by Peyton Hale
This year I was fortunate to come on board as an instructor for The Giving Lens (TGL), an organization founded by renowned international photographer Colby Brown. The idea behind The Giving Lens is to blend together travel, photo education, and the ability to give back to the communities we visit through the contribution of our time, cameras, and financial support to nongovernmental organizations in the countries we visit.
© 2014 Peyton Hale | Lens: Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Focal length: 80mm | Aperture: F5.6 | Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
I’ve had the added benefit of watching The Giving Lens blossom from an idea to now seeing how that idea has matured into the organization it is now, delivering a positive impact its making through worldwide trips. From the beginning I have had an interest in being able to bridge photography and travel with making a lasting positive impact to the places we visit. Coming from a conservation oriented field of study, I’ve seen the power of images make a difference in species and land protection. Transitioning into a humanitarian focused organization was a new endeavor, but the same ideas are at the root of the cause – raise awareness and establish a sustainable, positive influence in the places our trips are focusing our efforts. The trips also have the reverse influence, making a lasting impact on both participants and leaders working with NGO’s around the globe.
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It’s a funny thing nowadays…the world is telling us that nobody reads print magazines anymore; and yet the ultimate expression of success for any photographer’s work is the inclusion in the print edition of the leading magazine in their niche. Websites, blogs, and social media in the outdoor and adventure sports category are often filled with mediocre, uninspired stock photography because it is cheap, there’s a deadline, and it is “just today’s quick online refresh”.
We made this image last winter during a huge snow cycle at Breckenridge, CO. It was one of the only days I was not shooting on assignment and just out having fun with some buddies. It was snowing very hard which can wreak havoc on a cameras autofocus so getting this shot tack sharp was a testament to the abilities of this camera lens combo.Canon 1DX with Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens. 1/1600 sec at f7.1 ISO 800
Many print titles, on the other hand, are staying true to the roots and publishing nothing but the best work. And I would argue that the bar has risen to an impossibly high standard in the last few years. What was a cover shot six years ago might not even be considered for a thumbnail today! Flip through the pages of today’s best outdoor sport publications like Powder, Surfers Journal, Climbing, Bike, The Drake and your mouth drops in awe. Powerful images thoughtfully crafted by insanely talented photographers explode from the pages and burn into your retinas.
So how do they do it? What is the magic formula? How do I get myself published in outdoor magazines?
Well let’s start off with the one thing that nearly all of these shooters have in common: They live and breathe the sports they shoot. What does that mean? Well, it means that they are active participants in the sports they cover and nearly every aspect of their lives is set up to capture the most elusive of moments in skiing, biking, climbing, surfing or whatever they shoot. While anyone regardless of fitness or athletic skill can cover MLB, NFL, track and field sports, from the sidelines; in general only a big wall climber/photographer will be shooting big wall climbing and only a backcountry skier/photographer will be covering backcountry skiing day in and day out.
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Rowan’s first visit to a dog park was great fun, both for our pup as well as her owners. While a number of big dogs trotted all around the fenced-in park, Rowan found a more quiet spot of grass where she quickly engaged in wrestling Bear, another Lab pup better matched in size. They nipped, chased, rolled, pounced, paused, and then went at it again, seemingly with limitless energy and enthusiasm.
Rowan, twelve weeks-old, plays with Bear, a black Lab puppy she met at Wheeler Dog Park, Columbus, Ohio. Photographing your pet with another dog with contrasting colors helps to define both subjects and emphasizes the back and forth of their play. Nikon D800E. Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro at 170mm. 1/1000 sec., f/8, ISO 800. Wheeler Dog Park, Columbus, Ohio USA. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.
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Whether you are shooting boudoir photography in a big city, or a small town, you must know how to make the most of shooting in small spaces. Whether it’s a studio, hotel room, or a clients home, being creative in a small space can sometimes be a challenge.
I would know. I started shooting boudoir 6 years ago out of the bedroom in my home. I moved about three years later to a studio in NYC (Long Island City to be exact) . The studio is 10’ wide by 20’ long. I used the space in many ways. Yes, of course I use it to shoot in. I’m also storing my equipment such as lighting, fabrics and reflectors there as well. Between the storage and the makeup/hair area I would say about 1/3 of the studio is off limits to shooting.
How’s that for small? 200 square feet knocked down to about 130-150 square feet left to shoot in. In addition to being small, my studio is also boring. 4 white walls and window is pretty much all I am working with. I do have a bed in the studio. Even that is simple with a small backboard and a frame on wheels for easy movement.
I have been shooting there for three years now. Yes, it gets boring at time and redundant – so I have to be creative in order to get some new looks and please my clients.
Here are 5 ways to get creative in a small, boring space.
© 2014 Jennifer Rozenbaum
I have fabric stapled to one corner of my studio. I can use it in many different ways. I use it as something for my clients to play with, I can shoot through it, you can even use it as a background! I use a neutral color. Don’t be afraid of trying something different though. Red, black, blue – any of those will give your studio an entirely different look.
