The idea of spending the first few nights of the year over the mountains sounded a bit daunting to me but I also knew that it was an invitation I couldn't refuse. I really enjoy spending special dates surrounded by the people I love so I left home with mixed emotions.
The hike was intense, probably more than I expected but the company made the uphill journey way more painless and full of laughs. Commanded by the best local in town, Luke Hasaart, the rest of the A-team, Matt Finn, Dany Tym, Chandra Bong and myself, we're amazed by the endless beauty of the area.
After some hours of hard work with a bunch of sneaky encounters on our way up, we made it to our hotel for the next few days, with beautiful views of the steepest mountains in Australia, surrounded by patchy icy snow (yes still a bit of snow and ice in January!), countless alpine wildflowers and freezing water.
I'd been shooting with the Canon R5 paired with the RF 15-35 almost every day for the last six months but barely out shooting landscapes, so this was going to be a nice opportunity to test some things I wasn't entirely happy with. The most concerning issue, since the very first day, is the ridiculous amount of flare when the lens is exposed to direct sunlight and with clear skies forecasted for sunset, I had no options but to dig into this and check how the new system performs trying to capture the mountains with a sunburst.
I scouted the area well in advance and spotted a couple of compositions worth a try. The whole area was covered by countless alpine wildflowers and daisies so it made everything a bit easier for us. Being aware of the flare matter, I spent a fair amount of time cleaning the lens, making sure the front glass was pristine and ready to go, but as I feared, the results weren't good at all and sadly, I had to spend more time cleaning and editing the final image than the time I spent hiking to get up there. I'd say that the ghost flare is normal compared to other lenses I've used but the RGB flare is a huge problem to deal with.
I've never experienced this amount of flare before and never expected this from the most expensive wide-angle lens in the market so I decided to take it to Canon Professional Services for them to take a look and sadly, everything was right. Apparently, the distance between the back of the lens and the sensor has been reduced in the mirrorless system and consequently, there is not enough room to dissipate strong light, ending with an unwanted flare.
This photo ended up being a very frustrating process and a bittersweet experience that has left many doubts about my recent move to the mirrorless system. But on the other hand and leaving the photography aspect aside, being up there, surrounded by good mates in one of the best landscapes I've seen in Australia filled me up with good memories and it was without a doubt the best way to start 2022.