New Beginnings

Three years ago my battery ran flat. To be honest, it had been an ongoing process over many years. Every tramping trip felt a little less inspired than the previous. An hour into trips I would be longing for my sofa. With my back hurting and sweat stinging in my eyes, I wondered why I was doing this to myself.

I had come to the end of a years-long trend of diminishing returns. Adventuring around New Zealand had once been a reason to move between continents. A decade after my relocation I felt jaded. Every trip a stale rehash of its predecessors. Been there, done that.

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The Ergonomics of Shooting Solo

Working Without an Assistant in Architectural Photography

When I first started in professional photography, I was operating on a shoestring budget with no clients. In those early days I was working on the worst-case assumption that it might take years to make the business viable. To stave off starvation I kept expenditure to a minimum. Working as a total newbie in what counts for a medium-sized city in New Zealand, squeezing an assistant out of the budget was something I didn’t even consider. The money would have come straight out of my mostly empty pockets.

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Camranger 2 Arca Plate Adapter

Having the ability to beam images from a camera to a smartphone or tablet is convenient for a variety of reasons ranging from remote control away from the camera to the ability to review images with clients on a large screen. Camera manufacturers included WiFi features in their products many years ago, but most of these solutions are awkward at best. The process to hook up a device is often unnecessarily involved and the set of included features not fit for professional use.

Camranger stepped into this gap many years ago and developed a wireless bridge that attaches to the camera and comes with a well thought-out app. It has been a standard industry solution for quite some time, but unfortunately it was not Fujifilm compatible until 2019. I just learned a few weeks ago that my cameras are finally supported and ordered one right away.

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Rogeti CAP-GZA Geared Panning Clamp

Since my initial review of Rogeti’s debut RG-1 geared head a year ago, I have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at this tripod head. As long-term experiences go, I could not be happier with the performance that I managed to squeeze out of the RG-1. It served me well in a range of weird scenarios, including trying to capture images from precarious leans over balustrades to complex shifted HDR panoramas of ceilings. I used it on small residential shoots and big commercial jobs alike, in sun as well as rain (well, once at least). It did so with zero play in the mechanism while retaining the smoothness of its controls.

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Lee Filters 100mm Bumper

Some building materials are shiny, but not in a good way. Whether it is light bouncing off flooring and thus obscuring beautiful wood grain, window reflections that keep me from looking into the heart of a building, or an excess of metallic surfaces that look chaotic with bounced light, sometimes I want the option of turning reflections off. That’s where polarizing filters enter the stage.

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Canon TS-E Knobby

Call me fussy, but poor ergonomics drive me mad. During a long work day I want my equipment to be easy to handle. One piece of kit that I have not been a fan of are the tiny shifts knobs on my Canon 24mm and 50mm TS-E lenses. Canon seems to be well aware of the issue and includes a knob extension with their lenses. The original extension makes the knob a tiny bit bigger, but does not quite go far enough. When handling the knobs in hot (sweaty) or cold (gloves) conditions, they are not exactly easy to operate.

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Architecture Awards Shortlist 2020/2021

Congratulations to all my clients who have been nominated for various architectural and design awards around the planet. The passion invested in their work is obvious, and I’m happy that I was allowed to play a small role in capturing it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

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Rogeti RG-1 + 50mm TSE Frame Review

When I first started working as an architectural photographer, my Manfrotto X-PRO3 head lasted about a year before seizing up. I upgraded to a Manfrotto 410 geared head, which, clunky as it was, turned out to be a huge upgrade. While it is a solid tool, working with it on a daily basis came with a few annoyances.

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Lazy Lagoon

As the backcountry adventures are getting fewer and farther between, I find myself harder pressed for solitary destinations. One easily reachable area that I’d had my eyes on for a few years is only a short detour away from a popular tramping track. And so, on an unseasonally hot November day, we dipped into vat of sunscreen and set off from the northern end of Cass-Lagoon track.

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Architectural Photography with Fujifilm GFX50S & Canon 24 TS-E

Note: This article was updated with long-term impressions in 2021. See the end of the article for details on corner performance, wear and tear, and other commonly asked questions.

Fujifilm announced their first X-System camera, the X-PRO1, way back in 2012. Initially suffering from a lack of lens options, the system has since grown to include over two dozen lenses, with many more added every year. Third party lens offerings are equally increasing in numbers.

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error: All materials copyright Dennis Radermacher. Please contact [email protected] for image licensing.