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12.23.2014

Photography in winter can be a challenge. And when I say “winter”, I’m not talking of winter in the sense of majestic snowcapped peaks framed by freshly powdered pines with perfect golden light and fire-toned brushstroke clouds–I’m talking more of the winter of dirty refrozen slushpiles downtown three frigid days after a mid-January sleetstorm around 11:17 on a grey Tuesday morning when it seems there’s nothing magical left in the world worth getting out of warm car with a camera for.

A starling sits atop a weathervane, atop a three story building, captured through the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG HSM OS | Sports paired with a Rebel T3i at 600mm, for an effective 960mm focal distance. Cropped to near square format for presentation.

A starling sits atop a weather vane, atop a three story building, captured through the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG HSM OS | Sports paired with a Rebel T3i at 600mm, for an effective 960mm focal distance. Cropped to near square format for presentation.

Winter has its challenges, for sure, especially in the deciduous zones, where skeleton trees thrust bony fingers at the sky, and vistas and sweeping wild scenes are brushed widely with swaths of stingy browns and grays, instead of the festive pastels of spring, the lush greens of summer and the fall fireworks of foliage palette. But winter has it own charms and own rewards, and for photographers looking to challenge themselves and experiment, it can be a great time to get out and explore with a long lens, like the new 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG HSM OS | Sports lens.

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12.23.2014

How to Recognize Good Posing

Posing is hard. It’s even harder to pose a boudoir client since she is usually not wearing much. No clothes, no where to hide!  So how do you know a good pose when you see it? Let me show you some examples.

Posing: Arms

© 2014 Jen Rozenbaum | Lens: 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art | Shutter speed: 1/400 sec | Aperture: F2.8 | ISO: 200

© 2014 Jen Rozenbaum | Lens: 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art | Shutter speed: 1/400 sec | Aperture: F2.8 | ISO: 200

In this first shot, my client looks larger than she looks in real life. The goal of a good pose is to make a client look as good as she looks in real life, if  not better. Making her look larger than real life is a huge fail.

So how do we make her look more like she looks in person (if not better)? In this case, the first point I notice is that her arms are adding bulk to her body. Arms are a tricky part of the body to pose because of this. They can easily make a woman look large.

Since her arms are up we can also see a lot of her back. Again, it’s making her look larger than she really is so we need to rearrange the pose slightly to flatter her more.

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12.23.2014

Congratulations to our winners, Ced Garret, Alycia Chroszucha, Darren White, and Jonathan Woodson!

Winners

 

Do you have a favorite Sigma lens in your kit?

Share a selfie gear shot of you and your Sigma lenses and cameras using either the #MySigmaLens or #MySigmaCamera hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, or Google Plus and it can be featured right here in this blog feed. Get silly, or get seriously creative, but be sure to share a photo with those hashtags by January 31st, 2015!

At the end of January, we’ll pick four of the photos, and hook up the photographer with a brand new Sigma weather-resistant polarizer filter that matches the lens pictured!

 

 

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Click the jump below for full rules and eligibility.

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12.18.2014

Having been an ice hockey goalie for the last 30 years, my passion for hockey photography runs deeper than any other sport. The speed of the action along with the close quarters of the action relative to the camera create a challenging environment to shoot in. Throw in frozen fingers, pucks whizzing by your face and the occasional stick in your ear and the task becomes downright treacherous. Here are some tips to not only get better hockey images, but to also keep your equipment safe and yourself out of the emergency room.

First, let’s assume your warm and comfortable and not in fear for your life so we can focus on the photography end of things. Shooting with a fast lens such as Sigma’s 120-300 f2.8 Sport lens or the 70-200 f2.8 HSM is a necessity. Unlike many of the field sports, shooting with a wide angle with hockey can also yield some great results when the action is within inches of you if you’re against the glass.

