Richard j Walls – Wanderer and Wonderer
As far back as I can remember every house I’ve ever lived in has had a globe. I suppose much like every other kid I’d spin it as fast as it would spin, before eyes closed, I’d slow and stop it with a finger. Mostly my finger would land with a splash in a big blue Ocean … but … if I did hit a landmass … in my imagination it would be the place I’d travel to next. Over the years, school, and work, and parenting, and mortgages, tamed my wanderlust, but it never went away … And though I’ve not yet traveled to every place my finger touched I’ve been lucky enough to reach a few … And though I live on a small, highly populated island just off the coast of Europe, contained within its four Kingdoms is enough history, beauty, exploration and discovery to last a life-time. Where ever I go I take a camera with me to capture the places I visit. This site records those places and images.
One day, a few years ago now, I got fed up, threw my heavy Nikon DSLR and collection of lenses and filters under a passing elephant, and headed to the nearest camera shop. The whole kit and caboodle had become just too heavy, too finicky, and required too much care and attention for a man of my limited patience. I’d done my best to to become a “proper” landscape photographer but for me it was just not fun! I realised that most of my pictures were taken on the spur of the moment; and though I didn’t want to compromise on quality, I needed to go small, light and spontaneous. There was one only one full frame, high quality lens, mirrorless camera on the market, the Sony RX1. It was my first revelation, a small camera able to take incredibly beautiful images that I could take anywhere, I and did! The second revelation was the Sigma DP3 Merrill bought a few weeks later for £300! The camera may be a pig but the look and quality of the images it produces. Wow! I quickly complemented it with a DP1 Merrill and DP0 Quattro. They may be slow, clunky and take forever to post process, but for me the IQ is worth all the frustrations. Heading to the Lofotens Island in Feb 2016 I sold the RX1 in favour of the Sony A7rII, but as soon as I placed the order I realised it was a mistake; Why did I want the hassle of changing lenses? I cancelled and instead ordered the newly announced RX1rII. I’ve not once regretted the decision.
So that’s what’s in my kit bag, 3 Sigma cameras and a Sony RX1rII. The Merrill’s I tend to use for architectural work, they have a clarity and tonal range second to none. The Quattro and Sony I use for landscape. For more creative images or night shots, or high ISO, it’s the Sony. To go with them I’ve a collection of filters from a variety of manufacturers (mainly to protect the lens) and an Induro carbon Fibre tripod. Going small, especially with the Sony, changed the rules of the game and made photography fun again.
… But no camera is perfect. If I could change two things about the Sony it would be the (lack of) battery life and (lack of) weather sealing, so if you head down this route buy plenty of batteries, a portable battery charger, and a few plastic bags! This page isn’t big enough to list all the things I’d change on the Sigmas but as long as they have a Foveon sensor inside, matched to those superb lenses, I’ll love then and use them for ever! … or at least until the Sigma SD1 Quattro H comes out or I can afford the Hasselblad x1d … but I guess that’s the problem with this game, there’s always something more tempting just out of reach!