Pre-visualise the scene without having the camera to the eye
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 320, F1.4, 1/160s
Serendipity and the never-ending possibilities are what photography means to me.
After 30 years of full-time photography, I am still learning new techniques every day. My true love is to just walk with one camera, one lens, without an agenda and capture what attracts my eye, whether it is shapes, colours or symmetry. The walk could be for only five minutes or from early morning to late evening, it all just depends on where the day takes me.
Photography for me started way back in the late 70s, when my uncle Ernie showed me his camera. When I asked him how it works, he said to me “it’s really complicated”. My dad then gave me a camera for my birthday that same year.
Fast forward to 1992. I left my job working at an estate agency to become a ‘freelance photographer’ and to be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I learned all I could through reading, shooting a lot of film, and by making lots of mistakes, which taught me some harsh but needed lessons.
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 100, F1.4, 1/320s,
Sitting in a bird watching cabin as the sun sets and birds flock overhead. Wonderful colour rendition and
background blur created by the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art.
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 160, F7.1, 1/500s
The crows perched as a man passes by. When everything comes together. It’s just at the moment when everything connects and it’s these moments that makes all the time and effort of finding the image worthwhile.
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 320, F5, 1/500s,
The Danger of Death sign was my main interest when taking this image. To play on the words, I was waiting for someone to pass by, ideally vaping to create a huge cloud of smoke. I composed, manually focussed and waited… After quite a few shots and 20 minutes later someone passed by blowing their nose.
Since then, I have travelled extensively for my work, producing images for multiple publications and publishing two books. I now work on long term essays such as Brighton Beach UK since 2000 and the Kent coast since 2020 and use a combination of my favourite focal lengths, such as 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm.
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 320, F5.6, 1/320s
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 640, F8, 1/250s
Seagulls flocking in the evening. It’s not easy to create an image of flocking birds as there needs to be a point of reference. This was the best and last in a set of 25 images. What I love about the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art is how it condenses perspective more than wide angle lenses, bringing the whole scene a little closer.
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 640, F3.2, 1/160s,
A fisherman sits and waits. I love the quality of light and how the scene is rendered. This is near dark with the main source of illumination being the clouds as they glowed whilst the sun dipped below the horizon.
* The images without photograph data have been created with lenses other than SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 160, F6.3, 1/200s
I must say the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art is a very special lens to me. It has many uses from landscape to portrait, whilst the F1.4 aperture allows for wonderful shallow depth of field effects that separate and isolate the subject, plus it allows me to not even bother taking a tripod with me, as the light gathering ability of the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art lens is superb.
Photography is more often about just being in the right place at the right time. The image above captures Folkestone harbour at the right time, towards the end of day as the clouds glow with the remnants last light. The SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art was the right lens needed to capture this moment.
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 1000, F4, 1/125s
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art, SIGMA fp L, ISO 320, F3.5, 1/160s
Taken in The Lanes, Brighton. This area of very narrow streets and low light is perfect for the fast 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art.
Someone drawing on the condensation of the window. This was a quick reaction ‘snapshot’.
It was quite dark and I saw what was happening very late and managed only a few images before there was nothing to see.
Street photography requires quick thinking and occasional stealth to capture the moment. Spontaneity to see something before it happens with the ability and understanding of your gear to adjust camera settings without thinking too much. Focusing the mind on the scene and not on the gear. The ability to pre-visualise the scene without having the camera to the eye makes 50mm F1.4 DG DN a perfect choice.
For these reasons, I take my time on the street seriously, regardless of the length of the walk. ‘Nifty 50’ lenses have their place in photographic history as they have been used by the greats such as Henry Cartier-Bresson and Garry Winogrand. The SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG DN | Art is in fact a kind of Goldilocks choice out of all lens options, because it’s not too wide and not too telephoto, closely resembling what the eye sees with little distortion. The lens delivers exactly what I want from this type of focal length.