Stuart has been using the SIGMA fp for several months, testing its capability in a range of real-world situations. Weighing in at 422g, it is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera. Sigma has 24 compatible L-Mount lenses in its range, and Leica and full-frame Panasonic lens also fit natively.
In March 2020 my friends at SIGMA asked me to spend a year shooting with their new full-frame fp, which was, and still is, the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera. Despite the challenges of taking pictures during the pandemic, I’ve been busily putting this camera through its paces and I hope you’ve managed to catch some of my monthly blog posts here in the SIGMA Lounge. In each one I’ve given you my thoughts on the camera, accompanied by some of the images I’ve captured with it.
To round off my time with the fp in this twelfth and final post, I’ve decided to share a set of individual photographs that I’ve taken over the past year. They weren’t shot as part of a series or theme like much of my other work, but I think they still have merit. I hope you like them.
The first image is a still life of three Chinese lantern (Physalis) skeletons. I found these on an allotment near my home, lying forlornly on the ground. I could immediately see potential in their delicate structure so took them home. The next day the strong winter sun was shining through the living room window. Placing the lanterns on white paper gave a strong and distinct shadow, revealing the beauty of the plant’s structure. I spent the next half an hour experimenting with different arrangements using the close-up ability of the 45mm F2.8 DG DN | C, and in the end, I felt this one in particular had a good balance between subject and shadow. It just shows that keeping your eyes open for these little gems pays off. They are so delicate but will reveal their beauty given the chance.
This image of some double yellow lines is one of those subjects that we see all the time in our day-to-day lives, and that is normally completely unremarkable. Occasionally, though, the planets align and these mundane objects or places can suddenly offer fantastic photographic potential. In this case it was the raindrops forming concentric rings in the puddle of water. There was just something about its ordinariness that caught my eye. Then the rain stopped, the water drained away and the moment was gone, but I’m glad that it lives on in this image.
This shot was taken towards the beginning of the first lockdown in the UK. Not being able to leave my immediate surroundings encouraged me to take another look at places and objects that I might normally have dismissed as having limited photographic potential. It’s amazing how many interesting things you find that you might have otherwise missed.
This pair of ginkgo leaves, which I picked up in a little village called Firle in East Sussex, really caught my eye during the autumn. At the time the ground was littered with leaves and I was captured by the vibrancy of their autumnal colours. I collected quite a few to photograph but decided to keep things as simple as possible. I particularly like the structure of the leaf with its fan shape and radiating ridges.
This Chinese tree is one of the oldest known trees and sometimes referred to as a living fossil. Once again, the with the SIGMA 45mm F2.8 DG DN | C I could get in close, keeping the depth-of-field fairly shallow.
I found this honeycomb in a fallen tree that had been blown down in a storm. The tree had split open revealing the secret and beautiful home of a colony of wild bees. The bees had long since departed leaving this intricate structure behind. I love the way the colour of the beeswax varies, a result of the different types of flower pollen they were feeding on. I like that when photographed in a certain way a small object such as this can morph into something else in your imagination, such as a landscape of rolling hills.
The last beach
This shot I titled ‘The Last Beach’. It’s my attempt to illustrate the increasing pressure the environment is being put under by human influences. At the time I took this photograph the sun was very low in the sky, which added a dramatic contrast to the concrete blocks. I didn’t want too much information in the shadows as the aim was to create the impression of the blocks gradually squeezing out nature. The image was slightly desaturated to emphasise a graphic quality without losing the warmth of the setting sun.
With the last few months of uncertainty, I chose this photograph as it concentrated on the baby girl’s eyes and the dreamy gaze she has. We have all relied more on looking at a person’s eyes lately – with mask-wearing it is often the only way to read any emotion.
I set up the autofocus for eye recognition in the SIGMA fp menu, which made capturing the shot a lot easier, especially as the depth-of-field is shallow and my subject wasn’t staying still for long!
Finally, this image captures water droplets on blades of grass. I decided after experimenting with the file in editing software that it looked more dramatic in black and white. The water droplets lined up beautifully, and almost remind me of precious gems.
Spring is bursting into life here in East Sussex. I am hopeful for a better year ahead and, excited to see what new photographic opportunities it brings.