Photographer Tom Adamson returns to Iceland for a second time and shares his thoughts on why the SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lens was the best lens to use in his kit along with some stunning photographic examples.
February saw me returning to Iceland. This was my second visit to the land of fire and ice. Although I think this time it would be more appropriate to name it just the land of ice. The full southern region was covered in ice, deep snow and getting ravaged by storms. I’m usually accompanied with a fleet of SIGMA lenses and this trip was no different.
The kit I choose to capture the bewitching country was the SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art, SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art and the SIGMA 12-24mm F DG HSM | Art. All fabulous lenses for creative landscapes however the lens which I feel deserve the highlight of this article is the SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lens.
The main bulk of my images are wide angle landscapes. I love my super wide angles and love using them for taking in big long exposure shots. This time round though I wanted to try and get a different take on my landscapes as well as taking in some of the finer details of my surroundings. This is where the SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens proved to be my all in one solution. Iceland is famed for its stunning scenery but it also plays host to a wide and varied wildlife population. I’m a big lover of wildlife and have shot wildlife in various sessions over the last few years. Due to the limited amount of space in my camera bag with all the gear I was carrying, taking a huge telephoto lens using up a large portion of space was out of the question.
The first thing you will notice about the SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens is how small, light, compact and portable it is to hold. Perfect for providing you with that 400mm zoom range without having to carry around something that resembles a bazooka. Now I know this might not be the right lens or solution for the serious wildlife photographers but for someone looking for a high quality telephoto lens while travelling I cannot recommend this lens enough. I had the SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens mounted to my second body at all times over the six days we were driving from location to location over the full southern peninsular of the island. With the camera bag nestled safely on the back seat the car could be pulled over and the telephoto set upready to shoot at a moment’s notice. This gave me a great advantage to react to photo opportunities as they spontaneously happened, and anyone who has visited to Iceland knows this happens quite a lot. The weather can suddenly change and present you with amazing cloud formations and light, or some of that stunning wildlife could suddenly appear out of the blue. The SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens is highly versatile and is perfect for shooting both wildlife and landscapes so the scope for opportunity is endless. I have three examples of this that spring to mind where I am convinced without this lens the images would never have happened.
The first example is when we were driving to a new location along a long stretch of open road and spotted wild Icelandic reindeer grazing on one of the plains with snowcapped mountains in the background. Pulling the car over and quickly grabbing my camera from the backseat; I could shoot this scene from the roadside at a distance that did not disturb the reindeer or taking the time to set up my equipment. It was quick, fast and easy. As a result I managed to get my first ever shot of grazing wild reindeer.
The second example happened in a small way while driving along as we passed many Icelandic horses. They are stunning playful creatures and never too shy to pose for a quick photo. But on this particular morning we pulled over to get some images of the horses and the moon was just falling behind one particular horse that appeared to be smiling for the camera. The horse was some distance away but the SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens captured the frame perfectly.
The third example and the one that is the most poignant for me resulted in one of my favourite images from the entire trip. We were on the coast at Stokksnes shooting an incredible mountain called the Vestrahorn. This is a beautiful location and landscape photography heaven for most photographers. On this occasion I had my SIGMA 12-24 | Art lens and filter system all set up doing long exposure shots of the sunrise alongside the Vestrahorn. I had spent a fair amount of time scouting out my spot and positioning my equipment to capture this stunning scene, when I noticed that to the other side of me a big bright moon was just about to set behind another set of peaks to the West. While my main camera was busy shooting two minute exposures I didn’t want to disturb my gear. Once again the perfect opportunity had come around for my SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens to steal the show. I grabbed my second body from my bag and just managed to get the image before the moon disappeared behind the mountains. This image has one of the most popular from the trip and would not have been possible without the SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary lens by my side.
Along the week the SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lens constantly surprised me with its versatility and image quality, proving it to be invaluable while on this road trip. Taking in everything from frozen waterfalls, to seals swimming in the Glacier Bay, this compact travel lens was ready for action. The multipurpose use of this lens is attractive but so also are a number of other interesting features that adds to its already impressive properties. One of the most notable for me was the zoom mechanism itself; along with the traditional twist of the lens zoom the SIGMA 100-400mm | Contemporary also has a built in push/pull mechanism to quickly find your angle of view and composition. Plus the lens hood is an exclusive design for this lens to work with the push/pull mechanism to offer smooth control while finding your required lens distance. The top performance, functionality and multi discipline possibilities of the SIGMA 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary lens would make it a welcome and valuable piece of equipment in any camera bag.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article, and I hope you enjoy the sample images from this amazing little lens.
See some of Tom’s other articles: