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Portraits in the Swiss Mountains

Two Days in Appenzell with the 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary

Words and Photos: SIGMA Ambassador Kam Vachon | @kamvachon

The Appenzell region in Switzerland is known for its bucolic landscapes and beautiful mountains. If you want to experience traditional Switzerland culture, this region is the most suited for it. As a travel photographer, I’m always searching for authenticity in the countries that I visit. I also have a special interest for old traditions and seeing how life might have been like hundred of years ago.

When I visit a new country, I always plan a multi-day hike. It’s a great way to meet remote communities and photograph interesting stories. While I was in Switzerland, I set out on a 2 days hike to see Saxe Lucke and discover the charm of the Falensee lake. I spent an incredible night at a family farm that made their own cheese.

  My journey began after taking a cable-car up the mountain ridge that would lead me to Saxe Lucke. As soon as I got up there, I was mesmerized by the landscapes. I started walking towards Saxe Lucke and for a few hours, I had a panoramic view of the lush greenery, pristine alpine meadows and majestic mountains surrounding me. This part of the hike was very sunny, therefore I tried to play with light and shadows to create contrast in my images. Here’s one that I particularly love:


A few hours went by and I finally made it to the Saxe Lucke, this mesmerizing mountain peak that I was very excited to see as soon as I arrived in Switzerland. I took a few minutes to take photos of it before descending to the Falensee lake.


For this overnight hike, I decided to bring the Sony Alpha 7 III with SIGMA’s 28-70mm F2.8 | Contemporary lens. Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that when I hike, I want my gear to be as light as possible while being versatile at the same time. I love the 28-70 focal range because it is wide enough to capture the magic of a landscape while also allowing me to zoom in on mountain peaks. Additionally, 70mm when stopped down at F2.8 is a great focal length for environmental portrait. Before leaving the sight of Saxe Lucke to go down to the Falensee lake, I saw a man putting up a tent at the bottom of the mountain. I decided to take a few more photos because having a human element inside landscape photos really help to give a sense of scale.

 On my way down, I met a Swiss family, locals from the Appenzell region. They were all wearing the typical Appenzell hat and earring. I stopped them and explained that I found them very interesting and I’d be honoured to take their portraits. I also grabbed their email to send them the photos afterwards. People love this and it’s a great memory for them.


After taking photos of them, I walked down to the Falensee lake without stopping. It was getting late and I was very hungry, so I didn’t spend too much time around the lake. I walked a few more kilometres before I arrived to the family farm I would be staying at for the night.


When I arrived, I immediately laid my eyes on a very interesting man. He was the elder of the family and his name was Albert. I knew I had to get a portrait of him. A few hours later, Albert went on top of a small hill and did a mountain call with an old Alphorn. The photo opportunity was perfect and as soon as he was done, I asked him to take his portrait. The light was perfect and the mountains in the back made it even more amazing. I can easily say this is one of my favorite portrait in my photography career. For the rest of the evening, I was flying on a cloud being very happy about what I just captured. I slept in the cow’s barn and fell asleep to their mooing.


The next morning, the family served me incredible homemade cheese for breakfast. I saw Albert again, working in the barn. I said a warm goodbye and made my way through the valley, back to my car.

Featured in this Article

28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary
28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary

28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary


Design based on SIGMA’s Art line, with the same uncompromising optical performance
The optical design of the SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary is based on the 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Art, which is renowned for its outstanding optical performance throughout its zoom range. True to the Contemporary line's core concept, the 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary was developed to offer the right balance of performance and portability, and as such, this large-aperture standard zoom delivers outstanding image quality that rivals Art line lenses in a body light enough for day-to-day use. Building on state-of-the-art technology, the 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary has an advanced optical design that includes three aspherical, two FLD, and two SLD elements. Despite using fewer elements in total than the 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Art, the design results in a thorough correction of axial chromatic aberration and sagittal coma aberration, which cannot be corrected in-camera, allowing users to create images that are uniformly sharp from the center to the edges of the frame. Along with its anti-ghosting design, the use of Super Multi-Layer Coating and Nano Porous Coating means well-controlled flare for high-contrast results in backlit conditions. It also features a water and oil repellant coating on the front side of the lens.

In short, the SIGMA 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | Contemporary combines all of the key optical features required of a large-aperture standard zoom lens, which are essential for photographing a wide variety of subjects in a range of shooting conditions.

  • Internal focusing
  • Superb build quality
  • Focus Mode Switch
  • Nano Porous Coating
  • Lightweight and compact body 
  • Simple dust- and splash-proof desig
  • Uncompromised optical performance
  • Water and oil repellent coating (front element)
  • High-precision, durable brass bayonet mount
  • Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
  • ‘Made in Japan’ craftsmanship
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