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All too often my travels center around the desires of my amazing clients. That means that personal photography either has not chance or at best it gets short shrift. My last post to the Sigma Pros Blog chronicled the work I was doing in Seattle. This trip I scheduled a bit of “me” time to do some personal work. Let me be clear, I carry my camera. At the risk of sounding simplistic, I can’t make a picture without it.

One of the first mornings in town, Sigma technical representative Marc Farb and I broke our fast at a twenty-four / seven restaurant called Thirteen Coins. I had my travel kit in the car and the 85mm f/1.4 Sigma prime on my IDs Mark III. The light coming through the window formed a great Rembrandt-esque triangle on his cheek. With both elbows braced on the table I said “Hold very, very still.” He did while my finger ever so gently squeezed down on the shutter release. When I’m hand holding my camera is set on high-speed drive. A five frame burst made certain that one would be sharp. I just love the focus fall off for concentrating viewers’ attention. Marc’s eyes are totally focused while is ears are completely soft.

©2012 Kevin Ames

After eating we noticed construction happening around the corner. We walked over. There were renovations being made to the Seattle Opera. We chatted up the foreman; pointing out the great view of the Space Needle. Kathy (it’s always good to find out people’s names) gave us permission to take some pictures. The weather was awful so I asked if we could come back. She said “Sure. If you want to, you can go onto the parking get and shoot from there.”

Score. I went back on Sunday morning very early, tripod in hand along with my 70-200mm f/2.8 optically stabalized zoom. The OS is very good. My tripod is better. This view of the Space Needle is from that deck.

©2012 Kevin Ames

I finished, hopped into my rental car; a very cool Dodge Challenger to feed my “Vanishing Point” fantasies and headed off to Vancouver, British Columbia.

©2012 Kevin Ames

Two and a half hours later (do you really think I’d share how long it didn’t take?) I’d cleared Canadian customs and pulled into the parking lot of my friend’s building. We immediately headed out for a walk around the Stanley Park one of Vancouver’s public treasures. Its seawall is eight kilometers around the harbor where cargo ships await their turn to offload cargo. Sitting on the seawall, with a Sigma 2x teleconverter on the 70-200mm f/2.8 OS I followed my B-B-S-B handholding technique—Brace, Breathe, Squeeze a Burst. At 287mm it’s really sharp.

©2012 Kevin Ames

Midway around Stanley Park is the Lions Gate bridge (its real name is the First Narrows bridge) spanning Burrard Inlet to connect the city with North Vancouver. Here the 12 – 24mm f/4.5 – 5.6 handled the ultra wide duties.

©2012 Kevin Ames

The walk around the park pretty much required the downing of an adult bevvie (or two.) Downtown is the Empire Landmark Hotel that features a revolving restaurant. The views as you might imagine are breathtaking. To photograph this view, I pressed the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 against the glass. That kept reflections from interfering. The glass acts as a brace making the camera and lens combo quite solid. At the end of the streets is a pine tree covered outcrop. That’s Stanley park. Look to the right. The bridge with the lights on the spans is Lions Gate. You can see a cargo ship in the harbor on the left.

©2012 Kevin Ames

My travel kit for urban adventure has my camera, a Sekonic L-758Cine lightmeter, a small electronic flash, an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, Hoodman RAW 16 and 32 gigabyte compact flash cards and USB 3.0 card reader, a Really Right Stuff tripod, ball head and leveling base along with the big four lenses—12 to 24mm f/4.5-5.6, 24 to 70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 and the 85mm f/1.4 along with a 2x teleconverter all from Sigma. A 15” MacBook Pro rounds out my gear.

The trick is I don’t carry all of the kit all the time. I plan. The walk around the park was done with the 12-24, 70-200 and the teleconverter. The short zoom and 2x fit in pockets. Downtown was covered with the 24-70 alone.

Next time I’ll share some street shooting.

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