A Walk in Epping Forest

Alyssa Zalabai

Photographer from England

A Walk in Epping Forest

For the past 3 years that I have been photographing children in London, I have found myself a favourite place to photograph my subjects in and even go there occasionally just to have a walk
or a bicycle ride with my family and just be connected with nature, this place is called Epping Forest. It’s mostly made up of many striking areas of woodlands and home to many different varieties of trees, plants and animals from small insects to majestic deers, truly a perfect place for nature enthusiasts. I am lucky enough to live close which gives me plenty of opportunities to visit this place when the London weather permits. It's a huge area with plenty of great
reservations of nature that makes up that picture perfect backdrop, ranging from tall trees and wide open spaces with picturesque views of the sky perfect for portrait sessions. When people think of portraits they usually think of focal lengths more in the telephoto range or maybe the 35mm for wider field of view. I was the same until I got my hands on an ultra wide angle lens, the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4. Now my favourite place to shoot has changed already just by looking through the viewfinder, it has so much more to offer and gives me the possibility to add a whole different story to my images. Now through my images I can give back how I see it with my own eyes, outwardly calm and collected.

One of the best spots in Epping Forest to shoot when you’re lucky enough to have a great sky is Chingford Plains, where I take my child to run around and get fresh air in a long stretch of open space and grassland which is also used by many locals for exercises such as walking, cycling or walking their dogs. Life in London is fast and busy, so this is where you can unwind and really appreciate life and get more connected to nature.
I myself grew up in the countryside of the Philippines which compared to London is way less busy and much more calm, so this is where I can have the nostalgic feeling of my childhood. I always suggest this place for an outdoor photo session with my clients whenever I can as it has so much to offer and almost every visit I find a new hidden place which helps me to create unique images.

London is known for its quick changing, often moody weather, from rain and windy one day and bright and sunny the other day, or even it can drastically change in a matter of minutes so you have to keep an eye on the weather forecast when you are planning to do hotoshoots.
Quite often the sky is overcast and gloomy which acts as a natural diffuser helping me achieve soft shadows, but when you get lucky with the weather, you can have beautifully lit cloudy skies bringing you amazing colours. I always have this opportunity and when I see it, I run out to not miss all its glory and when you catch that glimpse of sunset when it’s been raining all week is like the gold pot at the end of the rainbow.

Another one of my favourite spots of this enormous forest is the ighams Park Lake where you can have fun and educational time with children by watching the various birds who live at the lake. Along its shore, there are many hidden spots covered with trees and bushes where you can come closer to the water and when ducks notice you, they come swimming right by in hope of some snacks. But with their
rich environment these small spots give me lots of opportunities to create great photos.
But apart from this lake this forest also has many ponds, some smaller some a bit bigger like Connaught Water, which is not far from Chingford Plains

This has relatively easy access to public transport and the jaw-dropping view especially closer to sunset is something not to be missed if you are in this area, with its striking stands of ancient
hornbeams and grove of young oaks lit by the setting Sun. This is the perfect time to go out with family, and for me, the best time to hotograph my growing child. The ultra wide angle of view of the Samyang XP 14mm f2.4 has helped me capture my son in his most playful times with his surroundings clearly visible, the time, the mood and the colors are in harmony with his lively energy. Growing up with photo enthusiast parents he has been used to being a model and he
doesn’t mind me posing him and he is happy to cooperate with my ideas. One of the reasons I enjoy taking photos of children is they are beautiful just like nature, they all have their own personalities and it is up to me to determine how to capture them the best way being their own little individual.

In the past few years, I have been intimidated by how massive Epping Forest is and I have always thought of how to incorporate it with children portraits and needless to say, Samyang XP 14mm F2.4 has given me another opportunity in creating my photos. Now more than ever I am more eager to come to this place and create many different images of either my own son or of my beloved clients. Even though I spent many hours at Epping Forest I still haven’t explored this gem of all its beauty and I am excited to see what hidden places of this forest holds for me where I can take more photographs of it.

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Samyang’s Guide to Achieving the Optimal Angle of View

The perfect spacing and distance are always necessary when shooting all kinds of subjects, including people, to give them a proper relationship with the beautiful space around them. So, what’s the exact distance that helps you best appreciate a work of art, or a photo?

The correct answer is the diagonal length of the full frame of a subject.

