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

 

Monster Movie or Simply Lunch Time


As of late, I am on a bit of an insect/macro kick for no other reason than it is fun. I also have taken note that since my first bee shot several weeks ago, that several friends has followed suit and are sharing my interest. One word Cool? I think that’s the word I want to use here.
Anyway, today I am going to follow-up with what some would consider to be the stuff that monster movies are made of. In my eyes however it is simply lunch time.
Poking around in the gardens, I came across this Grasshopper. Being slightly larger and a still subject I decided to snap a few shots. Using a very old Canon 35 to 80 mm lens with 1.5 feet macro capabilities I began to snap a few images. Unsure at this point of how this lens would perform I took a look at the image on the LCD and was slightly surprised that this 25-year-old lens performed this well. I recall the day I obtained this lens as it was part of film camera purchase I made shortly after I wed. I can tell you that the lens outlasted the camera, and through my obsessive nature, I kept the lens in storage until recently, when I threw it in my camera bag, just in case the opportunity arose to play around with some macro shots.
On to the images,

This looks tasty

This looks tasty

As the grasshopper began to feast, I moved in for that close up shot and took one photo, that I hoped would provide some detail in the final image after editing.

Yes, this old lens still had it. Glad I kept it around.

Munching on the Forage

Munching on the Forage

For those that are interested, here are a few of my settings on these images. A Canon 7d set at ISO 400, with partial metering employed as well as a single focus point. The lens as stated was an old canon 35 to 80 mm lens with macro. An aperture of f-4 was able to obtain a shutter speed of 1/400 given the lighting available at the time of capture. Focal distance was roughly 2 feet away, and I had the lens zoomed in at 80mm. Using lightroom to make a few adjustments in saturation and contrast, this was the results of what I call an experiment using an old lens. I guess you can say that my experiment worked.

Thanks for having a look at today’s post, and I wish you all the best.

Shoot It.

Mike

 

THE KING AND I


What can I really say about African Lions that has not been said. They are majestic and they are killers. With this as common knowledge, and as crazy as this may sound, I had an earnest desire to get closer. In fact I believe I would have lowered myself down and payed homage to his majesty, for a up close and personal photograph. Hope you enjoy!!!

Minding his Throne

Minding his Throne

HIS MAJESTY

HIS MAJESTY

 

 

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

Youthful Exploration/CRAZY AS A FOX


Spring is often times considered a time of rebirth or new life. It is the same in the animal kingdom, and the past couple of weeks has offered me the opportunity to get up close and personal with a liter of red fox kits. The antics of these little rascals has provided me with several moments of amusement as I continue to watch them quickly grow. My first image was born from the curious nature of this kit as he explored the clicking of my shutter. Well aware of each other at this point, this fox decided to come within just a couple of feet of my lens, before deciding he had his sense of curiosity satisfied.

Youthful Exploration

Youthful Exploration

 

I also watched these kits lick and do a little chewing on a fallen branch and wondered if they do so as a form of scent communication, or if this was simply foxes being foxes.

KITS (4 of 18)

After an hour of observation, and some hard play by these critters, it was nap time. They approached the opening of the den and proceeded to return to the safety of home.

KITS (17 of 18)

Over the next couple of weeks, I will continue to spend a little time with these kits, to ensure they are progressing to adulthood. I look forward to showing you any images captured during this time.

Thank you for reading,

My best,

Mike

 

 

RAPTOR STRIKE PHASE ONE

Image


As we begin our project, a few notes…

Traveling to Binghamton on a daily basis has given me several sightings of Red tails. The problem with capturing these sighting is the mere fact that I am behind a wheel, and we all know that death comes to distracted drivers. AKA Texting, cell phone use, and even snap shooting. This is what I have gathered. These raptors seem to have a draw to the medians along interstates. On any given day I see between ten to twenty right in the middle of the thruway, and they simply seem to sit there. Poses a question, Why do they do this? I suspect because there are mice and or easy pickings for them in the search for a meal.

Sadly though, a problem with this, is the fact that this week I have seen five of these birds on the side of the road, Killed by traffic. I suppose this could be considered as an unfortunate incident, but with any wildlife that hovers around man-made structures, this is bound to happen.. It is however sad.

As I chase these raptors, here is the first image I have captured. While sitting in wait I spotted this red tail as he rode the crosswind. I know this sounds cliché, but I cant help myself. I simply just enjoy watching these creatures as they do what they do.

I guess it’s simple things for a simple mind… I’m cool with that.

Red Tailed in Flight

Red Tailed in Flight

MY BEST,

Mike.

WILDLIFE. The Rarely seen Short-Eared Owl

Image


In my previous post, I ranted a little about how I dislike the long winter. Belonging to a group on Facebook that share my feelings on this topic, I offered some input on how I combat this long grey and dingy season. In this case I was glad I followed my own advice.

Having a few large prints that needed frames, I took a trip to the town of Batavia, were I purchased some frames. Along the way I went to check out an area were it had been reported that we had some rare owls visiting. At first glance I saw nothing but brushy fields  and very little wildlife activity. Upon my return trip, that’s when the magic began. As I approached a fence post, I noticed my first sighting of a rarely seen Short-Eared Owl.

Studying the behavior, I felt quite confident that I would be able to approach these creatures, without disturbing them, as they seemed to be not very timid of human presence. Understanding my limitations, I began framing images.

