers on Instagram, all of them in tune with his wild vision of the world. “My audience likes these kinds of extreme views,” he explains, “but though I always loved hiking and climbing in places like the Dolomites, the Austrian Alps and the High Tatras in Slovakia, I only started taking a camera with me around five years ago.”

man on surfboard approaching the shore

© Gábor Nagy | Sony α1 + FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS | 1/1600s @ f/5.6, ISO 500

It’s this craving for the wild that brought Gábor to Madeira, where he got to shoot stills and video with the new Sony Alpha 1. “Some of my favourite images from this trip,” he explains, “were the night shots of Fanal Forest, an ancient collection of laurel trees on a mountain plateau, which is like a surreal fairytale landscape of crooked branches. It’s a popular spot for photographers, so as usual I wanted to do something different.”

light trails around a tree at night

© Gábor Nagy | Sony α1 + FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM | 30s @ f/4.0, ISO 1000

“I got to the forest a few hours before dark,” he continues, “found a good composition and waited until the night came. I placed the RGB lights under the trees and I set up my camera on a tripod, so it was all done in one shot. The main difficulty was getting a shutter speed which would hold the trees still against the wind so the leaves and branches wouldn’t be blurry. Fortunately, the Alpha 1’s high ISO performance meant I could ramp the sensitivity to 6400 for a quick enough shutter speed and still get amazing, noise free results.”

Shooting through the night and in all weathers, the Alpha 1’s weather sealing and handling also impressed Gábor. “The Alpha 1 is a match made in heaven for me, as I can shoot in pouring rain, dust and snow, and still enjoy everything that’s great about the camera,” he says. “I love the bigger grip, too. I previously worked with the Alpha 7R III, which was a brilliant camera, but if I’m shooting all day with a larger lens like the FE 24-70mm GM or FE 100-400mm GM, it feels so much more comfortable. The touch of the buttons feels more responsive to me, too, which is really important when you’re working in the wet and cold.”

person standing by an illuminated tree at night

© Gábor Nagy | Sony α1 + FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM | 6s @ f/4.0, ISO 6400

The Alpha 1 also features a clever function, which closes the shutter and protects the sensor when you turn off the camera, something that Gábor really appreciated as “it stopped me needing to constantly clean the sensor when I change lenses in windy, dusty and rainy environments!”

Moving on with his work and finding new creative avenues as well as physical challenges, Gábor is now prioritising video for his travel clients – a need that the Alpha 1 is designed to meet and exceed for all hybrid creators. “The fact that I can just move a dial on the body and switch from 8k video to 30fps stills at 50 megapixels is a game changer for me,” he explains, “and the dynamic range in the 10-bit video is tremendous, too, so I was able to pull lots of detail back into overexposed skies and other areas.”

a bird about to take food from an outstretched hand

Gábor Nagy | Sony α1 + FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM | 1/2000s @ f/2.8, ISO 125

“But what I found most useful,” Gábor says,” is that I can pull 8K snapshots while shooting video, and still edit them hard because the quality I need is all right there in the file. There is a shot of me on a cliff top that we captured with the FE 100-400mm GM, framing up from about 4km away and using walkie talkies to communicate. That was captured right along with the footage and it looks amazing.”

rays of sunlight coming through a cloud over the sea

© Gábor Nagy | Sony α1 + FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM | 1/160s @ f/2.8, ISO 100

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