Category Archives: Blog

Sigma 24mm f 1.4 Review… Stephen Alvarez


Gullfoss, Iceland

ISO 500, f 5.6 1/500 sec Canon 5D MK III

Every photographer has a way that they see. A type of light, a subject and sometimes a lens type that they just see best in. As far as the lens goes my go to has always been a 24mm. No matter if I am shooting a cave or a cathedral, the 24 is just the way my eye works. Of course I use lenses both longer or wider but if I have to chooses just one it is the trusty 24.

Now I am a big fan of the Sigma Art lenses. The Art 50mm f 1.4 is one of the best “normal’ lenses out there. It is certainly the best 50mm I have ever owned so I was happy when Sigma asked me to take a look at their Art series 24mm f 1.4.

Like the Art 50mm, the build quality of the lens it great. It actually feels more substantial than the Canon 24 1.4 I previously owned. It is heavy but also seems like it will put up with years of professional use.

Optically the lens is also very good. I’ve been shooting it lately …

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It seems I’m back to the obituaries again. Around two weeks ago I read in the Washington Post and the New York Times about the passing of journalist David Lamb at age 76. A long time foreign correspondent for the Los Angles Times and author of numerous books, Lamb was the reason I was able to spend the summer of 1990 going to baseball games.

Early that year a picture editor at National Geographic had met Lamb at a cocktail party in Washington, D.C and heard that Lamb had taken a sabbatical from his newspaper job and was crossing the country in a used mobile home in order to write Stolen Season, a book about baseball’s minor leagues. Lamb would eventually travel 16,000 miles in his research for the book. The picture editor who’d attended the cocktail party suggested to the Geographic’s story committee that a magazine article could be done about the minor leagues to be written by Lamb and they agreed.

When the magazine decided to do a minor leagues story I was in some hotel room–just where I don’t now remember–and I got a call from National Geographic’s director of photography, Tom Kennedy. I wasn’t on staff …

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World Refugee Day – 20 June


Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq, Kawergosk Refugee Camp

My name is Alan, Leila, Amir, Maria, Bashir, Malaika, Jose, Adel, Ali, Samuel, Samira, Mohammad, Janice, Nahom, Akol. My name is neither Migrant nor Refugee.

Just like your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister, just like this child you care about, I love laughing, playing, I love being consoled, I love cuddling my parents and I love going to school.

I have lost my paradise and I am not sure if I’ll ever find it again.

Would you mind if your child share his paradise with me?

Since December 2013, I have been organizing photography workshops targeting young refugees in the refugee camps located in Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq, in order to train them to the language of images. Today, about fifteen children and youths are taking part in the workshop in the Kawergosk refugee camp to become the witnesses of their own reality, to become “camp reporters”. Since then, two other workshops have opened in the Kabarto refugee camp for young Yezidi refugees and in Baxika refugee camp, near Sulaymaniyah. Since the last International Day for Refugees, throughout the year, we have run many projects in order to display their photographs to the …

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Proboscis monkey becomes National Geographic Photo Ark’s 6000th species.

A proboscis monkey at the Singapore Zoo has become the 6000th species to come on board the National Geographic Photo Ark! Males of this species may use that huge nose to attract females and to amplify alarm calls as well. 

A breeding colony of these endangered primates is kept at the Singapore Zoo, one of the only places in the world where the animal can be seen under human care.

Severely threatened by habitat loss and hunting, this animal lives in Borneo, which is being ravaged by logging, primarily for palm oil plantations and human settlement.

A proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) at the Singapore Zoo.

A proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) at the Singapore Zoo.

A proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) at the Singapore Zoo.


The post Proboscis monkey becomes National Geographic Photo Ark’s 6000th species. appeared first on Joel Sartore.

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I recently got a telephone call from my son, Anthony.

“Hey, backyard engineer,” he said, “How’s everything?”

That salutation was due because of my recent efforts—eventually successful—at turning your ordinary Coleman cooler into a fish live well for the 14 foot jon boat Ani and I recently bought so that we might take advantage of living close to the Rivanna Reservoir here in the Charlottesville area as well as to explore some of the Virginia lakes of various sizes.

