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 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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

OSPREY / UPDATE


If you have been following this blog, you will recall that last weeks post was on the osprey nest,

that is being built near my home here in Western New York. This last week, as I watched their progress, I was taken back one morning, when I noted that the nest had been taken down. Sitting on top of the pole was the osprey, and my perception of the expression on this raptors face was what the hell. They had worked so hard to build this nest, and for obvious reasons, mankind took it down. I personally was a little annoyed by this, having spent so much time observing their activities, but I understood that the power wires being present, may present a hazard to the pair, as well as cause problems for the utility company.

Continuing to keep an eye on these two, I am pleased to inform you that in todays travel, I noticed National Grid trucks conned off and the fine gentlemen present were making accommodations for our new residents.

A big deal

I approached the gentlemen, and asked them if I could take a few photos, and asked them what the plan was. They informed me that they were placing a new pole in, and the new pole was ten feet higher than the original. In addition they were mounting a special platform on top of the pole to serve as a base for the osprey to rebuild their nest. I asked them if they thought this would work and they felt confident that the raptors would not abandon the site. They also told me that upon arrival this morning the male was sitting atop of the pole and they had already starting to rebuild.

 Over the course of the day these guys worked like mad men to complete the job , and let me say I was impressed at how quickly they completed this job.  Late this afternoon my curiosity had taken hold, and  as I returned to the site to see if the plan had worked, I was delighted at what I discovered. Sitting atop of the platform with the start of a new nest was an Osprey.

We like it

As I watched, the Osprey would fly off, only to return a few seconds later with marsh grass, and or a stick in which it carefully placed as it continued to rebuild the nest.

padding for the new nest

Over the summer I will continue to monitor the Osprey’s and keep you updated as to their activities.

My last shot for today will be this of this Osprey in flight . Thanks for reading.

Osprey in flight

Keep snapping.

My Best,

Michael

Ospreys


In my travels, I often find myself noticing things that most people overlook. Case in point was the spotting of some sticks on a utility pole. The first thought through my head, was how in the hell did that get up there? Then it occurred to me, that I have seen this before. What I was seeing was the start of a nest. Unsure of what bird was building the nest, I noted the sight and returned a few days later to see how the construction was progressing. To my surprise, sitting perched on top of this utility pole were two magnificent birds of prey. Upon some investigation I learned that these were Osprey’s, and this was the first time I had seen them in this area. Over the coming weeks, I will return to the site to see how they are progression. The shots were snapped with a Canon 7d and a Sigma lens combination. Shot with an iso of 400 @ F8 and used a shutter speed of 1/500.

Mated Osprey

 

Osprey approaching nest

 

 

The Long Awaited 7d


Goose 2

My purchase of a Canon 7d has been long-awaited and now that I am actively shooting with it, my first impressions of this highly advanced piece of equipment is simply, WOW!

With so many advanced features and custom settings to further enhance the quality of your photographs, at first it can seem a little overwhelming. Once you understand the options this camera offers and how to apply them, this quickly becomes second nature when you are out shooting photos.

What impressed me most was the overall image quality. Rich natural colors, tack sharp subjects, and a focusing system that is incredibly fast. Photographing moving wildlife subjects has just become a whole lot easier because of these features.

Robin 2

Two key factors regarding my decision when purchasing this camera, was its ability to quickly adjust the exposure compensation feature, and its ability to take photos in lower lighting situations. Often times I found myself discarding photos because when photographing wildlife, the most important factor when doing so is to ensure that you can see the subjects eyes. The photos I am posting today are a clear example of how the 7d’s focusing system in cooperation with its lighting optimizer can assist you in achieving that goal.

robin 4

One last feature I have found useful is, when switching from auto focus to manual the 7d will beep and light up when the subject is in focus. This makes it so much easier when your camera can’t focus on a subject that may be behind something that your lens sees as the closer object.

Coming soon an update on the Pileated Pride Suet test, with some photos and possibly some video footage.

Goose

Until then, I hope you enjoy the shots, and please leave me your feedback.

