by Jack Howard
A while back, I had an idea for a blog posting involving models, the Sigma SD1, social media connections, and a Sigma fan who’d never touched the Sigma SD1 before. I wanted to see what sort of photos an experienced photographer could make, straight out of the gate, with this high-end camera. And that’s where photographer Robert Lopshire enters this story.
He had posted a few macro photos to our Sigma Facebook wall right when I originally joined the Sigma team earlier this year, and has been an active participant on our Facebook wall for a long while now. He has also shared several pictures through our site’s Photoshare feature including a fantastic macro shot that made it into this Sigma50th.com video (at 4:07). Through some of those very strange small-world channels that sometimes become visible at just the right time, it also turns out that Robert lives just a few miles down the road from me, and stranger still, is neighbors with one of my Photo Assignment Editors back from my newspaper days!
So, out of the blue a few weeks back, I sent Robert an email asking if he’d be interested in taking part in a blog posting for us involving a crash-course test drive of the Sigma SD1, the Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM, and some of his modeling clients. A few moments and his emphatic reply later, we began to set up a shoot at his Frenchtown, NJ location involving two of his favorite models, Chelsea Landry and Ivana Vranjes.
If the name “Robert Lopshire” sounds vaguely familiar to you, it is because art and creativity runs deep in his bloodline. His namesake grandfather penned and illustrated several popular children’s books including “Put Me in the Zoo” and “I Want to be Somebody New”. A self-trained photographer, Robert Lopshire has been shooting professionally for just about five years now, after stints in commercial art, illustration, and glass engraving. After getting his pro start with tabletop product work, he’s really jumped in to working with up-and-coming models.
A few weeks back, I visited his home studio and handed him the Sigma SD1 and the Sigma 85mm f1.4 prime and said fire away! I sat back and watched him work, and answered any technical and operational questions that arose during the course of the shoots (swapping AF points, navigating the menus, for example.), with models Chelsea Landry and Ivana Vranjes. Makeup artist/stylist Samantha Pennington did a great job working behind the scenes to create the very different day and night feels for the shoots with each model.
Robert had this to say about the day: “Shooting with the Sigma SD1 for the Sigma Photo Blog was a great experience. I must admit, I was a little nervous at first. I really enjoyed the experience, and wish I had more time to work with this camera! This feels like a purist’s camera–very intuitive operations, it feels very well weighted, and there’s a very natural feel about the grip.”
Here’s what Robert reports about the pictures themselves:“The images are amazingly sharp, and the detail is amazing. The transitions between colors and tones is really amazingly smooth. I can not wait to make really big prints from this shoot with the Sigma SD1!”
Rightly so, Rob chalks up this SD1 test drive to social marketing, and as a very cool example of how social networking and social sharing can create opportunities that you don’t even realize at the time.
“When I first starting posting some shots to Sigma’s Facebook Wall, and shared some shots via Photoshare, I thought it might be a good way to get some more exposure and meet some more photographers and potential clients. But if you told me that it was going to lead to Sigma inviting me to be a guest photographer for their blog and getting to spend several hours with the SD1, Sigma prime lenses and a technical expert–plus some of my favorite models–I probably wouldn’t have believed it!