Despite being a cold winter Sunday, we couldn’t wait for our meeting: Exolens has invited us to test their wide angle lens for iPhone 6/6s. Our team consisted of five mobile photographers and since the light was ideal for photography, we gathered shortly before noon at our usual starting point, our beloved Café in the Kurfürstenstraße. We ordered the first cappuccino of the day and then we placed the Exolens boxes on the table. After opening the elegant package, we put our hands on the wide angle lens made by Carl Zeiss and we were really fascinated by its quality: the lens fitted easily and quickly on the iPhone 6/6s and even our first random photos looked impressive.
When we were all set for some serious photography, Efi stepped out of the Café and guided Stefan in order to take his portrait through the window. Stefan’s face appeared as a transparent layer on the reflected buildings of the street and the result that the wide angle Exolens delivered was beyond expectations! In the meantime, Paulus was shooting photos in the interior of the Café and the images he captured in the low light were totally satisfying, too.
Then it was time to be on the street and catch up with the weekend life of Berlin. We headed towards the Potsdamer Platz, famous for its astonishing architecture as well as for the dozens of people strolling around the area.
Although we were working as a team, everybody inhabited slowly a specific space and started chasing his own motives. On our way to Potsdamer Platz, Moritz shot portraits of Efi and again the Exolens delivered sharp results with ease.
The road led us first to the building of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Berlin, a beloved spot for architecture photography. Jan took advantage of the afternoon light and shot several photos of the building, using the Exolens in different angles. The yellowish color of the building in combination with the geometric shadows produced unique motives thanks to the wide angle lens.
Our visit to the Philharmonic Orchestra turned out to be the highlight of our walk and also the spot where we’ve tested the Exolens capabilities the most. We were lucky enough to arrive exactly at the time that the Sunday’s concert was coming to an end! Since timing is an important element of photography, our team members got ready at once for an intense session –and thanks to the Exolens photo-walk, we have discovered a perfect spot for street photography.
The doors have just opened and the crowds started exiting the building. Well-dressed people of a certain age walked towards the nearest bus stop, covering their eyes with their hands, as the sun was pretty intense at the moment. Efi and Moritz chose two separate spots and took photos of the people coming their way from every possible direction, while Stefan and Paulus preferred to walk constantly around the perimeter looking for interesting loners;
Jan, on the other hand, kept shooting architectural patterns, enriched with human presence this time. This was indeed the most intensive session of the day: in roughly twenty minutes, everyone shot dozens of photos. Were we satisfied though by the Exolens’ performance? You didn’t really have to ask: our faces were shining from excitement!
The last stop of our walk was the Potsdamer Platz itself. We arrived there on time in order to catch the last light of the day, shortly before the sunset. Once a notorious no-man’s-land, the Potsdamer Platz is nowadays a vibrant area as well as one of the commercial districts of Berlin; for the photo-enthusiasts it is the spot to combine people and architecture photography. By the time of our arrival there, everybody had gained enough shooting experience from the wide angle Exolens and another photographic session started. The results were of course as satisfying as we expected them to be: the crew started taking photos with ease, as if they’ve been shooting with the Exolens for a couple of weeks now.
Then, the sun vanished beneath the trees of Tiergarten and it was time to say goodbye. After a very productive day, we were about to return back home and work further on our photos. We were tired but highly satisfied: starting from that very Sunday, we knew that as mobile photographers we had a new powerful tool in our hands.
*Thank you Exolens for their support in producing the article
George Pavlopoulos was born in Athens, Greece in 1980. He is the author of three novels: 300 Kelvin in the Afternoon, (Alexandria Publications, 2007), Steam, (Kedros, 2011) and The Limit and the Wave (Potamos, 2014). Extended excerpts from his first two novels were featured in New York based online translation venue, InTranslation. His second novel Steam is in the permanent collection of Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia libraries. He was a guest of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair. He currently lives in Berlin.