Dorthe Peperkorn, a student at the Photo + Medienforum Kiel, received the opportunity to test ZEISS lenses and interpret the pre-determined motto ‘travel photography’ in her own special way.
Dorthe Peperkorn knows all about story logic: for ten years she was a script girl in the film business. “In that role you’re responsible for ensuring good transitions between scenes. You have to make sure that all footage and text transitions are coherent and that the visual continuity in the plot remains intact,” she explains. That experience is also reflected in her photography, which follows a strict logic. For her photo series about a lighthouse on the Elbe River, she applied the principle of juxtaposing wide spaces and nearness, calm and drama.
The photo series begins with a total view, in which the lighthouse is still very much in the background. The image was taken with the ZEISS Distagon T* 2.8/21. The view of the river, fields and trees “plays” with the different tints of black and white. “I am mainly a landscape photographer,” says Peperkorn, “and work very seldom with color. Black and white sharpens the focus; you get closer to the subject. When I take pictures, I always translate the landscape in my head into black and white beforehand.” In her lighthouse series, the contrast between black and white also reveals itself in the opposing moods of the lighthouse scenes. The long time exposure emphasized the calmness of the landscape, which however quickly shifted and turned out to be the calm before the storm during that photo session.
As Peperkorn approached the lighthouse, the weather changed suddenly. When she reached the lighthouse, the sky had become so dramatic that she spontaneously decided not to use a long time exposure anymore. A short exposure time was better suited to the ominous weather front. This effect is supported by the vantage point she selected: photographing the massive tower from a very low position. “I found the changeover between long and short exposure, calmness versus threat, and the different perspectives to be very appropriate for a lighthouse whose purpose is to warn others of changes of weather and sea conditions,” explains Peperkorn. The massiveness of the lighthouse, which the locals call “Fat Bertha,” is also emphasized by its rivets and other details, which Peperkorn captured in two close-up shots with her ZEISS Makro-Planar T* 2/100.
For the last image in the series, Peperkorn took another full-view shot in order to place her motif within its surroundings and create a link between the lighthouse and the water. This photo series was Peperkorn’s first opportunity to use manual focusing in conjunction with long exposure times. “In combination with my 5D Mark II, which is very good for a long exposure mode, the ZEISS lenses were perfect for me. What I particularly liked was the fact that manual focusing allows you to concentrate on your motif without being rushed and that operating it is a haptic experience.”
Tags: Black and White, black-and-white photography, Distagon T* 2.8/21, Dorthe Peperkorn, Germany, Kiel, landscape, Makro-Planar T* 2/100, Photo + Medienforum Kiel, Travel Photography, zeiss, ZEISS lenses