Originally from Canada, Erica has made of New York City her home and one of her muses, as she captures soft and magical sides of the city that don't often appear to others. Although she usually shoots with closer lenses for her portrait and wedding work, she let herself be tamed and tame the Atoll lens; a synergetic result along with her model Bergen Specia.
With her sensitive yet strong eye, her passion for people, and her affinity with the sky and sea, it seemed only natural for Erica to test out the widest lens without distortion. "I had so much fun with that lens, to be honest, more fun than I was anticipating," she says. "It was like opening up a whole new world to me. I don’t typically shoot that wide so it was a nice creative challenge for me to shoot with that lens, and as I got more comfortable with it, really trying to have our model be the focus and have this dreamy effect being created around her."
"A lot of my paid work involves shooting a lot of weddings and it seems like a really fun lens for some really dramatic shots, where the couple is quite small in the scenery. I feel like that would be a great lens to focus in on the couple, but then have their background and scenery really look quite dramatic and dreamy."
Along with her model, Erica shot the city in all its glory without having to crop its beautiful skyline. After a learning curve as she had never shot wider than 24 mm before, Erica found her sweet spot. "I really enjoyed the effect of the lens when I was a little bit below our model, and the sky was much more dramatic, and had her standing in front of bushes or the skyline. It just really gave a much more, dreamy quality, soft and vibrant look to the photos, and those really stood out," she explains.
With a larger than life look to it, the pictures came out grandiose to say the least.
When it comes to seeing the pictures on a big screen, for post-editing, the sharpness and clarity of the lens reach a whole other level. With an aperture as wide as f/2.8 up to f/16, it becomes easier to isolate a subject, or shoot in low light conditions while still getting a sharp and contrasted image.
But don't be duped by all its features, this lens won't weigh your camera down, but let it sit straight and comfortable around your shoulder, neck, or even used with a stabilizer or focus rings. "I really like the feeling of the lens, it was like lighter than what I’m used to, there was a slowness to it that forced you to slow down, that had that kind of film camera feeling to it," says Erica. "It wasn’t anything that took very long to get used to, or very difficult. It was very light."
"It was such a reminder that we can get very stuck in our comfort zone of lenses and bodies, and it was a great lesson and challenge, a great way to remind myself that there’s a whole new way of creation to make a body of work better and more interesting and go into something very different that I’m used to. "
Beyond the ethereal look of the Lomography Atoll Ultra-Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens on-screen and on film, there is a certain aura that comes from such an imposing point of view.
"There is all this drama and dreamy effect, but there also is something I haven’t quite hit the nail on yet with my own words. I have all sorts of new ideas on how I could bring such a wide lens with me."
To check out more of Erica's work, head over to her website.