Portraits in the Nature and at a Harbour

You possibly know Anna from other pictures I made from her. We know each other for several years by now, and we shoot quite frequently together – in the studio, on travels abroad, or in the vicinity as we did here.

I arrived by train, and Anna picked me up with her car. Knowing that I normally arrive with quite some equipment, she was happy to find a good reason to empty the trunk. She was rather surprised seeing me with just a backpack. I had the intention not to be distracted by technique and had just two cameras with me (one of them as a backup) and four lenses. No tripod, no flash, no reflector. These often do more harm than being useful. Hence, we had a lot of space left in the trunk.

We first stopped by a bakery for coffee and for picking up some food for later. This is almost as important as the camera, simply because it is essential for a good mood.

We planned to do only portrait and people photography. Upfront we had discussed where we wanted to shoot and what clothing and props were required.

At the Rhine

For our first sets we drove down to the Rhine river. Besides an attractive shore it had also interesting shrubs and trees, and a swamp area as well. We made pictures in each of theses areas, and Anna chose an appropriate outfit for each of them.

At an uprooted tree
At the riverbank
A different mood
Swamp area

The ground had a slight slope and was very slippery, bearing a significant risk to find oneself with the camera in the swamp.

Remarkeable trees

At the harbour

At the harbour area, we intendet to take pictures which were quite different from those we made at the Rhine. We went to older and newer warehouses and chose more fancy clothing.

At a door of the old warehouse

Our first set was taken in sunshine with black clothing and a transparent black cloth.

In the shadow of the warehouse

A few yards away we got a different impression due to working in the shadow and with a black skirt.

At the quay

For our last set, Anna had chosen a beautiful and unusual outfit with dots, which we used along with a stool.

Although there was essentially nothing green, a big bumblebee was also there. Perhaps due to lack of flowers it was interested in Annas blouse with dots, and Anna observes with much curiosity what’s approaching. I was just able to make a picture of this unexpected encounter before she realized what it is.

Resume

We had chosen interesting and contrasting places for our shoot. We were also lucky with the weather and different lighting atmospheres, so that we were happy when we finished the day and drove home. It was a rewarding day for both of us.

For those who are technically interested

This was my first shoot where I could challange the outdoor capabilities of my Fujifilm GFX 50s.

Besides the camera, I also had the lenses GF 4/32-64 and GF 2/110 with me, as well as the Canon lenses 1,2/50 L und 4/70-200 L IS with a Viltrox-Adapter. As a reserve (which I always carry along) I had a Canon 1Ds MkIII with me, but it was not necessary to use it.

Most pictures were taken with the Fuji lenses. As usual for Fuji lenses, they provide an excellent image quality. Adequate background separation is possible only with the 2/110, which corresponds to only 1.8/85 for full frame. Hence, this can be had much smaller and cheaper. Still, I am very happy with the performance of this lens. The GF 4/32-64 is hardly capable of background separation, but the focal range complements the 2/110 nicely.

Unfortunately, Fuji offers no adequately fast lens in the normal range, and the GF 1.7/80 announced in the roadmap will not address this. The focal length is too close to the 2/110; what’s really needed is a 1.4/65, but this is not in sight. This is also the reason why I carried along the Canon 1.2/50. However,  due to strong vignetting, I used it only briefly. Meanwhile I know this is largely caused by the sunshade which is not made for the larger format. In the meantime, I got a second sunshade which I modified so that it does not cause additional vignetting to that of the lens. It will not be the last attempt to work with this lens.

The pictures I took with the Canon 4/70-200 L IS were a positive surprise. While it has some vignetting particularly at short focal length or at full aperture, it is very useable with the Viltrox adapter which provides autofocus and image stabilization. The vignetting is more pronounced in the upper right corner, where it is still visible at 200 mm. This is caused by the contacts of the lens, which protude a little more into the image area than other parts of the lens. The images taken with this lens (4 and 5 in “remarkeable trees”) are brightened up at the corners but not cropped. The vignetting on the upper right is still visible in picture 4.

This combination is an economical alternative to the Fujinon GF 5,6/100-200. However, electronic adapters always cause some concern about reliability. My first Viltrox adapter died when trying different lenses, and the manufacturer does not respond to a repair request. My second adapter also failed on one occasion with a different lens which otherwise works.  Reliability is an important consideration for me, particularly during travels. This is why I finally bought the Fujinon zoom for a travel to Iceland, despite that the Canon zoom provides such a good image quality.

Those looking for a cost effective alternative without autofocus may consider the Mamiya ULD C 4.5/105-210. This lens is designed for medium format and does not suffer from vignetting. Apart from an easily correcteable chromatic aberration it provides excellent picture quality. Automatic aperture control, autofocus and image stabilization are not available with this lens, but unpleasant surprises are not to be expected. My adapter does not focus to infinity, but there will be better ones available which do. Those will cost about as much as the lens, which can be found in good condition for less than 200 €. If you buy in Japan, it can be had for as little as 100 €, including shipping and import duties. However, the description of the condition must be carefully examined; A+++ does not at all mean it is free from fungus.

The Fuji GFX 50s is not larger or heavier than a full frame reflex camera, but the lenses are much bigger and heavier than their full frame siblings. This is noticeable not only at the evening when working free hand for the full day. Very useful is the display which provides horizontal and vertical tilt. The second image in “in the shadow of the warehouse” would not have been possible otherwise. In combination with the zoom it also trains the biceps ;-).

The combination of the GF 4/32-64 with the GF 2/110 is a good combination for portrait shoots; I rarely require anything else. It is desirable to have a fast normal lens with autofocus, but this is not in sight for the next future, unfortunately. Still, I do not regret to do this shoot with this camera. I just love the 3:4 aspect ratio and the quality of the images that this camera provides. Still, I would prefer a more innovative concept. Unfortunately, the updated GFX has 100 MP and a built-in vertical grip rather than a square sensor which is not far away from 3:4. Althouch this is still not exactly my dream, it would be getting closer and improve the capabilities of the camera in a much better way. If you want to know why, read my contribution “Oskar Barnack’s digital Heritage“.

Details

A portrait shoot with Anna in the nature and at a harbour. It is also the first outdoor use of my Fujifilm GFX50s.