This past December I had the chance to explore the desert with the New Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Series lens. About 30 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada lies a town that is not on any maps. Nelson, Nevada is a former gold mining town in El Dorado Canyon. Filled with old cars, trucks, gas pumps, and barns, this was the perfect place to give the new 35mm lens a workout.
Making a commitment to a prime (fixed focal length) lens, requires dedication to the art of seeing and creating with what is in front of you at one focal length. The slightly wider than normal 35mm lens is a great length to capture the personality of an area while still having the ability to walk in to get details.
When exploring, I was able to get in close to an old gas pump. In the image photographed at f/2.8, you can see the sharp details of the numbers and rust along with the storytelling aspects of an out of focus trail of in the background. In addition, the level of the color reproduction and contrast that is produced makes for a really nice detailed print.
Photographing with the 35mm lens is an intimate photographic experience with the camera, lens, and the scene. If you want to crop in, you walk in. Think of this as a manual zoom. Look at the images of the door and the lubrication sign. One of the most beautiful aspects of this image is the composition. I was able to walk in to the point that I could crop the image to where I had horizontal lines at the top third and bottom third.
Wide-angle distortion is some thing that alters the look of a scene and makes it appear unnatural. When using the 35mm, this is one of the best (if we had to choose) aspects of the lens. Look at the same image from above of the door and lubrication sign. The vertical lines are straight as are the horizontal lines. This makes for an accurate representation of what the photographer saw.
If you want to capture a scene and work on seeing composition, I invite you to give the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Series lens a try. Attach this lens to your camera and leave the others in your car at home. This will force you to see in the viewfinder and create stunning travel photography.