Fuji GFX50s Medium Format Travels to Namibia: Images of Sossusvlei

Part 2  Off to Namibia from Cape Town.

After landing in Windhoek, I set off on a one week self-drive safari around the country.  I love capturing far off landscapes, but also expected to find exotic animals up close.  For this I brought two Canon lenses:  70-200mm 2.8 ii and an old school classic, the 200mm f.1.8 prime.  For more length, I also included a 2X ii converter.

My first stop was the Hoodia Lodge, near Sossusvlei and it’s world famous dunes.  I used the safari-included tour of the dune areas for scouting and returning the next morning early for the good light.  A few shots using mostly the 70-200 on the GFX50s:

Lone Tree Against a Massive Dune at Sossusvlei

Lone Tree Against a Massive Dune at Sossusvlei

People Climbing Big Daddy Dune in Sossusvlei Namibia

People Climbing Big Daddy Dune in Sossusvlei Namibia….and a tiny Oryx in the Foreground

Deadvlei Lost Forest in Namibia

Deadvlei Lost Forest in Namibia

The parched nature of the area and the vastness of the dunes were stunning.  105 degree midday temps added to the sense of a vast arid landscape.

Back at the lodge, I put up the drone for an aerial view outside the Sossusvlei park where drones aren’t allowed.  The sunset from above was a burner, and the aerial view added a new perspective of my surroundings.

Sossusvlei Burning Skies Sunset and Dry Riverbed DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

Sossusvlei Burning Skies Sunset and Dry Riverbed DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

Sossusvlei Sunset Ridge Across a Desert Landscape DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

Sossusvlei Sunset Ridge Across a Desert Landscape DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

Sossusvlei Sunset Peaks Last Light DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

Sossusvlei Sunset Peaks Last Light DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

I rested up for the next leg of my journey.   Tomorrow I would be heading to the coast for another part of the Namibian landscape:  Vast dunes against the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

Fuji GFX50s Medium Format Travels to Namibia

I had some work to do in South Africa, so I planned a week of self-driving around Namibia to explore the land and see what my new Fuji GFX50s medium format mirrorless camera could do out in the bush.  It’s hard for me to choose lenses for such a trip so I pretty much brought everything:

pelican case, lens case, travel photography, mavic pro 2 drone

Pelican 1510 case with numerous lenses and a Mavic Pro 2 drone

This was the lineup for this trip:

Fuji GFX50s
Sony a7r2
Canon 200mm f/1.8 and 2x converter
Canon 70-200 2.8 II
Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS
Zeiss 18mm f/3.5
Zeiss 50mm f/1.4
Zeiss 85mm F/1.4 Otus
Mavic Pro 2 drone
Gitzo 0531 tripod with BH25 head

I was able to get some nice shots hiking around Table Mountain and the Signal Hill areas of Cape Town.

Lions Head from Table Mountain Cape Town Fuji GFX50s

Lions Head from Table Mountain Cape Town Fuji GFX50s

Sunset Watchers from Signal Hill Cape Town South Africa GFX50s

Sunset Watchers from Signal Hill Cape Town South Africa GFX50s

Full Moon Over Cape Town Fuji GFX50s

Full Moon Over Cape Town Fuji GFX50s

The Twelve Apostles Table Mountain Cape Town Fuji GFX50s

The Twelve Apostles Table Mountain Cape Town Fuji GFX50s

Work wrapped up after at the end of the week and then I flew to Windhoek Namibia for another 7 days of exploring with the Fuji GFX50s…

 

Various Zeiss Prime Lenses Adapted Onto the Fuji GFX50s

..and one very old Canon prime.

How did this happen?  Well my Sony a7r’s second shutter blew apart during a sunrise timelapse and I found myself looking into another camera body. I was going back and forth considering another a7r2 or even the a7r3.  Looking around, I came across the Fuji.  I’ve always wondered about digital medium format for landscape photography.  I rented one for the weekend and set about adapting my various Canon-mount Zeiss lenses to it.  Adapting lenses onto the GFX50s leads one into the myriad of adapters available with their pluses and minuses.

