Up in the mountains of Utah, I was invited to go on my first Sony Kando Trip! I have never been so nervous to attend something in my adult life as I was going to my inaugural Kando Trip mainly because I didn’t know anyone and there were world-famous photographers attending. This brand-sponsored event took me on an adventure where I joined a gathering of fellow photographers and content creators.
From the logistics to the stunning experiences, Sony ensured that every detail was taken care of. In the midst of this breathtaking natural wonderland, I encountered the essence of “Kando,” a Japanese word that beautifully encapsulates the profound satisfaction and intense excitement we feel when we encounter something truly extraordinary.
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As a full-time creative, another Japanese concept, “ikigai,” has been the driving force behind my path to make it as a creative entrepreneur. It symbolizes a passion that infuses life with value and joy. My decision to fully step into the world of photography and creativity was driven by this very sense of ikigai—a leap of faith that has allowed me to explore the world, forge new connections, and embrace life’s risks.
After being flown out and shuttled to the resort, my adventure commenced with an unforgettable night on Snowbird’s summit. The hotel itself is nestled at 8,000 feet, but that paled in comparison to the summit’s altitude of 11,000 feet. The summit offered a multitude of opportunities to capture stunning photographs of the view and models in various scenarios. While I didn’t focus much on portraits during this trip, I couldn’t help but realize the untapped potential in these surroundings. It’s a reminder to myself that next year, I should seize the chance to delve deeper into portrait photography and shadow the Sony Artisans that are there.
One of the most gratifying aspects of this experience was connecting with Sony reps, fellow photographers and creators, many of whom are industry leaders in their respective fields, thriving as successful creative entrepreneurs. I’ll admit that I battled imposter syndrome in the days leading up to the trip, as I didn’t have any personal acquaintances in the group. But as an extrovert, I made it my mission to connect with as many remarkable individuals as possible throughout the week. Happy to say mission accomplished!
The second and third days at Sony Kando Trip were a canvas of limitless possibilities. We had the freedom to choose our activities. However, a shared moment of anticipation brought everyone together – the Sony keynote address where they unveiled their latest product launch: the compact full-frame a7C II, a7C R, and the 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II lens.
Being among some of the first to test out Sony’s latest products was fun. I mainly stuck with using the a7C II since the file sizes of the a7C R would eat up my hard drive space. The a7C II boasts a 33-megapixel sensor, a Bionz XR Processor, and a dedicated AI processing unit, bringing enhancements like advanced subject recognition, eye autofocus, and subject tracking. It has the ability to capture up to 10 frames per second with both mechanical and silent shutter, along with autofocus and auto-exposure tracking.
The camera’s compact size and reduced weight compared to the a7C make it a versatile companion. It delivers 4K video with full pixel readout, 7K oversampling, 4:2:2 10-bit color, and All-Intra recording. Its capabilities include shooting 4K at 60 FPS in Super 35 and 120 FPS in Full HD, all while offering S-Cinetone color and S-LOG 3.
While I couldn’t explore all of its functions during this trip, my initial feedback included dismay over the absence of dual slots and the removal of the joystick, which many find helpful for focusing. Personally, since I still use the a6400, it lacks a joystick so I’m used to a camera without it.
Interestingly, it seemed that most attendees were particularly excited about the new lens. My focus, however, lay in using the telephoto options, such as the impressive 600mm f4 GM lens priced at $13,000. I thought I would have fun using it, but it turns out it’s too heavy of a lens, is too tight, and omits any foreground. It’s a great lens for getting the moon itself or sports, but going with a telephoto is a better option. Lesson learned!
My first Sony Kando Trip was nothing short of amazing, and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it this year. I distinctly remember wishing for an invitation last year, and as fate would have it, my wish came true! Let this be a reminder that when you chase your passions, the world unfolds its wonders before you.
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