October 24, 2014 3:12 pm

Lumia x NatGeo: 5 things we learned from Stephen Alvarez

Last month we brought together the three lucky winners of our ‘Soccer shot’ competition, two participants from our ‘Pass it On’ social photo experiment and National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez, for a photography adventure of a lifetime in the heart of Africa.

Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Victoria Falls on the Zambia side, the five photography enthusiasts (Ellen, Thuy, Rohit, Stephen and Peter) met Stephen Alvarez, who had just finished his latest Lumia assignment at the Falls.

There was lots of excitement in the air and we were all speechless by the beauty of the place and enchanted by the wild zebras, giraffes and monkeys, who all seem to be permanent residents at our hotel.

Early morning encounter with a giraffe. Shot by me with a Lumia 1020.

Early morning encounter with a giraffe. Shot by me with a Lumia 1020.

After spending a couple of days together following the pro and shooting with the Lumia 1520 smartphones, these are the five things Thuy, Rohit, Ellen, Stephen and Peter learned from Stephen Alvarez:

#1 Thuy: “With the Lumia 1520, I’m able to capture the moment from different angles that the normal DSLR just couldn’t. It is light, easy to carry and with wide angle of the camera, I am able to even take picture from different angles and situations, e.g. when riding on the elephants, or on the edge of the waterfalls, which is a little bit tricky, dangerous and heavy when holding a DSLR.”

On the edge of the Victoria Falls. Shot by Thuy Mad with a Lumia 1520.

On the edge of the Victoria Falls. Shot by Thuy Mad with a Lumia 1520.

#2 Rohit: “I learned how to effectively use and adjust the manual controls in Nokia Camera. I was also impressed by Stephen’s calmness and composure while he was clicking pictures.”

Sometimes the journey is the destination. Shot by Rohit Shringare with a Lumia 1520.

Sometimes the journey is the destination. Shot by Rohit Shringare with a Lumia 1520.

#3 Ellen: “I learned to use bracketing, which means shooting three consecutive pictures, each with slightly different exposure levels. This helps a lot when shooting waterfalls for instance where you have bright water and sun against very dark rocks.”

Considering a jump to the Angel’s Pool in Zambia. Shot by Ellen Sock with a Lumia 1520.

Considering a jump to the Angel’s Pool in Zambia. Shot by Ellen Sock with a Lumia 1520.

#4 Stephen C: “Having been an art student for many years I have become accustomed to using a diary to notate any thoughts or ideas that come to mind.

So it was refreshing to learn that while Stephen was using a diary he was also using a digital diary called One Note. I have never used this before but I absolutely loved the idea.”

First view of the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. Shot by Stephen Curry with a Lumia 1520.

First view of the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. Shot by Stephen Curry with a Lumia 1520.

#5 Peter: “For me a remarkable moment was when we stood on the edge, staring the waterfall on the Zimbabwe side and we discussed with Stephen about our place and role there. We are visitors and we can see the waterfall and we tend to think that all that sight is there for us.

But the water falls there for hundreds, thousands of years, and it happens not for you, not because of you. It falls forever, in its own right. This is the nature that you have to respect and you are only a little part of it. That was so obvious on the edge of the rocks. And it was so nice that me and Stephen thought the same thing about it right then, right there.”

Sunset at the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Shot by Peter Vdozc with a Lumia 1520.

Sunset at the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Shot by Peter Vdozc with a Lumia 1520.

To sum up the adventure, Stephen Curry said:

“This truly was a once in a lifetime trip. Spending time with Stephen Alvarez was a fantastic experience and one I shall never forget.”