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01.15.2014
© 2013 Lindsay Adler

© 2013 Lindsay Adler

Compression to Flatter Pronounced Features

As photographers, our job is to be problem solvers. We need to come up with visual solutions to a wide range of ‘problems’. Advertising photographers help their clients to express their brand and allure the target audience with their images. Food photographers must light and style the food to make any viewer’s mouth water. Portrait photographers must use the tools available to them to flatter their subjects.

While I consider myself a fashion photographer, a great number of my biggest clients are actually portrait clients including athletes, musicians, and celebrities. Together with my creative team we are helping them to express their personal brand through the images we make. These people are often NOT models or model-esqe. They have ‘flaws’ just like the rest of us, and my job is to help emphasize their assets and reduce attention to ‘flaws’.

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01.08.2014
 ©2013 Judy Host | Lens: Sigma 18-250mm | Focal length: 250mm | Aperture: f/9.0 Shutter speed: 2000 ISO 640 Manual mode Processed in Photoshop.

©2013 Judy Host | Lens: Sigma 18-250mm | Focal length: 250mm | Aperture: f/9.0 Shutter speed: 2000 ISO 640 Manual mode Processed in Photoshop.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned in creating imagery with an impact is to anticipate what could happen next.  I do this when I’m photographing children, although I never really know what’s going to happen, I do know that something will happen.

Early December I found myself in Oahu, Hawaii on the north shore of the Island photographing the Pipeline Master’s Competition.  This is an International surfing competition that is by far one of the most exciting events I’ve had an opportunity to photograph.

Using Sigma’s 18-250mm lens, I choose a very fast shutter speed at 1/2000 sec, F9.0 aperture and then compensated for additional light with an ISO of 640. These settings were all geared to make sure that my images were tact sharp and that I could stop the action while still getting an almost perfect exposure.  Sigma’s 18-250 lens responded perfectly to the fast speed I was using and even from that distance, the images were crystal clear.  During the early morning hours, just as the sun was coming up, my settings varied from ISO 160-640.  My aperture and shutter speed also changed from F 7.1 at the lowest to my shutter speed set at a minimum of 640.

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01.07.2014

UPDATE, 1/7/2014: Congratulations to our #SigmaWishList swagbag contest winners: Jackie Rozett, Raymond Vestal III, Mike Thiesen, Emese Gaale, Philip Martini, Andre Ruiz, Jonathan Bongolan, Nick Benson, Ali Samieivafa and Ian Lyn. We wanted to thank each and every one of you who participated in the contest! Rest assured that we will continue to not only make premium photography gear but also hold contests for fans to win some great Sigma gear in 2014!

In case you were ever wondering how many of our smallest lens equal one of our biggest lenses, and how our lenses size up to a cardinal or a 16 oz cup of coffee, we present the Holiday Season 2013 Sigma Lens Comparison Chart! Here’s our entire lens lineup, to scale.

Which of these lenses are on your #SigmaWishlist?

Which of these lenses are on your #SigmaWishlist?

 

We’ll be posting this image to our Facebook Page, our Google Plus Page, Instagram and Twitter. Feel free to reshare it, and be sure to tell us what’s on your #SigmaWishlist between now and to 12pm EST December 26th.  (Contest is now closed.) We’ll be picking ten winners to receive a cool Sigma Swagbag across all social channels from postings using the #SigmaWishlist hashtag.

(You can even share it socially right from here with our sharing buttons! Be sure to include the #SigmaWishlist hashtag!)

What’s on your #SigmaWishlist?

 

UPDATE, 1/7/2014: Congratulations to our #SigmaWishList swagbag contest winners: Jackie Rozett, Raymond Vestal III, Mike Thiesen, Emese Gaale, Philip Martini, Andre Ruiz, Jonathan Bongolan, Nick Benson, Ali Samieivafa and Ian Lyn. We wanted to thank each and every one of you who participated in the contest! Rest assured that we will continue to not only make premium photography gear but also hold contests for fans to win some great Sigma gear in 2014!
 

01.03.2014

Prime lenses are designed for exceptional imaging at a single focal length. Unlike zoom lenses that easily span a given focal range and variable field of view with a twist of the zoom ring, the field of view and focal length remains constant. If you want to take in less of the surroundings with a given prime lens, you’ve got to physically move closer, and to take in more of the scene, you’ve got to back up. But of course, as you move, the angle of view remains the same all the while.

22Primes

It is true that switching to a prime for the first time may take a serious degree of adjustment for many photographers who’ve only worked with zooms, and the flick-of-the-wrist compositional versatility they offer. And it is true the the overall quality of zoom lenses has increased significantly over the past three decades. But there is still something, a certain charm, or a certain shift in the photographer’s eye, when the optic of choice is a single focal length length lens.

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01.02.2014

Here at Sigma, we love social media.  It is a great way to see amazing photos made with Sigma gear by photographers from all over, share our passion for creativity, and learn what matters to our fans and friends. We have a presence on several social channels, and each has its own personality and voice customized for that experience–our Instagram feed isn’t the same as our Facebook, or Twitter, or Google Plus.  But on every channel, there’s dedicated Sigma team members with a similar passion for photography posting and responding to fans.

 

Instagram

A behind the scenes look at Sigma, on the road for shows, and close to home.

A behind the scenes look at Sigma, on the road for shows, and close to home.