The first thing to look at before you shoot is the lighting system at the rink. Some rinks have LED lights shining down on the ice which is the ideal situation since they light the ice surface evenly with a consistent color temperature. Some rinks have lights that shine up toward the ceiling resulting a softer reflective light that isn’t as bright. Unfortunately, most rinks have mercury vapor lights that create hot spots on the ice surface and inconsistent color temperatures. The lights pulse in intensity that isn’t visible to the naked eye but show up in every image which can cause you to pull your hair out chasing white balance.

© 2014 Steve Chesler | Inconsistent color temperatures can be a problem when shooting under mercury vapor lighting. This image shows how the subject is well lit the moment this was shot and the lights further back where at a different color temperature in their light cycle.

© 2014 Steve Chesler | Inconsistent color temperatures can be a problem when shooting under mercury vapor lighting. This image shows how the subject is well lit the moment this was shot and the lights further back where at a different color temperature in their light cycle.

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12.17.2014

Almost all dogs sport a collar of one sort or another. If you plan on taking a lot of photos of your dog, then it’s probably worthwhile pondering what collar will look best on your furry friend.

Below are images depicting Rowan, our four-month old ‘fox red’ Labrador retriever, wearing collars of different colors. For years we have been using nylon collars from Lupine Pet, the gold standard for style, durability, and customer support. (Once, one of our pups chewed a hole in the collar of another one of our dogs. Lupine replaced the collar no questions asked!)

In anticipation of this blog, I contacted Lupine and asked if they would send some samples for Rowan to model. She had fun getting fashionable with five different looks.

Rowan shows off her  “Sunny Days” collar, thanks to Lupine Pet. Purple, one of the triadic colors based on her orangish fur, looks fun and vibrant. Nikon D800E. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm with OS on. 1/250 sec., f/5.6, ISO 100. One Dynalite strobe fired with a PocketWizard Plus III. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

Rowan shows off her “Sunny Days” collar, thanks to Lupine Pet. Purple, one of the triadic colors based on her orangish fur, looks fun and vibrant. Nikon D800E. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 200mm with OS on. 1/250 sec., f/5.6, ISO 100. One Dynalite strobe fired with a PocketWizard Plus III. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

In choosing a collar for your dog, it pays to consider color theory. Here are several color schemes.

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12.10.2014

When I shoot fashion editorials for magazines, I am shooting a series of images to tell a story. In 6-10 images I must engage the viewer and pull their eye through the story. I can use lighting, posing, styling to help unite each image into a single series. If the images are too different than they do not hold together as on unified story. On the other hand, if all the images are the same focal length and scene, they can also become stagnant and leave your story falling flat. 

For this reason I enjoy varying my focal lengths to provide visual variety. For each look I tend to get a full length shot or shot that incorporates the environment. Then I move in for a tight shot where the viewer can better study the subject’s face, clothing or detail in the scene. When in a striking location I treat the scene much like story-telling in the movies. I begin with wide angle to introduce the environment. Move in to a mid-length focal length to introduce my subject, and then grab a telephone to capture a detail. This process of slowly introducing more detail and information is very common in cinematography.

Over the past 8 months I’ve really embraced two lenses over and over again to help me achieve my fashion editorial goals, whether in the studio or on location. My one-two punch is the Sigma 24-105mm f4.0 and the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8. Between these two lenses I find that I am able to have the versatility and quality needed for these series of images that appear in fashion magazines around the world. Let’s take a look at why this has become such a powerful combination for me and then review this pairing in action.

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12.08.2014
Image copyright Roman Kurywczak Canon 1D Mark 3 body with the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 at 12mm for 30 seconds at f/5 and ISO 6400 mounted on Induro CT 304 tripod with BHL3 head.  Painted with flashlight for approximately 15 seconds.

Image copyright Roman Kurywczak Canon 1D Mark 3 body with the Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 at 12mm for 30 seconds at f/5 and ISO 6400 mounted on Induro CT 304 tripod with BHL3 head. Painted with flashlight for approximately 15 seconds.

