Monday, August 6, 2012

One More Landscape Shot with 10mm Sigma Lens

More I use this lens more I am impressed with what it can do. Here is a shot from about 2”above road with lens axes parallel to the road. Every part of this shot is sharp – from about 10” to infinity. Incredible!

ISO 200, 1/500 sec at f/5.6, 10mm shot in RAW

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sigma 10 - 20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM AF Zoom Lens

I am really glad that I have finally went ahead and bought myself a super-wide angle lens! I was thinking about extra wide angle lens since I bought my Canon EOS but I just didn’t feel like spending more money on one lens than what it cost me for the camera and a kit 18-55mm zoom. Last week I was surfing for this type of lens and came across Adorama that had a special on this lens with a kit: UV filter ($75), lens cleaning kit in its own zippered pouch and lens cap keeper. That was a very good deal so I bought it. After receiving it I immediately took some test shots and I was very, very pleased! What an incredible piece of glass it is. Yes, glass, not some cheap plastic! What surprised me was that lens was made in Japan. These days camera stuff usually comes from China, Taiwan, Korea or Indonesia, Japan is quite rare.
The lens really feels solid and is very well made, no wobbly or overly free parts. The focus and zoom rings feel very smooth and tight but not heavy. For a full review from professional photographer click here.
When compared to 18-55mm kit lens the angle of view is almost double as you can see in following test shots of Lake Lisgar: the angle of view is almost twice as much as 18mm lens at 102.4°. See the test shots bellow taken from a same spot.
Canon lens at 18mm.

Sigma lens at 10mm.

I bought this lens online from Adorama in New York City since locally it was almost double of what I have paid ($1,124.88 for used one at, including duty and taxes. I was so impressed with Adorama’s and UPS service! The lens was ordered on Wednesday, August 1st at 1:31 PM and it was in my hand next afternoon at 4:56 PM! From New York to South-West Ontario in 27 hours and with custom check and Economy shipping on top of it. I like J.
One of my 1st HDR shots with the lens. The water lily pad in foreground was about 6 feet (2m) bellow and 3 feet (1m) away from the lens.  

Lake Lisgar, Tillsonburg, Ontario

Fantasy Landscape

Composite picture of three photographs.

As I was studying my “Photoshop Elements 10 - The Missing Manual” book I was wondering if I am able to create photo composite on my own. I had background already loaded since I was working in Lightroom 4 on some recent sunrise photos. Next question was: what do I add to make it interesting. Big orange Sun was nothing to sneeze at so I picked my favorite shot of Sun with transit of Venus. Now was the time to start working in PSE. I duplicated background as a layer mask and imported Sun with a layer mask. The resulting composite looked interesting but something was still missing. After browsing my catalog for ideas I came across a shot of flying Tundra Swans. Using a Magic Extractor I have separated one swan and erased the rest of the flock and the background sky.
Fantasy Landscape was done in under 10 minutes, thanks to this great book and Adobe videos on YouTube.
I remember when such a complex programs like Photoshop Elements with their huge learning curve would come with manuals going well over 1000 pages and weighing few pounds. These days, NOTHING, not even basic instructions.
Here are photos used in the landscape.

Screenshot of Levels in PSE10. Notice how the Sun was revealed in copy of background layer mask. The order in which the layers are stacked is all important.
Intermediate Landscape. Something is still missing here!