Thursday, February 14, 2013

ARTIST CLOSEUP • Beth Sargent

Gallery at Marina Square Presents a “Close Up” of Artist:

Beth Sargent

Beth Sargent

Golden Light Halfdome
© Beth Sargent
I have always loved photography. When I was young, I would sneak off with the family’s brownie camera. I loved the thrill of seeing what I had captured when the film was developed. In my late teens I purchased a Yashica Single Lens Reflex Film Camera. I never went anywhere without it capturing moments in time. I would get together with friends and family to share a slide show. It was always a big hit.

Hawk Profile © Beth Sargent

Nothing gave me more joy than wondering off on my own to capture sunsets, take close up shots of flowers, or photograph star trails at night… nature and landscape photography was my real love.

Soon work and life seemed to get in the way of my photography. There was a large gap in time before I picked up a camera again to shoot images that inspired me. I am not sure what made me decide to give in to my creative side and capture nature’s beauty. One reason could have been that digital technology was improving so much that I liked the results I had been seeing. But whatever the reason, it was like I had been waiting most of my life to photograph nature again. It was like coming home. 

Stormy Seas © Beth Sargent

Yellow Barn © Beth Sargent

In 2008 I purchased my first Digital SLR camera and joined The San Luis Obispo Camera Club. Joining a local camera club can really improve anyone’s photography. At my very first meeting, a really talented photographer talked about High Dynamic Range Photography, also known as HDR. I went home that evening and downloaded an HDR program. The rest is history. HDR Photography seemed to resonate with me. Most of my landscapes and seascapes incorporate this technique. HDR allows me to get the light levels in my finished image that I can’t get with just one shot. The result is a shot that looks exactly as the scene actually appeared.

Landscapes and nature photography, especially birds, are my main focus. Early morning and late afternoon are my favorite times to photograph. I just love coastal sunsets, sunrises, rural and nature scenes.

Silent Hunter © Beth Sargent

Though all birds are of great interest to me, raptors are my favorite. What is it about photographing birds that has me hiding out in bushes and wearing silly looking camouflage clothing? I am not quite sure. I think it is the wildness, the freedom of flight, and the determination of nature to survive. Whatever it is, I am driven to seek out birds of prey and capture them in action. I almost always get to witness some incredible action. I absolutely love it.

There are times when someone will say to me, “Photography is your hobby.” I smile and say, “Not true.” It is way more than a hobby. It is what I do. For me, photography is a passion.

I found a quote from a poem that really says it all for me…
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
Rumi, Sufi Poet
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