Mixing emotion and feeling together with elements from travel, sports, documentary, nature and landscape photography, Finnish photographer Jaakko Posti creates some next-level adventure and action sports photos. Red Bull Illume caught up with him to see what he carries with him when he goes out into the wild!
Talk us through your gear. What are your go-to items?
I’m a Sony Alpha Ambassador and I use Sony cameras for my work. I used to shoot with the Sony A99 camera, but then the original A7 mirrorless full frame camera was announced back in 2013. I have been pretty much using the Alpha 7 series cameras since then. The system has matured quite a bit since the first model and now I carry a Sony A7R2 body and their new mirrorless flagship model, the Sony A9. I think that these two bodies compliment each others quite nicely. The A7R2 with its 42Mpx sensor is great for landscape and portrait work or in a situation where I know I have to crop in a bit in post. The A9 on the other hand is a perfect companion in action and sports photography. The unbelievable AF functions of the A9, together with the 20FPS make my job a lot more efficient. I shoot more and more video together with photos and for that I feel that this mirrorless system is great.
The lenses I now mostly use on the wide end are Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 and the Sony FE 35mm F1.4. On the longer end I like to use the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM and Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM lenses. What I really like about the Sony E-mount system is the option I have to go small and light if I want to.
I can for example use the A9 body with Zeiss 25mm/F2 + 55mm/F1.8 and 70-200mm/F4G and with those lenses, the system is really light and compact. And then again in situations where size and weight is not an issue and I just want to get the best IQ out of the system, I can add the battery grips to the bodies and use the fastest lenses like the Sony 70-200mm F2.8 GM, the 85mm F1.4 GM, the 35mm F1.4Z or the the 16-35mm F2.8 GM. With those lenses, the weight of the system is quite similar to a normal DSLR system.
Now when I´m shooting more and more video as well, I usually carry the DJI Mavic Pro with me. Drones can really open up your artistic creativity.
For me the passion to action and outdoor photography started with the passion to the outdoors itself and I feel that with the small mirrorless system in my camera backpack I get to enjoy the skiing, mountain biking, trail running or other outdoor activities more. That was the most important reason I started using the mirrorless system and stayed with it although I felt that there were some compromises when compared to traditional DSLR cameras, but now after the announcement of Sony Alpha A9 camera I feel that there is no compromises anymore.
Do you remember the first piece of photography gear you have ever owned?
The first camera I have owned was a small Konica Minolta digital compact camera with a whopping 4Mpx sensor. Before that I had been taking some photos with my parents old film camera.
Is there anything special you carry with you on shoots?
No, not really anything special. It depends a quite a lot of the stuff I´m shooting and what time of the year it is. Shell jacket is kind of must in the ever changing nordic weather we have here in the North Europe. Also what I usually have with me are first aid kit, multitool of some kind and a cup to drink from. How do you choose gear for different projects?
Like I mentioned earlier I usually try to have a as compact camera setup with me as possible. But for example in shoots where I don´t move around that much like events or such I can have pretty much all the gear with me.
On outdoor and action sport shoots I usually think about that where we are going to go and what we are going to shoot. If I know that the shoot is going to be really mobile I will try get the camera setup as small as possible. For example Sony A9 body with Batis 25/2, Sony 55/1.8, Sony 70200/4 is really compact and light weight setup. Also one factor that determines the camera equipment I bring with me is the area I´m going to do most of the shooting. For example if we are shooting most of photos in forest I will bring more wide-angle lenses with me. Also the same If we are for example skiing couloirs. If we are mostly going to shoot over the treeline in alpine I might have more of ”longer” lenses with me and maybe the 35mm is the widest on those kind of shoots.
Which piece of gear would you never leave at home?
There is no specific camera or lenses I would´t leave at home. It all depends of the shoot. But what I always want to have with me is the Peak Desing camera clips. It is really nice to have the camera on hand all the time and like that you can capture some really cool moments you wouldn’t be able to to get if the camera would be inside the backpack.
Does your gear sometimes take a pounding to get the shots you’re known for?
Yeah almost all the time. Specially on winter time the weather can be a bit harsh to the equipment. -30*C degree temperatures and heavy snowfalls will but the equipment under some serious stress. Also I usually like to push my own limits while skiing or mountain biking and usually take a tumble here and there, and of course the equipment in my back feels those ones too. That said I haven´t broken any equipment yet.
Any items you wish you could add to your bag?
Sony Alpha mirrorless system now has all the essential lenses I need in my work. But one fun lens to have if Sony would ever develop one would be their own wide-angle tilt shift lens. I think I have pretty much all the other gear I could think of. I think it is more what I´m willing to carry with me in the bag.
Any tips for aspiring photographers?
You need to have real passion to photography and shoot a lot of different stuff. I have shot and still do all kinds of commercial shoots, press, events, weddings, portraits, street photography, Landscape, sports and outdoors. I think when you photograph almost everything you will get to a lot of situations where you are not that comfortable with and overcoming those situations you will become a better photographer at the end.
Article courtesy of Red Bull Illume.