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Sigma is saying.

12.18.2014

Having been an ice hockey goalie for the last 30 years, my passion for hockey photography runs deeper than any other sport. The speed of the action along with the close quarters of the action relative to the camera create a challenging environment to shoot in. Throw in frozen fingers, pucks whizzing by your face and the occasional stick in your ear and the task becomes downright treacherous. Here are some tips to not only get better hockey images, but to also keep your equipment safe and yourself out of the emergency room.

First, let’s assume your warm and comfortable and not in fear for your life so we can focus on the photography end of things. Shooting with a fast lens such as Sigma’s 120-300 f2.8 Sport lens or the 70-200 f2.8 HSM is a necessity. Unlike many of the field sports, shooting with a wide angle with hockey can also yield some great results when the action is within inches of you if you’re against the glass.

The first thing to look at before you shoot is the lighting system at the rink. Some rinks have LED lights shining down on the ice which is the ideal situation since they light the ice surface evenly with a consistent color temperature. Some rinks have lights that shine up toward the ceiling resulting a softer reflective light that isn’t as bright. Unfortunately, most rinks have mercury vapor lights that create hot spots on the ice surface and inconsistent color temperatures. The lights pulse in intensity that isn’t visible to the naked eye but show up in every image which can cause you to pull your hair out chasing white balance.

© 2014 Steve Chesler | Inconsistent color temperatures can be a problem when shooting under mercury vapor lighting. This image shows how the subject is well lit the moment this was shot and the lights further back where at a different color temperature in their light cycle.

© 2014 Steve Chesler | Inconsistent color temperatures can be a problem when shooting under mercury vapor lighting. This image shows how the subject is well lit the moment this was shot and the lights further back where at a different color temperature in their light cycle.

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12.17.2014

Almost all dogs sport a collar of one sort or another. If you plan on taking a lot of photos of your dog, then it’s probably worthwhile pondering what collar will look best on your furry friend.

Below are images depicting Rowan, our four-month old ‘fox red’ Labrador retriever, wearing collars of different colors. For years we have been using nylon collars from Lupine Pet, the gold standard for style, durability, and customer support. (Once, one of our pups chewed a hole in the collar of another one of our dogs. Lupine replaced the collar no questions asked!)

In anticipation of this blog, I contacted Lupine and asked if they would send some samples for Rowan to model. She had fun getting fashionable with five different looks.

Rowan shows off her  “Sunny Days” collar, thanks to Lupine Pet. Purple, one of the triadic colors based on her orangish fur, looks fun and vibrant. Nikon D800E. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm with OS on. 1/250 sec., f/5.6, ISO 100. One Dynalite strobe fired with a PocketWizard Plus III. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Rowan shows off her “Sunny Days” collar, thanks to Lupine Pet. Purple, one of the triadic colors based on her orangish fur, looks fun and vibrant. Nikon D800E. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm with OS on. 1/250 sec., f/5.6, ISO 100. One Dynalite strobe fired with a PocketWizard Plus III. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

In choosing a collar for your dog, it pays to consider color theory. Here are several color schemes.

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12.10.2014

When I shoot fashion editorials for magazines, I am shooting a series of images to tell a story. In 6-10 images I must engage the viewer and pull their eye through the story. I can use lighting, posing, styling to help unite each image into a single series. If the images are too different than they do not hold together as on unified story. On the other hand, if all the images are the same focal length and scene, they can also become stagnant and leave your story falling flat. 

For this reason I enjoy varying my focal lengths to provide visual variety. For each look I tend to get a full length shot or shot that incorporates the environment. Then I move in for a tight shot where the viewer can better study the subject’s face, clothing or detail in the scene. When in a striking location I treat the scene much like story-telling in the movies. I begin with wide angle to introduce the environment. Move in to a mid-length focal length to introduce my subject, and then grab a telephone to capture a detail. This process of slowly introducing more detail and information is very common in cinematography.

Over the past 8 months I’ve really embraced two lenses over and over again to help me achieve my fashion editorial goals, whether in the studio or on location. My one-two punch is the Sigma 24-105mm f4.0 and the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8. Between these two lenses I find that I am able to have the versatility and quality needed for these series of images that appear in fashion magazines around the world. Let’s take a look at why this has become such a powerful combination for me and then review this pairing in action.

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12.08.2014
Image copyright Roman Kurywczak Canon 1D Mark 3 body with the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 at 12mm for 30 seconds at f/5 and ISO 6400 mounted on Induro CT 304 tripod with BHL3 head.  Painted with flashlight for approximately 15 seconds.