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What I’m hearing from readers is this: In your dog blog, don’t tell us how to take professional pet portraits; rather, tell us how to take pictures of family pets doing what they do day-in and day-out. Give us real, practical advice on how to use what equipment we have to capture the fun, energetic, and loving things our dogs do.
Our ten week-old fox red yellow Lab, Rowan, paused briefly during an impromptu photo session. None of the pictures were perfect, but this one is certainly “good enough” to please viewers. Nikon D800E. Sigma 35mm f/1.4mm lens. 1/250 sec., f/1.4, ISO 800. Malabar Farm State Park, Richland County, Ohio, USA. Photo © 2014 David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.
That’s precisely what this week’s column is about. It’s a lesson from an impromptu five-minute photo session of our ten week-old puppy, Rowan, just after a hike in a local state park. The resulting image (above) captures a fun expression, but it is not the perfect pic.
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© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens | Aperture: f/16 | Shutter speed: 1/160 sec. | ISO 800 with the Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash at +1
OK, it is no secret that I have used some sort of flash in almost every macro photography image I have ever taken. Why? I love maximum depth of field and while I love natural light photography, the 3 days of the year it is calm enough to photograph outside just weren’t enough! All kidding aside, most “natural light” macro photography with maximum depth of field is done inside where everything is controlled and you have to be on a tripod. I am guilty of resorting to this technique often myself but I do love being out in the field. The wind is generally too strong on most day and many locations do not allow you to bring a tripod. That is why I embraced the power of flash. I have used many varieties of flash for my macro work including a Speedlights, twin lights, and old ring lights so I jumped at the chance to try out my Sigma EM-140 DG Macro Flash to see how it stacked up to those flashes. The image at top is one of the first I took and you can see just how close to the flower I got and the macro flash illuminated the bloom very nicely at that close range.
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© 2014 Lindsay Adler | This image utilize Sigma’s stunning 50mm 1.4 Art lens and High Speed Sync to achieve narrow depth of field and ideal exposure. I’ve allowed the sun to peek in through the top of the frame to give me a golden glow and purposeful lensflare. Settings: Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art, ISO 500, 1/2000 sec, f/2.8. Flash at 0 compensation.
When shooting on location, I often enjoy shooting at very wide apertures to give me a painterly blur in the background behind my subjects. When shooting in Central Park I frequently grab my new Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens. It is tack-sharp and its wide aperture capabilities allow me to melt the background away, allowing me to create dreamy and romantic imagery with its stunning bokeh. When shooting natural light portraits I’ll shoot at f/2.0 or even f/1.8 for a dramatic shallow depth-of-field effect that I LOVE.
As you may have found that shooting extremely wide apertures even at low ISO can result exceedingly fast shutter speeds. For example, when shooting midday at f/2.0 at ISO 100, regularly my shutter speeds hits 1/2000 or faster. No big deal… until you want to add flash.
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The Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports has been generating a ton of buzz since its announcement at photokina in September 2014. This Sports update of the 150-500mm supertelephoto zoom lens is one of two 150-600mm zoom lenses announced at the show, along with the 150-600mm DG OS HSM | Contemporary.
Turkey Vulture on wing as seen through the Sigma150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports lens. 1/1600 F6.3 at 600mm at ISO 500 on a Canon 6D. Focus limiter set to 10m-Infinity
With a significantly updated optical design and feature set over the earlier lens, this Sports lens is designed for capturing images in even extreme real-world conditions that wildlife and outdoor photographers often encounter. Splash-proof and dust-proof design, along with two Optical Stabilizer modes, focus limiter and a newly designed tripod collar are just a few of the upgrades to this new superstar in the Sports line-up.
The 4x zoom range offers a lot of versatility. Here’sthe view of the heavy duty dump truck at 600mm.
And here is the same scene, at 150mm, with focus shifted to the foreground rock formation above the quarry.
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The Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Macro | Contemporary is the newest all-in-one camera lens in the Sigma lineup, and offers a high 16.6x zoom ratio, 1:3 macro magnification, Optical Stabilizer, in a lens that covers wide angle to supertelephoto in a single, lightweight lens.
Fall Foliage as from a moving hayride as seen by the Sigma 18-300mm. 1/500 at F3.5 at 18mm ISO 200 on a Rebel T31.
Designed specifically for APS-C cameras, this lens equates to approximately a 27-450mm range, perfect for a one-lens solution for everyday adventures, weekend escapes and beyond. The hypersonic motor is fast, and accurate, Optical Stabilizer keeps the camera steady at slower shutter speeds, and the optional close-up lens increases the maximum magnification to 1:2 at 300mm, for even more detailed close-ups.
Designed for real life, this lens zooms in and out easily for framing scenes. Here we’re at 85mm to tighten the composition and create background separation.
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The Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM zoom is the ideal ultra-wide lens. Sharp, compact, lightweight, able to take front-mounted filters, and, affordable, it’s the super-wide zoom for all types of photographers.
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