Being a Good Land Steward as a Photographer

I arrived in Moab, Utah two days ago to attend and teach during the 1st annual Nightscaper conference where some of the greatest night photographers have gathered to share our common passion under the dark, starry skies of Moab.

Over the last 6 years of teaching in Moab, I have noticed a lot of big changes happening. Many more lodging facilities have been built and with this comes increased tourism and activity in the area. Why wouldn’t anyone want to come to Moab? After all it’s home to both Canyonlands and Arches National Park as well as many other areas that are ideal for outdoor recreation.  The weather is good and on a moonless night the skies are super dark in Arches and even darker over in Canyonlands.

A lone visitor enjoys the sunset in Arches National Park.
Sigma 24-105mm F/4 Art at 38mm
ISO 64, F/13, 1/100th sec

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A Fresh Take on Spring Flowers with the Sigma 14mm F1.8 | Art lens

Spring flowers blooming at the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Photographed with the Sigma 14mm f1.8 Art lens. (On a Sony A7m3 with the Sigma MC-11 converter).


For this photo, I placed the lens next to one of the flowers and focused on the ground. Then I set the lens to manual focus so focus would be locked on that distance. The ISO was 800- selected this high because it was windy and the flowers were moving, so I wanted not only a lot of depth of field, but also a faster shutter speed. F stop was maxed out at f16. That resulted in a shutter shutter speed of 1/1600 second. Rather than using a remote shutter, I set the camera to fire using the built-in intervalometer. I tripped the shutter to start the intervalometer and then set the camera in the dirt facing up to capture the blooms in the sun, which was peeking out from the clouds. I tried several different flower groupings to find the best composition. Shadows were opened up in Adobe Camera Raw.

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Family Moments with the 35mm

As a mother of four young children and a full-time photographer, I am my family’s storyteller. I have one of the most important “jobs” in the whole world: I’m capturing the special milestones we know are so fleeting, the mundane moments that make up our every day, and everything in between. It’s important for me to have faithful camera gear that I can rely on to capture our family’s memories.

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Capturing The World Around Me With The 14-24mm

As a travel and lifestyle photographer, I love being able to visit far flung destinations around the world and experience foreign cultures. Through it all, I try to create inspirational images that celebrate the local art and flavor. My main tools for all this is my trusty camera gear, a willingness to explore and create, lots of coffee for those early morning photo sessions, and my travel partner in crime Zory.

©Henry Wu 2019

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The Secret to Photographing Children

The key is… (are you ready for it?)… patience.  Yep, that’s it.  Simple, but not easy.





Once you understand that this may take a while you will not feel the need to rush them or yourself, which will inevitably make this portrait session implode.   This applies to photographing children by themselves, with siblings/friends, and in family portraits.  In fact, sometimes photographing families with children is even more difficult because the parents get frustrated trying to make their kids behave that it can have the opposite effect.  Hopefully your patience will rub off on them.

Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens. 1/640 F2.8 ISO 200 . © 2019 Jared Ivy

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Visual Storytelling with Sigma Lenses

Photographer, and Sigma Technical Representative Mike Hill, has mastered the art of visual storytelling. He uses his camera to take the viewer into a different world through his strong series of photographs. He says you should “build interest about your story with strong opening images that evoke curiosity.” In this series, he shoots everything with Sigma glass, and the beautiful pictures speak for themselves.

© 2018 Mike Hill | Sigma 50mm F1.5 Art | 1/320 sec at f/1.4 | Sony A7R Mark III

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Sigma 40mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art and Comet 46p / Wirtanen

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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Taking a Trip to Namibia with Sigma Lenses

Our friend Dion Scoppettuolo recently returned from an epic Safari and adventure in Etosha National Park in Namibia, Okonjima Game Reserve in Namibia and the Namibian Desert. The Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM and 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lenses were along to document his travels. Were these lenses up to the challenges of capturing the magnificence of these remote locations? The photos speak for themselves! Be inspired by this great gallery of images!

© 2018 Dion Scoppettuolo | The Namib stretches over large areas of western Namibia. Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM | Contemporary
© 2018 Dion Scoppettuolo | Stalking a herd of impala. Okonjima game reserve, Namibia. Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary

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Exploring Abandoned Architecture with the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM | Art lens

By Walter Arnold

For the last nine years, I have spent much of my time poking around the darkened nooks and crannies of abandoned buildings. Not because I like the smell of mold and mildew or enjoy using my face as a spider web clearing tool, but because I LOVE searching for beauty in unexpected places. Since 2009 I have been creating a fine art photographic series called The Art of Abandonment. My travels take me all over, searching out historic and endangered locations, and creating scenes that tell a story.

