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“…it’s like I’m uncovering the secrets of the universe and seeing the impossible,” says passionate photographer Timothy Ozimec. “What appears to the naked eye as a few hundred white dots in a black sky are revealed to be a veritable sea of stars among the cosmic latte plane of the Milky Way.” What’s more, Tim gets these images using the Sony Xperia 1 II smartphone, announced earlier this year. It’s opened his eyes to what could be possible with a more serious camera.
The Story of Timothy Ozimec, a Passionate Photographer
“I’ve always liked taking photos since I was little, though I was never any good at it,” says Tim. “A few years ago, a friend of mine bought a DLSR and began his foray into amateur photography. Back then, I didn’t really understand the difference between mobile phone cameras and full-sized cameras in addition to the options the latter get in terms of shooting, and when I saw the photos he took, I was fascinated.” Since then, Tim’s received heaps of guidance. It’s made him more confident.
Tim is like most other consumers who enjoy the photo-taking process. His phones have been his only cameras, yet he shares the same passion for photography as many others. To that end, Tim has wanted something more since using the Sony Xperia 1 II. Part of this is the phone’s Photo Pro app. Inspired by the Sony Alpha camera lineup, Tim found it to be an eye-opener. For years, Tim knew that various images were just impossible to do with phones. But when he pointed his Xperia 1 II up to the sky and did astrophotography, he was stunned.
“If it can take photos that good and that easily, I’d love to get my hands on a full-sized camera.”
Sony’s devices, especially the phones, have always had a soft spot in Tim’s heart. Remember the Xperia PLAY? That was his first smartphone, and he adored it. He upgraded to the Xperia 1 II because he wanted something that did everything his old XZ Premium did and more.
“So many manufacturers were removing expandable memory and headphone jacks and putting in smaller and smaller batteries, so there were few phones I really wanted to look at,” explains Tim. “In the end, the Xperia 1 II won out over the competition because of its standout camera features, in addition to those core features that are becoming harder and harder to come by.”
I’ve been wanting to get into photography for years, so I figured its cameras paired with Photo Pro would serve as an introduction to amateur photography and allow me to learn and experiment before investing a significant amount of money into a full sized camera.
The Sony Xperia 1 II is pretty much Tim’s first camera. And it’s taught him a ton! “Before this phone, my knowledge and prowess was limited to tweaking the EV slider and experimenting with touch to focus and how that would often change the exposure,” says Tim. “Now, I frequently use all of the settings in Photo Pro, and I’m confident that a full-size camera would probably not be wasted on me.”
The Thirst to Be Inspired
Tim draws inspiration from a myriad of places. “I grew up looking at the spectacular photos from various scientific observatories around the world in news articles, social media posts, and more,” he states. “I also found long exposure shots really cool as you can get some really unique and amazing photos in otherwise uninteresting everyday situations.” Another great place that Tim goes to be inspired is Reddit.
Most folks are inspired by their everyday life. They’ll document things like food, their children, friends, etc. Tim goes on walks, takes photos of his dog, car, etc. Those are all just snapshots though. Tim gets really serious about his long exposure and night sky photography. “So many incredible views can be seen with a 30-second exposure that the naked eye could never truly see or appreciate,” says Tim. “For fear of using a cliche, it’s like I’m uncovering the secrets of the universe and seeing the impossible. What appears to the naked eye as a few hundred white dots in a black sky are revealed to be a veritable sea of stars among the cosmic latte plane of the Milky Way.”
Shooting the Night Sky with the Sony Xperia 1 II
“Night photography is the main thing for me,” says Tim, when asked about what was the big game-changer for him. “Anyone can grab their phone and take a quick photo of a pretty landscape scene during the day, but I’ve never seen a phone that can take such spectacular night-time shots as my Xperia 1 II can.” Admittedly, he thought buying the phone was a bit of a gamble. He didn’t understand any of the major photo-taking features, but he committed to the experience. And it paid off for him.
So how did he get the lead image of this article? Here’s how Tim did it!
I never thought that I could take a photo of the night sky with a phone and see the Milky Way in all its glory, but that’s exactly what I did two days after I got my Xperia 1 II. I put it in a tripod in the backyard, set the shutter speed to the slowest setting (30 seconds), set ISO around the 1000 mark after some trial and error and hit the shutter button. When I saw the result, honestly I was stunned. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this sure wasn’t it. I thought I’d maybe see a few stars in a black sky. I would’ve been happy with that, it would’ve been neat. Instead, I had taken a photo which showed the Milky Way in greater detail than I thought possible. I could see the dark filaments of dust in the interstellar medium and the cosmic latte of the billions of stars. I’m pretty sure you can even see a couple of nebulae if you zoom way in. Some people I showed it to took some convincing that I shot that with my phone.