This website uses cookies. By using the site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

05.23.2019 Beno Saradzic

Scraping Skies with Beno Saradzic & the GFX 100

Beno Saradzic

Beno is a Slovenian born time lapse cinematographer and photographer. He is currently based in Dubai, UAE. But the road to his current passion was a long and winding one.

For 18 years, Beno has trained his eye in the art of seeing in his profession as a 3D Computer Animation and Architecture Visualization specialist. As a veteran digital artist who worked on hundreds of projects for clients worldwide, Beno won numerous accolades and awards for his achievements, such as the rank of ‘Autodesk Master’ as well as the winner of the prestigious ‘Tektronix International Design Visualization Competition’ in 1993.

For his continuous contributions to the art of architectural visualization, Beno was awarded a ‘Special Merit of Excellence’ award by Kinetix / Autodesk in 2005. Beno’s 3D computer generated art was published in several international architectural visualization publications and books such as the ‘3DS MAX 2008 Foundation’.

In 2008, Beno started exploring new creative avenues which lead him to discover the world of photography and time lapse cinematography. Having a solid foundation and decades of practice in related types of visual arts, Beno’s transition to his newly found passion was a swift one.         

Stylistically, Beno’s comprehensive portfolio is defined by his profound love for architecture and understanding of scientific principles. His use of light and framing draw strong influences from the art of cinema and the classical masters of painting. As an individual accustomed to self-reliance and continuous quest for personal & professional excellence, Beno believes that life is a never-ending road of learning. He tirelessly experiments with fresh styles of photography and filming techniques while refusing to box himself in any specific genre or specialty field. Keeping the broad and diverse subject matters in front of his lens is the secret sauce to Beno’s creative lifeline and inspiration.

His list of clients includes BBC’s Natural History Unit, the Discovery Channel, Fujifilm, Emirates Airline, Abu Dhabi and Dubai Governments, Government of Canada, Nakheel, Wasl, Abu Dhabi Police GHQ and many others.

BRAND AFFILIATIONS

Collaboration with camera equipment and photography related brands occupies a significant portion of Beno’s professional activities.

In recognition to his achievements in the field of still and motion photography, Beno was offered a brand ambassador position for CANON Europe & MENA territory. This listed Beno among the 53 top imaging talents from right across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The collaboration spanned between 2015 and early 2018.

In January 2016, Beno was appointed as a Global Ambassador for NiSi  filters.

In June 2017, he was signed up as a Brand Ambassador of 500px, the world’s fastest growing photo community.

In November 2017, Beno also became a Global Ambassador of TIMELAPSE+ company.

In October 2018, Beno proudly joined the ranks of Fujifilm’s Brand Ambassadors (X-Photographers).

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENTS & APPEARANCES

Beno is a renowned educator who hosts frequent workshops in the fields of photography, digital image manipulation and time lapse cinematography. He’s also an avid speaker, having performed numerous seminars, discussion panels, inspirational presentations and speaking engagements in front of the crowds of all sizes and profiles.

Beno is one of the regular Guest Photographers, Speakers, Exhibited Photographers & Jury Members at the annual XPOSURE International Photography Festival in Sharjah.

Among the many guest appearances in the print, TV and online, Beno’s work is featured on a regular basis. He wrote tutorials for the Scott Kelby’ Blog, appeared on the Trey Ratcliff’s ‘Variety Hour’, had several 500px.com’s Blogs, a Topaz Labs’ Blog and elsewhere. Beno’s work was published and featured in dozens of media outlets worldwide including the National Geographic (Abu Dhabi), Die Welt (Germany), Yahoo, Dubai and Abu Dhabi Media outlets, TimeOut Magazine, Digital Studio Middle East, GQ Magazine, Popular Photography (UK), Photo Plus (UK), Digital Foto (Denmark), Digital Photo Magazine (UK), Huffington Post (US) and numerous others.

Beno’s work was commended by the Ruler of Dubai and the Vice President of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the UAE’ Minister of Foreign Affiars, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Beno Saradzic is an award-winning architectural photographer whose background in design visualization, 3D CGI visual effects, and animation taught him the foundations for creating remarkable imagery. Beno’s visual arts skills go hand in hand with his passion for classic cinema, science fiction, traditional fine arts, and music to create photography that he describes as cinematic, poetic, ethereal, and hyperrealistic. Beno took the FUJIFILM GFX 100 to the skylines of two of the most famous cities in the United Arab Emirates: Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Beno’s years creating ultra-realistic renderings of city architecture paved the way for his move into photography. “It taught me about all the things that make an image a beautiful one to look at. Basically, I learned photography without even owning a camera,” says Beno, who fell in love with photography as a way to convey his own personal interpretation of a scene.

“I was never interested in capturing the ‘literal’ light. It would never be enough for me to simply reproduce what my camera captured,” he explains. “I strive to infuse my work with subtleties, which define me as a person and express my own individuality.”  

GFX 100 + GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR - 2 sec at F9 ISO 160

For this project, Beno took the GFX 100 somewhere he knew he could capture the cities in all their glory. “I took it to my ‘natural habitat’, the place where I like to be the most; the skyscraper rooftops,” he tells us. “Dubai and Abu Dhabi are full of very tall buildings with rooftops ranging from 50 to 100 floors. The views from the rooftops are spectacular and you can find a huge variety of compositions suitable for ultra-wide, all the way up to telephoto lenses.”

Beno chose the rooftops as the ultimate test for the GFX 100’s 102-megapixel back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor. “I wanted to see how well this camera would resolve the details on the façade of a skyscraper miles away,” he says. “I was curious how clean the images would look at night, captured with high ISO, and how the camera handled the light with challenging contrasts,” he explains. “I also needed to know how fast its internal processing is, given the very high-resolution images it captures.”

GFX 100 + GF23mmF4 R LM WR - 5 sec at F9 ISO 160

Beno is used to carrying a large amount of gear with him on shoots, so the first thing that struck him about the GFX 100 was its portable design. “You’d expect a large format camera to be big, bulky, heavy, and cumbersome,” says Beno. “A conventional larger format camera belongs to a temperature-controlled studio environment in a permanent setup, but have a quick glance at the GFX 100 and you will know immediately it’s a ‘take-me-with-you’ camera,” he continues, adding that he particularly enjoyed the camera’s handling.

“Despite its enormous sensor and high-end specs, it’s surprisingly compact and light. It fits perfectly into my hands, just like a high-end DSLR with a battery grip would. The buttons and dials have an intuitive and logical layout, and the ergonomics are well thought out. This is obviously a camera that was designed by photographers, for photographers.”

GFX 100 + GF110mmF2 R LM WR – 1/40 sec at F9 ISO 160

It wasn’t just the look and feel of the camera that impressed Beno; the GFX 100’s performance in challenging conditions also struck a chord. “I thought the battery life was great. After a four-hour time-lapse shoot (about 2,500 shots), I lost about 50% of the power reserve on the first battery, while the second one remained at 100%,” he reveals.

“Camera customization was a breeze and the first time I used the camera, I was ready to shoot in minutes. I saved some presets, which allowed me to power-up the camera with a ten-second shutter release delay, AE bracket preferences, and my preferred WB and ISO settings. This saved a lot of time during my two-week shoot.”

He goes on to talk about the camera’s focusing capabilities and how they added to his experiences. “Focus peaking with a selectable color and intensity was an absolute delight. I was able to get pin-sharp shots during the day or night in a split second,” says Beno, highlighting how this is complemented by the GFX 100’s 5.76 million dot viewfinder. “The EVF is fantastic. Extremely sharp, bright, and vibrant. The best I’ve seen to date.”

GFX 100 + GF23mmF4 R LM WR – 1/250 sec at F4 ISO 125

A portion of the shoot was conducted from a helicopter flying above Downtown Dubai. In such conditions, you need a camera you can rely on to be quick enough to get the shot whenever you need it. The GFX 100 delivered on a number of different fronts due to its advanced functionality, something that didn’t go unnoticed by Beno.

“The camera is light enough to hold in your hands for 40 to 60 minutes without a problem. I haven’t lost a single shot due to a misfire or lost focus, and although most shots were taken at higher ISOs, noise is virtually invisible in the images,” he reveals, adding that the In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) was the cherry on top. “With IBIS turned on you could see the picture literally hanging still in front of you. Remarkable! It added a few very valuable stops of light to the relatively dark shoot,” he enthuses. “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this camera to serious aerial shooters.”

GFX 100 + GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR – 1/80 sec at F5 ISO 100

Beno also used the GFX 100 to capture a time-lapse of the city and was stunned by the results. “I have never seen cityscapes rendered with such unapologetic, brutal sharpness, precisely rendered color tones, and extreme clarity of details. This camera resolves a surreal amount of information hidden in the shadows and highlights. It inspired me to revisit and reshoot my favorite locations and places I’ve shot a dozen times with a lesser camera.”

GFX 100 + GF23mmF4 R LM WR – 10 sec at F9 ISO 160

Although he only spent a short time with the camera, Beno tells us he has come away from the experience with a whole new outlook. “Looking at images captured by the GFX 100 makes you think just what else is possible in this wonderful era of digital photography,” he says.   

“It’s quite scary to think how fast this camera spoiled me. I can’t imagine going back to 50 megapixels or less than that. The camera is small, light, ergonomic, configurable and user-friendly. I’ve no idea how Fujifilm managed to pack its massive sensor in such a tiny body, inclusive of an IBIS system, which works wonderfully. And it blows my mind to see how fast the X-Processor 4 handles these ridiculously large files.”

“I think it’s a category-defining camera, especially at that price point,” he adds. “Fujifilm has created a proper market disrupter here. It’s a killer camera.”

Beno Saradzic is a compensated FUJIFILM X-Photographer. To see more of Beno’s work, visit his website.

Learn more about the FUJIFILM GFX 100 and read the full specifications here, or contact your nearest FUJIFILM Authorized Dealer.  

GFX 100 + GF23mmF4 R LM WR – 15 sec at F10 ISO 160

CATEGORIES

Products Featured in the Story