Jims Rants and Photos

Jims Rants and Photos.

I wanted to share this with the word press world. Someone has broken it down and has given a perfect description of exactly why we exist as photographers. There is not much more that I can add other than a huge thank you. Jim we are going to do incredible things in the future. This I feel in my core.



Now, This is Something You don’t See Everyday (Hemaris thysbe)

After a conversation and completion of a project, with my buddy John From Torquil Studio, he mentioned to me that he had the coolest little bee buzzing around his butterfly bush. His words described this as a bee that looks like a hummingbird. I immediately  knew what he was referring too and I went on a mission. I asked John if it would be possible to come down after work one evening and see if we could capture any of these on camera? He responded with an enthusiastic yes and we were off to the races.

As John and I exchanged pleasantries and proceeded to enjoy some pops, we spotted a visitor to his bush and went in for the shot. surprisingly They had no fear of us and allowed us to get close for the photos you will see in this post.

Some information on the Hemaris thysbe can be found here on this provided link, but we have discovered that these are actually moths. Now it is debatable to the origin of this species, but I for one enjoyed their antics as well as ours. Capturing these images with a 7d and a 50 mm lens. I used an iso of 800 and a shutter speed of 1/4000 to 1/8000 of a second, and did some light editing in Lightroom.

Hope you enjoyed and look forward to your comments.


handfeeding 2

Feeding on butterfly bush

Preparing for a close up

getting closer

and closer

The Money shot

Flower among us

Pond visitor

The other side of the pond


Feel The BANG!!!!!
















Going Artistic

It was once said that if an artist puts his heart into his passions he will create a true master piece. Well I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that from my perspective, I put a lot of heart into my photography projects and with the wedding season over for me, I am looking to take on other photography projects.

Lately, and on a personal level I have asked several questions regarding my next step in this field, and to date have not come up with too many answers. I do however know that I will be taking my shooting style in a slightly different direction.  It’s time to open the artistic flood gates and join the world of what is visually pleasing to the viewer’s eye. If you look around the web, you will see that any one who owns a camera is a professional photographer, and these days who doesn’t. It does however seem that the photographers who rise to the top, and become heavily sought after, are the ones who expose only their finest artistic shots. These days I have noted a shift in the business. At one time, people hired a photographer  to create images that had an artistic flair,based on the photographers shooting style. This seems to be a fading trend as most want to have images captured on the fly in almost a photo-journalistic manner. Either way and based on the choices of the clients it’s nice to know that either method is achievable through my lens.

Thus we come to this weeks posted images. This first shot was captured using a 7d and the award-winning Tamrom 18-270 lens. I like to call this peaceful childhood. Your feedback and thoughts on this image would be greatly sought after. My personal take on the image is children just do. They learn through observation and it makes you wonder what this little one was thinking, and what she was looking at .


My decision for black and white, was to enhance the classic style of photograph and to show some detailed contrast within the image. Shot with an iso of 400 an aperture of f8 was used at 1/500 of a second.

The following images were a long-standing project that took some time to actually shoot. I have been waiting for the perfect light and last night that light was cast upon my subject.


With HDR photos a topic in recent weeks I opted to shoot a few bracketed photos and give the HDR plugin a whirl. Overall I was pleased with the images and the experts have called it correct when they say, HDR gives a photo an almost unreal effect.


Seemingly this next shot I really turned up the brackets, and took 9 photos to create this one shot. Once again you can say that HDR gives images a whole new look and at this point I am unsure of how well I like the hard contrasts between the exposures. Your thoughts on this will be appreciated.

As light faded, I proceeded to go to the long exposure settings and started snapping random shots, that I found just interesting.

Jet skier@ sunset

30 sec exposure of light house

one minute exposure

two-minute exposure





corn field silo                                                     



Milky way

as a car went by in the last 15 seconds of exposure    




















My last two images are of the elusive Milky Way. This shot has been a bucket list shot and although not the composition I was seeking, It was exposed well enough for me to grab these images.  When I left the lighthouse I noted that I could make out the cluster,but with the lights from the park I felt that they would hinder chances of capturing the image. I parked on a side road and set the tripod up. It was dark but as you can by the light on the lower part of the photo the location was not remote enough as a car drove by in the last 10 seconds of exposure. This ruined the shot, but I will take what I have learned and when the day arrives, and I shoot this image again, It will be a composition rather than a photograph. Until next post, I hope to receive your thoughts on some of the artistic shots. My best to you all, and may your lives be filled with beautiful sights.

Shoot the light


M.Sargent Photography




A Walk A Bout

One great thing about photography, no matter where you are or what you are doing, you can always find something to photograph.

Today, I decided to go on a bit of a Walk-A-Bout and as always I had my trusty sidekick around my neck. The place, Kanyoo Nature trail, and with a threat of rain in the air, I decided it would certainly make for an interesting day if the clouds let loose and soaked me. With luck being on my side, I missed the rain and ended up getting some pretty cool shots on my adventure.

