Image Focus

Marek Arcimowicz | Spontaneous Shot

I only had a few seconds to take this picture, so it was shot with the only camera I had prepared, my Sony Alpha 6000.

The image was taken in the Yamal Peninsula, Northern Siberia in Russia which is home to the Nenets people, also known as Samoyedic ethnic group. Native, nomadic 'villages' travel with their herds of reindeers across northern Arctic Russia. Nenets live in Chum’s – these are tents similar to a Native American-style teepee. They live and work in small groups and move on sleighs with all their belongings, both during the winter and summer and in snow, or on mud and sub-arctic vegetation.

I was there making a documentary for a Polish television channel and National Geographic Magazine Poland. While the rest of our team were filming inside one of the tents, I went out to check the light and external conditions. After a cloudy day, the sun had broken through, but a downpour was approaching.

a baby reindeer illuminated in the reflection of a raindrop

© Marek Arcimowicz | Sony α6000 + E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS | 1/200s @ f/13, ISO 800

As the rain began to fall, the light and atmosphere became unusual. Out of nowhere, a baby reindeer ran through the village. I grabbed my camera; however, raindrops flew on my lens, which started to create characteristic reflections with the sun's rays. There was no time to wipe the lens as the reindeer were running - I only had a few seconds to take a photo.

I ran slowly, never taking the camera away from my eye, trying to use the raindrop effect in my frame. Ie even tried to keep the baby reindeer in the light-drop. As I took this photo, my legs got tangled in the reins of the sledges scattered chaotically around. I fell on another sledge, almost losing my teeth! Fortunately, nothing terrible happened, and I managed to get this wonderfully unique photograph.

The camera I had on me was actually my backup camera, a Sony Alpha 6000 and I used the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens.  My primary camera back then was a Sony Alpha 900, but I always carried the Sony Alpha 6000 as a small, inconspicuous camera with excellent image quality. It’s also very lightweight, and I find that the quality of my photos are even better than a traditional DSLR, so it’s a great alternative. And thanks to the autofocus feature I was able to capture the moving reindeer! . But nowadays, if I am travelling light for hiking, biking, climbing or skiing, I always take my newer Alpha 6500.

I took the image in an instant where I just reacted. I did not overthink it and used my instinct to get the shot. The final image captures a fraction of a second in time and documents a nomadic lifestyle that is disappearing before our eyes.

Featured products

Marek Arcimowicz

Marek Arcimowicz | Poland

"A good traveller has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving" - 老子 Lǎozi (Lao Tzu; 6th – 5th century BC)

Related stories

Sign up to get your α Universe newsletter

Congratulations! You've successfully subscribed to the α Universe newsletter

Please enter a valid email address

Sorry! Something went wrong

Congratulations! You've successfully subscribed