Urban & Architecture Photography


Posts in Travel Photography
Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC USM Art Lens review: Sharp, sharp, sharp!

Following on from my initial thoughts of the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC HSM Art lens, have my feelings changed about this lens?  Or has extended use the lens brought us closer together?

I decided to try out this lens during a recent holiday to the Greek island of Santorini.  I do not normally do travel photography and I can honestly say after my time in Santorini I have a greater appreciation of the travel photographers art - how they achieve anything worthwhile whilst working in such blistering heat is beyond me!  Anyway, moving on...

The image quality is fantastic

I normally shoot between f5.6 and f11 and the image quality is excellent within this range.  One thing that was particularly noticeable was the lack of flare on the lens in such harsh sunlight and chromatic aberrations were virtually nil.  All images looked fantastically sharp, even prior to RAW processing in Lightroom – I actually found myself questioning whether I had applied sharpening to the image already and had to double check.

18-35mm reach is fine (for me)

I had no issues shooting with what some would regard as a limited reach.  I prefer to shoot minimal style images so this suits me but I can certainly understand that most travel photographers would find this limiting.  That said, It really is worth considering exactly what type of images you are going to shot before opting for a lens such as this.

It's still too heavy

As a travel lens I think this lens is too heavy - I will stick to my primes from now onThe Sigma weighs in at 1.79lb on its own so add that to a camera, and even a light bag and it can be become a bit bothersome to lug around.  That by being said if you want to take quality images using an Nikon APS-C camera then the extra bit of weight is perhaps worth the bother.

Handheld, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100 @ 31mm

Handheld, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100 @ 31mm

Conclusion:  Is the worth buying?

There is no denying that the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Lens  is a fantastic lens.  The sharpness you can achieve on a Nikon APS-C camera is fantastic.  As I stated earlier I usually shoot between f5.6-f11 but when I did shoot at f2.8 image quality appeared to be maintained.  Really, the only downside for me is the weight, it is really is noticeable, if you used to using prime lens.  That being said if you want sharp images this is the lens you need.

Have you used this lens or have any questions about?  Leave a comment below.

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Urban photography in Edinburgh: Four hours in Leith

Being a 'Leither' it is always great to get back to 'Sunny Leith'.  However, with my time limited to just four hours I'll have to chance my luck with the weather and have planned to focus my energies in the 'Shore' area of the town.

The Victoria Swing Bridge crosses the Water of Leith in the dock area. Completed in 1874 it was originally used to transfer goods from shipos to storgae areas in docks

The Victoria Swing Bridge crosses the Water of Leith in the dock area. Completed in 1874 it was originally used to transfer goods from shipos to storgae areas in docks

Leith has undergone a mass of regeneration over the last twenty or so years with many new buildings having been built along the 'Shore' area and beyond.  As such, Leith is a heady mix of the old and modern meaning it is a must visit for any photographer in and around Edinburgh.  Get down there!

Originally a port town, Leith built up around the docks.  Parts of the docks are still in use so there is always activity in the area.  What is also great to see is that despite the regeneration, many original original pieces of Leith's architecture are easily found.

Creating abstract street art photographs: the East Side Gallery

Probably the world's best known and most visited street art destination, the East Side Gallery (ESG) is home to over 100 paintings by artists from across the globe and at approximately 1.3km in length the ESG is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.

The ESG is always busy and it can be difficult to get the shots you after.  During my visit in December 2016, in a bitterly cold Berlin winter there were still a great number of visitors.  So how do you get some good shots without just hanging around and waiting for people to move on?

Abstract Street Art Berlin East Side Gallery

Going abstract is great way to get some interesting images.  Even with a wide lens it can be difficult to get complete artworks in one shot.  Many of my best shots are close-up shots which focus on a specific part of an artwork or are an abstract shot.

It is also possible to get a good close-up shot with a little thought to your compostition (see below).  With this shot I could have cropped out the posters or other parts of pen made graffiti, butI like what these elements add to the image.

You can make some colourful abstract shots like this one taken at the ESG

You can make some colourful abstract shots like this one taken at the ESG

The paintings at the ESG are an artistic and a historical document which highlight the hopes and fears of those people who found freedom due to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I first visited Berlin in 2015 and it was interesting to see how some of the artwork had been altered via graffiti in the space of just one year.  Perhaps this is why much of the work is now behind corrugated fences.