As some of you may already know, I belong to the persons who experience wanderlust like very ordinary emotional chaos. At almost every hour at day and at night I’d love to hop on the next plane and explore new worlds. The destination itself isn’t even important for me – the main thing is getting away.
With this attitude I booked my flight to China a couple of weeks ago. From Beijing I took the night train to Guilin and from there a boat to the little town of Yang Shou. After some days of riding the motorbike though the Chinese countryside and rafting tours through breathtaking sceneries it was time to move on. By bus I continued to Hong Kong.
After numerous border controls I found myself in the city of superlatives, as I’d never seen a metropolis like this before. With seven million inhabitants Hong Kong may not be the biggest city I’ve ever visited – cities like Istanbul or Ho Chi Minh are far more densely populated – but it is still the most impressive anyway. The sight of Hong Kong’s skyline was one of the moments that took my breath away. The countless skyscrapers towering along the other side of the ocean, the colorful reflections of the lights and the dramatic nocturnal sky. When I’d calmed down again after this incredible view and as I was able to think again of my favorite pastime, photography, I realized I didn’t have my tripod with me. So I had to try to capture the scene with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and my dear travel companion, the SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art lens. Of course, I had to considerably increase the ISO value of my camera in order to modify light intensity. I decided to open the aperture very wide to capture as much light as possible. In the dark it is very important to pay good attention to the shutter speed. You should be aware of the time you can hold the image without blurring it. As a general rule you can keep in mind that you will need at least 1/50 sec for a 50mm lens, at least 1/70 sec for a 70mm lens and at least 1/200 sec for a tele-zoom lens of 200mm to handhold your camera and shoot.
Another tip is placing your camera on a surface when shooting at night without a tripod. Railings, the ground or a wall can serve as great helping hands and allow you to hold your camera more still.
I took my photos with ISO values of about 3200, an open aperture of 4 and shutter speeds that varied between 1/45 and 1/90. For some support I placed my camera and my arms on various railings.
One advantage of the lens is that it has image stabilization. This can balance up to two apertures, which can be a great help under bad lighting conditions like that one. The focus, which works excellently under normal conditions, had some problems in the dark. I had to focus manually more often since focusing was only working very slowly, but I think you can overlook this fact.
Despite this difficult lighting condition without any appropriate equipment (a tripod or a very strong lens for fixed focus lengths) I’m very happy with my SIGMA 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM | Art lens.