Martin Walz is a street photographer, one of the best. In fact in 2015 readers of streethunters voted him one of the 20 most influential street photographers in the world. His work, typified by strong geometric compositions that are contrasted with the fluidity of the human form, has won awards and plaudits from all over the world.
What better way then, to test the new camera features in the Xperia Z5 series than to put it in the hands of someone who can really push it to the limit. We gave Martin one of the very first Xperia Z5s and asked him to look at his home town through its lens. Here are his thoughts.
“To me Berlin is the mix of architecture, cityscapes and the people living in it. When asked to do a photo essay with the Xperia Z5 I picked three locations that I felt to be both typical and yet unique for Berlin.
The Tempelhof Airfield
The Tempelhof Airfield is the former inner city airport of Tempelhof which has been turned into into a public park. The airfield is just a few subway stops south of the city center, and yet in this place you experience something usually completely absent in inner city areas – wideness, vastness, the view seems to go on endlessly. As a photographer I feel it is challenging to find imagery that appropriately expresses this aspect of the park and this provides a good testing ground for equipment. I found some kite-skateboarders and group of roller-bladers. This was great opportunity to test the new autofocus system in the Z5, which allowed some nice action shots. Freezing the roller bladers at the moment when they were passing is not an easy task no matter what camera and the Z5 performed surprisingly well.
I also came to appreciate the “Superior Auto mode“ which analyzes the image situation and chooses automatically the appropriate exposure mode. The exposure of the backlight situations were mostly spot on, without me having to manually compensate or to do a lot in post processing.
The Flak tower of the Volkspark Humboldthain
Berlin is basically is flat city, which means there a very few landmarks that give a view over the city. The flak tower is an above-ground bunker topped with anti aircraft guns dating from WWII. The guns are long gone, of course, and not surprisingly, what was built to withstand heaviest bombing proved quite resilient to demolition machines.
I very much like the combination of view, the graffiti which is typical for Berlin and the peacefulness of the place. Only some runners and the occasional tourist find their way up to the top.
I took this shots on a bright sunny morning and I enjoyed the popping colors which contrast nicely with the strong geometry of the place.
The government district
The government district consists of a complex of modern buildings built after the unification, all centred around the historical Reichstag building dating from the 19th century. The contrast is astounding. The modern part is in white to light grey, minimal, playfully curved and open. The Reichstag building is quite heavy set, dark and ornamented. The government district series aims at making this contrast visible. Again, during this series it was noticeable how the speed of the autofocus made it possible to capture the exact moment when the human shapes best fitted the composition of the shot.
While these shots work well in a small format, it is great to see them in full format on 27’’ screen discovering all the details. One of the privileges shooting with an impressive 23MP resolution.
I have concluded the series with a selfie – of sorts. After all, it is a smartphone.