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03.28.2018

Photographing the aurora can be one of the most exciting opportunities a landscape photographer can come across. People most commonly travel to Northern locations from all over for a chance to see them in what can often be a once in a life time experience. Even if you’ve traveled to the far North, it’s never a guarantee you’ll see them. That just makes it all the more important that you’re ready to shoot them when you do.  It’s worth noting that if you’re planning a trip in the Southern Hemisphere, all of these tips below will also be applicable if you’re fortunate enough to see the Southern Lights, the “Aurora Australis.”

02-Jack-Fusco---Kirkjufell---Iceland

Another example of catching the aurora in between the infamously unpredictable Iceland weather. This time, I was already at my location and just waiting for a clearing. It never totally cleared up, but there was just enough of a break to capture this panoramic image at this iconic location. Sony A7RII | Sigma 24mm | f/1.8 | ISO 3200 | 5 sec x10

I’ve been fortunate enough to photograph the Northern lights a good number of times and recently contributed an entire section of a book focused on shooting them. I wanted to share some of my favorite tips here today.

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03.21.2018

For many, the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip make it the perfect destination. On the other end, many landscape travelers go to Vegas because it’s the nearest airport to Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and many well-knows national parks. Many photographers overlook the great landscapes Red Rock Canyon offers just outside of Vegas, perfect for a day trip.

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14mm | 1/160 sec, f/11, ISO 100 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018
This image is shot with a Sigma 14mm Art lens. It was shot handheld while I was hiking through Red Rock Canyon. This vast landscape is captured beautifully with a wide-angle lens. I love the little burst of sun.

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03.14.2018

There are many awards and praises that can be given to an outstanding lens. The biggest one I can give is keep that lens mounted on my camera and use it every day. The new Sigma 16mm F1.4 Contemporary DC DN E mount lens is that outstanding of a lens to me.

I’m not a photographer that is as interested in minute technical details of lens testing as I am a photographer that wants results in the real world. And the Sigma 16mm has not disappointed me with each new day and each new assignment.

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03.05.2018

Five Sigma Fans can win an entry pass for ShutterFest 2018!

Entry is simple: use the Hashtag #SigmaShutterFest on Twitter or Instagram between now and 11:59 PM EST on March 7, 2018, and sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest Sigma news!

 

This is one of the best Photo Events of the year held in St. Louis, Missouri! We will have the newest Sigma lenses on display for fans to test-drive during the show!

 

The Fine Print:
US-Only, 18+ only. 5 winners selected at random off all eligible entries. ARV: $249 each show pass. No substitutions or exchanges.

 

 

03.01.2018

Fonts Point provides an incredible view of the Borrego Badlands and an immense view of the stars. Shooting with the Moon still in the sky here creates a lot interesting textures nearly 1300ft below. Sony A7RII – Sigma 14-24 f2.8 | 14mm | f2.8 | ISO1600 | 8 sec. All photos © 2018 Jack Fusco


Sigma Ambassador Jack Fusco had the chance to be one of the first photographers in North America to test-drive the new Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art lens. Its edge to edge performance and zoom versatility has earned it a place in his bag for dark sky photography.

Before heading out for a shoot, I open my bag to make sure I have everything I need and also remove anything I won’t be needing. I think it’s safe to say every photographer wants to be selective about what goes in to their camera bag. If I’m not going to use it, why carry the extra weight? Why not replace it with something I might actually use? This is an even more important process if I’ll be traveling.

The amount of light given off from the Moon can certainly be surprising at times and even make some longer exposures appear to be taken in full day light. While exploring the park and waiting for Moonset, I found myself turning my headlamp off and letting my eyes adjust to the available light. Sony A7RII – Sigma 14-24 f2.8 | 14mm | f4 | ISO1600 | 6 sec

Consisting of 6 vertical images, this image captures the Milky Way stretching all the way across the sky above the arch rock. I took each image consecutively and without the same settings throughout. Sony A7RII – Sigma 14-24 f2.8 | 14mm | f2.8 | ISO3200 | 15 sec x 6

Although lens selection can vary with astrophotography, there are almost zero circumstances that I won’t be needing a wide-angle lens. All these are just the starting reasons I was incredibly excited about the new Sigma 14-24 f2.8 DG HSM | A lens. It’s the perfect combination of focal length range and aperture for capturing a huge landscape while pulling detail from the Milky Way as it stretches across the sky above.

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02.23.2018

THe Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art lens is $1,299 through Authorized US retailers.

The Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art lens is an outstanding fast-aperture, constant aperture ultra wide to wide angle full-frame zoom lens. Designed for today’s super-high resolution megapixel DSLRs, this new 1.7x zoom ratio Art lens is designed for edge to edge sharpness for 8K monitors, and large-format prints.

A horse in a paddock as seen through the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art lens at 24mm. 1/500 F8.0 ISO 100 on the Canon EOS 6D.

This is simply a fantastic lens. It is razor-sharp on the focal plane at all focal lengths, and from edge to edge. And the rectilinear correction is simply outstanding—straight lines stay straight—from 14mm to 24mm, from sweeping fields of view covering 114.2º to 84.1º, the lens exemplifies pro-caliber wide angle imaging.

