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Sigma is saying.

02.18.2015

After a brisk cross-country ski with our fox red Lab pup Rowan, I decided to take a few snowy mug shots her under a brilliant blue sky. With snow sticking to her whiskers, she was sure to produce a few good head shots.

Portrait of Rowan with a Sigma polarizer filter at maximum effect. Nikon D800E, Sigma 24- 105mm F4 DG (OS) HSM | A lens at 105mm. f/8, 1/60 sec., ISO 50. This RAW image was processed in Adobe Camera RAW to be as close to identical in terms of luminosity as the minimum polarizer photo directly below. All processing besides exposure was the same. Photo © 2015 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Portrait of Rowan with a Sigma polarizer filter at maximum effect. Nikon D800E, Sigma 24- 105mm F4 DG (OS) HSM | A lens at 105mm. f/8, 1/60 sec., ISO 50. This RAW image was processed in Adobe Camera RAW to be as close to identical in terms of luminosity as the minimum polarizer photo directly below. All processing besides exposure was the same. Photo © 2015 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

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02.17.2015

Tout_LensExploration-105mm   

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02.03.2015

With deep snow covering the hills here in Ohio, I couldn’t resist taking Rowan out for a romp in the white and fluffy. Grabbing a rope toy for Rowan to retrieve, we headed out to a nearby field.

Rowan, our ‘fox red’ Labrador pup, retrieves a rope toy in the snow. In comparing two similar images here, I refer to this photo as the “level-rope” image. Canon EOS 7D. Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM | C. at 90mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec., ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Rowan, our ‘fox red’ Labrador pup, retrieves a rope toy in the snow. In comparing two similar images here, I refer to this photo as the “level-rope” image. Canon EOS 7D. Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM | C. at 90mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec., ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

My goal was to take action photos, high speed images of Rowan racing through the snow. Rowan’s ‘fox red’ coat looks especially good in early- or late-day sun, so, I took her out to a hilltop where the last golden rays were lighting things up. Generally speaking, dog action shots require shutter speeds of at least, say, 1/1000 second. That means that strong sun, medium to wide apertures, and medium to high ISO settings are often best. 

I shot at 1/2000 to make sure I stopped the action. I changed the aperture slightly as I shot but generally kept it around f/5.6. Given the late light in the day and the high shutter speed, I set the ISO at 800.

Repeatedly tossing the colorful rope away from the sun, I zoomed in on the toy with my 70-300mm f4-5.6 lens, tracking Rowan as she ran back toward me. She looked beautiful front lit by the golden-hued sun. I took about 100 shots, of which a handful were good: eyes visible and in focus; head, ears, legs, and tail in pleasing positions; and good backgrounds. 

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02.02.2015

A high quality circular polarizer is still one of the most important accessories for any photographer’s bag. And the new Sigma Weather-Resistant Circular Polarizers offer incredible performance, weather-tough design, and a fantastically upgraded case with grip arcs that keep the filters from rattling around in the bag.

wr-cpl-58mm_01

The advances in digital capture and advanced RAW processing have rendered many classic filter types less crucial, if not outright obselete; the look and feel of warming filters, and graduated density filters, for example, are easily and quickly replicated—and in many cases bested—by what is now available during RAW processing and image toning.

An afternoon sunshower created a lot of glare on the surface of the pedestrian mall in Somerville, NJ. Adding a circular polarizer (right), and adjusting the angle helped to tame the harsh surface glare.  1/320 F9 ISO 320, Canon Rebel T3i and Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.0 Contemporary with Sigma 72mm Weather Resistant Circular Polarizer added for right image. Exposures balanced in Adobe Camera RAW from CR2 files.

An afternoon sunshower created a lot of glare on the surface of the pedestrian mall in Somerville, NJ. Adding a circular polarizer (right), and adjusting the angle helped to tame the harsh surface glare. 1/320 F9 ISO 320, Canon Rebel T3i and Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.0 Contemporary with Sigma 72mm Weather Resistant Circular Polarizer added for right image. Exposures balanced in Adobe Camera RAW from CR2 files.

But the same can not be said of circular polarizers, which limit and constrict the angles of light reaching the image sensor. This filter can minimize unwanted reflections on shiny surfaces, make skies more rich in color and give clouds greater presence, and in general make many images in many different situations pop from the screen or page in more dramatic fashion.  And of course, the better the image quality of the RAW file to start with, the better the tonal adjustments made during toning and processing will be. This is why circular polarizers still matter.

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01.23.2015

Sigma Pro explores the possibilities with the Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG HSM lens

What’s bright, gives wonderful, round bokeh and is perfect for portraits, sports, street and product photography? Give up? It’s Sigma’s 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM lens. This beauty fits on both full frame and cropped sensor cameras.

The ideal portrait focal length is said to be twice to two and a half times the normal focal length. So before diving into the 85 let’s take a look at focal length and what it means in regards to sensor size. First, here’s a definition or two.

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01.20.2015

The temps here in Ohio have dropped to below freezing, and a beautiful blanket of snow covers the ground—the perfect conditions for some winter dog photography!

