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Canon Explorer Ulla Lohmann is taking her EOS 5D Mark III DSLR around the world with BMW Motorrad to follow in the tyre tracks of five riders, each of whom has won a place on the ultimate adventure with the R 1200 GS motorcycle. Ulla is shooting all five riding adventures – which take place across five continents – and will be blogging on CPN along with Basti Hofmann and filmmaker Romain de l’Ecotais about the experience of men, machines and megapixels.


Ulla Lohmann on life with BMW motorbikes and the EOS 5D Mark III

April 2013

Canon Explorer Ulla Lohmann along with her husband Basti Hofmann and filmmaker Romain de l’Ecotais have been working with BMW Motorrad on a series of five worldwide motorcycling adventures designed to highlight its best-selling R 1200 GS dual sport bike. In this final blog, Ulla and Romain talk about their experiences in Europe with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III…

Well, here we are my friends! The final blog from an assignment that has taught so much about so many things – it’s difficult to know where to start…

© Ulla Lohmann/BMW Motorrad

Winner of the the European tour, Stephanie Rowe from the UK, rides through the rain to France. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 60mm; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/5, ISO 800.

I can honestly say that this has been one of the most challenging assignments, and also the most rewarding. It’s been relentless hard work, with very little opportunities for rest and at times I’ve been shooting pictures pretty much around the clock – at least, that’s how it felt!

Before we thank all the people involved in the project, I must first of all pay a very special tribute to my own star of the show – the very incredible and very special EOS 5D Mark III. This camera has become such a part of me and was able to keep up with the pace of this assignment. I really don’t think I could ever use another camera now.

© Ulla Lohmann/BMW Motorrad

Whoops! Filmmaker Romain de l'Ecotais inspects his EOS 5D Mark III after filming a little too close to a puddle. It carried on working without problems... Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 70mm; the exposure was 1/100sec at f/8, ISO 800.

It is in need of a service of course, as I have shot over 100,000 images with it since I started this job with BMW Motorrad and I will be booking it into CPS next week for some tender loving care. There have been times when it has been covered in mud, rained on, knocked about on the back of the bike, but it has never once let me down. The sensor has been the biggest sensation about this camera, because for me working with Romain I couldn’t use flash with his filming and so I had to shoot with high ISO all the time. But the quality was still there – absolutely fantastic. The image quality is mind-blowing and the camera is so fast, too. Much faster than the EOS 5D Mark II, for example.

I also was very grateful for the two-card slots in the [EOS] 5D Mark III too, because I would have been lost without them. When you’re on the back of a bike, you have no time to change cards and this was one of the most important features for me.

I thought Europe would be the easy trip but for some reason we had really bad weather and we were driving really long distances so it turned out to be the hardest of all! We were driving eight hours every day, which is just insane. I thought I knew Europe but it is only when you are travelling through all the different countries that you are reminded me of the incredible beauty we all have on our front door. I was so surprised. Every country had its own identity, its own special landscapes, and the people were of course always so friendly.

© Ulla Lohmann/BMW Motorrad

Covered in dust and mud, the smiles were still wide and bright as the team made their way to Munich. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 40mm; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.

Girl power!

For this trip we were joined by the winner of the European tour, Stephanie Rowe, from the UK. It was so nice to have a woman to photograph this time and we became good friends straight away. Stephanie is a great personality and a very good rider and it was a pleasure to work with her and see her do amazing things with the bike and impress the guys! We were laughing all the time. I love photographing people and Stephanie had a great range of emotions – from tears to laughter. It was a very special thing to watch the joy on her face when she got on the bike for the very first time, and emotional to see her finish at the BMW Motorrad factory in Munich, Germany.

