Photography in nature with Fujifilm GFX, 250mm lens and macro extension tubes
Continuing the theme of shooting intimate landscapes, or details within nature. I wanted to write about how I photograph using my Fujifilm GFX in close-ups today. This is something that l love and is completely different from the seascape work that I am known for.
I enjoy this style of photography because it's something I can get absorbed in. Time slows down and you can become completely immersed in slowly and carefully creating mini-worlds. The beauty of the outdoors has no end and all too often we just walk past and don't spend the time seeing this beauty. There is a mindfulness to photographing intimate landscapes, noticing and really appreciating the small things. We are living in unprecedented days, where most people are housebound and allowed out for exercise only once a day. Beginning to notice and appreciate things on our doorstep is now more crucial than ever.
Most of you know that I am not kit obsessed in any way and the technicals are secondary to the experience for me. However, when I have equipment that can produce stunning imagery, I do get a little excited!
FUJIFILM GFX 50S
I have had the Fujifilm X-T2 for over a year now and it's become one of my most used cameras. Possibly because it's so easy to carry around due to its size. The quality coming from this little camera is impressive and led me to consider what the possibilities were with its big brother, the Fujifilm GFX 50s. This is a 51.4 megapixel, medium format camera with a big sensor, incredible dynamic range and housed in a tough body. The controls are generally similar to the other Fuji cameras so it's easy to move on to it. Where this camera really comes into its own is in landscape photography.
After trialling the GFX body combined with the GF100-200mm F5.6 lens, I decided to buy the body and continue to test it with other lenses until I got my perfect combination. My style of landscape photography is unique in that I rarely shoot with wide lenses, as many landscape photographers do. I am much more likely to be seen with a telephoto lens permanently on my camera. So I was lucky enough that Fuji and Ffordes Photographic allowed me to test the 250mm lens whilst away in Glencoe recently.
The Fuji GFX body felt instantly right for me. The controls are easy to handle, and it feels substantial. It's not as sleek or compact as the other Fuji cameras, but it feels and looks like a camera that means business. It can withstand the weather and produce incredible quality. And it definitely does all of these.
Fuji GF 250mmF4 R LM OIS WR
So, on to my unusual lens choice. The 250mm was basically the longest lens that Fuji makes for the GFX, and I generally choose long lenses to get really close in on waves. This F4 prime lens is a big, heavy piece of kit! But it does balance amazingly well with the GFX body. Autofocus is surprisingly fast given the amount of glass and more importantly image quality is just incredible. And I mean incredible: from the compression to its features to the sheer quality.
Macro extension Tubes - MCEX-45G WR
My mind is made up on lens choice. So I then moved on to considering going one step further and adding in macro extension tubes and seeing how this body/lens combination works with extension tubes. The MCEX-45G WR extension tube is essentially a hollow tube that allows the quality of the lens to be maintained whilst allowing close up focusing. Below you can see the two images that resulted from the above scenario. Nice and low in amongst the heather to create images with a nice depth of field whilst making the subject pop nicely from the background. I love this combination so far!
Below are some more examples of the GFX, 250mm lens and extension tube combination. Photographed in my back garden on a cold frosty morning a couple of weeks ago.
And finally, some images shot on Waulkmill Bay on Orkney in the sunshine. The sparkling light in the background and getting low helps with the feel to these images. I am loving the extension tubes for this style of photography and will continue to experiment in the coming weeks. Watch out for lots of back garden images as the lockdown continues.