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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.

01.18.2018

Sigma 24-105mm F4 | 1/800 sec, F7.1, ISO 1600 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Intro

John DiGiacomo battles frigid temperatures for hours at a time in order to nail winter sports photo-shoots. After moving to Lake Placid, a premier sports venue in the United States, years ago, John’s interest in photography quickly transformed from a hobby to a career.

Background

Though John’s captivating photos make it seem like he has been working as a photographer forever, his career started a bit later than most. He pursued a degree in Finance, which led him to work in the corporate world for several years. Once this ended, John turned back to photography.

Back to Photography

John picked up landscape photography as a hobby and soon after began working as a self taught, freelance photographer. After moving to Lake Placid, he naturally got involved with winter sports photography, and shot several local events. After having the Associated Press look at his photos, John got involved with more freelance work. His recalls covering free style aerials and moguls for the Associated Press as his first major winter photography gig.

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 | 1/4000 sec, F3.5, ISO 640 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 | 1/800 sec, F2.8, ISO 3200 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Since then, John has worked with the Toronto Star, ECAC Men’s Ice Hockey, the Olympic Regional Development Authority and several other organizations, shooting their events. His work can also be seen featured in publications like the Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Life. His photos truly capture the beauty and adventure in winter sports. From luge, to ski moguls, to bobsledding to ice hockey, John’s portfolio is extremely widespread and diverse.

Challenges

Of course, photographing winter sports comes with a slew of challenges. John notes that with “sports and nature photography being based in the Adirondacks, weather is a huge factor.” Unpredictable weather patterns coupled with frequent harsh conditions require an immense level of flexibility from John and his equipment. He recalls shooting the world cup luge event at 15 below 0, and he continuously shoots ski aerials at 7 or 8 below 0. John notes that preparation is key in these bitterly cold temperatures. “With sports, you’re out in the cold for a full day. You need to dress appropriately and gear needs to be protected. This includes having cards and extra batteries either in your base layer or close by. You also need to be ready for sudden snow.”

Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sport | 1/3200 sec, F7.1, ISO 800 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 | 1/800 sec, F5.6, ISO 640 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Equipment

When looking for equipment, John prioritizes camera bodies and lenses that are built to stand up against the harsh elements of the outdoors. “You can’t get a piece that’s going to have issues in heavy snow or rain. You also need to make sure that your gear is weather protected and that seals and auto focus will hold up even in the freezing cold. Finally, John looks for equipment that is “able to take a bit of a beating.” During many of his shoots, he is skiing his gear onto the course, lugging it up a mountain, or transporting it in a canoe. He needs to be confidant that his equipment will be able to weather these situations.

Over the years John has used several Sigma lenses and has been extremely pleased with their performance. “I’ve used both the 70-200mm and the 120-300mm in pretty harsh conditions. They’ve held up really well. I’ve also tested the 24-70mm and the 24-105mm and can assure that these too can handle the conditions that exist on the mountain. “ John has used 150-600mm Sport lens in the snow and to shoot loons from a canoe. This lens too has proved itself to be strong and sturdy in harsh conditions. In reference to the 150-600mm, John says that he uses Sports models when possible to ensure better weather sealing.

John typically brings a wide array of focal lengths to an event and chooses which to use based on specific circumstances. He stresses that it is important to know what you’re shooting and what specific type of shot you’re looking for before deciding which lens to use.

When it comes to shooting a ski race, John relies on lenses with longer focal length for safety reasons. Due to the fact that you cannot be so close to the skier itself, the 120-300mm and 150-600mm lenses are most effective.

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 | 1/2500 sec, F3.2, ISO 160 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 | 1/2000 sec, F3.2, ISO 500 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 | 1/6400 sec, F4.5, ISO 2000 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

On the contrary, for shoots capturing the action close up, John uses the Sigma 24-70 or 70-200mm. He also uses these lenses during flower and medal ceremonies, and for post event celebrations as they successfully capture facial expressions and other small details.

