From the adventure photographer’s perspective, the last few years have been challenging to say the least. The world is a different place than just a few years ago, and while some may choose to stay close to home, others yearn for soul-satisfying travel abroad. To see, smell, taste, and move through foreign environs is to open yourself to possibility.
I have recently returned from just such an eye-popping adventure. My team and I had the opportunity to spend a little over two weeks exploring the stunningly gorgeous arctic archipelago between the town of Narvik and islands of Lofoten, Norway.
The main purpose of our trip was pure adventure. We were there to ski big backcountry lines filled with deep arctic snow, surrounded by majestic fjords. But as I am also a travel and landscape photographer, how could I ignore the charming scenes we encountered along the way? Short answer… I couldn’t.
A Trio of Travel-Sized Lenses
My strategy for smoothly photographing different subject matter was fairly simple. When traveling on assignment, I always have two cameras with me, but this time, I had two separate kits of lenses as well. In one bag, my zooms for action ski shots and backcountry work, and in another, a selection of lightweight, travel-friendly SIGMA I series prime lenses.
Which I series lenses did I choose? I opted for the 20mm F2, 35mm F2, and 65mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary lenses. This would give me plenty of photographic flexibility while taking up a small amount of space in my travel luggage. With respective weights of 13.1, 11.5 and 14.3 ounces, I could get all three in my pack for under 2.5 pounds! And because they’re made exclusively for mirrorless, all these lenses fit directly on my Sony Alpha 1 and a9 II cameras without the need for any adapters.
20mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary – The Ideal Wide-Angle
For my wide-angle storytelling lens I opted for the SIGMA 20mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary. Wow, what an incredible little lens. Whenever I needed to open up my perspective to help me really set the scene, this is the lens I reached for. A wide-angle lens can also be great for exaggerating foregrounds and heights. The eighteen-point starbursts also looked crisp and clean.
35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary – Always Versatile
My most-used of the trio was the SIGMA 35mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary. This is just a great walkaround lens that tended to stay on my camera quite a bit. It was nice to know that the lens mounts are dust and splash resistant as I shot with these lenses, this one especially, in and around the harbor in Henningsvær. I found the 35mm F2 to be incredibly sharp with great resolution even on the 50-megapixel Sony a1.
65mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary – A Little Extra Reach
For my short telephoto lens, I had the SIGMA 65mm F2 DG DN | Contemporary in my pack. What a powerful little performer. At one point we were driving down the road after a big day in the mountains. We were racing to get to the lodge for dinner when an arctic sunset erupted before out eyes. “Stop the van!” I yelled out. The scene before me was just too good. And if we missed dinner at the lodge I agreed to spring for pizzas… which are crazy expensive in Norway.
Anyhow, I had the 35mm on my camera… too wide. I quickly switched to the 65mm, got the camera very low to the water and tripped the shutter. Then we were back on the road while the sunset continued its forty minutes of fire.
SIGMA I series: Picture-Perfect Prime Lenses for Traveling Light
The SIGMA I series lenses I took with me were all about the same size and weight. That is to say small and light. Each lens features a fantastic all-metal body which is sure to withstand the rigors of travel. And they also have a wonderful tactile feel, embodied by the manual aperture ring. The metal lens hoods, while small to match the lenses, did a great job keeping rain, snow and glare off the front elements. The front element has a great coating that keeps flare to a minimum. While I did not use the lenses for any high-speed action, the autofocus was very snappy and extremely accurate on both of my full-frame Sony bodies.
My only regret of the trip is that my travel, landscape and wildlife photography had to take a back seat to the action sports. The next time I travel to Norway it will be specifically to capture the intense beauty of the archipelago. I have been invited back to the Lofoten Ski Lodge again, so if you care to join me, feel free to reach out!
For the active traveler looking for a durable, lightweight lens kit, I can highly recommend the SIGMA I series. They take up little room in you pack and won’t slow you down. Most importantly, they won’t let you down. If you decide travel is right for you, be safe, have fun, and be sure to pick up a few I series lenses. Happy shooting!