The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.

12.11.2018

We sent Sigma Ambassador Jack Fusco one of the first samples of the 40mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens that arrived here in the US, and he quickly put it to great use, capturing this incredible shot of Comet 46P / Wirtanen, along with his girlfriend, Rachel, and their dog, Kona, in the Anse Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California.

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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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03.01.2018

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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08.04.2017

With the release of the new Sigma 14mm f1.8 ART series lens, I thought this would be a great time to share a few tips for heading out to shoot the stars. Lots of elements all need to line up, so let’s get started!

Planning Your Night Shoot In Advance

Location: You’ll need to find an area as far away from light pollution as possible to capture a great image full of stars. Search for the name of the area you’re interested in shooting followed by “light pollution map” to asses if it will be suitable for shooting the night sky.

Once you find a general area with dark skies, keep searching to find something interesting for your foreground.

It’s always a good idea to arrive to your location before dark. This is especially important if you’ll be visiting dark skies for the first time. It can be surprisingly difficult to navigate and find your bearings if you’ve never been in an area free of light pollution. For example, when I would shoot in New Jersey, even if the skies were dark, there was always a bit of ambient light to guide me around. But, if I’m somewhere out in the desert or the mountains, that ambient light can be non-existent and travel is reliant completely on my knowledge of the area. Be safe and arrive in time to know where you’re going to be shooting and your path back out.

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 15 seconds, ISO6400 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO4000 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Gear: As with any shoot, it’s always a good idea to double check you know where everything is before head out. The difference this time would be searching around in the dark as opposed to during the day if you can’t find an item you need.

In addition to your camera body and your Sigma 14, here are a few other items you’ll want to have with you.

Sony A7rII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/4, 6 sec, ISO 2000 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Sturdy Tripod – You’ll be shooting long exposures, so you’ll want to keep your camera as still as possible.

Red Headlamp/Flashlight – A red light will help keep your night vision intact!

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO3200 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Extra Batteries – All those long exposures and checking the back of your LCD might drain your batteries a bit quicker than you expect. Temperatures at night are often a bit colder which can also have an impact on battery life in some situations.

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO4000 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Extra Memory Cards – If you’re planning on shooting star trails, timelapse or even just shooting stills, your window for shooting is a bit longer than the typical sunrise/sunset so you may end up taking quite a bit more frames than you’re used to shooting.

Remote Shutter Release – This will allow you to start your exposures without having to physically touch your camera. The bit of pressure from your finger hitting the button can often cause a small amount of movement resulting in your image not being as sharp as possible.

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO3200 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Night Sky App – There are a number of great night sky apps for your phone that will not only help in pre-planning stages, but also when you’re out under the stars. They allow you to hold your phone to the sky and give a map of the stars so you know exactly what your camera is pointed at. There are a number of great options both paid and free. My personal favorites are PhotoPills and Star Walk (V1). Try a few out and find your favorite!

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO3200 © Jack Fusco | 2017

When to Shoot: This is another important factor to consider along the way and can make or break your shoot.

Moonphase: You’ll need to keep an eye on the current Moonphase for when you’re planning to head out. Even in the darkest locations, the light from a Full Moon can wash out most of the stars in the night sky.

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO4000 © Jack Fusco | 2017

Milky Way Location: If you’re intention is to shoot the core of the Milky Way, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research before hand. The Milky Way rises and sets at different times of the year and depending on that will also appear in different directions of the sky. Many of the night sky apps will let you change your time and location to see exactly when and where the galactic core will appear. This is a very helpful step in making sure everything lines up with your composition.

That should get you started and ready to head out! A lot goes in to planning these types of images, but when it all comes together it definitely makes a difference. After all, you want to make sure you’re able to enjoy the view of the stars you’re shooting instead of worry about how to get back to your car.  So, plan it all out and make sure you leave some time to take it all in!

Sony A7RII – Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART: f/1.8, 20 seconds, ISO4000 © Jack Fusco | 2017