Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category


Thursday, April 18th, 2013

For the past several weeks I’ve have been using and testing Sigma’s new 35mm F1.4 DG HSM lens and every time I mention it or post one of the photos, everyone asks “what do you think of it?”  The short answer is…..Stellar results and performance!

 So what makes this lens so great?

This is one of the newly designed lenses from Sigma’s new Art line, one of the three new lines that also includes Contemporary and Sports categories. When I first saw this lens several months ago at a trade show I was quite impressed with the solid feel and mechanical  quality/construction.  As soon as you see and start handling it you realize the quality of this lens, it has a feel to it of being a superior  professional lens – which it is.  There are many well thought out and designed features, one which I really thought was very well done is the large and well placed manual focusing ring, which is a full-time manual override.  Since the depth of field at F1.4 (as it is with any F1.4 lens) is only a very thin plane of focus, I sometimes find myself fine tuning the focus manually. I’m old school and this approach works for me. That being said, the majority of the time I use the auto focus and with this lens I found it to be quick, accurate and there it almost completely silent. Just take care where you place your focus point(s), as you would with any F1.4 lens. The minimum focusing distance is about 12 inches, which allows you to get in really close to your subject, an added bonus.

So what about image quality? The sharpness and colours are amazing. The resolution/sharpness wide open is excellent, and shooting at F1.4 – F2 is one of the main reasons why you are buying this lens.  The in-focus details are razor-sharp and the bokeh, background blur, is very soft and diffused. For low light photography this lens is 2 stops faster compared to my 24-70 F2.8 and with my Canon 5D MKIII it focuses incredibly quickly and accurately. Plus there is the additional advantage of the 1.4 aperture for bokeh, which is way better bokeh than f2.8.  There is practically no chromatic aberration, fringing and distortion. On a cropped sensor camera it would be a fantastic normal field of view lens, as it would be approximately the equivalent of a 50mm lens. Before getting this lens, I already had the Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM a lens that truly impresses me with it’s image quality. The new Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM actually surpasses the build and image quality of the 85mm.

 Below are some of the photos that I have taken using a Canon 5D MKIII and the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM lens.

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F7.1

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F7.1


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F2.0

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F2.0


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F2.0

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F2.0


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F4.0

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F4.0


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F11

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F11


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM @ F1.4




Given the high optical quality and the excellent build of this lens, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it. The lens sells for a very reasonable price, which is also substantially less than the camera manufacturers’ equivalents. It also comes with a 7 year warranty from Sigma Canada. Bottom line – I would definitely recommend this lens, it is probably the highest quality lens that I have ever shot with!



Ottawa 2013 Summer Workshops

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX


I am planning to hold several workshops this summer in Ottawa, ranging from Fashion/Model photo shoots to Day-Long Photo Walks: designed to improve your creativity and your unique and personal vision.  If you would like to receive priority notification for any of these workshop please join the Ottawa Workshop Mailing List


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX




Masterclass Studio Lighting and Post Production Workshop

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Masterclass Studio Lighting and Post Production Workshop – Due to a cancellation a space has become available


Sunday February 3, 2013  –  10am to 4pm
Wednesday February 6, 2013  – 7pm to 10pm

What Does It Mean?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013


As a professional photographer and one of the Sigma Pros, a lot of people write to me asking all sorts of questions about lenses and cameras and well just about everything imaginable about photography. One of the common questions is about lenses for Full Frame and Cropped Sensor cameras. A full framed lens will work on either camera while the cropped sensor lens will only work on a cropped camera.

With the Sigma lenses there are 2 different designations in the name, which specify the camera they are to be used with. DC, which is only for cropped sensor cameras, or DG which are lenses for full frame or cropped sensor cameras.

Here are two lenses, do you know which one is only for cropped sensor cameras?

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM


So what does everything else mean?

IF stands for internal focus – the front of the lens doesn’t rotate when focusing, this is a good feature if you are using a polarizing filter. It also allows for the lens to focus faster.

EX stands for the professional top of the line lenses – optically and mechanically.

HSM stands for Hyper Sonic Motor. It is a new type of motor used for auto focus in some of Sigma’s newer lenses.

OS stands for Optical Stabilization which helps to keep the camera steady when handholding with a longer shutter speed.


Henry’s Ottawa Exposure Show

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Canon 5D MKII - Sigma 120-400 f/4.5-5.6 DG OS @F14-1/60sec 200 ISO


This weekend Nov 16-18, I will be giving several presentations at the Henry’s Exposure Show in Ottawa at the CE Centre. The topic of my presentation is “The Secrets of Creating WOW in your Photos” Hope to see you!!!!!!

Friday 1:30 – 2:15
Saturday 12:30 – 1:15
Sunday 11:30 – 12:15

If you can’t make it to my presentation I will also be at the Sigma Booth all weekend long.