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 | 1/5000 sec, F4, ISO 1250 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 | 1/2000 sec, F4.5, ISO 800 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Typically for bobsled, skeleton and luge, John once again uses longer lenses. When he is looking for a more creative shot, he may take out a winder angle lens or a 15mm fisheye lens.

Sigma 15mm F2.8 | 1/4000 sec, F8, ISO 2500 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Advice for New/Aspiring Winter Photographers

It’s no question that working as a winter sports photographer requires a great deal of flexibility and tolerance in uncomfortable environments. John gives the following tips to those that are new to winter photography.

  • Clothing- Make sure to dress in layers. If conditions warm up you can strip down. John always has a down jacket with him for warmth and a shell to protect him form the wind. He also uses Dermatone on his face, which protects his skin from chapping, wind, and frostbite. He makes sure to bring an extra can of Dermatone as well as extra hand and toe warmers.
    • Gloves- Though John hasn’t found the perfect solution for gloves, he has found a good compromise. He uses a glove liner that is touchscreen compatible enabling him to use his phone while keeping his hands covered. On top of that he wears mittens with a retractable top and holds.
  • Preventing Ice on Camera- John says it’s important to make sure that you do not breathe close to the LCD or the viewfinder. Since your breath is warm, this would cause a layer of ice to form on the camera.
    • It is also important to utilize cold rooms when you are photographing cold weather events. By keeping your equipment in a cold room, you are avoiding a dramatic change in temperature, ultimately preventing the formation of condensation on your lens.
    • When the event is over, make sure to put cards in your pocket if you want to download them immediately. Put the rest of your equipment back in their bags and tie them in a plastic bag.  This allows the equipment to slowly adjust to the warmer conditions and minimizes condensation build up.
  • When Shooting- Keep the camera pointed down or at a downward angle to avoid water or snow droplets. John holds extra lens cleaners on him to wipe off unwanted droplets. “There’s nothing worse than going to edit your photos and finding water that you didn’t see when you were shooting.”

Sigma 24-105mm F4 | 1/1000 sec, F7.1, ISO 1600 | © John DiGiacomo 2018

Conclusion

John stresses the importance of a combination of preparedness, flexibility and stable equipment when photographing in harsh conditions. Because of John’s experience combating these challenges, he is able to capture stunning photos with an indescribable energy.

 

 

 

12.21.2017

Leslie Owen is the photographer behind one of the most heartwarming holiday photos we’ve seen yet. As a self taught photographer, originally from Atlanta, the majority of Leslies work lies within kids and family photography. Though she has been photographing families for a few years, her most recent holiday photoshoot with the Smith family, was her first time doing anything of this sort.

Leslie has been photographing the Smith family for several years and when Andrea Smith wanted to include her currently deployed husband Andrew in their holiday card, together Leslie and Andrea created a vision of something different.

Leslie, Andrea and Andrea’s daughter Charlotte did the shoot in Target, and recreated a classic mother daughter holiday shopping scene. Andrea played off the “classic shopping Starbucks mom stereotype” while her Charlotte stood on the shopping cart, reaching for toys on a high up shelf. To include Andrew, and create the uplifting and interactive shot, Leslie made it look like he was standing in front of Charlotte, ready to catch her. Leslie says “I thought there would be a bit of negative backlash if Charlotte was standing on the cart, so having Andrew look like he was catching her was the perfect way to go against that.” During the shoot, Andrea held Charlotte as she stood on the cart, but Leslie was able to cut out her hands in Photoshop. Check out the final shot!

Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art: ISO 640, f/2.5, 1/160 sec © Leslie Owen | 2017

Leslie was unsure of which lens to use during the shoot and started off taking test shots using a 50mm lens. The shots were not coming out as she wanted, so she switched to the Sigma 24mm Art Lens. “Since the 24mm is a wide angle lens, I was able to include everything I wanted in the picture, from top to bottom. The focus is also awesome; the sharpness of the lens was a huge factor.”