As we know, renting can lead to buying, and within a week I found myself with an almost new GFX50s.  My initial challenges were figuring out the menu system and dialing in manual focus.  Most of the online tutorials seemed to leave out an implied step or two.  Eventually I got there.  I tried adapters from Fotodiox to Viltrox and eventually settled on the Kipon AF adapter.  I meant to try to the Fringer but ordered the wrong size and by then, I was happy with the Kipon.

I adapted on my Zeiss 85 and 28 Otus lenses, my 135mm f2 ZE lens and even my old Contax 50mm f1.4.  The 28 Otus had the most vignetting.  All lenses performed well. I was especially happy with the AF using my almost 30yo Canon 200mm f1.8 lens.  Much snappier and more accurate than the Sigma MC11 or Metabones IV adapters on my Sony a7r2.

A few photos from my first few days with the camera.  Very impressed with the details and tonality.

Smith Tower Blues Fuji GFX50s and Zeiss 85mm Otus lens

Smith Tower Blues Fuji GFX50s and Zeiss 85mm Otus lens

Seattle Sunset Fuji GFX50s and Contax 50mm lens Handheld Shot

Seattle Sunset Fuji GFX50s and Contax 50mm lens Handheld Shot

My Contemplative Cat Fuji GFX50s and Contax 50mm lens Handheld Shot

My Contemplative Cat Fuji GFX50s and Contax 50mm lens Handheld Shot

Second Beach Sunset Fuji GFX50s and Zeiss 28mm Otus lens Handheld Shot

Second Beach Sunset Fuji GFX50s and Zeiss 28mm Otus lens Handheld Shot

Smith Tower Dusk Fuji GFX50s and Canon 200mm f1.8 lens

Smith Tower Dusk Fuji GFX50s and Canon 200mm f1.8 lens

DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone In China Adventures

Decided to bring the little beast on a work trip to China with a side trip to Guilin Yangshuo afterwards.  Beijing was a NFZ, and I put in an exemption request to no avail.  I did, however get some flight time near the Wall and on my adventure down to Yangshuo.

DJI_0144DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Yangshuo ChinaDJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Yangshuo China Xianggong HillDJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Yangshuo China SunsetDJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Yangshuo China Rafts on the Yulong River

DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Great Wall Mutianyu SectionDJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Great Wall Mutianyu Section LengthDJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Photography Great Wall Mutianyu Section Fall Colors

Prints for sale at Mike Reid Photography

Lake O’Hara Fall Colors Camping

For the second year in a row, I decided to head to Lake O’Hara for some camping and fall colors photography.  I love this place.  Alongside awesome scenery including towering peaks and golden larches, access is restricted so its not too crowded.  Two ways to overnight at the lake:  Camping in the campground or staying at the Lodge.

Having no luck with the Lodge waiting list, I decided to camp for a few night and hope for good weather.  After an 11 hour drive from Seattle I was ready for an adventure.  I learned a lot from last year’s Lake O’Hara camping.  First was that it pays to bring real food and cook it at the campground.  Second, bring the warmest gear you have.

In the end, I overpacked a bit and got a lecture from the staff before boarding the schoolbus that takes you up the fire road to Lake O’Hara.

banff, lake ohara, camping, gear

Lots of gear and ready for cold overnight temps

I setup my tent on pad 26 and got situated for the days ahead.  There was a little less snow than last year so people were socializing around the campfire.  I relaxed for the rest of the evening since the skies were cloudy and the light wasn’t good.

My Mountain Hardwear Trango Assault tent at Lake O'Hara

My Mountain Hardwear Trango Assault tent at Lake O’Hara

I peeked out of my tent around 5am the next day and saw stars above so it was on.  I geared up and headed for the Opabin Plateau.  Having seen and photographed the view from the Plateau over the lakes, I decided to explore the larches and lakes farther in instead.

I found a winter wonderland of larches, frozen tarns and towering peaks.  A few of these are below.

