Chasing Perfection: My Journey with the GFX100 II
I’m Oskar Bakke, a photographer originally from Sweden, now soaking up the sunshine of Los Angeles. My specialty? Commercial automotive and lifestyle photography. I’ve had the privilege to work with major car brands like Porsche, Bentley, Koenigsegg, Mercedes-Benz, among others. It’s been an incredible journey.
My love for photography sprouted on the slopes. Skiing was my first passion and the spark that led me to pick up a camera. However, it was the world of cars that truly ignited my creativity and earned me recognition. Being immersed in car culture, gaining access to exclusive vehicles, and collaborating with inspiring individuals—it was a dream come true.
Let’s talk about snow. There’s an undeniable magic in its beauty. My original plan was to fuse my skiing passion with this GFX shoot. Mother Nature, however, had different plans; extreme weather shut the doors of the mountain. But as they say, necessity breeds innovation.
Aston Martin graciously lent me the world’s most powerful SUV for this shoot—the DBX 707, a pinnacle of engineering. We packed our bags and headed north to Mammoth Mountain, greeted by record-breaking snowfall, stepping into a winter wonderland of blizzards.
When it comes to my tools of the trade, the GFX system has been my trusty sidekick through countless photoshoots and campaigns. Remember the days before the GFX, when medium format photography was most often tripod-bound, slow, and laborious? Sacrifices were made for that distinctive medium format quality and aesthetic. The first GFX a new era letting us go from those constraints, and now, brace yourself, because Fuji has taken things to the next level with the GFX 100 II. It’s my time to push the boundaries and explore the possibilities.
As I lifted the GFX100 II, its build quality and sturdiness struck me. Raising it to my eyes for a test shot, the enormity of the viewfinder amazed me—it’s massive! Describing it is a challenge, but it’s akin to viewing the world through a magnifying glass of clarity. This heightened perspective makes details pop, framing becomes intuitive, and capturing shots evolves into an art form.
With clear skies on the following day we were eager to get out and shoot. We kicked off with a series of rolling shots. The key here is to work with a longer shutter speed, moving at the same pace as the picture vehicle. This makes the car sharp while giving a motion blur to the background. Stability is the real game here, especially when pushing longer shutter speeds for more background blur. To increase stability sometimes I work with gyros, gimbals, and even attach carbon fiber arms and for greater freedom over shutter speeds.
On this occasion, it was just me hanging out of a pickup truck, relying on my core strength and the camera’s built-in stabilization, IBIS. We maintained a steady 70km/h, using a 10fps burst mode, and I started with a cautious 1/100s shutter speed—enough for wheel movement and a little bit of background blur. Remarkably, 100% of the shots were sharp, even at 1/50s and 1/25s shutter speeds. I even took a shot at 1/10s, achieving surprisingly good results for a simple handheld shot.
As we moved over to static shots I was happy to give them life with a model. I’ve never been a analog kind of guy because I’m a little bit too trigger happy. Both the rolling shot session and this I’m constantly firing out photos. And from when we started I’ve freezing shutter finger on full burst finring hundreds of shots, is buffer is even a thing anymore?
Trust me, over these days the camera saw it all. Extreme weather, chilling cold, heavy snowfall – the GFX100 II didn’t just survive; it thrived. This aligns perfectly with my pursuit of perfection. I always chase the ultimate shot, and the GFX100 II is a willing partner in this quest.
So, there you have it. The GFX100 II is more than just a camera; it’s an embodiment of creative freedom. It’s the passport that grants access to uncharted territories of imagination. As I continue to ride the wave of excitement, I’m ready to capture the moments that the GFX100 II is sure to unlock on this journey of relentless perfection.
Photography & Retouching: Oskar Bakke
Video: Nate Lee – Leeward Production
Art Direction: Matilda Bakke
Producer: Jennifer Sunnfors