Just a moment...
“Indonesia is a land of great landscapes. If anyone tells you that they don’t feel intimidated by its majestic nature, they would be lying. Mt Ijen, in Indonesia’s East Java island is no exception. It plays host to the last remaining active sulfur mine in the world, perched on the edge of the world’s largest acidic lake, turquoise in color. The miner’s here toil by hand, breaking apart the cooled sulfur and carrying their heavy load uphill to the top of the crater. I was excited to try the new LUMIX S Series full-frame camera system in these conditions.
Walking up the same winding mountain path that the miner’s have walked for over 50 years, I admired the lush forest, passing elderflower’s, ferns and Black monkeys jumping from tree to tree. Each step and each turn presented me with a new surprise, a new vista, with sweeping views of the neighboring Mt Merapi volcano. I was able to capture the vast expanse of colors with my new companion. As the sun went down and the light began to fade, I felt at ease knowing that I had a camera that is perfect for low-light photography. Photographing the workers mining the sulfur through the night I thought would be challenging, however, shooting with the new LUMIX S 24-105mm lens I was easily able to capture their work. Focusing with precision in low-light, as they broke apart the solidified sulfur with metal poles, breaking it into slabs. After gathering the pieces by hand, battling the billowing fumes, they broke down their bounty into sizeable pieces. The continuous focus helped me get a precise lock, capturing them against the lunar landscape, as they labored up, carrying the sulfur laden reed baskets, greater than their own bodyweight, up the steep ascent.
The high resolution sensor was able to capture all of the rich details and colors. Coupled with the new LUMIX S 50mm f1.4 lens, I was able to capture all of the detail in the plumes, and in the wrinkles and folds of skin, so pronounced in portraying people.
Only a rugged camera, with extraordinary low-light capability, could render both the scale and detail of this volcanic landscape and faithfully capture the miner’s at work. It was a perfect place to use my new LUMIX S full-frame camera and the lens.
Daniel Berehulak is an Australian Independent photojournalist and regular contributor to The New York Times, based in Mexico City. His work is a constant endeavor towards better understanding of concrete realities like the lives of those affected by war, natural disasters and social injustice. His work has been awarded two Pulitzer prizes, six World Press Photo awards, three Visa d'Or awards and has been a teacher at the Eddie Adams Workshop and has been a speaker at various Universities and also the American Museum of Natural History. Daniel has photographed history-shaping events including the Iraq and Afghan wars, the trial of Saddam Hussein, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, government impunity in Mexico, and most recently the so-called war on drugs in the Philippines