Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park have to be the premier nature photography location in the lower 48 states. Subjects range from stunning and otherworldly landscapes to abundant free roaming wildlife. The best time to visit the parks is either in early spring (June) or my favorite time of year in late September to early October as the leaves start to change. The large summer crowds are gone and the park takes on a much slower pace, as it gets ready for the approaching winter. The image above is of the Teton Range just off the outside road. This image is at first light and I used a Singh-Ray, 3 stop, reverse graduated neutral density filter to help balance the foreground with the much lighter sky and mountain range.
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.
When Sigma offered me the chance to shoot with the flagship SD1 Merrill DSLR, I jumped on the opportunity to extensively explore the abilities of the Foveon X3 censor at the heart of the camera. Knowing that my plans involved photographing the natural beauty of the mountainous American West allowed for the selection of several lenses from Sigma’s fine catalog most suited for that purpose – the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM wide angle, the 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM mid range zoom and the 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS APO HSM telephoto.
When I set out to do wildlife photography, I always have my Sigma 300-800mm lens with me mounted on one camera body and the newest addition to my arsenal; the Sigma 120-300mm mounted on another. I absolutely love the versatility and reach of that combination. It is unmatched by any combination on the market today. I have always used both lenses for a while with great results, but I wanted to see how the budget friendly Sigma 150-500mm worked in the field because sometimes, it is nice to travel light! Another big factor is that many people simply can’t afford the higher end lenses and I would love to give them another option, but I did have a few questions myself that needed to be answered. Was the lens sharp…..even all the way out to 500mm? I set out one morning a few weeks ago and started testing the lens out on simple portraits like the one below. I patiently waited for the bird to walk into some nice sand.
I have been looking for an intermediate telephoto zoom lens to add to my lens arsenal. I have owned the Canon 100-400mm lens for a while now but I have never been happy with its sharpness or overall performance and the push pull mechanism for zooming was not very smooth and made tracking while zooming difficult. I was looking at 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses but I felt that I wanted a bit more reach for an intermediate telephoto zoom lens. Someone suggested that I try out the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 and it looked to be a great idea as it fit nicely in my lens lineup between my wide angle lenses that ranged up to 128mm and my super telephoto Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 lens.
Tune into a free webinar on July 30 to learn how travel photographer David Cardinal captures nature in its wildest form. Cardinal will be one of two presenters in a Datacolor tutorial sponsored by Sigma, in which attendees will learn about critical gear and preparation for a successful safari shoot.
I never imagined that choosing the “right” ISO for wildlife photography would be the most controversial subject that I would teach. If you ask many pros about which ISO you should use, the most frequent response you will get is: “Choose an ISO based on what you are shooting”. If you are shooting a portrait of a bird or animal, choose a low ISO and when shooting action, select a higher ISO.
Brazil’s Pantanal is one of earth’s most biologically rich areas and truly spectacular photography destination. Last month I took a scouting trip to the Pantanal for wildlife with with special emphasis on the jaguar. It was my first trip here and I have to say the photographic opportunities in the Pantanal were even better than I expected. Jaguar was the main target of the trip and I would have been happy just to see a single one but as it turns out we had the chance to photograph them each day and every day I was there. This is one of the best locations if not the best location on earth to photograph jaguar.