Many challenges face cold-weather photographers—from batteries to keeping yourself warm—but here I want to offer advice on getting the proper exposure in the snow. This will be the first of a periodic series on improving exposure settings for dog photography.

Rowan, our ‘fox red’ Labrador retriever, poses in the early morning sun, looking across a snow-covered field. One of the biggest challenges of photographing in wintry conditions is getting the exposure right. Here, I metered off the snow and then opened up about 1.5 stops. Nikon D800E. Sigma's APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens at 200mm. f/8, 1/500 sec., ISO 1000. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5, Nik Sharpener Pro plug-in applied. Photo © 2015 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Rowan, our ‘fox red’ Labrador retriever, poses in the early morning sun, looking across a snow-covered field. One of the biggest challenges of photographing in wintry conditions is getting the exposure right. Here, I metered off the snow and then opened up about 1.5 stops. Nikon D800E. Sigma’s APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens at 200mm. f/8, 1/500 sec., ISO 1000. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5, Nik Sharpener Pro plug-in applied. Photo © 2015 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

The biggest technical challenge of shooting snowy scenes is determining the best settings for exposure. The meter in your camera is programmed to give you proper exposure for approximately 18% gray. In other words, when your camera is pointed at a subject that reflects something around 18% of the visible light, you will have spot-on exposure.

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01.13.2015

Over and over again I am asked how to get boudoir images that are a guaranteed sell. For me, it’s a simple equation. Shots you know work plus shots that you take a little risk on, equals sales! Here are 4 shots I am sure to get at every boudoir session and you should too!

1. THE HEADSHOT.

© 2014 Jen Rozenbaum | Lens: 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art | Shutter speed: 1/125 sec | Aperture: F4.0 | ISO: 640

© 2014 Jen Rozenbaum | Lens: 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art | Shutter speed: 1/125 sec | Aperture: F4.0 | ISO: 640

Every client wants a photo that they can show their friends, maybe even post on Facebook or Twitter. Something not too revealing, but of course edgier than an every day photo of themselves.  Better than a selfie, but not quite boudoir. These photos are not only popular with clients, but allows you the opportunity for a client to talk about you and show off your photos without feeling to exposed.

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01.05.2015

One Photographer’s Experience Using Sigma Lenses in Istanbul, Brussels, and Paris, Part I

By Eduardo Angel

© Eduardo Angel

© Eduardo Angel

I have recently returned from Istanbul, that fabled city that straddles two continents, Brussels, with its ancient roots and bilingual arrangement, and Paris, the legendary City of Light. These cities are famous for offering up a feast of imaging possibilities, and in this article I’ll share some of the things I considered before hitting the road on assignment, including my approach to lens selection.

Except for a few days in Istanbul where I had the priceless assistance of my talented friend Levent, I shot stills and video and recorded “soundscapes” by myself for three weeks using exclusively Sigma lenses.

To get started, one important limitation was that while I wanted to travel as light as possible, even though there’s nothing “light” when it comes to video gear, I still needed to have a full production and post-production setup with me.

This is not an easy challenge to meet, but it’s one that we increasingly face as digital visual storytellers. All the gear needed to fit in my trusted Tenba Roadie II Backpack so I could take it with me as carry-on luggage. It also had to be able to be taken on public transportation at each location if needed.

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01.05.2015

One Photographer’s Experience Using Sigma Lenses for video in Istanbul, Brussels, and Paris

By Eduardo Angel

For a recent assignment in Europe I chose a set of five Sigma lenses that would cover all the bases, no matter what type of shot I needed:

• 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
• 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
• 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM
• 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art
• 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM |Art

Image © Eduardo Angel.

All Images © Eduardo Angel.

For photographers and videographers new to Sigma, it takes a bit of work to navigate through Sigma’s nomenclature, but everything makes sense in the end. Based upon the format, Sigma assigns different designations for formats and image circles, as follows:

DG stands for “Digital Grade.” The coating on these lenses is optimized for full-frame DSLR systems.
DC stands for “Digital Compact.” These lenses are specifically designed for APS-C sensors.
DN stands for “Digital Neo.” The lenses under the DN designation are intended for mirrorless cameras interchangeable-lens cameras that feature either APS-C or Micro Four Thirds size sensors.

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12.30.2014

At the end of each year, we commonly reflect on our past 12 months and look forward to the next dozen. So, how was your dog year, and what is the outlook for 2015?

  • Did you have fun with your dog?
  • Did your dog have fun with you?
  • Do you have some particularly memorable photos?
  • Are you learning new ways to photograph your dog?
  • Did you learn anything from your dog about life?
Happy new year from Rowan! May 2015 be a banner year for you and your dogs. Nikon D800E. Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art Lens at 105mm. f/16, 1/250 sec., ISO 200. Dynalite RP1600 with two MH2015 heads, PocketWizard Plus III. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5, Nik plug-ins applied. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Happy new year from Rowan! May 2015 be a banner year for you and your dogs. Nikon D800E. Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art Lens at 105mm. f/16, 1/250 sec., ISO 200. Dynalite RP1600 with two MH2015 heads, PocketWizard Plus III. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5, Nik plug-ins applied. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

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