Talking travel photography with Peter Wiederholt


Ever see a photo of a place that makes you want to go there? Peter Wiederholt's travel photography inspires wanderlust every time. We caught up with the Triggertrap travel photographer to find out how he captures the best of his locations. While at Photokina last year, our Head of Photography met a photographer (actually he met several, but that's photography shows for you) asking for advice about using Triggertrap with a Phase One camera. The photographer's name was Peter Wiederholt. Because we hadn't heard of many photographers who use Phase One and Triggertrap, we decided to keep in touch with this fine fellow. A few months later, we received an email from Peter containing a set of photos taken in Venice with Triggertrap Mobile, and they were absolutely brilliant. We got so excited about Peter's travel photography that we just had to find our more...

Where are you from?

I am from Frankfurt, Germany, and I love to explore distant places as well as my home country. Luckily I live near a big airport and I have the time to travel a lot.

Have you always been a photographer?

After a pause from not so serious 35mm abuse, I rediscovered photography in 2000 shooting analog film with my Hasselblad 503 Millennium. I mainly specialized in poorly executed random images. Twilight has always excited me though.

Is photography your day job?

 I do some assignments for tour operators and hotels as well as occasional exhibitions. I also sell my landscape prints. I don't work full time though as I have two wild kids and some other time consuming interests and projects. At the moment this mixture makes me happy!

How did you get started in travel photography?

Some people come back from a great trip and they want to tell a story through a series of pictures or through a slide show. I however am more concerned about finding one single picture that sums it all up. Neither is better, it's just my objective to summarise "my" moment in a particular place. I used to work in New York and then in London before moving to Frankfurt. At that time I decided that I wanted to have one single picture of each city for my home. I bought a manual Hasselblad 503 and I shot two nighttime views which you can find [on my website]. Both locations were important to me at the time. So this is now my approach to a trip.

Peter's memory of London and its many cabs.

Peter's memory of London and its many cabs.

What equipment is usually in your camera bag?

Buying a great camera does not make you a great photographer. Unfortunately my local camera salesman disagrees though! I now carry mainly two cameras. I have a Phase One IQ180 for serious landscape work with plenty of light which I put onto a huge RRS (Really Right Stuff) tripod. Once the light goes beyond an exposure time of one minute I prefer the CMOS sensor of my Sony A7S over the CCD sensor. The noise at night is so much lower. I only use prime lenses (mainly from Schneider and Zeiss). I pretty much alway have a tripod, a panorama head, and Triggertrap as a cable release for each camera. The pano head allows me to "carry" a super-wide angle lens that is otherwise not available or not in my bag. I really focus on sharp corners and edges so some zooms are not great when you blow the pictures up really big (e.g. 1m x 1.5m) which I do for my prints. I usually shoot in Manual mode at my preferred f-stop for each lens.

How do you use Triggertrap in your photography?

Once you mount an iPhone on your camera two things happen: You hope that nobody calls you during a long exposure, and you probably look like a geek - or maybe like a pro! I find the timed long-exposure functions very helpful. My Sony can only be set to a manual exposure of up to 30 s. If I want exactly eight minutes I can set this on my phone and then wait without having to watch the time. I can then maybe go away or prepare my other camera for the next shot or review pictures. The only thing I cannot do is check my mail in the mean time. Mounting the phone on your camera can however be an issue in remote places with lots of wind. The phone will function like a sail and create camera blur, so maybe hanging the phone from the tripod maybe be better. Check your shot before moving on.

Thanks for the advice! Can you tell us about your set up for the Venice photos?

Very simple. There were way too many people during the day. So I set up my tripod with an ND Filter (to blur the people and to flatten the water) and I used TT in Timed Release Mode. With a DSLR it is important to figure out a way to pre-release the mirror so that Triggertrap only triggers the shutter. This way you get a sharper image. It maybe a good idea to have a 3 sec self-timer switched on inside the camera. This will turn a one minute Triggertrap exposure into a 57 sec exposure, but you avoid any shake from touching the phone while it is attached.

What about post processing?

I use mainly Capture 1 Pro 8.1 for my pictures. As I update the software regularly I want to keep all work inside the software as future releases will refresh and improve the file rendering. I obviously shoot raw and I try to get the widest histogram at the time of exposure. Afterwards I intend to have a fairly symmetrical histogram inside C1. If I tell you more than that, I would have to shoot you...

How did you take the night time exposures of the boats?

Basically the same way as the day time photos. The only thing here was that I used a flash which I fired many times to get sharp reflections of the metal rims of the boat in various positions. Now that set up really looked "pro". The camera with Triggertrap on top and me standing somewhere to the side stroboscoping these boats! The red count-down circle at night is very visible from far away so while you are shooting a flash manually you can see if your shutter is still open.

Where is your favourite place to photograph?

Hmmm... Invite me to where you are and I'll tell you why your place is great. Haha! My kind of work can be done fairly easily in remote places like the Arctic region and places like Patagonia. Wonderful light there changing every five minutes.

Why do you prefer such remote locations?

I feel I take the best shots when I have time and when I have researched the place well in advance. I am not a big fan of places where the use of a tripod is frowned upon... Photography for me is slow. Time does not respect what was created without it. If I want to enjoy a printed picture on my wall over a longer time span I personally need time to make sure I execute it well from a technical perspective. I can rarely do this without preparation and a proper set-up.

Taken in Uzbekistan with Triggertrap Mobile and the Sony a7S.
Taken in Uzbekistan with Triggertrap Mobile and the Sony a7S.

Where will you be photographing next?

I am planning a trip to Hallstatt in Austria with an Australian photographer friend in March.

Where can we see your work?

On my website of course, and if you're clever you could buy a large print and then you can see it in your home every day. I am also discussing an exhibition with a couple of large offices here in Frankfurt, so stay tuned!

Interested in trying out long exposures and ND filters with Triggertrap Mobile? Make sure you check out Triggertrap How To! If you have your own Triggertrap travel photographs to share, we'd love to see them added to our Flickr pool.

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