Smilin' Wide - With Sigma
Did goe to the Gillam Road industrial area yesterday and was greatley entertained - and was sunne-struck and flye-blowne...But true to the code of the photographer I got the images I went out for.
Having been alerted by a reader that there was to be a Sunday morning hot rod meet in this industrial area - a street with panel shops and wrecker's yards - I moseyed in the bright sun and was rewarded with a good selection of rods and some kustoms, as well as modern street racers. I was ready with the basic kit - D300 Nikon, 18-200VRII lens, and SB700 flash. I also took the Sigma 8-16 lens and for a very good purpose.
Have a look at the purple Cadillac - pearl lilac with ghost flames. That's a big GM grin on the front of it taken with the 18-200VRII and it is dead in front with the SB700 lighting into the shadows at +0.3. This sort of lighting means that later in the process you don't need to start fiddling with shadows.
Now have a look at the red Chevrolet. Even a bigger grin, but this time look at the exaggeration of the headlamp housings out at the side. That's the Sigma 8-16 in operation, again with fill from the Nikon SB700. Love it or hate it, that's the effect you'll get when you step in close with something that goes this wide. I love it, and I love the fact that the Sigma doesn't fish-eye on me - the edge lines are straight. Mind you, finding a straight line on one of Harley Earl's designs is pretty rare.
Ah, but the explanation for the 8-16 is coming. One pont is that if you are forced into a short-shoot situation - like a museum, art gallery, or auto show where there is very little space to move between the rows of cars, the Sigma lens will let you capture the entire body. It pays to get into a position where you are not looking down or up, to prevent the distortions of foreshortening, and you may have to bob down to the floor to do this, but you can document the entire shape in the tiniest spaces.
The real reason I love using this lens is seen in the shot of the interior of - yet another - Chevrolet. Rodders do not want you to touch their cars - you can admire but do not sit inside them or scratch up the fabulous paintwork. Fortunately they are kind enough to leave the windows down at shows and this is the place that the Sigma 8-16 gets used. All you have to do is poke the nose of the lens carefully over the sill of the window and it sees the entire interior. In the case of Model A or Model T sedans that have not been chopped there is plenty of room to direct the SB700 flash into the car with either a Nikon or Lightsphere diffuser.
It gets tricky when you get to a chopped rod or kustom. I have found it best to de-mount the flash, turn it to "remote", and control it with the on-board flash on the D300. Then you can pop it over the window sill alongside the camera and get flashy without getting touchy.
If you were a person engaged in selling something that you wish to present as being grander and more spacious than it really is, this would be the lens to do it. It has been suggested that real estate photographers might do this but I cannot believe that this fine body of professionals would stoop to such tactics and we have the lenses in Canon, Nikon, and Pentax fitting in case I am wrong...
I am going along to the next FIAT owners meeting and make Topolino into a Bugatti Royale...