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07.15.2011

Eye Scene: Photographer, Ryuichi Oshimoto Travels with Sigma Camera & Lenses

Title Photo: On the border of Arizona and Nevada, as I look down at the 676 ft tall Hoover Dam built in a deep canyon, I felt as though I would fall toward the great concrete dam and power plant.

To avoid dropping my camera down the ledge I held it firmly and using the ultra-wide zoom lens, and I captured the vast view.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec,Aperture: f9.0, Focal length: 8mm

In mid-April I drive southeast from Las Vegas and after passing Boulder City by US Highway 93, there was a traffic jam. Traffic moved at a snail’s pace until I started to see the blue Lake Mead. Following the Hoover Dam sign, I merged onto SR 172 and the traffic died down. After passing the checkpoint, the Hoover Dam became visible. The downhill road curved right then hooked left at 180 degrees and I appeared at the bottom of the dam on the western wall facing Colorado River. The road leads to the dam and continues above the dam to Arizona. Like most of the tourists, I parked the car in the parking lot of a big building in front of the dam and walked over to the dam. Built in concrete, the top of the semi-circle shaped dam had slow moving traffic and pedestrians on opposite sides of the road. If one doesn’t look down at the dam, it feels like walking on a strange curved bridge. Looking down toward the northern direction of Lake Mead, I notice that I am standing atop a large mass of concrete holding in a large amount of water.

Looking south from the Hoover Dam, the Hoover Dam Bypass, opened on Oct. 16, 2010, can be seen. It seems like the dam and the bridge comes together like a pair of a tremendous attraction. (The official name of the bridge is The Mike O’Callaghan- Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge)

Camera: DP2sExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/400 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length:24.2mm

Looking down at the power plant the cars look like toys.
Photographing from this location, it was confirmation that I was standing on top of a large building.

Camera: SD15 Lens: APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed:1/320 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 159mm

I look at America’s largest artificial lake (247 sq mi.) from Arizona. Water from the melting snow in the Rockies flows here and the water goes into the conical building through the power plant.

Camera: DP2sExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length:24.2mm

I joined a tour to see the inside of the dam’s power plant. We took the large elevator down to the valley to see the plant’s generator. Strangely, the sound of water couldn’t be seen or heard and the water’s energy couldn’t be felt. Returning from the tour, I stepped outside again to view the dam and I finally understood how the relationship between the falling water from the lake and the power plant correlated with producing enormous amounts of energy.

The power plant was quiet.
Standing at the same angle as the people participating in the tour, I placed the camera onto a railing and pressed the shutter.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/10 sec,Aperture: f3.5, Focal length: 40mm

After seeing inside the plant, I returned to the parking lot and I moved slowly forward. I parked the car near an area where I could walk to the Hoover Dam Bypass. I walked to the middle of the 1900 ft bridge and viewed the dam. Standing on the bridge built over the Colorado River, it felt like the bridge was swaying from the strong winds, so it was difficult to keep the camera parallel and settle on a composition.

The fortified wiring was captivating. Parking the car on the shoulder, I photographed the canyon that seemed to be dominated by human.
Lowering the saturation, the contrast and sharpness was increased to emphasize the wires.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 30mm

From the Hoover Dam Bypass, 900 ft above the Colorado River, I see the Hoover Dam, constructed from 1931 and finished in 1936, and the vast landscape around it.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 8mm

From Hoover Dam, I drove south on Highway 95 running parallel to the Colorado River. Driving through the strong, sand-mixed wind, I enter a road that seems to go in the eastern direction. The road wasn’t on my map, but there was another road leading to the Colorado River, so I thought that this road would lead to the river. The road steered toward the southeast direction.


On the almost empty road, old cars and buildings were left like they were on display.
Decreasing the saturation, the contrast and X3 Fill Light was increased to emphasize the nostalgic feel.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM,Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance:flash, Shutter speed: 1/800 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 50mm

The distance to the Colorado River was farther than I imagined and the river couldn’t be seen easily. Finally when the blue river became visible, the road curved around a hill away from the river to a dead end. Before the dead end, there was a road leading down the hill. I descended down the path and there were several cars parked on the sand. Walking down the gravel hill for 1/3 of a mile, I arrive at the shore of the Colorado River to see a group of people enthusiastically playing in the water. On the road leading back to the highway on the west side of the Colorado River, there were arid desert plants basking under the warm afternoon light.

