Dinesh Boaz creates a dynamic juxtaposition between the natural landscape and our involvement in it. Dinesh explores the world around him via helicopters to achieve a ‘top’ down view. As he states, “By honing-in on the specific details of the earth below, I can highlight the remoteness and stillness in water, sand and rugged space-like terrain, while connecting back to our existence with human form and the life within.” Emphasizing lines, colors, shapes and an overall pattern, Boaz’s ideas are showcased in the diversity and depth of his images from across the world. Dinesh was born in Chennai, India, graduated with his B.A. from Rutgers University. His work was has been quickly recognized with prestige awards, magazine reviews and numerous exhibits across the United States. When he is not behind the camera, Dinesh is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Future First Studio, a division of NYC and LA based Direct Agents, a digital advertising agency.
Dinesh Boaz on how GFX100S’s small, light design and powerful features combine to bring portability and quality to creative photographers and artists alike
Composing from a helicopter’s cockpit, high above the slopes of Mount Hollywood, and looking west into the Los Angeles basin that extends to the Pacific coast, Dinesh Boaz frames the famous Griffith Observatory. Although it’s a typical aerial image for this seasoned X-Photographer, this isn’t a typical day at all.
“There were a bunch of new things going on during that session,” says Dinesh, an experienced aerial photographer and GFX system user. “For starters, I was trying out some higher altitudes than I would normally. I wanted to challenge myself to get in some of those different patterns and heights, because that’s another look for me. Typically, I fly over locations at 500-1000ft. Below 500ft is dangerous, and going much higher than 1000ft, you’ve got to get more permissions as you’re getting into the space of commercial airplane traffic.
“We had that 2500ft clearance over downtown LA, and we kept the pattern up around Griffith Park,” he continues. “Composing from a distance, the higher altitude meant I could get all these different lines going up the ridge towards the Observatory, along with LA in this sort of hazy light in the background. It’s one of those images that reminds me of why FUJIFILM’s GFX cameras’ image quality really stands out. The depth-of-field, combined with the detail and the interplay between the background and foreground, is so interesting for me.”
Even without using the selection of 19 exclusive Film Simulation modes, the colors Dinesh got are phenomenal. “It speaks to a richness and depth that I’ve not found in cameras elsewhere,” he says. “It gives you more epic landscapes and adds drama to the places you capture, and as an artist it’s those things I want to pull out. I think the way it responds to scenes actually makes me start to see things I wouldn’t otherwise.”
And something else was new that day for Dinesh, too. His camera was GFX100S. As an experienced user of GFX100, we wanted to see what Dinesh made of the new, smaller, and lighter GFX100S body, which is why he spent a day with it in the skies above LA and the surrounding landscape.
What struck him first? “I think from a performance standpoint, GFX100S is probably similar to its predecessor,” he explains, “that is, it does what I expect a professional camera to give me in autofocus performance and reaction to the light and, of course there’s no major difference in the sensor, so it’s still providing this massive amount of detail. But what I really loved straight off was the feel of the new body.
“I’m a huge fan of GFX100,” Dinesh admits, “but from the dual battery pack to the body size and the ergonomics, it’s obviously a big camera. With the smaller and lighter design of GFX100S, I could honestly walk around New York City subway and no one would know it was a medium format camera making these amazing 100-megapixel files. And the controls just felt a little bit more fast flowing, too, even though I only had it for a day.”
He adds: “Translate that to my regular work in cramped helicopter cockpits, where you have literally a chair’s amount of space, and it’s amazingly useful. For the project over LA, I had two bodies with me, one with GF100-200mmF5.6 R LM OIS WR fitted and the other with GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR. I also had GF250mmF4 R LM OIS WR prime to switch to when I wanted more reach. There’s no way I could do that as easily with two GFX100 bodies. It honestly felt like I was working with a regular DSLR. The lightweight feel means it’s a genuine pick-up-and-go camera.”
With its reduced size, GFX100S makes no compromises in terms of its In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) feature, which is so vital for making the most of the 100-megapixel sensor when shooting handheld – or in a helicopter. “Naturally, it’s important that I work at the right shutter speeds,” explains Dinesh, “but I think the new IBIS system in the camera and also the lenses have been great to work with. Six stops of stabilization is a great clutch in terms of working in these conditions, because while a typical helicopter session is windy and bumpy, I still want the fine details that make my large prints stand out.”
Those details certainly came to the fore across Dinesh’s day in the LA skies. “The city was already on the verge of a second lockdown, so I basically had that week to do it, or it wasn’t going to happen,” he says. “And then our first planned trip up was cancelled, because a marine layer swept over the city – a total white out. Luckily our pilot was smart enough to say, ‘We’re not going up, no way guys.’ The day after, we found another helicopter and we got this kind of interesting blue tint in the afternoon light, so it was a great time to fly.”
From the air, Dinesh is always looking for details and abstracts, and finding those little patterns where people’s lives move through and around at ground level. “Out of Long Beach Airport, we flew over the Porsche racetrack, and though there were hardly any races at that time, we found these amazing patterns of cars parked there,” explains Dinesh. “We did some of the classic LA shots, too, like Venice Beach Skate Park, and a cool basketball court with these wavy lines all around it. We also found surfers off the coast with these amazing colors from the layers and currents in the water. In the face of the year we’ve all had, it was nice to show that there is life and happiness within those places, still.”
Dinesh also enjoyed GFX100S’s new Film Simulation mode, Nostalgic Neg., which is based on the American New Color analog film. “I love the Nostalgic Neg. Film Simulation, and I used that a lot in the LA photos. It’s such a cool idea, emulating print ads from the 70s and 80s. As a child of the 70s, I can relate to those ideas of color,” he says. “I was amazed when I brought them into post, too, as there’s something really exciting going on with the highlights and shadows, and contrast that’s different from a lot of the other Film Simulations I’ve worked with.”
With its size and price point, Dinesh thinks GFX100S is going to appeal to enthusiast and professional photographers alike. “Or really anyone who’s trying to take their art to that professional level,” he concludes. “It’s going to make larger format accessible to more people, and that’s going to be an amazing thing. A lot of photographers are like, ‘oh, you shoot larger format? What is that even like?’ But with a camera like this, it doesn’t have to be a big transition.”
Go behind the scenes and discover how Dinesh used GFX100S to create these awesome images in our exclusive video!