Dramatic Perspectives

The Spanish photographer Carlos Casariego is a master in architectural and industrial photography. He began his artistic career as a painter, and that experience still marks his work today: light, color and structure blend into a harmonious whole in his eye-catching compositions. He used the Distagon T* 2,8/15 lens from Carl Zeiss to explore the domain of super wide angle photography, which was relatively new for him.

Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/11; 1 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “Here, I emphasize the broad perspective of the architectural structure leading to the wall painting. I used the Distagon T* 2,8/15 set at f/11 to get a nice depth of field.” (Hydroelectric Power Station of Proaza, Asturias, Spain – designed by architect and painter Joaquín Vaquero Palacios)


How did you come to photography?

I am self-taught. Having grown up in a family of painters and architects, art and aesthetics were an important part of my life from early childhood. Until I was 30, I worked as a painter. I never had any formal photography training. I studied photography books and spent a lot of time in museums and art galleries to familiarize myself with the technical and creative aspects of the art. My father taught me the basics of photography as a child, but my deeper insights have all come from painting.

Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/11; 0,8 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “For maximum detail and precision I placed the Distagon T* 2,8/15 at f/11 really close up against the pattern I wanted to photograph.” (Hydroelectric Power Station of Proaza, Asturias, Spain)


How would you describe your style of photography?

I do not worry so much about style. I just take photographs that grab me at a particular moment. Once I have finished a series, I try not to revisit the topic again. I prefer to look for new challenges and new perspectives. That is what inspires me.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I am currently doing a photo essay involving hydropower stations around the town of Gijón, where I live. The architecture and design of these structures are perfect for exploring all the capabilities of the new ZEISS Distagon T* 2,8/15 super wide angle lens. This lens is ideal for capturing the space and beauty of these locations and meets my needs exactly.

Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/8; 1,3 Sek; ISO-100)
Carlos Casariego: “I chose this frontal perspective with the wall painting right at the end of the space to create a fascinating visual illusion with 3D effect. I used a tripod and the Distagon T* 2,8/15 at f/8 to get everything perfectly in focus.” (Hydroelectric Power Station of Miranda, Asturias, Spain)


Can you describe that in more detail?

To tell the truth, apart from a few images, I had never worked with a super-wide-angle lens. But the experience I have been having with the Distagon T* 2,8/15 has been wonderful. I can capture all the space in a single shot. The image quality is spectacular, so there is no need for stitching in post-processing. The images are free of distortion and chromatic aberrations. I have always believed that the best part about photography is to experiment and enjoy new challenges. The Distagon T* 2,8/15 gives you a world of options to do that. You can capture anything, from wide, dramatic perspectives to close-up details, and from any angle you care to imagine. The result is always surprising.

Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/8; 2 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “This is a very stylish meeting room and the noise of the machines is almost completely muted. I just loved the contemporary décor, so exuberant and colorful.” Taken with the Distagon T* 2,8/15. (Hydroelectric Power Station of Salime, Asturias, Spain)


What makes a good subject in your view?

I like places that tell a story and show visible traces of life — natural locations, free of visual ‘pollution’. I particularly like photographing industrial environments and good architecture. In big cities like Havana, Mumbai and New York, my interest is drawn especially to their decadent aspects.

Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/2,8; 1/1600 Sek; ISO-100)
Carlos Casariego: “I stood here with my Distagon T* 2,8/15 for quite a while, waiting for exactly the light I needed to capture the geometry of this building. I followed the idea of the architect Joaquín Vaquero Palacios who took his inspiration from the mountains in the surrounding area. I cropped the image as a panorama photo in 6x10 format. With the lens wide open at f/2.8, and with the interesting vignetting effect, it was a good way to guide the viewer’s eye to the center of the image.” (Hydroelectric Power Station of Proaza, Asturias, Spain)


How do you approach a photography project; can you always see the picture in your mind?

Once I have an idea in my mind, I explore it as thoroughly as I can: I read about it, study images or use Google Earth to plan strategies. I form a mental imprint of every detail of the streets and buildings, particularly in terms of the action and play of the light on the facades. For me, photography is also a constant source of new ideas: I am always on the lookout for images that define me, both as a person and as a photographer.

Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/5,6; 1/1400 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “The ZEISS Distagon T* 2,8/15 helped me to take exactly the image as I had conceived it: i.e., the whole building as a magical center of attraction. I set the aperture at f/5.6 to get a soft vignetting in the corners of the image.” (Freight railway station and coal storage shed at Gijón, Asturias, Spain)


Makro-Planar T* 2/100; F/5,6; 1/1400 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “This close-up shot of a concrete block wall, taken with a Makro Planar T* 2/100, creates a sort of optical illusion. If you look at it for a while, it becomes difficult to say whether the blocks are oriented to the left or right side of the image. To achieve this special effect, I chose this vantage point set at f/5.6 to get enough depth of field.” (Building facade of a substation in Avilés, Asturias, Spain)


Distagon T* 2,8/15; F/2,8; 1/320 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “I got up as close up as the Distagon T* 2,8/15 would let me to focus and I took this picture at f/2.8. (Rails in storage at the port of El Musel, near Gijón, Asturias, Spain)


Which places would you still like to photograph in the future?

