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From Concept to Capture with Matthias Oesterle

To capture the best photos at an event, what equipment should we bring? How can we find the right inspiration to move forward? Matthias Oesterle shares his experiences in the next installment of “Behind the Lens.”

Techniques and Insights from Experts Photographers

When we run out of ideas, what can we do to find more inspiration and capture stunning photos? Once we have an idea, what equipment should we have on hand to capture the stories we observe and wish to showcase in our photos? In this series, Matthias Oesterle reveals how he finds inspiration and selects the best gear for his shoots. 

“I often seek out new experiences, such as new locations, new techniques, or new equipment, to push myself outside of my comfort zone.” 

From Concept to Capture with Matthias Oesterle

Matthias Oesterle

Matthias Oesterle is a German photographer based in Spain, known for his stunning photos of cultural events, particularly in Spain. His photographs skillfully capture the rich diversity of cultures and traditions, intertwining them seamlessly across nations.

Preparation and Inspiration 

I often seek out new experiences, such as new locations, new techniques, or new equipment, to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Photography-focused media, Instagram, and YouTube channels are excellent sources of inspiration. I feel refreshed and eager to go out and shoot again when I come across images that make me jealous of not having taken them myself, even if the photos are taken in the most remote regions and have nothing to do with my own world.


IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | A confetti canon explodes as thousands of cules fill the streets to follow the FC Barcelona’s open top bus victory parade after winning the LaLiga, 30 April 2018, Barcelona, Spain.

Which Equipment Shall We Use?

“While having numerous lenses for different settings can be useful, I’ve noticed that it can also be distracting and limit my creativity.” 

In my experience, I’ve mainly used Nikon DSLR cameras, with a Sony RX 100 Va serving as a backup. I recently replaced my older cameras with a D850, which has a lens range of 16mm to 300mm with an aperture of 2.8 that can be expanded to 420mm f/4.0. In addition, I own two vintage Nikon AIS lenses, a 50mm f/1.2 and a 35mm f/1.4. 

While having numerous lenses for different settings can be useful, I’ve noticed that it can also be distracting and limit my creativity. As a result, I’ve begun to pare down my gear and concentrate on using only a few lenses with which I am comfortable. For example, to capture the spirit of this year’s Good Friday procession in Tarragona, I just used a manual 50mm f/1.2 lens. Finally, I feel that the optimal equipment for a given project can be determined by the photographer’s own preferences as well as the story they wish to tell. 


IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | Members of the ‘Armados de la Real y Venerable Congregación de la Purísima Sangre de Nuestro Senor Jesucristo, dressed as ancient romans, lead the Good Friday procession, 7 April 2023, Tarragona, Spain.

For Menorca’s Jaleos, for example I use only the 16-18mm and try to go as close as possible. You clearly see the difference between those images taken with a 70-200 from the sideline by the fellow competition. The same goes for the fire runners, just with the 24-70mm, as I can screw a UV filter on. Crucial for such type of photography, Sometimes I burn 3 of them during a 1-hour session. Long telephoto lenses are the natural choice for most sports photography, such as F1 or tennis, even if heavy and bulky when not mounted on the camera. 

“To capture the spirit of this year’s Good Friday procession in Tarragona, I just used a manual 50mm f/1.2 lens.”


IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | ire runners in devil costumes dance to traditional drums under fireworks during a Correfocs in Barcelona’s Gracia neighborhood, 27 May 2023, Barcelona, Spain.

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | The Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona gather to form the base of a human tower during day three of the 28th Tarragona Human Tower Competition, 2 October 2022, Tarragona, Spain.

imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | Thousands of cules fill the streets to follow the FC Barcelona’s open top bus victory parade after winning the LaLiga, 30 April 2018, Barcelona, Spain.

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | A young girl of the Brotherhood of Congregacion De Senoras De La Virgen Maria De La Soledad takes part with her candle in the Good Friday procession, 7 April 2023, Tarragona, Spain.

imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | Rafael Nadal is covered by confetti during the ceremony for his 10th title at the Barcelona Open after winning the final against Dominic Thiem, 30 April 2017, Barcelona, Spain.

“Long telephoto lenses are the natural choice for most sports photography, such as F1 or tennis, even if they are heavy and bulky when not mounted on the camera.” 


imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | Marcus Ericsson ( SWE) drives in his Alfa Romeo Sauber C37 during day five of Formula One testing at Circuit de Catalunya, F1 2018 season, 6 March 2018, Barcelona, Spain.

IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Matthias Oesterle | The Bordegassos de Vilanova build a human tower during day two of the 28th Tarragona Human Tower Competition, 1 October 2022, Tarragona., Spain.