The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.

05.10.2010

I was in L.A. recently and had a chance to visit my long time friend actor Tiffany Dupont. We’ve shot together for years before she moved from Atlanta to Hollywood and had been promising each other that we’d do it again soon. Well “soon” finally happened–completely unplanned! I had my camera. Hey you can’t take pictures without a camera you know and although I didn’t have any lights with me I did have a prototype of the new Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens complete with built-in optical stabilization. It was late in the day. While Tiffany put on makeup I wandered around the second floor apartment looking at light and backgrounds.

Tiffany getting ready. © 2010 Kevin Ames

The first thing I look for on a location is the background. Backgrounds anchor the photograph by adding context and interest. Imagine if everything were black or white! Boring, to say the least yet sometimes with white it’s what the client wants so that’s what happens.

One location I loved was in the hallway. Tiffany’s dog Skyler’s shadow is on the wall. If I’d had lights… ah well. Next time.

© 2010 Kevin Ames

The next part is the light. I ask myself where and when will the light happen? I look for north light. North light is mostly a constant that is not dependent on time of day like sunrise, late afternoon “golden hour” light or sunset. North light will still be usable for a short time even after the sun slips away.

I found some beautiful light from the window in the bedroom just as Tiffany’s roommate Emily came home. We decided to shoot some of them together as well as a few of Emily before she had to go to work.

© 2010 Kevin Ames

© 2010 Kevin Ames

After Emily left, I made this one of Tiffany against the headboard.

© 2010 Kevin Ames

Then we moved onto the balcony where the photograph used in Sigma’s ad for the 70-200mm OS lens in Rangefinder magazine was made. The light was low so I braced my bottom against the back of a chair, took a deep breath then pressed the shutter. The result was amazing considering the exposure was f/5.6 at a 60th of a second! It’s even more remarkable since the lens was zoomed to 135mm. The rule for hand holding a lens is that the shutter speed must be at least as fast as the focal length not half as much as I used. Best of all, with Optical Stabilization rated at four stops, I would have been able to make the photograph as low as 1/8 of a second!

© 2010 Kevin Ames

© 2010 Kevin Ames

© 2010 Kevin Ames

We shot the poses above on the porch until the warm glow of late afternoon faded.

While Tiffany changed clothes I moved to the other side of the wrap around balcony, which was lit, by open sky. I like to explore photographic possibilities with a model. We toss ideas back and forth. That interaction makes the session flow. Tiffany and I’ve done this so many times that it’s comfortable, easy and lots of fun.

Again there wasn’t much light so to minimize my movement I leaned my back against a post with my feet spread to form a human tripod. I tucked my elbows into my sides holding the camera as steady as humanly possible. Then I relied on the optical stabilization to handle the rest. The light was wonderful and Tiffany is lovely, vibrant and, well amazing. Her dog Skylar (Sky Sky) even joined the fun. The results, well a picture is worth a thousand words…

© 2010 Kevin Ames

© 2010 Kevin Ames

© 2010 Kevin Ames

I’m not the biggest fan of available light in the world; I mean why depend on nature when you don’t have to? It’s really nice to know that when the proper kit isn’t available, super quality photographs are possible thanks to higher ISOs and optical stabilization of the prototype 70-200 mm lens I was shooting.

Sigma’s standard (unstabilized) 70-200 mm zoom lens has been a mainstay in my camera bag for the last couple of years. It packs a lot of versatility—size, zoom range and of course speed (did I mention it’s an f/2.8?) I am completely excited about adding the new one that does all that and has built in optical stabilization. It will allow me to capture photographs that just a few years ago would have been all but impossible. It’s sharp, fast, stabalized and affordable. What’s not to love?

Here’s one more of Tiffany lit by open sky and photographed with the lens set to 126mm at 1/30 of a second at f/3.2. Along with this month’s Rangefinder magazine ad. Read more of my photographic adventures by following my blog on amesphoto.com.

© 2010 Kevin Ames

End result. Featured in Rangefinder Magazine

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5 comments so far

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  1. Seriously, I can’t be the only one who noticed the moire in the image featured in the Sigma add in Rangefinder magazine (July 2010)! How could that make it to print? Frankly I am a bit surprised this would get past a commercial photographer, especially one who has authored books on Photoshop. I might guess this has more to do with Sigma and their AD’s and post production. Also, note the spelling error in the gray copy in the space above: Rangerfinder Magazine? These are obvious overlooks which should not happen in our professional industry.

  2. Dear Dale,

    Thank you for pointing this out. You are indeed correct that there is a moire pattern visible in the ad as reproduced in the July issue of Rangefinder. Yet in the previous month ( June ) issue there is no moire visible at all….the ad looked fine. We checked with the magazine and they have commented that the moire is not at all visible in their on-line proofs of the July issue, so they were as surprised as we are. Apparently something happened as the magazines were being run on the press that the operators did not pick up. Printing is a very complicated process and sometimes things go a bit awry, so it is unfortunate that this artifact showed up in this July press run. But rest assured that the original image provided to us by Kevin Ames was an excellent shot, with no artifacts of any kind.

    Sincerely,
    The Marketing Department at Sigma Corporation of America

  3. Hey Dale, Chill out.
    I have been around the publishing world for 30 years. Things happen, My May Issue of the ad photo looks perfect.

    I am sure you have never made a mistake in “YOUR” professional life. Your annoying.

    The “issue” here was about such a new fantastic lens not so much the nitpicking of the ad.

    I am a loyal Sigma user who would love that lens and the only thing I noticed on the ad page was the drool from the corners of my mouth. Can’t we sometimes over look our holier than thou, personality, dig into the real content of the page and consider that Sigma and the ad creator also noticed any problems and would correct them as soon as possible.

    Jim Crabtree
    Oakland, MD

  4. I believe the add for the new Sigma 70-200 lens is eye catching and beautiful. The model, Tiffany Dupont is simply stunning and Kevin’s photography is superb, making them a winning team. I too am an avid Sigma lens user and I definitely crave one of these new lenses. The sharpness is incredible and it’s low light capability lends it to a multitude of uses. I think that Sigma has come out on top with this new stabilized zoom.

    Dennis Keck
    Pensacola, Florida

  5. Dear all,

    Yes, mistakes do happen. I hold my fare share of them and I would expect many many more to come during my lifetime.

    Kudos to Sigma for an excellent reply. Thanks for trying to help me better understand the situation. I appreciate your response very much.

    I do admit my first comment seems pretty harsh and I apologize if I have offended any one. It was not my intent to bash the product or Kevin and his distinguished career. Still, in context of the ad I do find the blemish ironic.

    It’s a shame, Mr. Crabtree, you find me annoying. Being around the publishing world for thirty years I would think you could better understand my concerns.

    In the world of commercial advertising I believe “detail” is one of the key words that drives the industry. Whether it”s in an image, layout or copy. For me the real content of the page happens to be the ad itself, not the lens.

    Thanks everyone!
    Dale