The 24mm is Leslies first Sigma lens, but says she has many more on her Christmas list!

Here is some of Leslie’s recent work, to view more visit her Instagram page.

Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art: ISO:250, f/1.8, 1/1250 sec © Leslie Owen | 2017

Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art: ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/1250 sec, © Leslie Owen | 2017

 

10.23.2017

Andrew Studer is the 21-year-old photographer behind one of the most incredible eclipse shots we’ve seen. For as long as he can remember, Andrew’s passions lied within the arts and the outdoors and his professional work allows him to combine the two on a daily basis.  Through his most recent Eclipse project, Andrew collaborated with Columbia Sportswear to capture an eclipse shot like no other.

How It Happened:

“I wanted to do something unique; a lot of the shots I’ve seen are really similar. Even though photographing eclipses isn’t something that I’m really too interested in, working with Columbia Sportswear was the perfect opportunity to do something different.”

His vision involved capturing the eclipse in totality with a climber intersecting it. After finding a person to climb and and an iconic place to photograph, Andrew planned out the logistics of the shot. He headed out to Monkey Face (a famous landmark in Smith Rock State Park) the day before the eclipse, to measure out where the sun was going to be, and the intersection point for the climber. He also locked in where and how he wanted the climber to stand the day before the shot.

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08.28.2017

Basics:

Meg Loeks is an extremely talented portrait/lifestyle photographer. Through the photos on her personal Instagram account, we are able to watch her beautiful 3 boys grow up, and experience the beauties of their small rural town. Her photos display a touching mix of comfort as well as spontaneity and adventure.

© Meg Loeks 2017 | Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art

Meg’s journey as a photographer began with film when she was only about 11 years old. She still has that camera, and likely will forever. Meg switched to digital photography in high school. There, she took several photo classes, helped to produce the yearbook, and took special interest in developing prints in the dark room. She then put down the camera for several years in college, and picked it back up when her first son, Leo, was born.

© Meg Loeks 2017 | Sigma 24mm F1.4 Art

Meg got her first DSLR when Leo was born and continued moving up and up. She now has a full frame camera, with which she takes photos just about every day.

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08.17.2017

Korn at Download Festival in Derby, UK Sigma 15 mm Fisheye 1250 ISO 15mm f/7.1 1/250th © 2017 Adam Elmakias

His Career:

Adam Elmakias is living many people’s dreams; traveling the world, photographing and touring with diverse groups of musicians.  His journey as a music photographer began in middle school as a simple love for music.  When Adam entered high school, he borrowed a camera from his school’s yearbook club and things flew from there. He recalls bringing his camera to concerts throughout his teenage years; a hobby that eventually became exceedingly difficult to fund. Local promoters began letting Adam into the concerts in exchange for the photos that he would take there. This not only allowed him to connect with local bands that he had grown up with but also kick-started what eventually become his future career.

Since then, Adam has spent a great deal of time on the road with a wide range of talented musicians. His day goes a little something like this:

“Wake up

edit

eat

workout

band wakes up

stalk band/ hang out with band until soundcheck

soundcheck

hang out some more with band, eat food

live show

eat more food

try not to get in too much trouble

go to bed

do it over again.

Obviously taking photos the whole time. “

Adam said that the biggest challenge he faces as a self-employed music photographer is balance. “Figuring out how much I want to work and how much I don’t want to work, what work I want to do and things like that get pretty hard. It’s great in some ways, being my own boss, but can definitely get difficult at the same time.”

Josh Woodard of A Day To Remember
Sigma 20mm ISO 1000 20mm f/2.0 1/200th © 2017 Adam Elmakias

Favorites:

Band to travel with: Adam spends a lot of time traveling with rock band, A Day to Remember, and claims that the work he does with them are some of his favorites. “They’re like my best friends. I’ve been taking pictures of them for years now and know them super well. It makes the work a lot of fun.” He started with A Day to Remember in 2007, when he attended a concert of theirs in Milwaukee. Through a friend he was able to take a photoshoot of the band after the show, and they absolutely loved his shots.  After that came lots of “professional stalking” and forcing himself into situations they were in, in hopes of getting their attention. Eventually, Adam was successful. He joined them on tour for 2 days and traveled to Europe with them in ’09. This was not only the start of a successful professional relationship but a personal one as well. Check out some of Adam’s A Day to Remember shots here.

