My trip to TelAviv with the new LUMIX FZ82

Hi! My name is Jacob James and I am a travel and cultural documentary photographer. In November 2016 I travelled to TelAviv with the new Panasonic bridge camera “LUMIX FZ82”. The diversified, colorful and hip city that combines the modernity of a European city with the flair of the Middle East was the perfect location to test out the FZ82.

 

The city of Tel Aviv is built along the beachfront with beaches spanning from the port of Jaffa along the whole length of the city. When I’m travelling I like to wake early and explore the city I’m in before the sunrises. Walking along the beach close to my hotel, early in the morning, I noticed the moon still out whilst at the same time, the colors from the pending sunrise were starting to break through. A perfect setting for a good picture right at the beginning of a sunny day. Having the ultra-wide 20mm setting allowed me to compose an image that included both the moon and the huts on the beach front all in one shot handheld.

One of the most surprising aspects of the Tel Aviv lifestyle was the number of locals exercising early in the morning. In most cities, rising at 5am is the realm of early workers or emergency services staff but in Tel Aviv the city was buzzing with fitness enthusiasts even before the sun broke. Whether I was walking before sunrise or after dark, I’d never be far from a local exercising.

In this image, as the sun broke through the gaps in the seafront buildings, I used the wide angle end of the zoom range to compose an image with a runner silhouetted against the early morning sun.

The view of Tel Aviv seafront from Jaffa is quite an iconic view. I wanted to capture the density of the modern part of Tel Aviv. As I set up my camera to test the zoom ability, a lone runner ran into the shot. With the sun breaking over the sea wall, it complemented the scene nicely and I had to capture it.

My next stop was the Dizengoff Square Fountain. The Fountain is a Tel Aviv icon which only weeks after my trip was removed. I wanted to capture an image that was more dynamic than a simple static snapshot. The square was full of pigeons and I had an idea to try and use them to add movement to this image. I placed the camera in the right place, composed the image and waited for right moment to take the image. Luckily a small child decided to run through the crow of pigeons, scattering them right into my frame.

The next picture shows the facade of the Dan Hotel on the beachfront in Tel Aviv which is covered in rainbow-colored stripes. I used the telephoto end of the zoom range to compress these and create a gradient of color. The traffic light was included to add some extra visual interest.

As I wandered through the port of Jaffa, I noticed how the lighthouse was nicely framed through a hole in a children’s play area. I was attracted to the scene as the hole reminded me of a ship’s porthole, playing into the marine theme. Using the telephoto zoom, I was able to frame the shot nicely and have the frame a little softer than the lighthouse.

Later on I went to the Museum of Art in Tel Aviv. An architectural masterpiece. The 20mm wide allowed me to capture the lines of the building perfectly and I was able to accentuate these lines and create something a little surreal. Once composed, I just had to wait for some visitors to walk into the shot, just where I wanted them! Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long.

 

Thanks to the shadows created by the structure at the Holon design museum I was able to shoot another really nice symmetric image. The orange hues against the blue sky were captured well by the camera with plently of detail both in the highlights and shadows.

Tel Aviv is an extremely young and hip city. The food scene is growing fast with cool restaurants popping up offering middle eastern/European fusion food. One of my favorites was Dalida. Using the wide angle setting on the FZ82, I held the camera above the scene to try and create an image to show the sharing nature of the food on offer. The hands were included to create a nice extra element and to help tell the story better.

As a travel and cultural documentary photographer I am always interested in the local population and people. Photographing portraits gives you a slight insight of their cultural background and captures individuals in a very open and honest way.

Whilst walking through Carmel market I found two things: Good light and interesting subjects. If there’s one thing I look for more than anything else, it’s good light.

An elderly Georgian store owner called Mevorahm was sitting in this awesome light that added some interest to his face with the shadows adding a touch of mystery to the shot too. I was very impressed with how well the FZ82 handled the difficult lighting scenario given the bright highlights and deep shadows. The FZ82 produces nice sharp portraits with good detail, which is evident in his beard and glasses.

Near enough every day during my time in Tel Aviv ended with a beautiful sunset. So I went down to the beach to capture the coloful scenery. A perfect setting for some nice pictures.

Using the palm trees as a graphical element through silhouette, coupled with the lovely sunset tones and the ultrawide perspective of the 20mm wide lens allowing me to frame the inner trees with the outer trees, made a striking image from a somewhat simple scene.

But low light is generally a challenge for any camera. I was particularly surprised by the performance of the FZ82, shooting from a tripod in Jaffa port. The skyline, the orange street lights and blue hour twilight light make for a contrast and visually interesting take on the iconic Tel Aviv view I had photographed earlier in the day.

When the sun goes down in Tel Aviv the nightlife begins. An atmosphere and liveliness you shouldn’t miss. Thanks to the slow shutter speed and the wide angle viewpoint I was able to capture the moves of this Hare Krishna dancer as she twirled around in the fading light of the evening.

As a photographer I’m always looking to challenge myself. Coming from larger sensor cameras I was relishing the opportunity to not only push my own creativity but also push the camera in extreme scenarios in order to see how it would perform. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how good the image quality was from a camera that offers the ability to do pretty much everything. The zoom range still blows my mind and to know it can perform pretty well was nice to find out. I think as an all in one travel camera or family camera that also offers 4K video capabilities, you can’t go too wrong with the FZ82. I spent days on ends wandering the streets of Tel Aviv morning to night and never felt the camera was a burden slung over my shoulder.

In some ways the camera was the perfect partner for my trip, the lightweight build allowed me to be active from sunrise to sunset without being a hindrance, the flexibility of the zoom allowed me to shoot everything from landscapes to street photography to food and portraits and the 4K video capabilities allowed me to capture the movement of the streets in this dynamic city.