photo method

These pictures from Dusseldorf and Cologne, except for one, were taken with a Sigma DP1 camera on a small tripod that I carry in my pocket. I only shoot a picture handheld if there is no tripod available and if there is no place to rest the camera.  I have a sturdy small tripod that I can hold against fixed objects to create a vibration free mount for the camera.  I usually shoot a 2 second delay so that my motion of depressing the shutter release won’t affect the picture.

My habit is to shoot the smallest aperture possible.  The Sigma DP1 has a maximum lens opening of 15 seconds and a smallest aperture of F11.   I usually shoot F11 and give it whatever time the meter suggests for the available light.  I only go to larger apertures if there’s no other choice for the shot, like if there’s some action involved that needs to be stopped or if there’s not enough light at 15 seconds for F11.

The Sigma DP1 is basically a pocket camera and has no optical zoom so any zooming on the image comes from post processing enlargement.  I shoot everything in RAW format and then process with Photoshop Elements.  Since the RAW images are fairly high density I can often pull out a distance portion of the image to effectively zoom in.

In post processing the first thing I do is sharpen to bring up the available detail to the max.  I adjust all brightness and contrast values to maximize discretion without blurring the lines.  I push color saturation as far as I can without becoming too unrealistic.  I bring up shadows and mute burned out areas.

The Sigma’s lens produces a little optical vignetting, a little fish eyed, so I correct for that.  I usually correct for  perspective too which entails skewing the image to square up the sides to vertical as much as possible.  Some times this produces unrealistic results, but I figure with digital photography, reality is the starting point.

Anyway, I’ve had this little camera for a couple years.  I think Sigma has gone on to subsequent versions of it, a DP2, and I don’t know what they changed on it.  I did a firmware upgrade on my DP1 before this last trip and it seemed to perform really well.  This little camera captures color and light like no other.

Sigma sunrise 11/28/10Olympus sunrise 11/28/10

The ideal solution is a high end Sigma with its direct RGB sensor, large glass and optical zoom…..and someone who will pay me to shoot it.

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