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01.02.2014
Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Ever since hearing about the DP3 Merrill compact digital camera, I knew it was something I wanted to get my hands on and try. Knowing it had the Foveon sensor inside it was a huge reason, but it was also aesthetic: I just love the look of this little device. I knew it would perform well during my travels and out and about, but since I’m primarily a studio shooter I was anxious to see how it’d do in my shop. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed. This camera does it!

Hanging Grapes | This is the first shot I took after placing the DP3 on a tripod. I am literally blown away by the color handling and detail. I adjusted the contrast a bit, but that's it. So much detail. Camera: DP3 Merrill | Shutter speed: 0.8 sec | Aperture:  f/5.0 | ISO 100

Hanging Grapes | This is the first shot I took after placing the DP3 on a tripod. I am literally blown away by the color handling and detail. I adjusted the contrast a bit, but that’s it. So much detail. Camera: DP3 Merrill | Shutter speed: 0.8 sec | Aperture: f/5.0 | ISO 100

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12.30.2013
© 2013 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 12-24mm | Focal length: 12mm | Aperture: f/22 | Shutter speed: 1 sec. | ISO 400 | CP and ND filter on tripod.

© 2013 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 12-24mm | Focal length: 12mm | Aperture: f/22 | Shutter speed: 1 sec. | ISO 400 | CP and ND filter on tripod.

I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  I was doing some presentations in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids for Norman Camera so I was traveling with my projector for my presentations there.  I had to travel light with my photo gear because of that so I just brought my 2 pro camera bodies along with the Sigma 12-24mm lens, a Cavision 6×6 circular polarizer, and a Lee 6×6 neutral density filter.  I also brought along my carbon fiber tripod and Induro BHL2 ballhead for long exposures. I knew I would be photographing waterfalls so the Sigma 12-24 would be the perfect choice to get the dramatic wide-angle images I was looking for.  In the image above, I used the wall on the left to lead you towards the waterfall and include as much of the fall foliage as I could.

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12.27.2013

Contrary to what many might believe, I haven’t been a photographer for all that long. It’s only been 5 years since I decided to start a photography business. Prior to that I was shooting for fun, but only for about 6 months.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Although I have a fine art background and had been drawing nudes for many years, photography didn’t call my name until after I had my daughter. When I had her, I was working full time in a family business. My husband and I decided it would be best for me to stay at home with her for at least the first few years. As any mom does, I took a million photos of my daughter. I wanted to capture every moment. Sadly though, I was really unimpressed with the images I was getting and forget that 2 second lag most point and shoots had back then. What a pain! So my husband surprised me (ok it wasn’t really a surprise since I dropped a ton of hints) with a DSLR for the holidays.

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12.26.2013

Rivers as Lines

Photography is all about abstraction. As you reduce three-dimensional scenes into two-dimensional photographs, your world flattens and becomes filled with geometric forms.

Along the Chena River small tributaries meander throughout the landscape. Photographing the S-curves of rivers such as this one produces pleasing, placid pictures. Chena River State Recreation Area, east of Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. Sigma SD1 Merrill. Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM II lens at 103mm. F/11, 1/10 second, ISO 100. Gitzo GT2451EX Tripod with Gitzo GH2780QR head. Cable release. Processed in Sigma Photo Pro 5.3; Photoshop CS5; NIK Viveza and Sharpener Pro plug-ins applied. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2013. All rights reserved.

Along the Chena River small tributaries meander throughout the landscape. Photographing the S-curves of rivers such as this one produces pleasing, placid pictures. Chena River State Recreation Area, east of Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. Sigma SD1 Merrill. Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM II lens at 103mm. F/11, 1/10 second, ISO 100. Gitzo GT2451EX Tripod with Gitzo GH2780QR head. Cable release. Processed in Sigma Photo Pro 5.3; Photoshop CS5; NIK Viveza and Sharpener Pro plug-ins applied. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2013. All rights reserved.

If you are not careful, this compressing of dimensions can result in images that seem depthless and uninteresting, but, if you manipulate perspective in ways that provide clear shapes and interesting contrasts, your images can create depth through a implied movement. In the case of photographing rivers, lines are the single most important geometric feature.

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12.23.2013

As an available light photographer, learning how to control the light that comes into my camera is the single most important element of what I do when creating imagery. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how I set up my sessions and how I use available light, in this blog I thought I would talk about my camera settings and how I decide what settings I want to use to control light. My camera is always set to the manual mode and I’m always shooting in the RAW mode.

©2013 Judy Host | Lens: Sigma 17-70mm | Focal length: 70mm | Aperture: f/4.0 Shutter speed: 320  ISO 320 Manual mode

©2013 Judy Host | Lens: Sigma 17-70mm | Focal length: 70mm | Aperture: f/4.0 Shutter speed: 320 ISO 320 Manual mode

There are many different reasons to use certain settings on your camera.  I am referring mainly to the ISO, the shutter speed and aperture. As an available light photographer, controlling the light that comes into my camera is how I determine what my exposure will look like. First and foremost, everything depends on how much light I have available to me at the time of the session.  I start with setting my ISO knowing that I might need to adjust it. Once that has been established, the next step for me is to decide if I want to stop the action by using a higher shutter speed. Depending on the location, I may want my subject in focus while my background is soft. To create this narrow depth of field with my subject close to the camera, I use a wide open aperture. This can also create a “Bokeh Effect” especially when using a longer focal length lens. The bokeh is an eye catching soft circular pattern of light within the out of focus area of an image.

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