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.
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.
Landscape photographers day-in and day-out want to include as much of their scenic views as possible. The Sigma 10-20mm allows photographers to take in the grand vistas in open country, as well as much of much of what’s deep inside canyons and caves. Shooters focusing on architecture will find that the 10-w0mm’s extra-wide reach, equivalent to 15mm on a full-frame camera, takes in lots of real estate, whether indoor spaces or exterior views. Sports fans can drop this diminutive lens in their bags, allowing pulled-back images depicting field, fans, and sky. And macro enthusiasts will find joy in exploring all kinds of creative close-up work with this super-wide glass focusing on subjects less than five inches from the lens front!
The greatest thing about interchangeable camera lenses is the variety of optical designs, from ultrawide to supertelephoto and everything in between, that offer an incredible amount of variety for visual expression, creativity, and optical performance optimized for different photographic situations. And while it may be sometimes completely and totally obvious what types of photography a certain lens excels at—for example, everyone knows that Macros are designed to capture close-up details; telephoto lenses are great for long-reach wildlife and sports from the sidelines—many styles of camera lenses have lesser-known secret superpowers that can be called upon to make a photo. Let’s take a look!
I have been photographing nighttime landscapes for about 20 years now capturing images of star trails like the one pictured […]
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.”
The exquisitely appointed Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a photographer’s paradise. The former home of businessman James Deering, who made his fortune manufacturing agricultural machinery, is filled with architecture begging for megapixels of detail, super wide angle views, and impeccable HDR techniques.
One way to create eye-catching imagery is to break the rules. When you shatter these rules, you stop people in their tracks! One of the first rules of portrait and fashion photography I learned was to NOT use a wide angle lens when photographing people. I was told this would distort their features and be unflattering to the model. But what if you use the wide angle on purpose to distort and exaggerate a scene? Then it creates visual interest and impact. Now your images stand out and become memorable.
As photographers, we often strive for that “perfect” image. Those who are most proficient in their art, in one way or another, pre-visualize the final photograph and strive to exercise the most possible control over all the variables involved in achieving the desired end result. The reality is that outside of the studio and particularly true in nature photography, all bets are off. The extensive planning and meticulous research performed prior to photographing a never before visited location may prove useful or lead to a near-fruitless and frustrating trip. The landscape artist cannot control light and precipitation and is always at the mercy of Mother Nature. Sometimes you have to come to terms with the fact that the iconic shot you saw in someone else’s portfolio will probably not be in yours. This is where you have the chance to prove your worth as a photographer by using your imagination and compositional skills to improvise and make the most out of the presented opportunities.
About the Photograph
On the day this picture was taken, I woke up during the wee hours of the morning, and ventured into the darkness with my backpack stuffed full of photo equipment. I hiked from Hammock Beach (FL) to somewhere beyond the Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, and took pictures along the way. This stretch of beach in Palm Coast, Florida, is covered with Coquina rock formations and tide pools. It is an absolutely wonderful place for photography and exploration. When the sun started to rise, I setup and took a few long exposure shots using my Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM lens and a variable ND variable filter. It was such a beautiful sunrise that I decided to do a self portrait using a wireless remote shutter release.