Progress Check: 2018-2019

Well, here we are. Winter again. It was winter when I first began to write up blog posts this time last year about my thought processes and the ways in which I believe I've made personal improvements with my work. Usually I like to compare my improvements from season to season but I can't help but think about how I might have changed in the last year. I suppose it might be important to take a look at some of my favorite images from 2018 and reflect on them as I see them.

I have to say, I'm pretty happy with what I've been able to do over the course of a year. What I love is the inclusion of more wildlife photography. Before last year, wildlife photography was generally out of my range, but recently, I committed to buying the Tamron 150-600 and while it's not the sharpest lens in my bag, this new access to that kind of focal length has allowed me to get incredibly close to some of the wildlife I've loved watching for years. I enjoy watching Bald Eagles, and wandering deer, and tracking uncommon birds across the sky. These are just a handful of my favorites; I have even more that I would consider portfolio-worthy, and to me, that's an incredible feeling to have tangible evidence of my improvement and my satisfaction with the effort that goes into this profession. Zero dollars have been made out of my wildlife shots, but I am entirely happy with the images I was able to take last year involving wildlife and that is okay with me right now.

I also notice that the astrophotography I've taken over last year is quite a bit better than any I've done in the past. Part of this is due to the acquisition of my D810, but a couple of those images were taken with my D500 (crop sensor camera) and I know that the star tracker I bought, combined with better editing techniques are responsible for the fantastic image quality for some of these shots. That is growth and I really like that it's so obvious to me.

I look back on 2018 with a huge satisfaction. I can tell you my gear got better, but I fully believe that my skills with the equipment have grown enormously over the year. I plan trips better, I read weather patterns and predictions better, I've been studying habits and tendencies for wildlife in my area - all things a photographer can use to be better in their craft - I've been improving on. It takes time, and getting up at ungodly hours in the morning, and staying out way after the sun sets, and bearing the freezing cold winds, and getting your feet stuck in the mud, but in the end, it's all worth it to see it all come together in this fantastic group of images; and I'll be honest, I've loved every minute of those hardships because I'm out, in nature, doing what I love.

Going forward, I will be full steam ahead doing more of the same. I'm leading a workshop in June, I have 3 weddings to shoot between the summer and fall, and I'm taking any side jobs I can get using my skills to bring in some money and, while a good portion of it goes back in as investments with this business, everything helps pay the bills, and I cannot be more grateful for those who give me the opportunity to provide my services to them. So, with that said, I will soon be looking forward to picking up a 24mm f/1.4 and a 50mm f/1.4 lens to have in my bag to use for landscapes and astrophotography and even portraiture and I can't wait.

Thanks for reading and I'll check back in the Spring!

#michigan #wildlife #nature #northernmichigan

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David Sargent Photography © 2021

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