Jim Root of Slipknot at Knot Fest in San Bernardino Sigma 50mm ISO 640 50m f/2.2 1/400 © 2017 Adam Elmakias

Tour/Experience:  Another one of Adam’s favorite gigs was done recently with Major Lazer. He said that he “loved having the go go go mentality and getting a piece of their crazy lifestyle.”

Place to travel: “Australia? South America? The coolest places aren’t necessarily the same as what people know as the best places.  Russia was really cool. It’s pretty special having the opportunity to travel somewhere that I really would never vacation.”

Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive in San Diego California Sigma 50mm ISO 200 f/2.5 1/160th © 2017 Adam Elmakias

Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots in London
Sigma 20mm ISO 1250 20mm f/1.8 1/200th © 2017 Adam Elmakias

Relationship with Sigma

Favorite lens? “The Sigma 50mm art. I love that guy.”  Though Adam isn’t a very technical guy, he acknowledges that when using Sigma lenses, his shots are “consistently pretty.” The lens focuses beautifully and he is always amazed with how smooth and clear his photos come out. Adam also admires the solid build and reliability of Sigma lenses. He claims that his lenses “are put through some pretty rough conditions and the fact that they’re so sturdy is really awesome.”

Advice for Aspiring Music Photographers

“Start small. Start local. A lot of people don’t know how to get into this field because there isn’t a rule book but that’s an amazing thing. There’s a lot of freedom to make your own choices. Go to as many concerts as possible and talk to as many people as possible. The more you do that, the more likely it is that you’ll land something great.”

Final Thoughts:

Where does he see himself in 10 years? “Hanging out with Eminem while he fires me for eating his catering.”

Travis Barker of Blink 182 at The Forum in Los Angeles Sigma 20mm ISO 200 20mm f/1.8 1/250th © 2017 Adam Elmakias

07.18.2017

Using the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 lens, Traci Walter is living her dream photographing Orcas while working as a whale watch naturalist. Residing on San Juan Island in Washington State (a killer whale hotspot), Traci runs about two whale watch trips daily, where she teaches tourists about the beauty of these incredible animals.

A Humpback whale does a tail lob near Telegraph Cove, BC. © Traci Walter | 2017

Where it all began

Wildlife played a huge role in Traci’s life beginning at a young age. Though she grew up in a city, Traci spent a great deal of time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin; the place where her passion for wildlife sparked. She recalls exploring, constantly looking for animals, and returning home to tell her family about what she had seen that day.

At 13 years old, Traci received her first camera from her grandfather. This small gesture enabled Traci to photograph the magnificent wildlife as she saw it, which only made her passion grow.

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06.29.2017

Sigma users all over have been raving about the design, price and overall quality of our products- check out some of our favorite quotes from the past few months!

 

85mm F1.4 Art Lens  – LearningCameras.com with Dan Watson (YouTube) – 1/7/17

“Stop everything you are buying…The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art is the lens you want. It simply is one of the greatest lenses every made. With unbelievable characteristics, solid build, and stunning design, what else could you want? Oh, and it’s the most affordable 85mm F1.4 around and available for both Canon & Nikon DSLRs.”

18-35mm T2 Cine Lens – Noam Kroll Round Up – 2/9/17

 

 

“After weighing many options, it was clear that the best tool for the job would be the new Sigma Cinema Zoom Lenses…These lenses are very fast at T2.0 and deliver an exceptionally high quality image across the board, rivaling many cinema lenses that are far more expensive to purchase…More importantly however, they allowed us to work extremely quickly without having to sacrifice quality.”

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