Thursday, July 27, 2017

Shooting Urban Decay with a Fujifilm 50s

Hamburg Street
Fujifilm 50s GF23mm f/4
f/5.6 10-seconds ISO 100
Hamburg Street close up
Fujifilm 50s  GF120mm f/4
f/8 1/60 ISO 100
I had the opportunity to meet Mark Maio, and attend his workshop in Buffalo NY in conjunction with Capture Integration.  The primary location was Silo City with side trips to Colonel Ward Pumping Plant 2, and Concrete Central.   
laying flat on my back with the camera on tripod
Fujifilm 50s GF63 f/2.8
f/2.8 1.3 ISO 500
Art project left in a silo
laying flat on my back with the camera on tripod
Fujifilm 50s GF23 f/4
f/4 0.8 ISO 100
This was a very unusual experience for me for several reasons; I normally am the one hosting a workshop not an attendee plus I usually don’t photograph urban decay instead I capture cliff dwellings in the southwest.
I found this photograph on a wall.  Unknown date.
Fujifilm 50s GF 23mm f/4
f/4 1/8 ISO 100
The same image just processed differently; one in color the other in black and white.
Fujifilm 50s GF63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.3 ISO 125

The immediate issue was which camera to use.  The Phase One XF/IQ1-100 would provide stunning full frame images at 100-megapixels but at a cost of weight.  On the other hand I could use the Fujifilm 50s with the cropped sensor and 51-megapixels.  What made my decision easier was the combination of weight and the fact that I would be climbing several flights of stairs each day.  Keeping a loose count of the number of flights of stairs climbed in one day totaled over 13!  I stopped counting afterwards…
Top of the stairs
Fujifilm 50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 0.8 ISO100
Fujifilm GFX50s GF63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.6 ISO 100
The chair was clean!
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.6 ISO 100
The title says it all. I decided to use the Fujifilm 50s.  I took 4-lenses and ended up using all of them.  The lens lineup is the new 23mm, 32-64, 64, and 120.  I found each lens performed very good and for the most part used either the 23 or 64 while exploring inside the silos.  I ended up using all four of the lenses while in the Colonel Ward pump station.
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 63 f/2.8
f/2.8 1.3 ISO 160
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 2-seconds ISO 160
There was still oil in the can
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 3-seconds ISO 200

The floors were filthy littered with years of rust, trash, peeling paint, and a mixture of oil and water. In some cases it looked like the shift ended and the people never returned to clean up.  I saw the remnants of grain on the floor where plants took root as well on conveyor belts with standing rain water. As I said, a very dark, damp and in July hot and humid place to photograph.  Taken all together and I’m still very pleased I was able to visit.
A one-minute exposure
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 60-seconds ISO 400

I put the GFX 50s through its paces, shooting low light in damp dark spaces.  Using auto focus I focus stacked on several occasions experimenting using the toggle switch moving the focal point instead of touching the focus ring in manual focus mode.  I used both the LCD and the viewfinder with no issues.  Some shots were taken inches from the floor while others were taken as high as the tripod would allow.  Shooting in a dark, damp environment necessitated the use of a tripod for all captures.

Two shot image focus stacked
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 1-seconds ISO 125

This is the result of 2-files shot then merged; one-file shot for the shadows with the window blown out and the second file shot for the window.
Peeling paint and plant growth
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/8 1/50 ISO 100

There are 23-images shared with the majority (11) taken with the 23mm, (1) at 60.7mm, (8) at 63mm and (3) at 120mm.  The majority of the ISO used was 100 (15) with the highest at 500.  The most used lens for these images was the GF23mm. 

The following 2-images are the result of focus stacking. Each image was shot with 5-captures autofocus, moving the focal point for each capture using the toggle switch.  In the past I would have had to use manual focus touching the focus ring. Not so with these as I only had to touch the rear of the camera body which was the most secure as it sat overtop the tripod.  Try it to see what I'm talking about.
"White Room"
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 23 f/4
f/4 4-seconds ISO 100
"White Room II"
Fujifilm GFX50s GF 63mm f/2.8
f/2.8 0.3 ISO 100
I used the same workflow that I developed prior to the trip with downloading the files onto an external drive then converting the files to .dng before using Exif Pilot to batch change two lines in the Exif.  All images were opened in Capture One Pro, initially processed before sending them to Photoshop CC.   
The following 3-images were captured in the Colonel Ward Pumping Plant 2. The equipment photographed are the original pumps used to supply water to Buffalo.  I’ll be sharing more images on another blog.
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 120mm f/4
f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 120mm f/4
f/6.4 0.3 ISO 100
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 32-64 f/4
60.7mm f/8 0.8 ISO 100
If you want to challenge yourself and capture urban decay and don’t mind climbing several flights of stairs, shooting in dark, damp and cramped spaces then I’d highly recommend the Silo City Photography Workshop.  Mark hosts several workshops per year and Capture Integration partners at least once per year.
The remaining images were all captured in Concrete Central; a place where there’s more paint on the walls than bare concrete. The floors are littered with trash and stepping away from the window light the walls very dark and spooky.  
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 23f/4
f/4 1/15 ISO 100
Fujifilm GFX 50s GF 23 f/4
f/4  1/4  ISO 100
Two images focused stacked
I found working with the GFX50s easy and enjoyable.  I had 5-shooting days capturing 466 images with no issues.  Likewise each lens performed as I had hoped it would producing crisp clear and clean files even at a higher ISO.  The more I use the GFX 50s the more I like it.
This is the first of what may become several blogs regarding shooting Silo City with the Fujifilm 50s.
Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or thoughts.



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