Lisa Sellge of Temecula, California, is our #SigmaSuperFan for December, the final Sigma photographer to join the winner’s circle!
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a ballet dancer, mom and lover of cats and cars and cameras. I use photography to study the world without distraction. The camera brings me into the zen of the moment.
Is photography a passion or a career?
Photography is a passion that I am coaxing into a career but it doesn’t yet bring enough income to focus on it 100%. Still, I’ve had a good year as far as photography jobs go.
What kind of images do you shoot?
I believe I am at my best working with portraits. There is so much power in capturing a moment in a lifetime that reveals to the future who was there and why and what was the story of his or her life. Our memories are not perfect. Photographs can take us back there.
Can you tell us about your first Sigma lens?
My first Sigma was the 10-20 f/4 in 2008 . Until then I had never owned a wide angle lens. I was shooting with a Nikon D300 at the time and I took a four day trip from California to Nevada, Utah, Coloradao and New Mexico. I had a great time shooting landscapes and playing with wide angle close ups. It was 7 years ago and I’m pretty sure I ordered the lens from Amazon because my local store didn’t carry Sigma at all. I wanted a wide angle for landscapes and the Sigma 10-20mm was recommended for the body I was using. I spent a long time researching my options. I was very attracted to the presence of both a dreamy quality as well as sharp detail in the sigma images I researched. In Nikon/Tamron it seemed I was always sacrificing one for the other.
Was it a discovery or a research project or a recommendation?
It was definitely a recommendation. As I was transitioning to digital photography in 2006, my friend and ballet colleague, Roynon Tilton, who shot only with a Sigma DSLR, recommended Sigma products enthusiastically. His work was always vivid and realistic, yet artistic. Of course that is as much a tribute to the photographer, but the right tools allowed him to communicate his vision in the best way possible. He told me that my “glass” was holding me back.
When was the moment you realized that Sigma products were special to you?
On the road trip through the Desert Southwest. I was capturing landscape after landscape with absolute glee. I felt inspired and enabled. In a good way 😉
What differentiates Sigma from other manufacturers that you’ve used/worked with?
I suppose I should bring up price here. Sigma is a better value. You pay for the Nikon or Canon name. Sigma technology is as good and better than the common brands. And, again, there is that quality that I can’t quite name: strong, sharp images that retain the essence of art. Rather than a rendering, Sigma lenses result in images that express a the photographer’s vision. A tool of communication: like a paintbrush, a quill pen, or clay.
What is your most memorable day as a photographer?
When I was about 16 my father gave me his Rolieflex. I had just gotten my driver’s license and I drove along the bluffs over Dana Point Harbor until I was at the highest point. I took the camera and hiked out as far as I could to the cliff’s edge and shot the padlocked chain with the ocean behind it. I geeked out on perspectives and line of sight. Then I went home and positioned all of the objects that defined my young life on a patio table: pointe shoes, poetry books, paint brushes, and shot still-life style images so I wouldn’t forget who I was when I got old. I’m pretty sure that day hooked me on photography . It would have been 1982.
Dream shoot/dream equipment/dream photo
Holy cow that is difficult to answer! I would have to say that hummingbirds are becoming a personal challenge. I have shot a few bird photos that I’m proud of but I’m after that elusive and perfect blend of frozen bird and blurry wings and teasing amount of iridescence in the feathers, soft glowing background and sharp, black eye. I would probably go after the Sigma 70-200 2.8 because, although I usually photograph birds with my “Bigma” it’s not fast enough for the usually shadowy areas and also pretty heavy for patient sitting over a period of hours.
One atypical thing in your camera bag?
Who is your photo inspiration? Why?
Sally Mann, Julia Margaret Cameron and Chris Orwig for their sensitive and drama filled portraits; Roeselien Raimond and Stan Tekiela for their revealing and awe inspiring work with wild animals; and if I could shoot landscapes just once like M Idris I would be in heaven.
What inspires you?
A longing to record and document history. From a young age I kept journals and wrote obsessively about the details of life as I knew it. The camera is another method of revealing the nuances of a moment that will never be repeated in exactly this way: an interaction, the beauty of line, the drama of nature, the detail of texture, the vibration of color, the sublime experience of life.
What do you know for sure about Sigma?
I know for sure that Sigma does not get comfortable and rest on its laurels. It takes a good thing and makes it better. And then better again. I’ve been watching for about 8 years now. I am especially excited about the Art line.
What prize lens do you choose?
Thanks to everyone who entered, and Congratulations to all our winners!