Using a Canon 7d and a Sigma 500mm lens set in manual mode, I employed an aperture of 7.1 and an iso of 1600 to ensure shutter speeds of 1/2000 to 1/4000 of a second. In addition I also used the spot metering mode and the servo mode with a high-speed shutter setting. Using Lightroom for the edits, these are my final compositions.

Hope you enjoy:

Roost

Roost

Inflight

Inflight

Focused

Focused

I see You

I see You

Close up

Close up

My best,

Mike

 

 

 

 

Sun of a Beach


Ok yeah the title. Kind of a play on words, but the factors.. Partly sunny day, and on a beach so i figured what the heck.

I followed up yesterday doing some photos for friend and her very pregnant daughter, and while on this shoot I took notice of the contrast in light on the beach. When I finished with my friends, I took a closer look on the beach and before  you know it, I was flat on a cold stone riddled sandy beach snapping some shots.

SO far my favorite:

Stoned on a beach

Stoned on a beach

Once again in use, was my trusty and loved 7d. I used the Tamron 18-270 set an F-8 with the shutter at 1/500th of a sec. I also used ISO 400 and a partial metering mode to create the raw image. Using Lightroom for my edit, I sharpened it slightly and brought up the vibrance. I thought of cropping the photo to remove part of pier and water but decided to just leave it as it sort of offset the beach and gives the photo some depth and contrast.

Hope you like

My best

Mike

www.mrsargent.com

The Shot to Final Composition.


The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and times spent with loved ones. Often times this is true, but lets face it. Times right now are tough for so many people. With the burdens we face because of the actions of our so-called leaders, I feel compelled to mention that although the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy they are often overshadowed with real life problems and tragedies. Over the last week, I played a small part with my circle of friends who have in fact suffered personal loss. Where am I going with this post? The title says , shots to final composition.  I am simply going to say that photography is not always glamorous, and from this photographers perspective, I have learned over the years that positives can come from the tragedies, if you simply stay true to your resolve.

To sum my opening up, This last week has been busy. I have been asked to scan images, blow them up, enhance them, so they could be used at events that are not photographer friendly. Taking on these tasks are worth it, when you are able to do something that brings just a smidgen of joy to people who you care about. Knowing that you were able to help is a reward in itself and although it does very little to ease the pain of those who are experiencing it, you know right away that your efforts are appreciated. Virtue is its own reward and I am pleased that I was asked to help. That is what friendship is about. As this post moves along, I now switch to the main purpose of this post.

In addition to photography, I am associated with a small but very good production studio. The owner of this studio has been a long time friend of mine, and in the past we have produced content that has been very well received by the viewing public. John who is the owner of Torquil Studio is a huge fan of music and he has been searching for local talent, in vocal arts. One of his prospects, Samantha, who happens to be a very talented young lady, was recently in studio and I had the opportunity to take some photographs of her in action. I am going to show you how I composed this image from start to finish.

After some initial test shots, I proceeded to set the stage and pose my model for images that I would use later for album covers or profile shots.

Step one :

Sam original shot

Sam original shot

You see this shot,and you think wow, really under exposed. This was intended. I used no flash, no tripod, and underexposed the image simply due to my understanding of my camera and the way it shoots photos. This is a key step in your final compositions, because shooting in raw gives you the ultimate control of how you want the final edits to look upon completion. I imported this shot into lightroom, and made adjustments to the exposure, the contrast, and the vibrance. I also use a healing brush to fix minor imperfections  and proceeded to isolate the subject of this photo. By  under exposing  this image it allowed me to put the focus on my model. This is the composition after my lightroom edits.

LR edit

LR edit

As you can see the subject is now brought into the foreground and as one person has put it, she looks soft and dreamy.  I don’s know about all that, but I do know that I like this image, and feel that it gives my model a very soft and feminine perspective.

However I did not stop at this point. My goal here was to further enhance and highlight aspects of this image to put a more detailed but softened look to this photo. I then exported this composition to a program I often use for portraits. ( I would tell you the name of this program, but I can’t give all my secrets away.)  Plus most of you who do portraits will already be aware of the software I use.

I first went through the steps of enhancing the facial features, and lining up the eyes,with the nose and mouth in contrast. I also put highlights on the subjects hair and smoothed out the skin tone to further give a soft look to the subject. And my final step and one that I feel is very important in almost every photograph I take. Enhancement of the eye’s. I learned a long time ago, that when photographing wildlife, the most important part of photography is detail on the subject eyes. They must be in focus even if parts of the photo are slightly distorted or not as in focus.  With my portrait enhancements completed, I then imported the image back into lightroom to adjust slightly the exposure and vibrance of the image.

My final composition.

Final Composition.

Final Composition

The equipment. I used my Canon 7d camera, in combination with the Tamron 18-270 lens. Shot with an iso of 800 I used the spot metering mode, and set my aperture at 5.6.  The shutter speed was 1/90 of a second and although the raw image was underexposed, through software and knowledge of my camera and how it shoots I was able to make this work.  I personally feel that this is a great composition and I am proud of it. I also feel that this young lady could very well be a talent that you will be hearing about in the future. Her voice is angelic and with hard work and dedication, she could easily earn her way to the spotlight. Yes I am proud of this image, and the fact that I was allowed to create it.

May 2013, be a blessed year.

Thank you.

Mike

www.xroo.com

www.mrsargent.com

www.msargentphotography.com