Finally arriving at the Colorado River, the water was very blue.
Pleasant wind blew by the high rocks, instead of standing next to the water.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/640 sec,Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 50mm

An inlet on the Colorado River. The voices of the people playing in the water could be heard.
Increasing the saturation, an inlet on a warm afternoon was represented.

Camera: DP2sExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length:24.2mm

Seeing the desert plants saturated in the western sun, I parked the car involuntarily and pressed the shutter. The macro lens captured the presence of the plants strongly.

Camera: SD15 Lens: APO MACRO 150mm F2.8 EX DG HSM,Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance:daylight, Shutter speed: 1/200 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 150mm


I head south while I gaze at the bright western sky and I see a small town, Searchlight on my left hand side. From the town, I drove east on the road specified on the map and I arrived at the well-accommodated marina by the Colorado River. The sun had already sunk and the Colorado River felt the signs of nighttime.

I couldn’t tell if it is a factory or a farm, but the sight of the sun sinking and reflecting light off of the building in the desert atmosphere was strange.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: flash, Shutter speed: 1/640 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 50mm

The pole lights shine at the marina in Cotton wood Cove by the Colorado River.
Reviewing the sepia finished photo, it revived the marina’s gentle night air.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 50, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/50 sec,Aperture: f4.0, Focal length: 10mm

I traveled south on US Highway 95, then east on SR163, crossing the Colorado River to Arizona and staying overnight at Bullhead City. The next morning after viewing a row of casino hotels in Laughlin on the Colorado Riverfront, I left for David Dam. In the early hours, compared to the Hoover Dam, this dam was subdued and vacant with only a security guard walking around.

Boats frequently went up and down the Colorado River in the early morning.
At these hours, the people working at the casinos in Laughlin were the only customers aboard the boat.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/160 sec,Aperture: f7.1, Focal length: 10mm

Located 70 miles south from the Hoover Dam, the Davis Dam looks like an embankment. Compared to the Hoover Dam, the dam is plain and disfigured. On this morning, entering was prohibited at the muted dam.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 38mm

Through the Davis Dam, opened in 1951, the casino hotels in Laughlin can be seen.
I was not able to look inside the 200 ft concrete dam.
The photograph was changed to monochrome to express the concrete world.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/400 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 50mm


The tower linking Davis Dam’s reservoir basin and wires.
Stressing the blue color, a blue world was created.

Camera: DP2sExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100,White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/640 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 24.2mm

From David Dam, I proceeded south on the Arizona state road, passing Lake Havasu City and headed to Parker Dam.
Cars were allowed to pass over the dam, but walking across was prohibited. I crossed the 850ft dam and went from Arizona to California. There were security guards on both sides of the dam. There was few cars passing by on this quiet dam.

Many rivers flow into the Colorado River. The area where one of the rivers, Bill Williams River merged, was a peaceful and quiet scenery.
Increasing the contrast and lowering the saturation and X3 Fill Light, a soft atmosphere was portrayed.

Camera: SD15 Lens: APO 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed:1/500 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 183mm

Parker Dam is located about 155 miles south of the Hoover Dam.
The visible part of the dam is only 85 ft high, but the actual height is 320 ft and it is the deepest dam in the world.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 10mm F2.8 EX DC FISHEYE HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/125 sec, Aperture: f11.0, Focal length: 10mm

The wires of the power plant blended seamlessly in the sunny sky.
The invisible and silent electrical current feels strange.

Camera: SD15 Lens: APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed:1/400 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 180mm

After crossing Parker Dam over to California, I took the road along the river and headed south. The road meets SR 62 and turning left would lead to crossing the Colorado River into Arizona, but I immediately turned back for California.

There were many small birds flying over the river.
Using the ultra-wide zoom lens, the entire landscape was sharply captured with the sign being the subject.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/250 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 8mm

Returning to California, a sign reading, “Big River” attracted my eye, so I followed the road and came back to Colorado River once again. There were buildings and docks by the river, but I didn’t see anyone. While watching the river by the vacant shore, I noticed that the river current was pretty fast. I thought that I finally met the true Colorado River.

I wonder what this means. I believe someone took the word “NO” as a prank.
The large aperture standard lens naturally emphasized the existence of the sign.

Camera: SD15 Lens: 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSMExposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 30mm


All artwork on this page was processed from RAW data (X3F) with Sigma PhotoPro software. After processing, some selected images were imported into retouching software to remove dust. This photo essay is currently running on Sigma Japan’s site and it is published here two months later.

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