It’s now officially Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere. The days are getting shorter and hillside stands of trees are bursting into colorful displays of crimsons and golds. Obviously, it is a great time for ultrawide landscapes to capture those sweeping vistas. But it is also prime season for packing a telephoto macro lens like the Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro to capture the grandeur and spirit of the season in its tiny details.
There are a number of great reasons to pack this great tele macro (or add it quickly to your kit!) for fall foliage season.
The Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro employs HSM-powered internal focusing, meaning the lens barrel doesn’t extend as you zoom to higher magnifications. There are several very cool benefits of this design.
For starters, that longer working distance means less chance of your own shadow messing up your exposures. And it also means that many swivel-and-spin shoe-mount strobes such as the Sigma EF-610 DG Super E-TTL that can be angled downward can be used to illuminate your macro subjects all the way to 1:1 reproduction, instead of needing to rely on a dedicated macro ring flash.
And with or without a shoe-mount strobe for lighting, that longer working distance is a fantastic feature for capturing insects with this telephoto macro lens. And Fall is a great time to make shots of bugs for several reasons!
As insects are cold-blooded creatures, they are generally must less active when it is cooler, so early in the morning before the heat of the day, and as the sun goes down in the afternoon, you’ll find that insects are more likely to be sitting still for longer periods of time.
And spiders continue to spin great webs. Here in my section of New Jersey, there’s a lot less orbweavers overall, but the ones that have survived all summer are now much bigger than they were a few short months back! And many wasps and hornets are very busy this time of year–and when you are thinking of shooting these dangerous insects, a longer working distance is a very, very good thing!
This 150mm prime is a true macro lens, but it is also an amazing portrait lens. As I was working on some of the leaf and lichen shots in my yard in this article, my young daughter started acting amazingly photogenic. With just a quick change of the focus limiter setting, I was able to go from 1:1 macros with strobe, to great casual portraits with lovely fast tele-prime bokeh and back again. Whether it’s your kids, a nearby bird, or your hiking partner, this macro lens is also amazing as a portrait tool!
The two-mode Optical Stabilizer built into this 150mm macro helps keep the frame sharp at slower shutter speeds without a tripod, for great mobility, whenever and wherever you discover great macro-scale action. This feature helped me make several of the shots in this article, as the captions explain. (For much information on making the most of Sigma’s Optical Stabilizer lens feature, check this out.)
Whatever the season, a dedicated telephoto macro like the Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro helps tell the story in small details writ large: twilight snowflakes bathed in bluish shadows and golden highlights as the cold winter sun fades in the west, the tiniest buds of flowers springing to life, fingers wet with grains of fine sand in high summer. When it comes to evoking seasons, the tiniest details revealed by a long macro can tell amazing stories.