Thursday, February 22, 2018

Shooting Northern Lights with a Fuji GFX 50s

Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23mm
f/4 20-seconds ISO 2500
Singh Ray LB Color Intensifier

We recently spent a week in Alaska attempting to capture the Aura Borealis or Northern Lights.  While we did see them we were only able to capture them 2-out of 5-nights due to heavy cloud coverage.  We also learned that while January is okay the real show normally begins mid-February lasting until the end of March.  Needless to say we’re already making plans to return.
23mm f/4 20-seconds ISO 2500
Singh Ray LB Color Intensifier

The Northern Lights began to show close to midnight and lasted until around 3am.  The temperatures while shooting ranged from a high of -10 to a low of -25 degrees and one night the wind was in excess of 20mph with gusts where it made it uncomfortable to stand straight.
I used a combination of the Fujifilm GFX 50s and 2-lenses; GF23mm f/4 and a GF63mm F/2.8.  I also used a Wine Country Camera filter system with a Singh Ray LB Color Intensifier filter.  Samples where no filter was used for comparison are included.

23mm 10-seconds ISO 2000
No filter

I had no issues using the GFX50s with either lens. I made certain the battery was fully charged at the beginning and carried a spare kept warm inside my jacket and never had to change batteries during the 90-minure period I was outside shooting.  I would spend between 60 and 90-minutes outside at a time before going inside to warm up and return back for more punishment.  The first night I shot I changed batteries just as a precaution however the second night I didn’t.
63mm f/2.8 10-seconds ISO 2000
No filter
 
63mm f/2.8 10-seconds ISO 2000
with filter

The Wine Country Camera filter system worked well and was very easy to use.  The Singh Ray filter was in a 100x100 “filter vault” which slipped into the filter holder.  The vault system helps protect the filter while making it much easier to remove while wearing thick gloves.
63mm f/2.8 10-seconds ISO 2000
No filter 

There isn’t much more I can say about the Singh Ray LB Color Intensifier than I’ve already shared. I spent a couple minutes shooting without it and after seeing the results in camera I immediately decided to keep it in place.  I found that using the filter instantly produced richer colors.
63mm f/2.8 4-seconds ISO 2000
with filter

The average ISO used was 2000 to 2500 at anywhere between 4.0 to 20-seconds. I shot both lenses wide open using f/4 for the 23mm and f/2.8 for the 63mm.  Surprisingly my favorite lens turned out to be the slower GF23mm f/4.
While I’m disappointed at the lack of northern lights I am very pleased with what I was  able to capture.  I’m equally pleased with the performance of the GFX50s as well as the lenses.  I did other shooting while in Alaska last month with some of it in cold wet conditions just not at night and never encountered any difficulties.
I had tested the Singh Ray LB color intensifier prior to Alaska and was pleased with the results of shooting sunrise and sunsets. I figured if it failed to work with the northern lights I’d still be happy; however it works better than I could have hoped for.
23mm f/4 20-seconds ISO 2500
with filter
 
63mm f/2.8 20-seconds ISO 2000
with filter
 
I highly recommend the Fujifilm GFX with any combination of GF lenses. I also recommend using the Wine Country Camera filter system for your filters. And lastly I highly recommend giving the Singh Ray LB color intensifier filter a try as I believe you’ll be just as pleased as I am.

The following image is from the first night we saw the northern lights.  The temp was hovering around -20 with winds gusting to well over 20mph. This is a really quick capture at around 11pm using the GFX 23mm f/4 13-seconds ISO 6400 and the LB Color Intensifier filter.  The red lights are from our headlamps which I forgot to turn off due to the excitement of actually seeing the light show. There’s no processing done here other than converting to Jpeg and resizing the image.



There’s more to come so please stay tuned.
Don
 
23mm f/4 20-seconds ISO 2000
with filter
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 

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