Image copyright Roman Kurywczak Canon 1D Mark 3 body with the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 at 12mm for 30 seconds at f/5 and ISO 6400 mounted on Induro CT 304 tripod with BHL3 head. Painted with flashlight for approximately 15 seconds.

Roman Kurywczak, Sigma Pro and Brett Wells, Sigma Tech Rep

Roman: As a Sigma Pro team member I had the privilege of being invited to give lectures and workshops at the 2014 Festival of Cranes out at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  I have visited the refuge many times before, and, while I was excited about being able to photograph the birds again, I was most excited about my two nighttime lectures and workshops at the Very Large Array (VLA).  These giant radio telescopes would make a great foreground subject for a star filled sky. Nobody has been allowed on the property at night since 2009, so I was very excited about taking a group out to the location.  Sigma Photo would sponsor the event, and I agreed with the organizers of the festival to take out 40 participants each night. With a group that size, I knew I wouldn’t get much of a chance to take pictures myself, but it would be a great learning opportunity for the class.   The image at top is one of the few I was able to take during a break in the instruction.

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12.05.2014
Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens on Nikon D600 body | Focal length: 600mm | Aperture: f/8 | Shutter speed:  1/2000 sec. | ISO 800 hand held. © 2014 | Roman Kurywczak

Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens on Nikon D600 body | Focal length: 600mm | Aperture: f/8 | Shutter speed: 1/2000 sec. | ISO 800 hand held. © 2014 | Roman Kurywczak

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to test out the new Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens at the Festival of Cranes out in New Mexico. The images above and below are some of the first I captured with it early one morning at the Bosque del Apache NWR. What is unusual about the images is that I normally use a Canon 1D Mark 3 body, but as fate would have it, the Canon mount Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens got lost on its way to the festival.  What to do? Sigma tech rep and photographer Brett Wells came to my rescue and offered me his Nikon version of the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens along with his Nikon D600 body. So while it was a bit uncomfortable for me working with a camera body that I wasn’t familiar with, I had no problem putting the lens through its paces.  After all, Sigma makes most of their lenses in Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma mounts. As I returned to the festival tent I had a surprise awaiting me as the case with the Canon mount Sigma 150-600mm Sport had just came in and was at our booth.  I could now use that lens for the next few days in combination with my Canon 1D Mark 3 body.

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12.02.2014

Labs love water, right? Throw a stick into a pond, and your retriever will dart into the water likety split. But giving her a bath may be an entirely different story. So for your puppy’s first cleaning, make sure to have your camera in-hand.

For Rowan, her first time in the tub wasn’t too bad. Of course, pouring the initial containers of water on her head elicited a natural drawing away, a great subject for a close-up shot.

This one-eyed grimace captures the whole first bath narrative: a bit scared, looking to her owner for reassurance, but also calm due to her innate love of water. Notice that by placing the subjects head to the right of center it helps emphasize the stream of water and Rowan’s mild attempt to avoid it. Nikon D800E. Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG (OS)* HSM | Art Lens at 75mm. f/16, 1/250 sec., ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

This one-eyed grimace captures the whole first bath narrative: a bit scared, looking to her owner for reassurance, but also calm due to her innate love of water. Notice that by placing the subjects head to the right of center it helps emphasize the stream of water and Rowan’s mild attempt to avoid it. Nikon D800E. Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG (OS)* HSM | Art Lens at 75mm. f/16, 1/250 sec., ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

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12.01.2014

2014 was a very busy year for Sigma! We announced a host of new lenses and cameras, offered the Sigma dp2 Quattro Test Shoot, and participated in trade shows, and dealer events across the country. Photographers all around the world have been talking about our new lenses in the Art, Sports, and Contemporary lines, as well as the completely redesigned dp series cameras.

As we are approaching this holiday season and end of the year, here are is a small collection of our favorite quotes from reviews, prestigious product awards and recognitions. We’ll be updating this list throughout December as more publications and sites announce their year-end honors!

Award Winning Products: 2014

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art

311-50mm-a-angled-150dpi 600

  • Popular Photography 2014 Outstanding Product
  • Hot One Award from Professional Photographer: Standard Prime
  • American Photo: 2014 Editor’s Choice
  • EISA: DSLR Lens of 2014-2015

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11.27.2014

There’s a chill in the air and the ground is covered with crisp Autumn leaves. It must be football season. Having played with the Sigma 120-300 F2.8 Sport lens all summer shooting baseball and lacrosse, it was time to hit the gridiron with it, along with Sigma’s 2.0X Teleconverter EX APO DG. Putting the converter on this beast of a lens doubled it’s focal length from 120-300 to 240-600 while decreasing the widest aperture to 5.6.  When used with my Nikon D300 crop sensor, the effective focal length became 360-900 while maintaining its aperture at 5.6.  I was easily able to shoot half way across the field as if they were right in front of me.