Scotland Photos

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Here are a few of the photos that I took/created from our recent workshop in Scotland. It was a fantastic trip in every aspect, the only negative thing that happened was one of the participant’s tripod head was broken in transit in the flight from North America. She had placed her tripod in as checked luggage, it was in a padded ballistic nylon tripod bag and when it arrived in Edinburgh the head was completely smashed and bent to the point where it was unusable. How do you travel with your tripod????   The way I pack mine is, the tripod legs go in the suitcase which is checked-in luggage and the head goes in my camera bag which is my carry-on….so far I haven’t had any problems.

We had a real mixed bag of weather during our two weeks in Scotland and while we did have a sunny day here and there, probably the best description for most of the trip is “pockets of sunlight”. Which were unbelievably dramatic and created fantastic photo opportunities when they occurred. And yes, there was rain. One of the participants said that I should have called the trip “Fotos and Food of Scotland”, as everyone commented that the food on the entire tour was incredibly delicious and good. Which was to everyone’s (happy) surprise.  It was a far cry from the bland food that they had expected.


Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX


Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 APO


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX


Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX


Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX



More Lightsphere Lighting

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Here is a  set of comparison photos of Nessa showing the difference between using only natural light and using the Lightsphere Collapsible diffuser. The photos were taken early evening in open shade on a clear day and about a minute apart from each other, in exactly the same location. The amount of time I spent post processing is the same in both images. Basically all I did is I took one shot just using natural light, then took the other using flash (Canon 580 EXII) with the Lightsphere. The difference between these two photos is really amazing. I know which one I like better.

Canon 5D MKII – Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG



Gary Fong Lightsphere

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

I’ve known about Gary Fong’s light modifiers for years, I’ve seen them all over the place. In fact, I’m sure that most photographers must either have one, or like me at least know about them. However it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when I picked up the Gary Fong Pro Lightsphere Kit that I actually used one. Oh yes, and while my wallet was open getting the Lightsphere Kit, I dug a little deeper and also bought the Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 radio transmitters and receivers. I had heard about their capability of using higher shutter speeds that go far beyond the standard X-Sync speeds. Both of the these images were shot at 1/1000 second using a flash, which I think is pretty amazing, considering that the highest I could possibly go without the PW is 1/250. In fact, with the HyperSync feature I can actually go all the way up to 1/8000.

Now while the most common use of the Lightsphere is indoors where it is used to create soft diffused light, my intention was to use it as a fill light outdoors. The effect I wanted to achieve using my Canon 580 EXII flash and the Lightsphere was a softened effect rather than the harsh/contast light that I would get from just using the direct flash. I placed the dome (curved side outwards) on the top of the Lightsphere and directed it straight at Pascale. (PHOTO #1)

Lightsphere with Dome/Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 and Pascale


It worked perfectly,  filling in the shadows, creating a soft diffusion that evened out the contrasty light of mid afternoon. As we were shooting, the sky quickly changed from wall-to-wall clear to thick white puffy clouds. As the clouds passed in front of the sun they created a silhouette on the land below, basically putting the entire scene in shade. Using the same exposure settings in this “shade” now created a very dramatic image, one that almost looks like the actual scene is a backdrop (PHOTO #2)

Flash with Lightsphere is now the main light, as entire scene is in shade


While this is not a review of the Lightsphere or the Pocket Wizards, I have to say that after having used them on a couple of shoots these are going to be really useful tools to add to my camera bag.



Ottawa One Day Workshop

Monday, July 30th, 2012

This past Saturday we had an incredible one day workshop in downtown and Byward Market areas Ottawa. We photographed everything from architecture, street scenes, panning shots of the Governor General’s Foot Guards, Melody our wonderful model and ended the day with a twilight shoot at the Congress Centre/NAC/Rideau Canal/Parliament Buildings. Already I am looking forward to running this workshop again next summer, what a fantastic day….it was over far too fast!

Here are some quotes from a couple of the participants:

Karen – “WOW!! What a splendid way to spend a Saturday! A leisurely stroll with old and new friends revisiting photographic principles through play….my idea of a great time. And btw, this pic’s a keeper! It’s a 10 (as is Melody). Thanks again for leading a stellar workshop. It was one of the very best. Let’s do it again!”

Alice – “Thanks for a fabulous 12 hours of workshop, Garry.”


Canon 5D MKII – Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Canon 5D MKII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX


Canon 5D MKII – Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG


Canon 5D MKII – Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG



Santorini Stairs

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Tomorrow is our last day on the Island of Santorini and also of our Greece workshop. I had promised to post some of the photos from this trip (for those of you who couldn’t go with us this year), so here are a few teasers. It has been an incredible couple of weeks with an amazing group of photographers, hate to see it end.