Roman Kurywczak, Sigma Pro and Brett Wells, Sigma Tech Rep

Roman: As a Sigma Pro team member I had the privilege of being invited to give lectures and workshops at the 2014 Festival of Cranes out at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  I have visited the refuge many times before, and, while I was excited about being able to photograph the birds again, I was most excited about my two nighttime lectures and workshops at the Very Large Array (VLA).  These giant radio telescopes would make a great foreground subject for a star filled sky. Nobody has been allowed on the property at night since 2009, so I was very excited about taking a group out to the location.  Sigma Photo would sponsor the event, and I agreed with the organizers of the festival to take out 40 participants each night. With a group that size, I knew I wouldn’t get much of a chance to take pictures myself, but it would be a great learning opportunity for the class.   The image at top is one of the few I was able to take during a break in the instruction.

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12.05.2014
Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens on Nikon D600 body | Focal length: 600mm | Aperture: f/8 | Shutter speed:  1/2000 sec. | ISO 800 hand held. © 2014 | Roman Kurywczak

Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens on Nikon D600 body | Focal length: 600mm | Aperture: f/8 | Shutter speed: 1/2000 sec. | ISO 800 hand held. © 2014 | Roman Kurywczak

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to test out the new Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens at the Festival of Cranes out in New Mexico. The images above and below are some of the first I captured with it early one morning at the Bosque del Apache NWR. What is unusual about the images is that I normally use a Canon 1D Mark 3 body, but as fate would have it, the Canon mount Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens got lost on its way to the festival.  What to do? Sigma tech rep and photographer Brett Wells came to my rescue and offered me his Nikon version of the Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.3 Sport lens along with his Nikon D600 body. So while it was a bit uncomfortable for me working with a camera body that I wasn’t familiar with, I had no problem putting the lens through its paces.  After all, Sigma makes most of their lenses in Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Sigma mounts. As I returned to the festival tent I had a surprise awaiting me as the case with the Canon mount Sigma 150-600mm Sport had just came in and was at our booth.  I could now use that lens for the next few days in combination with my Canon 1D Mark 3 body.

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12.02.2014

Labs love water, right? Throw a stick into a pond, and your retriever will dart into the water likety split. But giving her a bath may be an entirely different story. So for your puppy’s first cleaning, make sure to have your camera in-hand.

For Rowan, her first time in the tub wasn’t too bad. Of course, pouring the initial containers of water on her head elicited a natural drawing away, a great subject for a close-up shot.

This one-eyed grimace captures the whole first bath narrative: a bit scared, looking to her owner for reassurance, but also calm due to her innate love of water. Notice that by placing the subjects head to the right of center it helps emphasize the stream of water and Rowan’s mild attempt to avoid it. Nikon D800E. Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG (OS)* HSM | Art Lens at 75mm. f/16, 1/250 sec., ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

This one-eyed grimace captures the whole first bath narrative: a bit scared, looking to her owner for reassurance, but also calm due to her innate love of water. Notice that by placing the subjects head to the right of center it helps emphasize the stream of water and Rowan’s mild attempt to avoid it. Nikon D800E. Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG (OS)* HSM | Art Lens at 75mm. f/16, 1/250 sec., ISO 800. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

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12.01.2014

2014 was a very busy year for Sigma! We announced a host of new lenses and cameras, offered the Sigma dp2 Quattro Test Shoot, and participated in trade shows, and dealer events across the country. Photographers all around the world have been talking about our new lenses in the Art, Sports, and Contemporary lines, as well as the completely redesigned dp series cameras.

As we are approaching this holiday season and end of the year, here are is a small collection of our favorite quotes from reviews, prestigious product awards and recognitions. We’ll be updating this list throughout December as more publications and sites announce their year-end honors!

Award Winning Products: 2014

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art

311-50mm-a-angled-150dpi 600

  • Popular Photography 2014 Outstanding Product
  • Hot One Award from Professional Photographer: Standard Prime
  • American Photo: 2014 Editor’s Choice
  • EISA: DSLR Lens of 2014-2015

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