I really enjoy traveling and getting to know other cultures. I am fascinated by structures that stand as symbols of human culture: the pyramids in Egypt, the monumental buildings created by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia, the Sydney Opera House, Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s legendary “Fallingwater” – a house built on a waterfall.

What camera do you use?

I have always liked cameras. These days, I use a digital, full-format, single-lens reflex camera with a range of different lenses. I also have a quality digital compact camera and some other analog single-lens reflex and rangefinder cameras. But my favorite camera is still the Hasselblad 500CM with a ZEISS Sonnar T* 4/180. This incredibly precise lens lets you get right up close to your subject – it is like reaching out and caressing the textures.

What kind of weather and light conditions do you prefer?

I like the sun, particularly the contrast between light and shadow. And when I am taking photographs I also prefer sunny to grey days. For interiors, I mainly use natural light, very rarely artificial light – and I never use a flash. I used to work with POL filters as well, but not since the advent of digital photography. Why would you? A tripod is often an essential tool, but whenever possible I like to do hand-held shooting.

Distagon T*2,8/15; F/11; 1/200 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “In line with architect’s criteria, in this shot I was looking for the simplicity of lines, contours and colors. I used the Distagon T* 2,8/15 at f/11.” (Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer, Avilés, Asturias, Spain)


Your proudest moment as a photographer?

The fact that every day I work at what I love doing.

How do you draw attention to your work?

There is always a synergy between my “normal” professional work and projects with an artistic element. My artistic work generates interest, and ideally lead to commission assignments, without which I couldn’t fund my artistic work. The two are closely intertwined, as are my website and blog. The website is a vehicle for showing my whole portfolio, whereas the blog focuses on specific projects, impressions and my personal views.

Distagon T*2,8/15; F/8; 1/10 Sek; ISO-100
Carlos Casariego: “At the port one day, I was about to fold away the tripod when I caught sight of this fantastic view. I used the Distagon T* 2,8/15 to capture the whole perspective in the last rays of the sun; taking the shot at f/8 gave me optimum depth of field.” (Storage shed at the port of El Musel, near Gijón, Asturias, Spain)


What’s next for you in the world of photography?

I just want to keep taking pictures for as long as I can. Hopefully, my best work is yet to come.

What advice do you give to amateur photographers?

Practice, practice, practice. Learn from your mistakes. And never lose your passion.


(about Carlos Casariego)

Carlos Casariego, born 1952 in Oviedo, Spain, now lives in the port city of Gijón in northern Spain. He grew up in an artistic family and followed that path from an early age. Until the age of 30, he was completely absorbed by painting. His pictures were widely exhibited, and he accepted commissions as a photographer and graphic designer to boost his income. He has been a fulltime photographer since 1985. His architectural and design photography has fascinated practitioners and the general public ever since. International award: “Hasselblad Master 2003”, Göteborg, Sweden.

Carlos Casariego - photo by his son Samuel Casariego
Carlos Casariego - photo by his son Samuel Casariego



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  1. From a great lens in the hands of a great photographer can only come out great photographs. Carlos' work was known to me, not so those pictures exhibited here which are gorgeous one by one and as a whole.

    Congratulations Carlos, keep on surprising us with your vision and how you freeze it with Zeiss lenses!

  2. Carlos Casariego

    Thank you, Francisco. Coming from you––a master photographer working with ultra-angular lenses since long––your words are even highly appreciated!

  3. jose

    Buenos días,
    Ante todo, grandes fotos de un gran Fotógrafo.
    No sé si la pregunta es un poco offtopic pero, ¿es fácil enfocar con esta lente y en general con las lentes Carl Zeiss?

  4. Hola José,
    particularmente el 15mm al tratarse de ultra angular, el enfoque no es crítico en medias y largas distancias. Funciona muy bien en hiperfocal. Para distancias cortas, conviene tener un visor de imagen partida o–– para máxima precisión––usar el "live view" de la pantalla. Hay que tener en cuenta que estos objetivos de altísima calidad y rendimiento están concebidos para un tipo de fotografía reposada.

  5. Gustavo Meza Medina

    ¡Hola Carlos! es un placer saber de ti y disfrutar de la belleza y la vida que nos descrubres en lo aparentemente estático. Veré con más calma tus fotos porque me dicen cosas que aún descifro del todo. Un abrazo. Gustavo Meza (México)

  6. Mike Devlin

    Rather surprised that he does not use a POL Filter... there are still areas that can only be manipulated by POL Filter... and in my opinion is a HUGE time saver... especially in architectural imaging, and general landscape work, but, almost everything in photography has more than one solution to every challenge... that is where we as photographers find our own style...
    Thanks for sharing your great images...




  8. Wences

    Que pasada de fotos masprofesionales, me compro un objetivo de esos cuanto antes, nunce he probado un supergran-angular de esa categoria, pero espero hacerlo pronto

    Saludos W

  9. Wayne

    Came across your blog when researching the Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15. As a late entry into Pro photography (age 65 young), and doing Real Estate and Commercial/Architectural, I am very inspired by your comments on how you begin a project. The time taken to imagine your shoot, the light, colours and life of a shot; all in your mind before you begin. The research into the subject itself must help greatly in the framing, detail and end result you want to achieve - I really appreciate your insights.
    Do you find this lens has any limitations within your genre?


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