A Wild Canadian tale
Sigma 60-600mm Sport
on Sony α7rIII (with Sigma MC-11 ring adapter)
Ph. Francesco Riccardo Iacomino
Today I take you to Telegraph Cove, a small and sleepy fisherman's village on the northwest coastline of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia - Canada.
It is a picturesque outpost that represents the ideal point to set sail in search of some adventure through the waters and inlets that wind in the marine park called Broughton Archipelago.
And it is here that, during our trip to the West of Canada, I was able for the first time to test the versatility and qualities of the new Sigma 60-600mm Sport on field, supplied by SIGMA Foto Italia (thanks to M-trading )
To tell you about my experience with this versatile all-rounder SIGMA, this time I chose to limit the story to a single, intense travel experience, lasting just 2 hours.

On August 16th, in the afternoon we decide to join a Whale Watching tour on Zodiac, a small and fast open inflatable boat that will guide us through the archipelago's coves, hunting for wildlife sightings.

I mount the SIGMA 60-600 Sport on a Manfrotto monopod, set at minimum height, so I can stay seated and have a support on which to turn the lens: the amazing focal excursion (60-600mm) obviously pays a price in terms of weight , which however remains more than acceptable, even freehand.
We sail among the waters of the Ocean, which here remain entangled in the gorges and inlets of the archipelago, whose lands are covered as far as the eye can see by a green mantle of conifers.
It is a beautiful day, a strong breeze has prevented the risk of downpours by sweeping out clouds, while the surface of the water ripples.
600mm - f 6.3 - 1/2000s - ISO 5000
A few meters from the coast, two splendid killer whales emerge. 
They are so-called "resident" specimens, they do not dive longer than 4-5 minutes, feed mainly on fish and have a dorsal fin more rounded than those "transient".
Once in a narrow fjord, the opposite streams of water create a stalemate zone, in which it is possible to turn off the Zodiac's engine to listen to the silent breath of nature.
On the east side, we hear the call of a bird of prey.
It is a splendid white-headed eagle, called the Bald Eagle, widely distributed in North America, so much so that it has become the symbol of the United States itself.
600mm - f 6.3 - 1/1600s - ISO 12800
I push SIGMA to 600mm and I succeed in photographing the eagle in the act of recall, thanks to the precise focusing.
She is a female, apparently calling someone on the other side of the fjord. We are right in the middle of the creek, with the engine still off.
We follow his gaze and turn our heads westward, searching for the call receiver.
600mm - f 6.3 - 1/2000s - ISO 10000
There he was, right above us, a small eagle crouched on the nest. The plumage of the head is still dark, it will become white only once adult, while the beak will be tinged with yellow.
The mother, on the other side, continues to recall him, but the young eagle has no intention of hovering on his first flight and remains safe in the branches.

The excellent stabilization of the SIGMA allows me to shoot quietly at 600mm, while the excellent noise resistance of Sony makes me completely forget the ISO problem, which range to over 10,000 without any matter.
We leave the nest and continue on the icy ocean waters to a wider bay. On the horizon we see an interesting "movement" in the air.
133mm - f 9 - 1/640s - ISO 640
A flock of seagulls screams and whirls on a circumscribed portion of the ocean, probably indicating the presence of schools of fish.

We understand that the banquet is particularly interesting when we see Her again, the beautiful Bald Eagle.

I have never photographed birds in flight, but I studied the techniques before coming to Canada and I try to put them into practice. Sony is set up correctly, at high ISO and short times, so I raise up the SIGMA, aim and shoot.
The focus is perfect, the reactivity of SIGMA surprises me, as well as the unexpected manageability in the "topical" moment.
600mm - f 9 - 1/2000 - ISO 2000
I can freeze some moments of the elegant flight of the eagle, which continues to swirl among the seagulls.
Not far away we see a dorsal fin: it is a humpback whale!

The exif of the shot indicate 71mm of focal length on SIGMA: it is very close.
We begin to hope being able to see a "whale feeding", the moment in which the whale opens its jaws on the surface, to feed on krill and small fish. Would be great!
71mm - f 8 - 1/320 - ISO 250
Meanwhile, the eagle continues to contend for space and fish with the much more numerous seagulls, creating unprecedented aerial battle scenes.
600mm - f 9 - 1/2000 - ISO 4000
It is an intense and electrifying moment: we find ourselves with the engine off in the middle of the bay, with hundreds of birds dancing on our heads, puffs of whales on the horizon, while the light of late afternoon warms up.

We are sitting on the Zodiac, on the water, when a strange silence suddenly pervades the bay, and the unthinkable happens:
Less than 3 meters away an immense whale emerges with its mouth wide open, leaving us astonished, without breath or words.

I am caught completely by surprise, I am not ready, I am puzzled.

It is an instant, in which I struggle to realize what is happening. I have time to instinctively shoot, without looking in the viewfinder: result is a totally out of focus photograph, in which the details of the whale's mouth are barely visible in the foreground.​​​​​​​
475mm
The fascination of naturalistic photography also lies in this: we try to seize the moment, in a race against time, in search of unrepeatable moments.

And I just lost that moment 😄

Next to me, Francesca tries to recover from the shock and distractedly flows the images that in turn managed to shoot. Happy surprise: she went much better, and at least the details of the cetacean are more visible (SIGMA 100-400 c)
Wow, the moment was really intense and everyone on the boat is still incredulous.

As for me, I am pervaded by feelings of wonder, excitement and disappointment (for not being able to shoot the whale feeding).

I know I missed a more unique occasion, from a photographic point of view, but I am also aware of having experienced an extraordinary naturalistic moment.
I decide to follow the puff of the whale on the horizon as it slowly moves away, while still all around the occupants of the Zodiac comment incredulously on the sighting.
I notice other birds in the distance, right on the whale's path.
This time I have no excuse: the chances of the humpback whale going back to raise its head to eat are very few, but I can't miss the opportunity.
So I aim in the distance, push the SIGMA to 600mm, I try to imagine the point where it can surface and ...
Here it is again!
This time I can frame and shoot at the right time. The focus of the SIGMA is precise and the framing is perfect, with a warm blade of light that illuminates the scene from the east.
Fantastic, I couldn't have asked for better. Now the experience fully satisfies me also from the photographic point of view.

Returning towards Telegraph Cove, we pass again through the narrow fjords of the archipelago, when on a bank we place side by side a marvelous black bear intent to find shellfish.
I thank the focal excursion of the SIGMA, which allows me to set the subject without forcing me into a narrow frame. Also this time, in fact, the meeting is much closer than I expected, so having the possibility of enlarging the frame is an essential advantage.

The evening was magnificent and it is time to return.

The breeze becomes more intense, the ocean ripples and the sky turns purple on the horizon.

What more could you want?
Orcas! orcas at sunset, that's what!
A small pod of killer whales, this time "transient", swim swiftly towards us, in favor of sunset.
Arrived a few meters from us, they turn towards the west. They are very close and I thank again the focal excursion of the SIGMA that allows me to enlarge the frame to 112mm, for a last magic shot.
112mm - 1/500 - f10 - ISO 6400
What a wonderful evening!

Only two hours, but so full of emotions to be remembered forever.

The variety and unpredictability of the situations made me appreciate the incredible versatility of the SIGMA 60-600mm, without which I would not have been able to capture such different and unexpected moments.
The quality of the images is surprising at all focal points, and the weight is all in all content. 
SIGMA 60-600 Sport is just the lens you would like to have in such adventures, and I wouldn't replace it with any other.

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino
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