Earlier this year I was lucky to be able escape the winter time temps at home and make a quick getaway to Asia. My stopover is located close to the equator and only has one season, hot and humid, with temps averaging 87 degrees year round with lots of rain. This might sound unpleasant but for insects and plants its just about perfect. The macro photography opportunities in equatorial Asia are almost mind boggling sometimes!
The Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens is the biggest, longest macro lens in the Sigma lens catalog. This telephoto lens offers true life-sized reproduction with a 1:1 maximum magnification ratio. Incredible sharpness—thanks to its state of the art optical design—Optical Stabilizer, and a three-zone focus limiter make this a serious lens for advanced macro photographers.
In “The High Concept Image,” a recent feature in Outdoor Photographer, nature photographer Ian Plant intelligently challenges photographers to capture creative, thoughtful images that move beyond “snapshots,” rising to the level of “art.”
Ian’s description of the high concept image is in contradistinction to the “low-concept image,” which he points out is generally more “documentary” or “literal” in nature. Seeing nothing wrong with such grab shots, he does, however, push photographers to look for new ways to depict the world. He invokes legendary photographer Minor White, who once said “One should photograph objects not only for what the are but for what else they are.”
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.
Whether unwrapped as a surprise under the Christmas tree, or purchased with gift cards to take advantage of the great seasonal pricing on all sorts of photo-related gear and gadgetry this time of year, it’s a known fact that many photographers will be finding themselves the proud owners of new lenses, cameras, bags and accessories right around now. And whatever piece of new gear it is, it’s always important to check it out and run it through its paces before heading out to make a once-in-a-lifetime photo, to make sure you, the proud new owner, are both familiar with the gear, and ensure everything is working as it should.
One of the most important rules for macro flash photography is balance. For natural looking macro images you have to balance the ambient light and flash output. When the flash and ambient light are balanced the use of flash will not even be apparent to the viewer.
The problem is that with flash output overpowering the natural light in background it will underexpose and go dark, in some cases like the image below, it can underexpose to the point that is appears black.
One of the biggest challenges with macro photography is working with a limited depth of field or DOF. When I am shooting macro I am always trying to make sure the subject and elements in the frame appear sharp by adjusting the aperture and making sure the important elements in image fall on the plane of focus by adjusting my angle of view. But there is another important element that has a huge effect on DOF that most people don’t even know about, how a different sensor format can and will effect the depth of field in your image. Moving to a smaller sensor format at the same apparent magnification will give you lots more DOF to work with in your macro images.
In conjunction with Sigma and Hunt’s Photo, I recently lead a garden photography workshop at The Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton, MA. There and anywhere I lead a workshop dealing with macro photography, I always stress the importance of choosing your f-stops wisely.
Macro lenses are for making pictures of bugs, watch parts, coins, jewelry and other tiny stuff. Right? Well not necessarily. Recently one of my model buddies wanted some beauty photographs that mimic Cover Girl makeup ads. We gathered one Friday morning at my studio and went to work. I set up an evenly lit white background using V-Flats while Hope had her makeup done by Kristen White.
Judging by the number of questions I get from photographers concerning the working distances of macro lenses I think it is a good subject to talk about.
The working distance of a macro lens, not to be confused with minimum focus distance, is the distance between the front of your lens and the subject. This is different from the minimum focus distance which instead means the distance to the subject as measured from the focal plane mark on the camera body, not from the front of the lens. Working distance is a more important figure since it tells how much space you have between the front of your lens and your subject. Working distance generally increases with longer focal length lenses, shorter lenses usually have shorter working distances.