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.
One of our key missions here with the No Fear Photography blog postings is to teach photographers to take more creative control of their cameras in order to make stronger photos because taking the camera off full-auto-everything puts the power of shutter speeds, ISO and F-stops firmly in your hands. There’s many more variables, too, such as white balance, single/continuous Autofocus or manual focus, and so on to be tweaked and tuned. And the more controls you adjust, the more chance there is, that at some point in your photography, you are going to miss a shot due to operator error.
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.
There’s so much to love about the new Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sports lens, the third iteration of this unique fast-aperture telephoto zoom lens that pairs the performance of a 300mm F2.8 with the versatility of a constant-aperture zoom for quickly adjusting the composition.
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.