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https://alphauniverseglobal.media.zestyio.com/Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Sarah-Roagers--BTS3.be110857376e1c1dc5afaa178864837f.jpg
Photo by Sarah Rogers. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 70-200mm f/4 G. 1/3200-sec, f/5, ISO 200

Behind The Shot: In The Middle Of An Epic Icelandic Dust Storm

Sarah Rogers (@theworldwithsarah) is a landscape and lifestyle photographer based in Scotland. Rogers creates beautiful minimalistic photos that inspire you to be present and enjoy the little things that life has to offer. By highlighting the beauty of her surroundings in such a minimal way, she draws attention to the details that can often be overlooked, pulling you into the stillness of the moment. Even when getting caught up in massive dust devils, she embraces the moment and finds the shot. Below, Rogers goes into the details of how she got the shot of these dust devils with her Sony Alpha 7R III and the Sony 70-200mm f/4 G.

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Sarah-Roagers--BTS2.jpg.jpg

Photo by Sarah Rogers. Sony Alpha 7R III. Sony 70-200mm f/4 G. 1/3200-sec, f/5, ISO 200

The Scene

My friend Jack and I visited Iceland for an entire month this summer, having our first trip since the pandemic. We wanted to go full out as we had a year and a half of being cooped up inside. We wanted this trip to be one of a kind, and Iceland did not disappoint. We were driving in the Highlands looking for lots of mood and rain, but instead, we were provided with a vast landscape that was bone dry. We weren't shooting as we didn't have the conditions we wanted but all of a sudden, these gigantic dust devils came out of nowhere! Immediately inspired, our minds were thinking of all kinds of shots that we could take with the epic scene in front of us.

The Set-Up

This photo was taken with the Sony Alpha 7R III and the Sony 70-200mm f/4 G. We wanted the ability to have more compression with the 200mm, making the scale of the dust devil even larger without losing the dust devil completely with, say, the Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. The 70-200mm was the perfect in-between to include the whole devil without sacrificing compression and scale. We chose the Sony Alpha 7R III as this was one of those special moments where we thought would make a great print, and we didn't want to sacrifice on resolution.

Being In The Moment

We were in complete and utter awe when we saw these dust devils begin to form and move across the land. We jumped out of our vehicles with our jaws to the floor. I was immediately inspired to run out into the desert and make myself look tiny as ever next to it. I handed my camera to Jack, explained what I wanted and ran out there. The inspirational and creative drive took over, and we were worked together to make this come to life! This shot was handheld due to the constant movement and rush of the situation. The dust devils would move really fast across the land, and we had to adjust accordingly. While Jack would constantly adjust the composition of the shot by following their movements, I had no choice but to run across the land to try and keep myself in the middle. The settings were 1/3200sec, f/5.0, and ISO 200. With a fast shutter, we were able to really capture the details of the dust devils. 

Alpha-Universe-Photo-by-Sarah-Roagers--BTS3.rySLBO_vF.jpg

Photo by Sarah Rogers. Sony Alpha 7R III  Sony 70-200mm f/4 G. 1/3200-sec, f/5, ISO 200

The Final Outcome

My post-processing involved a preset that I use for all images, adjustments to amend the colors and a clean up in Photoshop. Gradients were added to the top and bottom of the image, and radials were added on top of the dust devil and my tiny self to help draw the eye of the viewer to the main subject.

See more of Sarah Rogers' work on Instagram @theworldwithsarah.

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