This assignment with BMW really has changed me somehow. The trip was so fast-paced, I became really good at editing quickly and working more efficiently. Normally, I like to sit down and take my time but not a chance with these long journeys! I became much faster professionally, editing quickly with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software after importing the files into my laptop and then sending back images every day to the agency in Germany. Plus on a personal level it was a really special bonding experience. Romain spent more time with us than he did with his own family, for instance. The friendship was really important to me and I think it helped us work more effectively as a creative group.

© Ulla Lohmann/BMW Motorrad

Winner of the the European tour, Stephanie Rowe from the UK, rides through spectacular landscape – and occasionally a beautiful sunset. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 30mm; the exposure was 1/500sec at f/5, ISO 320.

Romain reflects…

Everything Ulla has been saying about this trip I completely agree with. In fact the whole assignment has been incredible and for me, moving from an EOS 7D to an EOS 5D Mark III, it has taken my filmmaking up to a whole new level.

We have all changed as people – and in a good way. We have all bonded, become really good friends, and have used photography and filmmaking as a way to get closer to our passions. It’s very easy these days to become too focussed on technology and lose sight of why you do something, but because the EOS 5D Mark III is so intuitive to use, you can let it do its own thing and film without thinking too much about settings and instead you can focus on becoming part of the moment, instead of just filming it. The camera is beautifully designed and works faultlessly and all the way through the trips I had no problems with it.

© Romain de l’Ecotais/ BMW Motorrad

Please click the image above to watch Romain de l’Ecotais’ film of the BMW Motorrad One World Tour as it concludes in Europe at the BMW Motorrad factory in Munich, Germany.

I will speak for us all when I say thank you to BMW Motorrad for giving us this incredible opportunity, and I want to also thank our creative agency T3 and the wonderful Eric for working with us all and making this such a special experience.

And finally I want to thank Canon, for making the best cameras and making my life as a filmmaker such a pleasure with such fantastic equipment. I hope everyone has enjoyed these blogs plus the films and stills, as much as we enjoyed creating them.

See you on the road!


Ulla Lohmann’s kitbag for Europe

EOS 5D Mark II

EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
EF35mm f/1.4L USM
EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF2x III Extender

Canon Speedlite 580EX flashgun
Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite
Canon TC-80N3 Cable Remote Control
SELPHY CP810 printer

Romain de l’Ecotais’ kitbag for Europe


EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
EF28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
EF50mm f/1.4 USM

Rode Videomic Pro microphone
Zoom H4N digital recorder
Sennheiser wireless system
Sennheiser HD headphones
2x windsocks for microphones

Z finder
2x belt lens cases
MacBook Pro laptop
iPhone (used as a monitor for the GoPro using WiFi)
Manfrotto tripod with fluid head
Manfrotto monopod with ball & socket head
Manfrotto magic arm with clamps
Cobracrane backpacker (portable crane)
LCD monitor
Steadicam Merlin camera stabilizer

Biography: Ulla Lohmann

Ulla Lohmann

Ulla Lohmann is a German photojournalist and documentary filmmaker with a BSc degree in Natural Resource Management. She works freelance for clients including BMW, National Geographic, GEO, Stern View, the BBC, The New York Times and many others. She specialises in documenting the changing world of indigenous tribes and in photographing erupting volcanoes, and some of her photo stories have been exhibited at the Visa pour l’ Image international festival of photojournalism.

Biography: Romain de l'Ecotais

Romain de l'Ecotais

Romain is an independent filmmaker specializing in corporate and film documentaries, and has created films in a wide variety of situations, from the hot kitchens of Michelin-starred Chef Thierry Marx to Senegalese wrestlers in Africa. He is shooting the videos for the BMW Motorrad trip with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and will be blogging about his experiences on making movies in extreme conditions.

Biography: Basti Hofmann

Basti Hofmann

Ulla’s husband Basti is shooting behind the scenes stills and video with a Canon EOS 7D and will be proving back up support for Ulla as well as a strong pair of arms! Responsible for logistics, he is part of a team of backroom ‘heroes’ who make these trips happen with minimal technical problems.