Special Places


The State of West Virginia, is a place that is very near and dear to my heart. I can say that is likely because of all the fond memories and experiences I had there when we would go visit family as kids. My Aunt’s, Uncles and Cousins were always just fun to be around. Yes, a very special place indeed.

Some of the most scenic land in the country, can be found right here and here is just an example. Unsure of the name at this time, this mountain falls can be found outside of Fayetteville, West Virginia, and it is a place that offers just a serene, pleasant environment.

Mountain Falls

Mountain Falls

I shot this image in HDR , with the intent on capturing all the details. Hope you take away from the image the same feeling I do after viewing it.

My best,

Mike

SHOOT IT!!!!

 

The Roses of Winter


I have made this comparison many times in the past but, Cardinals are the Roses of Winter. Enjoy the shot.

WINTER ROSE

WINTER ROSE

Shoot It!

Mike

 

Look Up, Look Down


Working on my Photo Ark Images, and being inspired by people who are far greater than I, It is time to take a second and reflect on whats next. My future plans are to continue forward, and plan some family events, combined with snapping a few shots. More images to come very soon.

Todays shot, Reptile. Before I shot this, I studied how this creature moved and reacted to its surroundings. What came to mind was an old childhood joke still heard today, and I felt that this lizard was playing on my ambitions. Look up, Look down, Look all around, Look at my thumb. Gee, You’re dumb.

Yes Mr. Lizard, I may very well be dumb, But I nailed you.

Who’s laughing now????

Look UP!!

Look UP!!

I think both of us are having a bit of a chuckle. ENJOY!!!!

SHOOT IT!!!!!!

Mike.

 

The Eye of the TIGER.


Tigers are considered to be the most dangerous of all the big cats, and it has been argued that they are the true king of the beasts. In a tigers opinion, I’m sure that the last thing it considers important. In my opinion, I just marvel at the beauty of this animal.

A few shots..

TIGER

TIGER

EYE of the Tiger

EYE of the Tiger

Shoot it!!!

Mike

 

 

Exposing the Ring of Fire/ Up Close and Personal with The Snapper


As I begin this post, I will first address my lack of posts in recent weeks. It’s real simple. My time is consumed right now with work and the need to provide for my family. I have entered into a conservative mode of photography, and only snap photos when I feel I can capture a quality composition. The economy and the direction has dictated these events, and one thing I know for certain, I have always been a fighter, and I refuse to give up because of the failures of some very ignorant political leaders whose failures are the cause of this mess we are in. The question is asked what shall we do? I answer with ENDURE, and never give up the fight.

On to the real reason this blog exists.
While on my way to work, I noted a car in the road, and a gentleman snapping some images with a cell phone… Stopping to speak with him, for a brief moment, I suggested that he lower himself to his subjects level for a more intimate composition. He looked at me, and told me “I was CRAZY”. That was enough to put me into action. I quickly jumped out of my jeep, with camera in hand, and placed my carcass right on the ground about 2 feet from the business end of a snapping turtle. Focused and mindful of the surroundings the gentleman looked at me like I was nuts. Inching closer, I began snapping a few shots. Upon completion, I grabbed the turtle by the tail and moved him from the road to the grass to prevent him from becoming road kill. While shooting we watched a young lady just simply manuever her truck over the turtle paying no regard to us and our activity. All I am going to say, stupid ass.

One interesting point of these photos is what I like to refer to as the ring of fire located in the eyes of turtle. I find this pattern a beautiful point within this creature, as it often goes overlooked because most will not look past the danger of a snapping turtle. Once again proving a the point, there is beauty in everything we just have to take the time to find it.

In summary, the reaction to my willingness to get right there in the face of this creature was amusing to me. I have done this so many times in the past and it has become second nature. Hearing your nuts, well I can live with that, especially when the composition is what I was going for.
The shots:
_MG_1538

_MG_1541

_MG_1541-2

_MG_1540

 

SHOOT IT!!!!!!!

MY BEST

MIKE

Bird Ox a Pain in the Butt or One of Nature’s Wonders


Having some spare time on my hands today, and needing a little fresh air, not to mention a bit of exercise, I decided to go on a short walk. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter the conditions, there is always something to photograph. Today is no exception to this, as I take one of natures little burdens and attempt to make it look artistic in my composition. Lets face it, we all have experienced the trails of Bird Ox and some of us, present company included have gotten these things stuck in our hair. As kids we would seek out these tormenters and throw them at the hair or clothes of friends and young lasses that may have been the object of our affections. Well at least that is what we did when we were growing up. By todays standards this would be perceived as bullying, but as we gave we also received. This first shot was taken with a 7d and an aperture of 3.5 @ iso 400 with a shutter speed of 1/90th of a second.

Bird Ox

I used Light room to crop the image and added a light vignette to place the focus on the center pod .

This next image I went for a softer tone and used a slightly smaller aperture ( F-8) and employed a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second.

shot at f-8

While out on this shoot, I also ran across a gentleman who still practices in the lost art of trapping. As he gave me a lesson in the finer points of trapping, I watched as he worked his magic in and around the huts that the subject of his query had built. He explained to me that you have to find the runs they use to travel between their homes and where they feed. In addition you can generally spot a muskrat hole by the discovery of a mudline. Once you find the hole you can check to see if it is active by determining the hardness around the opening. Often times a rat will rub against the opening to keep its borders hard and from breaking away from the constant submersion in water.

