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Tag: Robert O’Toole
05.16.2014

On Location in Alaska with the Sigma 18-250mm OS

On a recent trip to Alaska I brought along a lens on loan from Sigma, the 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS MACRO […]

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04.28.2014

How to Create an Action Sequence Image with Sigma’s 120-300mm F2.8

©2014 Robert O'Toole | Lens: 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S | Focal Length:  250mm | Camera: Nikon  D4 | Exposure Mode:  manual mode | Shutter speed: 1/4000 sec | Aperture: f/4 | ISO 400 | handheld at water level.

When all the elements fall info place during a photo session you can find yourself a lot more than just a couple of high quality single images but instead can find that you have captured a series of images that illustrates some really interesting action. Combining multiple images into a single action sequence image can give you a creative eye opening image that can really surprise viewers.

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04.03.2014

Surf Photography with the Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 DG Lens

Derek Peters barrel image at 100% actual pixel crop.

Over the last weekend a huge swell focused giant waves on California triggering a high surf advisory and I had my Sigma 50-500mm to document some of the action. By the end of the weekend the awe inspiring power of this swell took its toll with lots of snapped surfboard leashes, broken surfboards and injured surfers (one had to be taken away by ambulance), my friend Jim broke his foot on Sunday dropping into a huge wave!

At my local beach in south Los Angeles the waves break close to shore so my Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM works very very well to document the action in the water here. Prime lenses are much harder to shoot with at beach breaks especially when the surf is large.

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02.25.2014

Winter Waves with the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S

120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S, 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO, Nikon  D4, manual mode, 1/1250th s at f/5.6, ISO 160, Auto-ISO, -0.3 EV, handheld.

Over the last few months I have been testing the newest version of the Sigma’s 120-300 f/2.8. I have nothing but good experiences with the older version of this lens so I have been looking forward to working with this lens over the winter and spring at home in Southern California. So far my experiences have changed my view of this lens, the newest version of the 120-300 f/2.8. The previous version was good. I found that this latest version has quick and accurate autofocus; the image quality is superb and the focal range excellent for nature photography.

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02.20.2014

Sigma’s 105mm F2.8 Macro OS

© 2014 Robert O'Toole | Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro, Nikon D800E, manual mode, 1/200th s at f/8, ISO 640, Single SB-R200 wireless flash at 1:8 power manual mode, handheld.

The Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM lens has become one of my favorite lenses for macro photography in the field. So what makes me reach for this lens when Sigma offers five macro lenses when I own all of them? The answer is balance- the 105mm lens is really good at everything and one of the best in terms image quality. This lens can give you the sharpest results possible with an excellent balance of size, weight, working distance at a very high value per dollar price.

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11.14.2013

Macro Flash Photography: Create Natural Looking Macro Images

©2013 Robert O'Toole | Exposure mode: Manual mode | Shutter speed: 1/200th sec | Aperture: f8 | ISO 200 |  flash @ 1/40 output level | Lens: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS macro lens

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.

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10.10.2013

How to Control Extremely High Contrast Scenes

©2013 Robert O'Toole | Female crab spider on Cosmos. South Coast Botanical Gardens, RPV, California. Lens: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS macro lens | Nikon D800E | Shutter speed: 1/200 sec | Aperture:  f/8 | ISO 200. Monopod and Jobu tilt head. Nikon SB-R200 Wireless Speedlight in manual mode 1/5 power with diffuser.

Photographing in the field in contrasty harsh light is something every photographer has to deal with. This is a technique that I use for those difficult high contrast situations. For a more natural looking image you need to take control of the light to handle the light and dark tones in a high contrast image.

It is important to understand the problem with high contrast scenes. Exposing for the light tones will cause the darker tones to underexpose and exposing for the darks will result in blown out highlights.

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09.24.2013

Secrets to Success with the Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM

Brown bears at play, Alaska. Nikon D4, Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, handheld, 1/1000th s, f8, at 500mm, ISO 3200, Dynamic-area AF, 51 point 3D. Hand-held. Image copyright 2013 Robert OToole Photography

The Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM is one of my favorite lenses of all time. My copy has been there by my side shooting in rain, snow, freezing low temps, scorching high temps and more delivering the sharp images I need month after month.

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09.10.2013

Macro Photography: How Sensor Format Affects Image Depth of Field

© 2013 Robert OToole Photography | Lens: Sigma Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM |  Camera: NIKON D800E | ISO: 100 | Aperture: f8 | Shutter speed: 1/250 sec | single SB-R200 flash. This flower was framed in the viewfinder with a full frame sensor format body in FX (full frame) mode.

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.

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07.10.2013

Macro Photography: Working Distances with the Macro 105mm F2.8, 150mm F2.8 and 180mm F2.8

Sigma 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro. Image copyright 2013 Robert OToole Photography

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.

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