Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall colors, Sigma Canada, chipmunks and dropping lenses into rivers....

Photo 1 (above): Algonquin Park fall colors detail. Canon EOS 5D mark II, Sigma 300/2.8 lens & drop-in polarizer, ISO 200, 1/80s @ f/8; mirror lock-up and cable release.

Sorry for the delay in posting, I've been on the road visiting family for Canadian Thanksgiving and had some internet issues... the server would not let me upload photos to blogger. All better now that I am back home and I can share more photos from my recent shoot in Algonquin Park.

Sigma Canada (distributed by Gentec International) has recently added me as one of their pro shooters and hooked me up with some great lenses. Check out their brand new website http://www.sigmacanada.ca/ and be sure to click on the Pro Gallery to see me along with fellow Canadian photographers Darwin Wiggett and Crombie McNeil.

So far, I've got two Sigma lenses in my bag: the 12-24mm wide-angle zoom and the 300mm f/2.8 telephoto. Actually, let me clarify that.... I accidentally dropped the 12-24mm into Oxtongue River Rapids during my recent fall colors shoot. It completedly submerged for a few minutes before I perilously fished it out and sent it back to see if it can be salvaged... cross your fingers for me! In case you're counting (I am), that's two lenses I've dropped this summer/fall..... damn!

A 300/2.8 lens has been on my must-get list for some time, so this is a welcome addition to my system (in good time for my upcoming Africa trip). The Sigma 300/2.8 is razor sharp and has very fast autofocus. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it comes standard with a drop-in polarizer (and the design is better than Canon's drop in filter system). I'll be calling Singh-Ray soon to see if they have an LB warming polarizer that will fit!

And now to some photos.....

Photo 2 (above): Algonquin Park fall colors forest edge. Canon EOS 5D mark II, Sigma 300/2.8 lens & drop-in polarizer, ISO 200, 1/15s @ f/11; mirror lock-up and cable release. I like compressed landscapes with telephoto lenses. This is a classic situation to use a polarizer... to help improve contrast and saturation in the misty conditions. 

Photo 3: Algonquin Park fall colors. Canon EOS 5D mark II, Sigma 300/2.8 lens & drop-in polarizer, ISO 400, 1/640s @ f/7.1; mirror lock-up and cable release. Even in very dull, overcast light I was pleased with the rich contrast of this lens.

While I was in the Algonquin area, I dropped in to visit my friend Gary Schultz, owner of the Algonquin Lakeside Inn (just west of the park). The feeders at the Inn were busy with activity so Gary and I caught up while shooting. I highly recommend a trip to stay at the Inn and enjoy the great shooting at the blind/feeders!

Photo 4 (above): The photo blind at Algonquin Lakeside Inn, with ower Gary Schultz on the right.

Photo 5 (above): Rusty Blackbird. Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor. ISO 640, 1/125s @ f/5.6. Rusty Blackbird is an elusive and rarely photographed species... this was only my second time photographing them.

Photo 6 (above): Eastern Chipmunk with cheeks full of seeds.Canon EOS 1Ds mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens & 1.4x teleconvertor. ISO 640, 1/400s @ f/5.6.


  1. Beautiful images Ethan and congrats on the Sigma deal (now you just need to hang on to those lens!;-)

  2. You're never touching the 800 again destructor of lenses.

  3. Thanks guys!
    I'm blaming two things for the lens drops:
    1) Lack of sleep on landscape photo shoots.
    2) The Gura pack, which has an unconventional two-part lid. It's functional but a liability, since it's easy to forget that one of the sides is open when you pick the bag up.

  4. love the Rusty Blackbird as well as the background,the day after you left one of your favorite birds turned up we had 6 Evening Grosbeaks at the feeders, we should have them again this Winter,now in the Park the Spruce Grouse are putting on their displys.

  5. Awesome, maybe the sigma 300 2.8 isn't such a bad lens afterall! By the way, where did you manage to get a "5000mm" f4?? haha (blackbird pic)

  6. Anonymous12:29 PM

    "5000mm" f4 lens plus 1.4x converter? Wow? ;)

  7. You guys are sharp, thanks for catching the typos. Dare to dream about a 5000mm lens! I really shouldn't drink so much wine while writing blog posts!

  8. I wish I was a bit nearer as I would check out the cool spot there for a touch of bird photography. Love the rusty blackbird. I added your blog to my favourite blogs - your landscapes are awesome and thanks for posting technical info.

    Phil - http://anotherbirdblog.blogspot.com/

  9. Nice to see some work with Sigma lenses by a really great photographer. Like a lot of amateurs, I'm on a tight budget and have purchased two Sigma lenses (15-30mm and 150-500mm OS). Yes, I've read many reviews about the "soft" output of Sigma lenses, but I think if used properly, they can produce wonderful images. I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your work with Sigma ! Might I suggest you try out the 15-30mm or 150-500mm next? ;-)

    By the way, how goes the photo van project ?

  10. Hi QZ, no doubt about it, the Sigma 300/2.8 is razor sharp. The 12-24 shows softer corners on a full-frame camera, but I'm used to that with Canon's wide angle zooms too!
    I'll try to get my hands on some of the other lenses too in the near future!

    I haven't done much to the van aside from the screens and power inverters for charging batteries. I'm a huge fan of the stow-and-go seating, which makes it super versatile (and good places to store gear out of sight)!

  11. Hi......)

    Nice blogg... good photos.

    Geir Jartveit



  12. Hei

    As Geir say, this was a nice blog!
    I liked your photos.
    Beautiful colors, and i liked the face in the last picture. :-)

    Tommy S

  13. Hey Ethan - congrats on the Sigma gig...way to go!

  14. ah ah, the chipmunk is very funny!
    The shots are fantastic!