© 2014 Steve Chesler | The Sigma 120-300 2.8 Sports lens and the Sigma 2.0X Teleconverter EX APO DG with it’s effective focal length of 360-900mm on my crop sensor D300 allowed me to capture action more than half way across the field.

© 2014 Steve Chesler | The Sigma 120-300 2.8 Sports lens and the Sigma 2.0X Teleconverter EX APO DG with it’s effective focal length of 360-900mm on my crop sensor D300 allowed me to capture action more than half way across the field.

Image Quality

Using a 2X does come with it’s concerns but there are ways to overcome them.  The first and most serious concern is that adding a 2X to a lens can have a significant impact on the image quality. What good is a closer image if it’s a poor image? Fortunately, the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 Sport lens is exceptionally sharp to begin with and the Sigma 2.0X Teleconverter EX APO DG is also very well built, minimizing the loss of quality. Even shooting mostly at 5.6, the image quality was not an issue with this duo. Several photographers I spoke with prefer the results of the 1.4X converter stopped down a few stops for increased image quality and then cropping the image in post production.

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11.25.2014

by Peyton Hale

This year I was fortunate to come on board as an instructor for The Giving Lens (TGL), an organization founded by renowned international photographer Colby Brown.  The idea behind The Giving Lens is to blend together travel, photo education, and the ability to give back to the communities we visit through the contribution of our time, cameras, and financial support to  nongovernmental organizations in the countries we visit.

© 2014 Peyton Hale | Lens: Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Focal length: 80mm | Aperture: F5.6 | Shutter speed: 1/125 sec

© 2014 Peyton Hale | Lens: Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Focal length: 80mm | Aperture: F5.6 | Shutter speed: 1/125 sec

I’ve had the added benefit of watching The Giving Lens blossom from an idea to now seeing how that idea has matured into the organization it is now, delivering a positive impact its making through worldwide trips.  From the beginning I have had an interest in being able to bridge photography and travel with making a lasting positive impact to the places we visit. Coming from a conservation oriented field of study, I’ve seen the power of images make a difference in species and land protection.  Transitioning into a humanitarian focused organization was a new endeavor, but the same ideas are at the root of the cause – raise awareness and establish a sustainable, positive influence in the places our trips are focusing our efforts.  The trips also have the reverse influence, making a lasting impact on both participants and leaders working with NGO’s around the globe.

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11.25.2014

It’s a funny thing nowadays…the world is telling us that nobody reads print magazines anymore; and yet the ultimate expression of success for any photographer’s work is the inclusion in the print edition of the leading magazine in their niche. Websites, blogs, and social media in the outdoor and adventure sports category are often filled with mediocre, uninspired stock photography because it is cheap, there’s a deadline, and it is “just today’s quick online refresh”.

We made this image last winter during a huge snow cycle at Breckenridge, CO.  It was one of the only days I was not shooting on assignment and just out having fun with some buddies.  It was snowing very hard which can wreak havoc on a cameras autofocus so getting this shot tack sharp was a testament to the abilities of this camera lens combo.Canon 1DX with Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens.  1/1600 sec at f7.1 ISO 800

We made this image last winter during a huge snow cycle at Breckenridge, CO. It was one of the only days I was not shooting on assignment and just out having fun with some buddies. It was snowing very hard which can wreak havoc on a cameras autofocus so getting this shot tack sharp was a testament to the abilities of this camera lens combo.Canon 1DX with Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens. 1/1600 sec at f7.1 ISO 800

Many print titles, on the other hand, are staying true to the roots and publishing nothing but the best work. And I would argue that the bar has risen to an impossibly high standard in the last few years. What was a cover shot six years ago might not even be considered for a thumbnail today! Flip through the pages of today’s best outdoor sport publications like Powder, Surfers Journal, Climbing, Bike, The Drake and your mouth drops in awe. Powerful images thoughtfully crafted by insanely talented photographers explode from the pages and burn into your retinas.

So how do they do it? What is the magic formula? How do I get myself published in outdoor magazines?

Well let’s start off with the one thing that nearly all of these shooters have in common: They live and breathe the sports they shoot. What does that mean? Well, it means that they are active participants in the sports they cover and nearly every aspect of their lives is set up to capture the most elusive of moments in skiing, biking, climbing, surfing or whatever they shoot. While anyone regardless of fitness or athletic skill can cover MLB, NFL, track and field sports, from the sidelines; in general only a big wall climber/photographer will be shooting big wall climbing and only a backcountry skier/photographer will be covering backcountry skiing day in and day out.

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