In Part 1 of my SIGMA UK blog article I shared how I was really enjoying the freedom of taking the versatile and transportable SIGMA DC DN | Contemporary lenses with me on my adventures and exploring the Moors. So, as you can imagine, the current lockdown due to the Corona virus impacted my creative adventures and put a halt to it. It’s taken away that freedom to roam with my camera and I can no longer access the one place I love to photograph. I was challenged to find new ways of photographing that still gives me that artistic freedom and sense of release that my landscape photography does.
How on earth do you do that in your home? Well, it took me a while to get to grips with it I’ll be honest. I had to find a way to adapt using the SIGMA DC DN lenses in a completely different setting. At first I played around a little with shallow depth of field, and although this was nice, but it wasn’t really exciting me. I wanted to use these lenses to come away with some thing that was a little bit different and striking, but how could I do that effectively?
I then thought perhaps trying to use a bit of intentional camera movement might be fun as that can sometimes produce some interesting abstract images, however with that you need to find a subject that works well which can be quite tricky. I figured that I needed to look for some stark colours, light and dark contrasts, or very definitive lines as those would definitely stand out.
So, the journey of exploration around the house began with the SIGMA 56mm F1.4 DC DN | Contemporary lens predominantly the lens I used!
I started in the kitchen The natural light in the kitchen is quite low so I chose to overexpose by around one and half stops to up the exposure but with the light still being low it meant that I had a slow enough shutter speed of about a half a second to be able to produce some movement with it. It took several attempts, trying to get the placement of the leaf from the plant correctly in the frame but I finally came away with something that I was happy with. You can still see that it’s a leaf but it has a lovely flow and energising colour to it that brought a smile.
Next stop was the living room, I applied exactly the same technique as before to get the desired effect. When I looked at the images, they actually looked like a close-up long exposure of flowing water with sunlight dancing on it. A very unexpected but pleasant result from an old sofa that you’d never normally think of photographing!
After playing with that for a while I then chose to move onto the bathroom. The frosted bathroom window that had some really interesting lines that I could play with, and in fact the colours that were coming through from the outside made it all the more interesting. So with this in mind I kept the shutter speed to still only around half a second as this seems to work best for intentional camera movement, but went with an up and down movement trying to elongate the lines in the frosted window and accentuate the colours a bit. It worked! It almost made the image look like it was a collection of sound waves rather than what it actually was, a boring old window.
The final images that I made around the home were in my front garden in which we have some lovely French Lavender bushes. I used a polariser on the lens to give the colour an added bit of zing and I also used a six stop neutral density filter because the sunlight was so bright that I couldn’t get the slower shutter speed that I needed to create the movement without it. I tried a little up and down camera movement that was quite nice to drag the colours through the image, however the technique that gave the most pleasurable effect with these beautiful plants was manually taken the lens out of focus so as to create a lovely dreamy image. Coming out of focus actually gives it a lovely hazy summery feel that the camera movement didn’t.
I think what I’ve found by being restricted and having to use these lovely lenses in my own home rather than out in the wide landscape, is that their versatility can give you great scope for creativity, even when using some of what you would think would be the most mundane of subjects for your images. I’ve been able to have a really good play around with them and use them in ways that I normally wouldn’t and have managed to create a set of very different, quite abstract shots which are very far removed from my usual landscapes. It’s actually been quite an adventure, and all within the confines of my own home! Its given me a new vision and I’m looking towards finding other new ways to be creative.