Enter the photograph,
tame the landscape

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F4, 1/1250s

The natural landscape, for me, is the ultimate inspiration; the real engine of my photographic passion. I started to get passionate about photography at the exact moment I discovered my love for landscapes.

This has led me gradually to move farther away from home, looking for new landscapes that fascinate me. I therefore began to travel, and shifted my gaze to a variety of elements – including people, cultures and architecture – that today have made me a travel photographer. However, wherever I go, the natural landscape still represents for me the essence of the experience.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F4, 1/320s

It is difficult to say which focal length is best for photographing landscapes, but If I had to choose , it is 24mm. 24mm is the standard/wide-angel focal length of most wide-angle zoom lenses. Not surprisingly, 24mm is (about) the equivalent focal length of every basic lens on our smartphones. It’s because the 24mm focal range is perfect for photographing everything we see in front of us, without distortion. A bit like our eyes when they “slide” to admire a landscape.

During the first weeks of summer, I traveled to central Italy, to the roots of the landscape, testing this lens in its ideal habitat.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art proved to be a surprisingly light and compact lens. It fits perfectly with my mirrorless camera body (Sony α7R III). It is engineered and designed specifically for the mirrorless world. The extraordinary F1.4 wide aperture is not just functional for night photography, but helps the artist truly connect with their environment. Personally, I love the blurred parts in a wide-angle shot, even in bright light. The connection between the eye and the scene with the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art is seamless. It’s as though one is shooting with their eyes, which is great.

* The images without photograph data have been created
with other lenses other than SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art.

The easy handling and lightness of the lens allows you to always hold it in your hand, without being affected. Personally, I use a wrist strap, not a shoulder strap around my neck, so I find the weight and balance of my camera and lens fundamental.

I love wandering aimlessly in the fields and rolling hills of Tuscany burned by the sun. Feeling the yellow golden stems at sunset, the warm blue sky.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F8, 1/400s

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F1.4, 1/1250s

When evening falls, the starry sky on the fields awakens the senses and inspiration, so I tried to shoot the night sky with SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Arton the cypress trees of San Quirico.

I found it very satisfying to turn the notched ring of the aperture up to F1.4. Personally, I really appreciate this deliberate detail: it reminds me of a click safe dial, or that of a chronograph, a pleasant feeling of substance and precision. At F1.4, it was not necessary to wait for the “rising” of the Milky Way… the sensor quickly and easily detected and captured the multitude of stars in the sky.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 3200, F1.4, 10s

Another technical feature that deserves to be mentioned is the Manual Focus Lock Switch: it is a switch that disables the manual focus ring once the focus is fixed. It is extremely useful when, at night, you want to adjust the frame after focusing. With this button, you can safely move to a totally different location and keep that infinite focus set.

I then continued my journey in central Italy, heading further south towards Umbria, with the aim of testing the color rendering of this special lens during flowering at Castelluccio di Norcia.

Colors are vivid and real, intense, almost pictorial.
At night, in the total absence of light pollution, except for the flash of a car in the distance, I decided to wait for the rise of the Milky Way the pictures were impressive.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 3200, F1.4, 15s

Being lost in that immense, enchanted landscape, without houses or any manmade construction, under a blanket of stars, was a dream. Thanks to this extraordinary lens I was able to make it a reality.

This is, moreover, the main purpose of travel and landscape photography for me; to evoke emotions and sensations. Awaken in the soul of a photographer a curiosity for places that, perhaps, they have never before, visited.

When I shoot, I always try to create a photograph that can recall the emotion felt when I took the shot, even after years. If looking at a photograph, you can feel the emotional strength of a scene that you have not experienced, that is a good photograph.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F8, 1/400s

But why choose a 24mm prime lens instead of a wide-angle zoom?
The answer, in my opinion, lies in the different approach to photography, both “physical” and mental.

This prime lens is lighter, brighter and has better optical performance.
Finally, and above all, a prime lens pushes you to improve, to expand your creative vision, to think before you shoot. Zoom is useful, but is often a shortcut.

In travel photography, a zoom lens can be limiting. If you have the chance to zoom in, you will inevitably be led to do so, very often losing the best shot, which is probably just a few steps away from you. A prime lens requires you to move toward the picture… it does not come to you and you cannot just shoot. This is a slower approach to photography, and in my opinion, more sophisticated, and certainly more rewarding.

This 24mm lens really pushed me into the scene. In Tuscany, I witnessed the movement of a flock of sheep without a shepherd. The flock first went to a pond to drink and then continued to the hills.

If I had a zoom lens, I would probably have just photographed this scene from a distance. However, with the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art mounted, I did not hesitate to approach stealthily, until the frame perfectly contained the flock and I was able to witness this beautiful scene up close, feeling part of it.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F7.1, 1/400s

A few days later, in Umbria, in the plains of Castelluccio, I noticed some cowboys on a ranch, who were shoeing the hooves of a horse.

In the past, I would probably have mounted my telephoto lens, maybe a medium-tele, stood tens of meters from the scene and taken the shot.

This time, together with the SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, I decided instead to approach the scene. I was also able to make contact (visual and textual) with the cowboys, and I was able to capture the scene closely, entering the photograph.

The result was a more intimate and real shot, without the intermediation of distance or the artifact of the compression of the perspective plane.

I took the same approach with the pristine pastures in Umbria. The SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art made me rediscover the emotion of encountering wild herds, necessarily having to approach the subject to embrace the scene and be part of it.

I was able to live an intimately satisfying experience, enjoying the same spirit of freedom that I was photographing.

The SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art allows a photographer to literally “tame” the landscape, both at night and daytime, as well as to personally be a part of the photograph, returning not only extraordinary shots, but extremely intense experiences, precisely because they were captured as they unfolded, naturally and without disruption.

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F4.5, 1/1000s

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art,
SONY α7R III, ISO 100, F1.4, 1/3200s

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F4.5, 1/640s

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F1.4, 1/640s

SIGMA 24mm F1.4 DG DN | Art,
Sony α7R III, ISO 100, F4, 1/640s

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