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Fujifilm GFX Documentary Use: Fish Electroshock Survey

In what I think will prove an interesting test of the Fujifilm GFX for documentary style work, tomorrow I have volunteered to participate in an electroshock fish survey where the fish are stunned, netted, measured, weighed then returned unharmed to the water. Such surveys establish the health of the trout population and other stuff I hope to learn about.

I was thinking to simply volunteer for the necessary trout-handling chores, but it seems that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has few good images of such work. So I’ve taken thought to photographing it as my primary task instead.

As I did not bring Sony mirrorless with me on this trip, I will take the Fujifilm GFX, perhaps the Canon 5Ds R with Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 for ultra wide, and still I wonder if the iPhone 7 Plus might prove most useful of all for fast/close work (flopping fish!) and wide views (panorama feature in particular)—but I’ll press the GFX into service for starters, probably with the 32-64mm zoom only, since it is a 900-foot descent deep into the Owens River Gorge (“The Gorge” as locals call it)—a modest elevation descent/gain, but steep and loose, so I do not want to carry too heavy a load.

The f/4 speed of the Fujifilm GF 32-64mm is regrettably slow, so perhaps I will lug the 63mm f/2.8, but I think it makes more sense to just raise the ISO a stop, rather. The 120/4 would be good for closeups, but flopping fish and depth of field are wildly incompatible.

I shot a bunch of photos with the Fujifilm GFX (worked well), but here I was responsible for the bucket, and I used the iPhone.

Electroshock survey for Brown Trout in The Gorge near Bishop, California
f1.8 @ 1/1300 sec, ISO 20; 2017-04-04 10:14:42
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

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Below, this Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) at about 15.5" was by far the largest of those 170 or so trout surveyed in the surveyed riffle section. The fisheries biologist tells me that this is not considered a healthy fish. Basically it is not getting enough to eat in spite of many smaller fingerling prey fish: the lack of deep water pools makes that prey inaccessible.

Brown Trout, the largest of those surveyed at about 15.5 inches
f8 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 100; 2017-04-04 10:24:53
GFX 50S + Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR @ 51mm equiv (64mm)

[low-res image for bot]
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