Manuel Polak (@manuelpolakphoto) is a travel, automotive and lifestyle photographer who got started started with fashion and portrait photography for various model agencies, musicians and magazines in 2009. Since then the art of photography got under skin. More recently he became enthusiastic about traveling, that’s where his passion for different kinds of imagery, automotive and travel photography in particular, was sparked. "In a world where everything is fast and loud, I like to stop the march of time and see the beauty in every edge and color of my photographs.” Manuel works with Sony Alpha cameras, a Sony zoom lens trinity and a sleeper prime. The system gives him some distinct advantages and he takes us for tour of his bag as he explains how he makes use of the various things he carries when he's shooting.
Two Sony Alpha cameras, three G Master zooms and a Sony prime. Photographer Manuel Polak gives us a look inside his kit for travel, automotive and lifestyle photography.
Sony Alpha 1: As I’m getting more into photography. and videography, I’m using the Sony Alpha One as my main camera. This device is perfect for every occasion, a real multifunctional workhorse. The 50 mega pixels enable me to crop my pictures and still offer a high resolution for print products. The speed of the auto focus is tremendous and leaves nothing to be desired. I programmed my favorite settings so that I can easily switch between taking photographs and filming.
Photo by Manuel Polak. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/50-sec., f/5.6, ISO 250
Sony Alpha 7R II: My backup camera. While I‘m on journeys I love using a mirrorless full frame camera because it’s compact and light. A high resolution is key to my form of photography. The dynamic range allows me a lot of flexibility during the editing process.
Photo by Manuel Polak. Sony Alpha 7R II. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/250-sec., f/10, ISO 50
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master: My go-to lens. I enjoy using it for travel, automotive and lifestyle photography. It allows a wide range of my pictures to appear rather different. The quality of this lens is very high, the auto focus works fast and accurately. If I’d be allowed to only take one lens with me, this would always be my first choice.
Photo by Manuel Polak. Sony Alpha 7R II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/40-sec., f/3.2, ISO 1000
Sony 55mm f/1.8: When I started using the Sony camera system, the 55mm f/1.8 was one of my first lenses. I always have this one in my bag. To me it means quality in a small size and low weight. The aperture allows me to highlight objects from their background. I like using it in low light conditions in the automotive and portrait photography.
Photo by Manuel Polak. Sony Alpha 7R II. Sony 55mm f/1.8. 1/60-sec., f/2.2, ISO 1000
Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II: I appreciate the great versatility of this lens during traveling. Landscape, portraits or animals, you can use it on so many different occasions. Objects that are far away can be captured as if they were really close to the camera. The colors and the bokeh of this lens are amazing.
Photo by Manuel Polak. Sony Alpha 7R II. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II. 4-sec., f/7.1, ISO 100
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II: My newest lens, it's really an all-rounder. For city trips, I only use this lens because it covers a large focal length range. Furthermore the autofocus is accurate and also very fast. The sharpness of the images is perfect. In a short period of time I have learned to appreciate this lens very much and can't wait to take more images with it.
Bag: After trying a lot of different camera backpacks, I found the F-Stop Lotus backpack. It is a hiking bag, which is incredibly comfortable also for long hiking tours. I use the capture camera clip from Peak Design on my shoulder strap to have the camera on-hand anytime.
Photo by Manuel Polak. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/1250-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100
Filters: Using my PolarPro Polarized filter when taking photographs of cars enhances the contrast and prevents unwanted reflections in pictures. I prefer using the variable neutral density filter 2-5 stop and Polar Pro 6-9 stop for longterm exposures and filming.
See more of Manuel Polak's work on Instagram @manuelpolakphoto.