Sloss Furnaces. ISO 100 F/11 @ 14mm. © Walter Arnold

Since day one, Sigma lenses have always been in my bag alongside a few pro-level Nikon lenses as well. In fact, my first ultrawide lens was the Sigma 10-20mm which I used for years on a Nikon D300. When I upgraded to the full-frame Nikon D800 however, I went with a different ultrawide bread and butter lens for the last five years with the same focal range and aperture. So, when Sigma contacted me and told me they had a 14-24mm F2.8 ART lens that was potentially “breadier and butterier” than the killer one in my bag, I HAD to try it out on one of my abandonment shoots.

Sloss Furnace. ISO 100 F/11 @ 14mm. © Walter Arnold


When the lens came in the mail, I opened it like a long-awaited Christmas present. Pulling it out of the padded case, I could tell that the lens had a solid build. The focus and zoom rings are smooth with the right amount of resistance. Bear in mind the zoom ring is reversed from the house brand, so it took a little brain training for me to remember that zooming out is now a RIGHT turn instead of left! The lens cap has a padded ring which is very nice for sliding over the lens petals without scuffing or scratching them.  All this is to say, I liked the lens even before I put it on my camera.

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5 Tips for Photographing the Aurora Borealis

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.”

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.

Equipment – What to Bring and What to Know

Like most night photography, you’ll need to control all of your camera settings manually. A camera body that performs well in low situations will help produce the best results. When it comes to lens selection, I prefer a wide-angle lens (24mm or wider) with a fast aperture (f2.8 or faster). The SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens, SIGMA 20mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens, and the SIGMA 14mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art lens are good choices for photographing the aurora.  This will allow you to capture a large portion of the sky while letting in as much light as possible. Because the intensity of the Northern lights can change quickly it’s important to be familiar with all of the manual buttons on your camera. Remember, you’ll be shooting in the dark and ideally keeping all lights off to preserve your night vision. If the Northern lights are dancing, you also aren’t going to want to take your eyes off them!

Exposure Times

Unlike many other situations at night, you’ll often be using a very short exposure. If the Northern lights are moving fast and visible well above the horizon, an exposure time of 3.2-10 seconds will help keep the structure and detail in their movement. If they’re barely visible to your eyes, a longer exposure time between 10-30 seconds will help bring out color in the sky.

Eyes on the Histogram

Not only are the Northern lights not a guarantee, but how they behave can also change quite quickly. While you’re shooting it’s critical that you keep an eye on your histogram. In a matter of seconds, you can find yourself completely blowing out the bright areas of the Northern lights that were previously perfectly exposed.

While visiting the Jasper Dark Sky Festival, you know there’s an incredible view of the stars waiting for you. If you’re lucky, you might just capture the Northern lights, too. While not the first time I’ve seen the Northern lights in Jasper, this was by far the most impressive. The weather was just warm enough to keep the lake from freezing which provided an amazing reflection. This is a single frame from a time lapse you can expect to see soon! Sony A7RII | SIGMA 14mm | f/1.8 | ISO 3200 | 3.2 sec

Know Your Limits

A great photo of the aurora can be tricky to pull off. You’re going to be shooting in a situation where you would normally expose for much longer to pull detail out of a dark landscape. If you’re trying to keep your exposure time down to capture the movement of the aurora (you’re sure you aren’t blowing out highlights), you’ll want to know how far you can push your ISO while keeping your image as free of noise as possible.

There aren’t too many places that can give you the perfect spot for viewing the stars just minutes outside of town. While waiting to see if the predicted solar storm would pick up, I made my way to Pyramid Lake in hopes of capturing this classic vantage with a bit of a twist. Barely 15 minutes after my arrival the Northern lights began to pick up in intensity and painted the sky with light hues of red and bright green. Sony A7RII | SIGMA 14mm | f/1.8 | ISO 3200 | 20 sec


While you may be overwhelmed with the beauty of a sky full of dancing colors, it’s important to keep your composition in mind. It can be tempting to point your camera straight up at the sky for a few images, but a strong foreground object can really elevate your Northern lights image. Scout locations during the day so you can return and hit as many as possible once it’s dark out. The more planning you do the more success you’ll have at night!

This photo pretty much sums up how it feels to chase and capture the Northern lights. These shoots normally end with sore cheeks from all the smiles and laughs at the pure amazement seeing the aurora provides. Nikon D800E | SIGMA 20mm | f/1.4 | ISO 3200 | 3.2 sec

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