A few shots for your enjoyment.

Pre trap scouting.

Checking out a hut

As I made my way out of the area, I was able to see the subject of his search. This shifty little rat made my capture quite difficult as he dove under water and made his escape from my lens.I did however capture this image as he swam away from me and my invading lens.

EXIT STAGE LEFT

Until we meet again my friends. Step outside and take a look around.

SHOOT 2 THRILL

LOW/ Lying Exposure Meters


Squirrely had those big buck teeth, the claws and the fur, the whole woods was looking at her , she hit the forest floor next thing you squirrely got low low low low low low low low. A parody of T-Pains LOW.

LOW

In reality I spent a couple of days in the woods, and although my focus was to capture some images of whitetail’s, it just was not meant to be. So when life hands you lemons,,, TAKE PICTURES! I could not help myself being entertained by the antics of the small woodland creatures that were in abundance on this day. The weather was rainy and lighting was terrible, but I managed to snap a few shots. Hope you enjoy them.

foraging

With all the time I spend in the woods this time of year, I have never seen a squirrel  get this low on a fallen tree. I did note however that a bark from a chipmunk prompted this behavior. I suspect that one of the woodland raptors present, was responsible for this behavior. In the past I have seen hawks dive on squirrels and chipmunks. They do so very silently and these woodland creatures are easy pickings. With any luck before my time in the woods is over this year, I will capture this action taking place.

CHIPMUNK

I shot these with my trusty 7d and used an  L series 100-400mm canon lens. With an aperture of 5.6 and a shutter speed of 125 of a second. To note, the cameras on board light meter indicated  that the image would have not been properly exposed . This has been a discussion as of late within the inner circle of MSP. I want to point out that these light meters on cameras are strictly a rough reference point. It is possible to catch a great image, although the light meter indicates your image will be underexposed. You just have to find the happy medium… Even though these images were supposed to be underexposed, they were captured with enough light to produce an image that works.

Using metering modes, and at times exposure compensation can produce images that are rich in color and detail. The drawback is at times the backgrounds may appear grainy. This can be ok in an image as long as the focal point or subject is sharp and in focus. We can put way to much emphasis on grain in photographs, as those of us who takes pictures are generally our own worse critics. I myself have taken pictures that I felt were not acceptable by my standards, but others find them to be stunning. I like to call this a personal strive for excellence and although some feel that an image is great, I have a composition in mind when I shoot and when that composition is not as I had envisioned it falls short of my personal expectations. It does not mean that the image is terrible. So share it and let others judge, but do not ever give up your strive for personal perfection. This is what an artist does, and by no means do I consider myself a great artist, I am a guy who is content to take pictures and hope that people enjoy them.

Thank you for reading and I hope that part of this post makes sense. Please let me know what you think, and expand on my thoughts regarding artistic views..

Until next post, My best!

Mike

www.mrsargent.com

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

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!!!!!

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Mike

M.Sargent Photography

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

and the entire MSP TEAM.

PHOTO’S THROUGH THE EYES OF A HUNTER

Back to where the WILD THINGS are


As promised, I am getting back to the wildlife photography, and it has been long-awaited.

We have had an incredible wedding season and continue to receive a tremendous amount of feedback regarding the photos that have been captured by the MSP team.

Today however I am going to share with you a photo containing one of favorite subjects to photograph. Hummingbirds. These speedy little subjects can be difficult to photograph and is often times the case, you will have to wait until they stop or proceed to feed to be able to get a great image of them. Although I am going to try to get one while in flight, the conditions have to be ideal to do so.

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

While sitting on my back deck, I waited for the birds to start feeding and as this one approached the feeder, he spotted me and decided that he would go the route of the natural nectar that we have an abundance of growing in our yard. A hummingbird magnet to say the least.

Being able to spot his movement I watched as he flew towards these flowers and when the opportunity presented itself I banged on the shutter button. After some light editing in Lightroom, I was happy with the results my 7d and the new 100 to 400 l series lens had provided. I utilized a shutter speed of 1/1600th of a sec and employed the full zoom capabilities of the lens. I also made the decision to start shooting with an iso of 800. With advancements in technology 800 is the new 400 and I would suspect that I could bump that number up a little to achieve an even faster shutter in low light situations.

My next shot is of course a female who decided to take a brief rest and sip on the nectar. As she proceeded to feed she had taken notice of me and kept an eye on me in-between her quick sips.

Female at the feeder

This shot also utilized an iso of 800 and my shutter speed was 1/3200th of a sec and 400mm was my focal length. The crisp detail was once again due to the l- series lens and I have to state that despite what others may say, there is an incredible difference with L series lenses. Not only in sharpness but the function and capabilities this lens offers is unsurpassed. Having done some experimentation with this new lens, I look forward to sharing the images I soon will be capturing with it, and I suspect it will quickly become my new favorite.

Hummingbirds are a great target to photograph for several reasons, but my main goal when doing so is to hone my reflexes so I can be ready in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you have a fraction of a second to capture a shot, and these targets will sharpen your reflexes so you can be able to anticipate and react in a quick photo opportunity situation.

Soon you can expect to see more photos of deer, turkey, and possibly bear, as I make plans to get back out in the filed and go where the wild things are.

My best to you all,

Mike