With a cloudy day and a woodland environment, I bumped my ISO up to over 2500 to ensure shutter speeds would be quick enough to achieve the results I wanted today. My aperture was consistent at 5.6 and I used a shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/8000 of a second. Manual mode was also in place and a quick flip of the control dial was all that was needed to gain proper exposure.

Upon my entrance into the canopy, I was greeted right away by this female Downy Woodpecker. As she posed for me I enjoyed her antics as I continued to make my way along the trail.

Downy Woodpecker

Shortly after I spotted this spider web and thought it would make an interesting photo as the lines contained small water droplets.

Spider web, with Water droplets

My next shot came shortly after and as before I simply thought it was interesting. In the middle of grass, I found, you guessed it grass. But this blade had some water droplets across it and I thought it made for a great contrast photo.

A wet blade

Spotting this lonely leaf on the trail my thoughts went to here I sit all alone and soaking wet. The stones and other debris along the trail made for a photo that I thought was just different. It contains no real point of interest no does it generates any kind of emotion. I snapped it because I liked it. Sometimes that is the only reason you need to shoot a picture.

This next shot, Is my favorite of the day. When I made my way out of one section of the trail into an opening, these wildflowers were present. My decision to snap these was simply due to my interest in contrasting colors. The light lavender color looked interesting on the green background, and attempting to keep a sharp focal point on the small extensions of the flower, I think I achieved my plane of focus with this shot.


My next capture is yet again of plant life with water droplets. For some reason, this seemed to be the theme of the day, and I would assume it was due to the presence of rain.

Leave and water droplets

My last shot for this post today contains a subject that I have been trying to get close to all summer. I refer to this bird as a snow crane but I am sure there is a more prefered name for this beautiful bird.  I have found that while trying to get close enough to this species, they are extremely skittish. They will fly off very quickly if they spot your approach. For me to achieve the results I am looking for I will have to set up in a ground blind or before light in a Ghille suit and hope that one will land close to my setup location.

Snow Crane

With several captures today, It just goes to show you, that a photographic moment is always present, you just have to see things through your eyes a little differently.  Whether it is an event or a simple walkabout keep that camera shutter banging. You never know what you’ll capture.

My best to you all.


M.Sargent Photography



Composing the Shot/Nominated

2012 once again has proven itself to be a great year for MSP. The most recent highlight is the nomination of a blogging award. The “ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD” honor has been given to this blog by Otto Von Munchow. Mr. Munchow is a highly respected blogger and photographer who’s based in Bergen,Norway as well as Seattle, Washington. Our common passions for photography has brought us together and I am honored and at a loss for words regarding his nomination. I will simply say “THANK YOU”. Being fairly new to the blogging world, I realize daily that I have so much to learn, about awards and how to nominate blogs for awards. With that being said, Please check out Otto’s blog here on WordPress. His writing’s and photo’s are always interesting and I would suggest that you follow his work.

I am also doing a little follow-up of my last post where I checked out Capture One. Please take a look at my short video as an introduction and return here to see the whole story of how I took these shots.

During this project we used both Lightroom and Capture one to edit these photos, and composed the video with Pro show Producer.

The setup:

My Canon 7d with the 50 mm f1.8 lens. I used this lens because of the Macro capabilities and the abilities to create a very shallow depth of field. At first I also employed the mirror lockup function but quickly disabled that function because I found it to be not applicable to the shooting situation. I switched between spot metering and partial metering, as well as spot focus and spot expansion while experimenting with various aperture settings. I decided on an aperture of  4 in aperture mode and let the camera handle the shutter speed. The shutter varied as did the light and it worked in the range of 1/8000 of a sec to 1/3200.  As evident by the video, I also mounted the camera on a tripod as my son filmed the video.  We also used a plug-in for Lightroom called Photomatix to create our one HDR photograph. With so much buzz in recent weeks regarding HDR and in particular, a now rival photographer from a nearby town, I decided to do the HDR shot, just to prove a point regarding my take on shooting the photo correctly within the camera, and doing some very light editing with mentioned editing software. The point being, go back to school and learn how to take a picture. Your comments regarding people’s personal appearances are not meant for this show and your extensive use of photoshop to create a decent photo is not how it’s done in the real world. In summary, just because you own a camera does not make you a professional photographer, it make you a camera owner. BIG DIFFERENCE.

Ok on to the photos. This first series of photos, Capture One was used to edit and export, and once again I was very impressed with the options available in the export mode. Huge raw files are compressed from mb to kb with little loss of image quality. So far this has been a huge plus with Capture one.