My best

Michael

M.Sargent Photography

Mirror

Robin

A Father’s Pride Coming Together


There can definitially be something said about persistence and the swell of pride that a father feels when he sees his only son achieve success in his own endevours. In addition, it is truly amazing how a family can come together, just to get things done.

So let me lay this out for you, as some of you may know I come from a long line of outdoorsman and we happen to be hunters. Although you dont see me yet,…. on weekly television, my harvests over the years have been notable and based on what I have been taught, and learned through experience,  I have passed that skill set on to my son. This past weekend, we were hunting in New Yorks Southern Tier region, and Sunday Morning happened to be a great day for Daddy’s Special Boy! Around 8:30 am He called me to notify me that he had arrowed a deer. He also said that he was going to wait for a half hour before tracking it because, he felt the shot may have been a little low. At this point I was excited for him. Five minutes later I received a text message ( Ah, Modern Technology) from him stating, he had just arrowed another. My excited turned to jubilation, because I knew he had turned into that alpha predator that he had worked so hard to become. I informed him I would be down to help him out shortly, and give him his due congratulations.

Once arriving back at camp, I had noted that he had one deer recovered and spotted him looking for the other. I began thinking mmm, problems. He explained to me that he was having trouble finding the deer, and that his blood trail was spotty at best. We recreated the scene and my son had done as he was taught. Blood spot, toilet paper, The trail was a clear indicator of the direction the deer was going. Based on the evidence, I knew we had a dead deer walking and a decision had to be made on which part of the forked road to take. By this time my Uncle had arrived back at camp from his morning hunt, and we employed his skills as well. Now knowing what I know regarding deer and their habits, a wounded deer rarely goes up hill. We agreed that our elusive deer had to have gone towards the corn field in search of cover. This is were the reading gets interesting. Somehow, some way , I have been given two gifts by the hunting gods.  I know where to put a stand and I have a unique ability to spot blood. I did in fact pick up the trail, and the trail was through the thickest nastiest briar patch, and you can bet I have the cuts all over to prove my dedication to the recovery of this dear. Now two hours had past, and still  no harvest. We had lost the trail again, and I was starting to become frustrated.

Now after venting some minor frustration, with a few choice colorful metaphors, I had begun walking the edge of the field, in between the briars and corn in the hopes that I would pick the trail back up. At this moment I looked to my right and inside the briars I could swear my eyes caught movement. Then I saw a twinkle  and  knew that we had a deer bedded in these briars. Calling out to my son and uncle, they confirmed my suspicion, we knew we had found my sons second deer. We ethicially harvested the deer, and begun the task of feild dressing.

Here is the part of the story that makes me proud as a father. My 17 year old son, had doubled down sucessfuly and after a two hour ride home, we knew the work was only begining. We process our own deer for obvious reasons ( A butcher never goes hungry) and honestly we feel that we do a much better job, and save a few jacks in the process. Having to return to work that night, I knew that it was going to be a long night based on what tasks we had ahead of us. My wife, daughters, and my parents all pitched in and we had the deer processed in no time. I was extremely proud of my son as well as my daughters who dug right in and helped with the boning out process, and between us, I was able to get a 2 hour nap before going into work.

This was by far the most incredible weekend I had experienced in the woods in a long long time. This is why I became a photographer. I will always have this image to look back upon, and it will help me relive that very special day. The shot: taken with a Canon camera, and ISO of 400, an aperture of F-8, with a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second. I also used an external flash to avoid shadows caused by the high sunlight, and the cover of the canopy.

Wade Sargent and Dr. Randall Gilbert

I hoped you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Never giving up, and being able to relive your life through your son is one of the greatest gifts a son can give to a father . Congratulations Wade, you have made your Dad very proud, and for my girls, I am very proud of you two also. Most girls these days would not have helped and gotten their hands dirty. What can I say I am a lucky guy, and a father who is very, very proud of his children.

DECCAYEAHS,

Michael

M. Sargent Photography