표준화각 자료 이미지
표준화각 자료 이미지

The best standpoint from which to appreciate the full view of a subject is the distance of the diagonal length of the subject frame. This wider angle is superior to standing closer at a 50 degree angle to get a more detailed view. This notion of an ideal distance or view point is also applicable in the world of photography.

For still images, keeping a distance equal to the diagonal length of the full image surface is recommended. The full frame sensor of a digital camera is 36 x 24mm and the diagonal length is 43.26mm so any distance close to this number is nearer to the ideal than the currently accepted industry standard of 50mm.

Back when film cameras were common, 45mm was the industry standard and this continued as reflex cameras needed extra space to fit a mirror. However, as mirrorless cameras become more popular again, there has been a need to return to this industry standard…which is the impetus for the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE. With less distortion than a 35mm lens and wider angles than a 55mm lens, the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE is a perfect lens for portraits, landscapes, architecture photography, and pictures of pets.

What is Preset Aperture Control Function?

On the Preset Aperture Control function, the aperture blade operates smoothly like a "De-clicked lens", which is advantageous for video recording.
Fujifilm cameras are engineered to control the aperture according to the minimum exposure value(F-stop), so when the camera controls the aperture, it blinks momentarily to set the proper exposure.

AF 75mm F1.8 X intentionally disconnects the communication with the camera body and the lens itself on the Preset Aperture Control function, so it is possible to smoothly adjust the exposure without flickering. ISO and shutter speed are adjusted according to the changed exposure by controlling the aperture, so the exposure value can be changed even with the 1/2 F-stop.

What is Recommended Settings for Preset Aperture Control Function?

The Preset Aperture Control function operates only when shooting video(Movie mode) and the focusing mode of the camera is set to AF mode. Please set the aperture at f/1.8 before switching the "Custom Switch" to "Mode 2. It is recommended to set the "Exposure mode" as A mode (Aperture Priority AE) or M mode (Manual Exposure).

* How to use the “Preset Aperture Control” function?

1) Camera Body Setting
      AF Mode → Video Mode ('A' or 'M' mode) → Set the Aperture @F1.8
(2) Lens Setting
      Switch your "Custom Switch” to “Mode 2(M2)"
(3) Now, you're ready to use the Preset Aperture Control function with your focus ring

[What is Dolly Shot? How to shoot easily]

[What is Dolly shot?]

A dolly shot, also referred to as a tracking shot or trucking shot, is a camera movement technique used by cinematographers to track and follow a subject in motion. To achieve this, the camera is mounted on a device called a "dolly," which facilitates smooth tracking movement. The dolly can move in front of, behind, or alongside the subject, which can be a person, a location, a product, or any other object of focus in the frame. Through this, you can control the emotional distance between the subject and the viewer by highlighting the audiovisual and dramatic effects.

[How to take a Dolly Shot simply by handheld]

Tip. If the moving distance is long, the camera may shake, so please shoot at a focal length between 35 and 100mm.
1. Stand at a distance of about 1.5 to 2 meters away from the subject.
2. Set the custom switch to MF and Mode 3 and adjust the focal length to about 100mm.
3. After focusing on the subject, set the aperture to F8~16.
4. Slowly turn the zoom ring to the left (towards the wide-angle end) while using your upper body and arms to move the camera toward your subject.
5. Dolly Shot complete!
※ When shooting from a farther distance from the subject, use a cart or gimbal for more stable shooting.

DSLR / Full Frame
1D X Mark Ⅱ
1D X
1Ds Mark Ⅲ
5D Mark Ⅳ
5D Mark Ⅲ
6D Mark Ⅱ
1D Mark Ⅲ
Mirrorless / APS-C
7D Mark Ⅱ
77D (9000D)
760D (8000D / Rebel T6s)
1300D (Kiss X80 / Rebel T6)
1200D (Kiss X70 / Rebel T5)
200D (Kiss X9 / Rebel SL2)
800D (Kiss X9i / Rebel T7i)
700D (Kiss X9i / Rebel T7i)
100D (Kiss X7 / Rebel SL1)
650D (Kiss X6i / Rebel T4i)
600D (Kiss X5 / Rebel T3i)
550D (Kiss X4 / Rebel T2i)
500D (Kiss X3 / Rebel T1i)
1000D (Kiss F / Rebel XS)
450D (Kiss X2 / Rebel X냐)
DSLR / Full Frame
DSLR / Full Frame

* Cameras released within 5 years from 2019 are tested.

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