When making PetaPixel’s documentary about Blair Bunting’s U2 picture shoot on the fringe of house (which it is best to actually watch now should you haven’t), one factor we determined to not deal with was the digital camera gear. However we love speaking about cameras and lenses, so Chris sat down with Blair the night earlier than his epic shoot to debate the tools he was citing in a U2 spy airplane.
Blair spent months testing a whole bunch of digital camera and lens combos earlier than deciding on his remaining equipment. Take a look at the video above for all the main points, however right here’s the rundown on Blair’s fastidiously chosen tools. Blair Bunting in full regalia takes a snap of the Earth along with his Voigtlander 10mm lens.
Which Cameras Did He Take?
For his main cameras, Blair used a pair of 61-megapixel Sony a7R V mirrorless our bodies. These cameras have the very best decision presently out there in a full body mirrorless, but in addition glorious dynamic vary. One had a battery grip connected to ensure that the battery would final the whole flight. The opposite had a digital camera strap connected that sadly discovered itself wrapped across the eject lever!
Blair additionally introduced a Nikon Z7 II 42-megapixel mirrorless digital camera with customized firmware designed particularly for the flight. There have been particular necessities that the cameras had all communications disabled, and Nikon was in a position to present that. A Nikon Z9/8 was thought of, however Blair wished a mechanical shutter to substantiate the digital camera was working, in addition to the absolute best dynamic vary.
To be able to deliver his dad’s Nikkor 50mm lens, Blair coupled it with the trendy Z7 II.
To seize the flight, a number of GoPro HERO11 Black cameras have been within the cockpit working on exterior energy provides. These have been working customized firmware so batteries weren’t required within the digital camera housing. This firmware prevented overheating on the 2 most essential digital camera angles.
Which Lenses Got here Alongside for the Journey?
The precedence when deciding on lenses for the Sony our bodies was discovering one thing compact that might nonetheless present top-notch picture high quality. For his beautiful photographs of Earth, Blair utilized a Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6. This lens is extraordinarily small however sharp and well-corrected. For photographing the second U2 spy airplane, Blair chosen the extremely sharp, however nonetheless compact Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II.
The view from a U2 Dragon Woman spy airplane photographed by Industrial Photographer Blair Bunting. The picture is a part of the sequence “Photoshoot on the Fringe of House,” wherein Bunting did a photoshoot above 70,000 toes whereas in a spacesuit.
Blair made the choice to deliver a 3rd digital camera up particularly so he might shoot a number of photographs on his Father’s Nikkor AI 50mm f/1.4 classic lens. This required using the Nikon FTZ II adapter to mount it to the Z7 II mirrorless physique. Whereas Blair says that he “wasn’t bringing it to make artwork”, the photographs this 50-year-old lens captured are really hanging.
For filters, Blair used a Breakthrough polarizer. Having the reflections of the Earth beneath and empty house above, mixed with the glass of the cockpit, created the fascinating flare patterns that Blair used to strengthen his compositions.
How Did It Go?
As Blair recounts within the full documentary, one of many Sony a7R Vs had the rear LCD fail at 65, 000 toes. The EVF was clearly unavailable because the house helmet saved Blair’s eyes a number of inches again from the eyecup. Fortuitously, Blair felt the shutter hearth to substantiate the digital camera was operational, recalled his earlier settings, and was in a position to each expose and body the photographs blind.
Blair took this shot of the U2 in formation with the Sony A7RV and the G-Grasp 24-70 f/2.8.
We have been in a position to converse with Blair every week in the past for the newest PetaPixel podcast to cowl some questions which have arisen because the documentary was printed. I requested Blair if he would have finished something otherwise if he have been to do it another time. I used to be stunned by his response that he wouldn’t change a factor. He went up with the expectation that he would seize a dozen or so good photos of the flight, and returned with over a dozen he was pleased with.
A little bit piece of Bunting household historical past about to enterprise to the sting of house.
The success of Blair’s shoot is a testomony to the worth of planning and testing your instruments previous to an essential challenge. Blair’s diligence is a big a part of why he’s developed the fame he has for getting iconic photographs in troublesome conditions, and the U2 challenge is his greatest instance but.