FE 16-35mm F4 | Best for selfies | Review by Choi Jihye
Jihye expresses her love for travel and nature through her photos – relishing opportunities to capture the magical moments that happen spontaneously during her travels across the globe. She is currently embarking on several collaborative projects with the Korea Tourism Organisation and the country's Overseas Government Tourism Administration.
Memories of your travels, captured for a lifetime
Since a young age, I've always loved beautiful landscapes. This includes the seasonal flowers, buildings and architecture that showcase a country's culture. That's why on my travels, I find happiness in taking photos of these landscapes. After some time, I started to capture myself in these landscapes, and now I shoot people (and myself) harmoniously with the environments they are in.
My favourite camera is the Alpha 7 IV, and my lens of choice is the outstanding FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G zoom lens. Today, I'll take you along on my journey to Singapore and give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I captured my “Singapore Project”.
The Singapore Project: Showcasing the city to the world
This series was shot in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board. My goal was to capture the beauty of the country and give international audiences a reason to visit this wonderful location. On this journey, I snapped a collection of photos – often using myself as the subject – featuring the country's many picturesque gardens, parks and cityscapes.
Accompanying me on this trip were my Alpha 7 IV camera and FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G zoom lens. As I had planned to take many selfies and landscape shots, I also went prepared with my tripod for vertical shots. Even with the plate mounted on, I could take full advantage of the camera's swivel LCD, which proved to be very convenient.
This lightweight package was important as it allowed me to pack my outfits and props too. Weighing only 353g, the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is both lightweight and compact – which meant I never strained my wrists, even after full days of shoots. And the high resolution of this zoom lens was essential for capturing every detail of this city's amazing landscapes.
The iconic Changi International Airport
This photo was taken at the Changi International Airport in Singapore. My vision was to capture a person surrounded by a forest, so I went to the second floor for a better angle. To take an unobscured shot, I leaned on a railing and stretched my arms as far (and low) as possible, so I could capture the leaves within the frame. And to capture the flowing waterfall in all its beauty, I set the shutter speed to 1/100 seconds.
The manoeuvrability of the Alpha 7 IV and FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G proved to be valuable in this show – as they made it easy to hold the camera and shoot with one hand.
Singapore, when the sun goes down
There are many inspiring night views across Singapore, and this is one of my favourites. While the maximum open aperture value of the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G is F4, the synergy between the Alpha 7 IV and this zoom lens provides outstanding results at night – without any clipped areas often seen in high-sensitivity shooting.
Another plus is how the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G delivers clear, high-resolution images, without any deterioration in on the periphery of the image.
Here's another night shot that I really like from this series, and a tip for improving your nighttime selfies: To capture a subject along with the nightscape, there should be suitable lighting near your subject. In this photo, I was able to balance the exposure by placing wire lights in the shot.
For best results, illuminate your subjects with lighting that's similar in intensity to the environmental lighting. (Your results won't look as good if your lights are too bright.)
A lesson in contrasts and clothing
This is a photo of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, which has a white building with a distinctive orange roof. For this shot, I prepared a red outfit to stand out against the building's white façade. In situations like this, solid colours are more effective than patterned clothes, as they emphasise the subject more.
As a bonus, the chiffon fabric was easily blown by the wind, giving the photo a more dramatic look. On days with no wind, you can always fly the skirt with your hands!
A gorgeous waterfall, lighting and architecture
Although this photo was taken in an airport, I didn't want it to appear as so. And because the large waterfall, surrounding trees, and light coming from the patterned ceiling gave off mysterious vibes, I wanted to project this “bright yet mysterious” atmosphere onto the subject.
So, I tied up my hair in a ponytail to show off the backless dress, while putting my arms down. I wanted this shot to look like a scene from the movie “Avatar”. As the camera was quite close to the waterfall, it was hit with some splashes of water – but thanks to the Alpha 7 IV's dust- and water-resistance, I could continue shooting without concerns.
Good things come to those who wait
This picture was very challenging to take, due to the large crowds in this space. So, I set up my tripod and shooting composition in advance, then waited… and waited. After an hour, I began to wonder, “Should I just give up now?” But I persevered until I got the shot – and because of the effort put into this photo, it now holds a special place in my heart and is one of my favourite photos.
Tips for photographers interested in travel selfies
When it comes to travel selfies, know that if you want a good travel photo, you must choose a good scene. These two go hand-in-hand, and memorable shots often involve lots of advance preparation and effort.
Rather than simply pressing the shutter button, ask yourself questions like,
“What do I want to express through this photo?”
“What feeling do I want to convey to someone who's viewing this photo?”
Also, when looking at photos that others have taken, think about why the photographer chose this composition and why they snapped the photo at that particular time of day. These questions can lead you to interesting observations.
Of course, your equipment is very important too. I recommend choosing a lightweight and compact camera and lens combination. Personally, I feel that the FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G provides outstanding high-resolution images and zoom performance for brilliant travel, landscape and selfie shots.
Where's my next adventure going to be? There are still many countries I haven't visited, and many landscapes I'd love to explore – so I'm going to keep seeking out new, beautiful landscapes and travel destinations!