Almost Frozen Opabin Lake and First Light on Peaks Beyond

Almost Frozen Opabin Lake and First Light on Peaks Beyond

Mount Huber Catching First Light

Mount Huber Catching First Light

Mount Schaffer Catching Morning Light Above Lake Opabin and Golden Fall Colors

Mount Schaffer Catching Morning Light Above Lake Opabin and Golden Fall Colors

Opabin Plateau Golden Larches and Towering Mount Schaffer

Opabin Plateau Golden Fall Colors  Larches

I wandered along the frozen trails for about an hour before the light lost its softness.  then I headed back down to the campground for breakfast and some rest. The lakeside cabins of the Lake O’Hara Lodge were basking in warm morning light.

Lake O'Hara Lodge Cabins Reflection Just After Dawn

Lake O’Hara Lodge Cabins Reflection Just After Dawn

Part 2 coming up…

 

Back to Iceland: Round the Ring Road Part 5 Fiery Stokksnes Sunrise

Each morning in Iceland you wonder if the weather is going to turn out.  You’ve looked at the weather reports, talked to locals, checked out TPE and Skyfire.  Everything pointed to a good sunrise so off I went at 3am, heading to Stokksnes.

As I was hiking out to the point, the skies became slowly fiery.  I noticed that the storm the day before had cleaned up many of the footprints (bonus).  I got to where I wanted to be and set up both cameras.  Sony a7r and 16-35 on my smaller tripod Gitzo GT0531 and the Zeiss 28mm Otus on my a7r2 handheld.  I got the a7r going with Sony’s Smooth Reflections app and wandered around capturing other shots with the Otus.

I just watched the sunrise unfold, so glad I had gotten out of bed.

Iceland Stokksnes Sunrise Sony a7r Smooth Reflection app

Iceland Stokksnes Sunrise Sony a7r Smooth Reflection app

Iceland Stokksnes Sunrise Sony a7r Smooth Reflection app

Iceland Stokksnes Sunrise Sony a7r Smooth Reflection app 16-35mm Lens

Iceland Stokksnes Sunrise Pano Zeiss 28mm Otus

Iceland Stokksnes Sunrise Pano Zeiss 28mm Otus

 

Back to Iceland: Round the Ring Road Part 4

I mentioned a weather apocalypse of sorts around Hofn and it hit hard one morning.  Crazy weather is worth venturing into at sunrise or sunset because the potential for great shots is there.  Safety first, of course.  Arcteryx thought enough of my suffering and brand placement that they asked to use this photo in their website promotions.

Iceland Stokksnes Morning Hailstorm Arcteryx

Iceland Stokksnes Morning Hailstorm

 

Iceland Stokksnes After the Hailstorm Zeiss 28mm Otus Sony

Iceland Stokksnes After the Hailstorm

That morning, a beautiful sunrise wasn’t to be.  But venturing east, I found the golden light behind the storm.

Iceland Ring Road Hailstorm Sunrays

Iceland Ring Road Hailstorm Sunrays

Which in turn lit up the surrounding peaks nicely.

Iceland Ring Road Morning Golden Light On Dusted Peaks Zeiss 28mm Otus and Sony A7R2

Iceland Ring Road Morning Golden Light On Dusted Peaks

Iceland Ring Road Snow Capped Peaks Reflection

Iceland Ring Road Snow Capped Peaks Reflection

At that point, the light was on the wane so I headed back to Hofn for a nap and breakfast.  Time to rest and rejuvenate for afternoon at Jokulsarlon.  On this visit, there wasn’t much ice on the beach as it was still cold and frozen at the glacier. But wandering the beaches along the lagoon is always a pleasure.  Its interesting to see how the ice arranges itself, changing each day.

Iceland Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon Sculptures Zeiss 85mm Otus

Iceland Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon Sculptures

Later on back at Hotel Hofn, I learned of their happy hour and 20% off meals for guests. this lead to more relaxing and planning for the morning.  Hopefully without the hailstorms