This next series of shots I used Adobe Lightroom, and I feel compelled to mention again that the image size is much larger in comparison to that of Capture One.  The first shot is my HDR. Using Lightroom and a plugin made this simple, but I think that the developers of both programs should really make this a feature within the software itself. I mean really, these programs are quickly becoming the standard for photo editing, and with all the buzz about HDR, I think it would be advantageous for both companies to offer this as a native feature directly within the programs. Hows that for constructive feedback??

HDR photo using Lightroom with Photomatix plugin

sunflower edit/ w LR

close up “WEED”

Bracketed photo used in HDR

Sunflower with visitor

Bright Sunny Day

With a series of shots here for you to take a look at, my best assumption, and suggestion regarding choices for editing software is to simply, Judge for yourself. Both versions of these great programs are available in fully functional trail versions from their respective websites, and are available in both Mac and PC platforms.

In summary, this year has been full of ups and downs. I can say with all certainty, that despite the bumps in the road, my resolve continues to be inspired by the happenings generated by my practice with photography.  Yeah, I feel pretty good about what we are doing in MSP world and with solid plans in place I look forward to what the future holds.

Soon I will be sharing with you a two-year in the works project that we affectionately call SHOOT2THRILL. I can tell you that it is a combination of passions, and I will be bringing you some incredible people from the outdoor world and showing you the real deals within that industry.

We will save this story for a future post.

With my very best to you all,

Shoot the light, and feel the bang.


M.Sargent Photography

http://www.mrsargent.com        www.mrsargent.net

and the entire MSP TEAM.


Evaluation of CAPTURE ONE

During a recent job search, I came across a series of requirements that was required for this position. They wanted the photographer to have some experience with Capture One’s digital photo editing software. Being that I use Adobe Lightroom almost exclusively for any editing that I may do, I took it upon myself to see what Capture One was all about. After visiting the website, I decided to download the free 60 day trail and give it a shot. I found that the layout although similar to lightroom was neatly organized and moving through the modules of development was just as easy. Doing all this on a laptop was my biggest issue because of the screen size and the disadvantage that comes from doing so is just because the photo that you are editing is not as large as if it were on a large monitor where you are able to see the little changes that you would make during the editing process.During my initial exploration I found that the workflow was very similar to what I had become used to as a standard. A few of the advantages to this software was the ease of importing and categorizing your files as well as the various options you could use to export the edited files.

You had the options to export in jpeg, tiff, and jpeg for web use. Also a very nice feature and this applies to Lightroom as well was the ability to select dpi and or dimensions of your chosen export. I was pleased with the features this software had to offer, but I felt the biggest advantage to Capture One was the file handling features. It beats out lightroom in this category and with my evaluation just scratching the surface, I could see the value of this program. Although unsure at this point I am going to look into the software more extensively to see if slideshow and or book ordering is a possibility within the program. This would be a huge difference in the decision making progress as I have used both these features as a way to display work, and fulfill some customer orders.

In summary, I found several advantages when using the editing features contained with the software. I also thought that the file handling during the import and export process had it’s advantages. One of the drawbacks of this program is the cost. To purchase this software it will cost you three hundred dollars. Although priced the same as Lightroom, it will come down to a workflow and ease of use decision if you are considering either of these editing programs. Either one is a good choice and they are both far easier to use than using Photoshop. The reason I chose to use software like this for my edits is simple. Photoshop is extremely complicated and you almost need a 4 year collage degree to master it. As a working photographer I do not have the time to stop working and spend 4 years learning how to master a program so complicated. I also believe that photography is truth and with the ability to change the truth within Photoshop is a cool option, but for the most part I like to keep my photos as real as possible. This decision will come down to the type of photographer you are. If you are working professional shoots such as weddings, events or portraits, than you will want to invest in some type of advanced editing software. For general purposes programs like these are a bit of overkill and with a huge choice of basic editing programs, I would say that purchasing a program such as these is a choice that you would have to make depending on your usage.

This photo is an edit that was created using Capture One. I achieved the same results and as mentioned earlier, the biggest single advantage was the ease of exporting in certain file formats._MG_1059 This shot is reduced from raw file of 39 megs to a web based jpeg in which the size is just over 500kb. It displays well, and when displaying your shots, this is what you are looking for. I hope this helps if you are thinking about purchasing an editing program, and as I learn more about Capture One, I will post some updates regarding any significant advantages I find during my evaluation period.

If you use this software please share your thought and experiences. As photographers we are the best source of information for people who may be looking into software options and let’s share a little of what we know.

Thanks for the read, and always, Shoot the Light.

My best,


M.Sargent Photography



Perched Osprey

Every time I drive by the Osprey nest near my home here in WNY, I simply can’t resist photographing this magnificent bird. And with the recent article release by Abe’s of Maine that I put together I felt that this new photo would be just. Simply in love with this raptor and the stare of focus that is contained within his eyes. Kinds of reminds me of a certain photographer that I know fairly well. Hope you enjoy the photo and please check out this video I found on You tube regarding this birds amazing display of fishing skill.

My best