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 23 compatible L-Mount lenses in its range, and Leica and full-frame Panasonic lens also fit natively.
Having lived in Brighton for 20 years it’s very easy to become jaded with the architecture that I see every day, including famous the Royal Pavilion, King George IV seaside home, ivory-coloured bow-fronted town houses along the seafront, and, of course, Brighton’s world-famous Victorian pier. These are all subjects for countless tourist photographs so it can be difficult to find a fresh approach or original angle that will produce a different or interesting image. Consequently, I rarely photograph these places, instead focusing on less popular and less busy locations.
But with the restrictions on movement and travel at the moment, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take another look, and try to see Brighton’s most iconic landmarks through fresh eyes. I chose to have a closer look at the Brighton Pier in particular.
At this time of the year when the sun is lower in the evening sky, its possible with a low tide to walk under the pier where sand is exposed rather than the usual pebbles. The Pier takes on a more sinister appearance as the legs are reflected in the shallow water and the lack of light conceals much of the detail in the structure.
In the early evening around sunset starlings congregate in huge numbers – sometimes tens of thousands – and perform an aerial ballet called a murmuration. As they swoop and turn overhead they are sometimes close enough to each other for you to hear their wings touching. They eventually congregate under the pier to roost for the night, safe from the weather and predators.
I headed down to the pier just before sunset with my SIGMA fp, and I opted to use a slightly longer exposure of around 1/30sec to accentuate the frenzied movement of the birds. I took a similar approach to capture the swirling seawater alongside the pier, but this time shooting at an even slower shutter speed of around 1/4sec. I also introduced extra movement into the image by moving the camera during the exposure. Working in manual mode allowed me to really manipulate the look of my image and almost become a painter with light.
This photograph of the pier’s legs was inspired by one of my favourite artists, the American abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline. He often used broad aggressive brush strokes with black paint on canvas to convey his emotions. Instead of a paintbrush I have the SIGMA fp, which really inspires me to be creative and experiment with my imagery.