The boat did not come with a live well but I was aware of a number of doityourself  conversions of coolers on Youtube and decided that from one of those I would devise my own.  I am not, by nature, greatly gifted with handyman talents but just how difficult could this be, anyway?  Well, maybe not difficult, but who would have guessed how many trips to Lowes (which is now fortunately much closer to where we live than in the past), how much money for various parts that don’t always quite work the way I’d thought, how many pieces would be left to put into a small box labeled “Left over from building live well.”  In short, I’m sure I …

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Calgary, Alberta Workshop

I’m happy to announce, somewhat belatedly, that I’ll be leading another photographic workshop for The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, next month.  This weekend workshop will run from July 29-31 and will be held on the rodeo and pow-wow grounds of the Tsuut’ina Nation, about a 20 minute drive from Calgary.  This will be the tribe’s 42nd Annual Rodeo and Pow-wow and will offer a great array of photographic potential.  Beside the rodeo and pow-wow there will be craft works for sale, Indian stick games to witness and wonderful people watching opportunities.  As with any native pow-wow there are stipulations regarding what one might not be allowed to photograph and this will be explained prior to the workshop.  Like any other event which offers cultural activities, one always needs to exhibit respect for others.  Asking permission before photographing is always a good thing to do. Consider yourself always in someone else’s back yard and conduct yourself accordingly.  I’m looking forward to this gathering.

Here’s the link to connecting with the workshop:

The workshop will be open for a maximum of 15 students and I believe there are some openings presently available. I’ve done workshops for The Camera Store …

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D-Day+ 72

The trip began as a diversion from the post-election blues in Paris, 1974.  The French had just elected a new President. I’d been lucky enough to be his personal photographer (if you have a choice between driving to the event in Clermont-Ferrand, or hopping the candidate’s private jet, take my advice, go with the jet!)  Two good friends, Tom Herman and Robert Wiener, both of whom were living in Paris, reminded me that as it was the beginning of June, we should head on up to Normandy for what was billed as a big “thank you” to the Allied troops who had, 30 years before, taken part in the D-Day assault which eventually drove the Germans out of France, and ended World War Two.   So off we went in a rented car.   At the time, I hadn’t really put together that anyone I knew at home in Salt Lake, had much to do with the War. Mr. Tolman, whose magic at teaching History only became obvious to me decades later, had been a bomber pilot, and was perhaps the only one I’d met growing up who shared his experiences.  And his take, more impish and full of humor than heroism,…

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Way back in 1966 and 1967, while working on a Houston city story for National  Geographic, I covered two of Muhammed Ali’s fights in the Houston Astrodome, which was then still billed as “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” I was not then or ever, a sports photographer.  I wanted to cover those two fights because I felt I could possibly show the relatively new and dramatic Astrodome in use for something other than a baseball game.  And in truth, I wanted to see the fights.

In November of 1966 Ali destroyed Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in three rounds.  Then in early in 1967 he toyed with Ernie Terrell for 15 rounds, making the taller Terrell suffer through the full length of the fight at the end of which both of Terrell’s eyes were swollen almost shut with just narrow slits remaining, bloody gashes appearing beneath them like sloppily applied scarlet mascara.  Many of the 35,000 in attendance thought Ali could have ended the fight earlier, but he instead taunted Terrell, repeatedly asking him,  ”What’s my name..?” as he mercilessly pummeled the fighter who before the fight had insisted on calling him not by his chosen Muslim name but by …

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So Long, Champ

There are as many Ali stories as there are people, especially photographers, who ever met him. I covered a couple of Ali fights from the nosebleed sections, but it was never so much the fight itself as the days leading up to the fight, that his spirit and personality were so evident. In Kuala Lumpur in the summer of 1975, just weeks after the end of the war in Vietnam, Ali fought Joe Bugner. I’d been doing an East Asia swing through Korea, Hong Kong, en route to Thailand, when it seemed like stopping in KL made the most sense. Ali fights were those kind of events which were captivating in a way that is impossible to describe to a kid who has had a cell fone in hand for his whole life.    The mid 70s was still the land of Telex, letters written by hand, and the very occasional trans-con phone call. The media, such as it was, consisted of weekly magazines (Time, People, Newsweek), the dailies & wires, and the tv nets, with their 16mm sound cameras. It all seems so quaint in the world of instant everything highrez on your wrist. The reason it worked, of

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