Wednesday, October 4, 2017

'The Light from Within'. Sigma Art lenses. A real world application in amazing Cambodia with MK.

Real life results with the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 wide angle zoom lens.
The 50mm Art f1.4 lens and the 24-105mm Art f4 lens in Cambodia.
all images by Michael Klinkhamer/ with Sigma art lenses.

Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens.

Sigma 50mm f 1.4  Art lens.

Sigma Art 24-105mm f4

Shooting with my trusty Nikon D160 FX and Nikkor lenses during the Cambodian Photo tours is always challenging and rewarding.

Being a longtime user of the pro line Nikkor lenses since 2008 I am getting great results, but I also love to experiment and work with other exquisite glass on my Nikon if the opportunity arises
The  Cambodian Sigma lenses importer W&H based in Phnom Penh Cambodia asked me to do a few test shots with some of their Sigma Art lenses.

I  have had heard some good things about Sigma during my workshops. About incredible improvements in build and optical quality. Sigma has changed their strategy by going for quality products instead for cheap mass production. Happy to give it a go!

Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 wide angle zoom lens.
The 50mm Art f1.4 lens and the 24-105mm Art f4 lens.

My first impressions were good, but honestly also a bit of a shock regarding the image 'clear look' and overall build quality compared to my nikkor plastic 50mm f1.8

The Sigma lenses are yours for around $900-$1200 and give you some serious optical and optical material quality for your buck. But are they as good as the Nikons or close to the Zeiss Milvus lenses?

As was able to run the Sigma lenses for a while through their paces during my acclaimed photoworkshop and photo tours in Cambodia. We traveled around in Phnom Penh, and extensively visited Siem Reap- with its world heritage Angkor Wat Temples and also visited some amazing rural location along the Mekong river near Kratie.
I have not edited the images much at all, in order to maintain the 'original' RAW file optical image quality of the Sigma's with the Nikon d610 camera combo as much as possible. 
Yes, I did some perspective control in Lightroom, some highlights and shadow detail was retrieved. A bit off 'Punch' in LR because I like that but left the 'base' Sigma look intact.

Especially the Sigma Art 24-105mm f4 lens was  particularly my favorite, natural and all round workhorse lens. Not only for its slightly longer reach of 105mm, instead of 70mm on the Nikkor zoom but because of its nice built quality, smooth zoom and the main reason; the very sharp and beautiful contrasty results this lens gave me.

At times this lens performed so well it seems there was actually something magical about it, and it seemed as if the light came actually from within the lens. But hey! 
This is Cambodia after all and the light is magical at times as are the beautiful people here. 
The special 50mm Art lens was amazing too, wide open for beautiful 'bokeh' and super sharpness. Great standard portrait and fashion lens.
The Sigma 24-105mm f4 did also perform extremely well in that department  plus the 24mm to 105mm wider & longer lens perspective is what you need on the road all the time. 
Have a look at some of my image results:

Angkor Wat Temples-Ta Prohm Photo Collection by MK with Sigma Art.

'Cham' River nomads community near Phnom Penh photo collection with Sigma Art by MK©. 

Cambodian Temple Life, Landscapes and Stills and Mekong River photo Collection by MK©

Sunday, July 30, 2017

'Welcome to the Jungle' An architectural photo perspective of the Yellow Building in Phnom Penh Cambodia.

Photography: Michael Klinkhamer© 

Following a ride over the Japanese Bridge across the Tonle Sap to “The Other Side”, you take a right turn and head along the peninsula, towards the confluence with the Mekong, the 7-storey Yellow Tower rises up, easily visible from the Riverside, an unusual building specially designed as a workplace for technology and development.
The Green Penthouse is the creation of the Gjemmestad family, who have lived in South East Asia for 23 years. It sits at the top of the Yellow Tower, their home for business and family in Phnom Penh.
The vision for creating a nature-inspired environment in the city came to the family after spending time deep in the Cambodian jungle, in the Kirirom National Park, just two hours drive outside of Phnom Penh. Coming back to the city they didn’t want to leave the jungle behind, so they brought it with them.
They built the Yellow Tower into a living vertical forest, experimenting with growing over 100 plant species on the façade and within the building.

Now, encased by 2,400m² of climbing plant life, the vertical forest on the Yellow Tower is a testament to the family’s relationship with nature—a reminder that while cities grow, plants were here before us and will be here after us. This reminder inspires a sense of awe—one of the most restorative emotions we can experience. It improves health, instills calmness, opens intuition and boosts creativity. It promotes altruism, and gives us the capacity to cope with life’s demands.

As the curved-glass elevator speeds up the front edge of the tower, the view up and down the Tonle Sap and across to the Riverside district swiftly becomes a stunning panorama.
The architects believe the building offers attractive, specifically designed space for creative work and development.
The architects’ design purpose was to create “a sense of an environment inspired by nature” with a buffer between the hot sun and the working space. Each floor has its own dedicated IT room and storage, along with an executive bathroom and shower, plus two other toilets on each floor for ladies and gents.
The building was designed with eight meters between the columns, offering large, unbroken open spaces, each floor with a different style of mezzanine; each floor five meter high.

The architects wanted a lot of natural light and to follow a “permaculture” principle in which, for example, the climbing plants would survive on their own without any maintenance, according to a “forest in the city” concept. “A forest does not need people to survive.”
The different varieties of climbing vines include species that will yield fruit, the architects hope, but because of the wind they are now experimenting to see which vines will adapt best to the conditions.
The peninsula where Yellow Tower is located is steeped in Cambodian history. The armies of Champa paddled right by on their way up the Tonle Sap to sack Angkor Wat in 1177.
Phnom Penh in those days was known as Krong Chaktomuk, meaning “City of Four Faces” because the confluence of the Mekong, the Tonle Sap the Tonle Bassac form an “X” that is embedded deeply in the history and the psychology of Southeast Asia.
“This is a place where you get fresh air, a constant breeze, a nice view, and feel close to nature. To inspire a creative and productive workspace is the idea behind Yellow Tower,” said one of the architects, sitting on the sixth floor looking out over Tonle Sap as the sun set in spectacular colors on the horizon.