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02.16.2018

With a little practice and some practical guidance, it is easy to make amazing food photographs of your own culinary creations. Whether you are a beginning food blogger, or an experienced chef who’s ready to move beyond the smartphone snap, making Insta—worthy shots has never been easier with a beginner’s DSLR and a sharp zoom lens. The ability to zoom in close for details and that amazing background blur will really set your photos apart in a sea of snack and cake shots.

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17-70mm | 70mm | 1/125 sec, f/4.0, ISO 1250 | © Danielle Rischawy 2018

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02.14.2018

Introduction

Sigma Pro Judy Host is known for her incredibly touching, one-of-a-kind work as a portrait photographer. One of her most recent projects shied away from her typical portrait work, as she traveled through the Middle East, documenting several landscapes and the overwhelming history and emotions that they are filled with. Accompanied by Sigma’s SD Quattro H Mirrorless Camera, Judy captured breathtaking views, allowing us to feel like we were with her on her trip even from thousands of miles away.

Judy toured through several of her “bucket list locations” on this 12-day excursion, including Israel, Malta, and several Greek Islands. Knowing that she would be doing a lot of traveling in areas with warm sunny weather, Judy said bringing the SD Quattro was the perfect choice. “Given that I was shooting outside in areas with tons of light, I wasn’t concerned about having to use high ISOs. The SD Quattro H Mirrorless Camera is small, light, and easy to use and really a great camera for the conditions I was shooting in” Judy notes.

A main goal of Judy’s was to document her trip in a way in which she could share a bit of history about each of the areas she visited. She wanted people viewing her images to see what it was actually like to be there; the size of the buildings and the overall perspective. Though this was a huge challenge, using wide-angle lenses was extremely helpful and necessary for these significant shots.

Bits of History Captured by Judy

One particular scene Judy captured took place in Lindos, a city on the Island of Rhodes in Greece. Filled with tons of beautiful white buildings, the city was built at the base of a mountain. The mountain comes out of the modern city and on top of it lays ancient ruins. Most of the shooting Judy did took place on top of this mountain, known as the Acropolis of Lindos. Judy emphasizes the incredible history that is visible on this authentic site of remains. “Through different drawings they show you what it the Acropolis of Lindos looked like years and years ago, compared to what it looks like now” Judy says. Of course over the past 2000 years parts of the land was greatly destroyed through wars, so you are able to see a genuine transformation from the “then drawings” to Judy’s current shots.

© Judy Host | 2017

Though much of the Acropolis of Lindos is now dirt and rock, the land yields an extremely informative part of Greek history. The images captured here were some of Judy’s favorites. She says, “The light was perfect and with the Sigma camera, the colors were so vibrant. The sky looked so blue against the ancient white stones.”

© Judy Host | 2017

© Judy Host | 2017

© Judy Host | 2017

She had a similar, touching experience at one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes. Located on the Island of Rhodes, a great statue of the Greek God Helios once stood. It had been constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory in a war almost 2000 years ago, but experienced destruction by natural causes years later. Now, all that remains are pieces of the pillars that once held this statue up. “There wasn’t anything left to photograph, but hearing the history behind it creates an even bigger connection to the island,” Judy says.

Another one of Judy’s favorite scenes took place in Mykonos, Greece. The SD Quattro excelled in Mykonos specifically, as the white buildings and blue roofs popped in each photo. She recalls walking around the city, looking for the perfect shot. Given that she visited at the end of their main touring season, it was easy to take photos without having tons of people to edit out in the background. “There was one building that I captured that was really special because of how beautiful it was. It was very quiet- just me – and such perfect lighting. The memory of the whole experience was incredible.” Judy notes that this building is likely just an average home to many, but the connection she made in this spot was unforgettable.

© Judy Host | 2017

© Judy Host | 2017

Another major highlight of Judy’s trip included a Game of Thrones tour in Malta, a city packed with magnificent buildings where the first season of the show was shot. Judy recalls entering a famous landmark in the show; The Red Keep located within King’s Landing. Visiting at a rather quiet time, Judy says the scene was simply amazing.

© Judy Host | 2017

Conclusion

Judy’s recent excursion highlighted the essence of traveling and exploring new places. With a great deal of authenticity, history and emotions, her shots truly allow us to feel like we traveled with her. Judy’s immense talent and unique style combined with the high quality equipment that she used, enabled her to beautifully capture the trip of a lifetime.

01.31.2018

The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lens has quickly founds its way into the hearts—and camera bags—of photographers everywhere. The combination of long telephoto reach, and zoom versatility in a truly portable, hand-holdable lens is a winning combination. Add in Sigma’s exclusive lens customization with the USB Dock to tune the lens’s autofocus performance, and to set custom focus limiters, and it is simply a whole lot of lens in a two and half pound, foot-long economical package. Here’s a rundown of  what our team of bloggers have to say about this outstanding super telephoto zoom lens.

Aviation and Air Show Photography with the Sigma 100-400mm

Two of the Navy Blue Angels perform a breakaway before the crowd at the Duluth Air Show. Sigma 100-400 Contemporary lens on a Canon 1DX. IO 500; f6.3 @ 1/2500th second. © Jim Koepnick | 2017

The light weight, reach, range, and optical stabilizer, along with the economical cost, make the 100-400mm F5-6.3 a great choice for air show photography.

The Sigma 100-400mm is a great Hiking and Backpacking Lens

Shot at 400 to keep a big working distance between us. 1/1600 sec. f/6.3 ISO 1000. Hand held using the Optical Stabilizer on the lens. © Liam Doran | 2017

At just two and a half pounds, and just about 12 inches long in the camera pack, it pairs reach, range, in a light package, perfect for traveling light, while also keeping your distance from large wildlife!

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01.26.2018

©Judy Host 2017 Carter Center, Atlanta, GA. This image was created with Sigma’s sd Quattro H mirror less camera and a Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art Lens. This camera has a cropped sensor, so the actual focal length of the lens is about 66mm. Settings for this image are F. 7.1 s 1/100 ISO 200. Tiffen filter #87. Processed in Photoshop and enhanced with NIK filters.

Until recently in order to get an infrared effect from your digital camera you would either need to have your digital camera converted to infrared or process your image in Photoshop or some kind of software to convert your file to give it an Infrared look.

With Sigma’s sd Quattro H mirrorless camera you can easily remove the IR cut filter inside the camera located behind the lenses, set the camera to monochrome mode and photograph with a Sigma lens and use an infrared filter to block the visible light. The beauty of this process is when you’re done creating the infrared images, you can easily snap the IR cut filter back into the camera, change the mode back to color and start creating color images again.

It’s been many years since I’ve created an infrared image and my memories of it were how difficult it was to see anything through the lens. Being able to see the image and its exposure in the Sigma camera makes this process so much easier. Bracketing is always recommended, but nothing is better than being able to see your image while you are creating it and making the necessary corrections for the near perfect exposure.

I suggest setting your camera to RAW when creating these IR images, as you will need to do some processing in Photoshop/Lightroom to get the desired effect. The RAW files will give you more latitude.

Sigma sd Quattro H mirror less camera with the IR cut filter removed

Below are some suggestions on how to create infrared Images

What to look for:

When searching for the kind of scenery best suited for an infrared look it’s important to understand that anything that is alive such as leaves, grass, foliage reflect the most amount of infrared light. They will appear almost white in your image.   Other elements like concrete, water and the sky absorb the infrared light and will look darker. If you are fortunate enough to photograph a sky with white puffy clouds, you will notice the sky appears almost black. This effect will create a beautiful contrast in your image. As you can see in this image, the leaves on the trees appear white while the bark of the trees remains the same and the sky has gone black.

©Judy Host 2017, Atlanta, GA. This image was created with Sigma’s sd Quattro H mirror less camera and a Sigma 50mm 1.4Art Lens. This camera has a cropped sensor, so the actual focal of the lens is about 66mm. F. 3.5 s 1/250 ISO 200. Tiffen filter #87. Processed in Photoshop and enhanced with NIK filters.

What settings to use:

In most cases the best settings to use for creating an infrared effect are low ISO for less grain, very slow shutter to compensate for the very high aperture. A tripod is recommended and I always bracket to get the best exposure. Bright sunny days are also the best. The lower the ISO the better quality image over all. Also if possible try to photograph with the light coming through the leaves or trees. It helps to create a much more dramatic look.

©Judy Host 2017, Atlanta, GA. This image was created with Sigma’s sd Quattro H mirror less camera and a Sigma 50mm 1. Art Lens. This camera has a cropped sensor, so the actual focal of the lens is about 66mm. F. 11.0 s 1/4 ISO 100 Tiffen filter #87. Processed in Photoshop and enhanced with NIK filters.

What elements make for a great infrared image?

To create a more compelling image, try to include a lot of contrast in your image. Look for elements of light and dark against each other. This image of the water and the water lilies is an example of that. The lily and the leaves have turned white while the water has gone almost completely black with just enough light to see the reflection of the trees in the water.

Your composition should lead the viewer into the image. Leading lines and s curves are used in this image to draw your attention to the flower. As light as the leaves are, the flower still captures your eye that is where the story is. The reflective aspect of the water compliments the contrast between the two making for a dramatic effect.

I thought it might be helpful to see what the different effects actually look like. Comparing these three images should give you a good idea of the differences between infrared black & white, regular black & white with a color image to represent what the actual scene looked like.

The first image is infrared using the sd Quattro H mirror less camera set to monochrome, removing the IR filter and photographing with the 50mm 1.4 Art lens with a tiffen filter #87. Without moving the camera or changing the settings, I snapped the IR cut filter back inside the camera, and left the mode on monochrome. This created a straight black and white image with a completely different look. Next, I changed the mode to color and again without changing the camera position and using the same settings I created the same image only in color.