Sunday, August 31, 2008

Angels watching over

My original intention was to post something from either tonight's event, last weeks events, or from one of my many other recently processed images. However, it all seems so trivial when noticing this latest storm path of the hurricane in the Gulf. Thousands of lives are surely going to be affected in a couple of short days. My thoughts and prayers go out to these families!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


There are some events in life that are just great to be a part of....even a small part. I was fortunate enough to get a pass to Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Denver's Mile High stadium from my client. After noticing the extremely long lines to get it, I started to think that the media tent I was working in seemed to be the best and most comfortable place to site back and watch the event. You see, I don't really like large crowds. The more I thought about it though, I decided to brave it anyway. The real trick for me was planning my escape route after the event as to avoid the 80,000 person crowd of people. As I looked down at the massive clob of people from the interstate bridge I was on, I was thankful I did just that!

I hope to do a wrap up with a few images soon. I left this event with a really good feeling about the potential future of this great country of ours. It was quite an honor to be in the presence of such great leadership. I think the Dems did a great job in uniting and getting a unified message across. This should be an interesting 2 months to say the least.

I am presently in Minnesota for the RNC now. It should be really interesting to see what happens over the next 2 days with this event. The hurricane in the gulf that is approaching the mainland US will most likely effect all plans that have been put in place for this convention. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Outside the convention

What you can't see in this image are the hundreds of delegates, reporters, and guests milling about here in Denver.

This has been an incredible week here in Denver ending in an incredible opportunity to witness the closing speeches in the mile high stadium.

I hope to do a wrap up soon of a few images, but for now, its time to crash. Off to Minneapolis in the AM. More from there!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

As Wednesday comes to a close at the DNC

There has to be thousands of terebites of images being recorded at this convention. I have never seen so many Nikon and Canon camera bodies being flapped around in all of my life. For the most part, the attention in on the presenters in the arena. For the fortunate few to be outside at the right time, they are treated to the fantastic Colorado sunsets. I wonder if anyone else captured this one?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Outside the Pepsi Center

As the afternoon sun baths the exterior of the Pepsi Center here in Denver, the Democrats get into their first day of session. Hope and change.....a resonating theme around here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Freedom of speech at the Democratic Convention - Iphone capture

I haven't had a lot of time to creatively capture any images and paint in photoshop as the first few days of any event are the toughest. Our first attempt on Sunday to get into the media tent we were managing found us right in the middle of a protest. I didn't have any of my real camera gear with me as I didn't know what the security clearance was going to be like. So out came the Iphone! It was aggravating to be delayed but at the same time invigorating to witness. The police presence might have been a little overkill....all right, WAY overkill. I think they were expecting a lot more people from what I have heard in the reports. Regardless of your views, you can't argue that it is great to live in a country that respects your right to express and present those views!

On a side note.....when did my head get so big? I am of course referring to the last picture here. Geeeez! How do you loose a few pounds in the face? My God!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Boat O' Glass

I would really like to post and blog about the day today as alot happened, however, I am way too exhausted. In addition, I wasn't carrying my camera with me either. I did have my Iphone however, and happened to grad a few interesting shots with that. I hope to post and elaborate this week. For now, here is another from the glass exhibit from a few weeks ago.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Denver airport

I've always liked this airport. I took a shot of this last year when I arrived for another event. This one looks a little better. I am in Denver for a week to oversee the install and operation of a media lounge for the Democratic Convention. More to follow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Arizona revisited

This started out as a rather lame image until I rescued it (or overprocessed it). I guess that depends on how you look at it!

As this "image rescue" project comes to a close, I look forward to the next! Not sure what the next self assigned project is going to be. I just finished scanning a few of my favorite slides from a few years ago. After I work on those, I hope to post a few in the upcoming weeks.

The next blog, if all goes according to plan, shall find me in Denver.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunrise at Coral Cove

Well now, yesterdays post was a bit off track. Guess the heat got to me! Getting back to my image rescue week, here is one from Coral Cove taken about a year ago. I hope to get up there again soon to see how my techniques have improved (I hope they have!)
Just a quick note about Hy-Lite, Florida, and my up and coming travels. First off, its hot....really hot, in South Florida. Everyone in the shop is doing the annual "tuning up" and preparing for the up and coming season. They are the unsung hero's that keep the wheels turning. Thanks to all their hard work, we should be ready to hit the ground running when the season arrives!
I head out on Saturday to Denver for about 5 days. From Denver, I head to Minneapolis for about a week or so. I will be working on a small part of the Democratic and Republican Conventions. Looks like I am getting all Bipartisanship about it......reaching across the aisle so to speak. Although the projects I am working on are not huge, I am still honored to be part of the team. I have worked on events for past Super bowls, The US Open, The Ryder Cup, The PGA, The Inaugurals, and have lit the President at least 10 times. I have to admit, it is really cool to be a part....even a small part, of these high profile events.
I am very fortunate to have a few clients that value my attitude, talent, creativity, and expertise enough to ask me to travel with them to so many cool locations. I have seen more of this great planet through my career than I could have ever done on my own. I can only hope that these opportunities continue. Its a huge and wonderful world out there and I look forward to capturing more of it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bear on the slopes

There are images that evoke emotion, there are images that tell a story, and there are images that achieve artistic greatness. With all that being said, i reluctantly post my image of a skiing polar bear. Nuff said.......

Hotel de Ville'

While my poor little MacBook Pro continues it's morphine drip and awaits surgery, I continue my "rescue an image" week. This one is also from a trip to Paris last year (man, I'm milking those images for all it's worth)

I created this with a single raw image. I double processed and then did an HDR, then used all 3 layers and painted in what I wanted from each image. Its not perfect, but it now has a new life!

From Wikipedia:

The Hôtel de Ville (French for "City Hall") in Paris, France, is the building housing the City of Paris's administration. Standing on the place de l'Hôtel de Ville (formerly the place de Grève) in the city's IVe arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also being a venue for large receptions.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Along the Seine near Ille de Cite'

Well, here we are at day four of "rescue an image" week. As I post this, I have to admit that it is virtually impossible for me to think of anything profound to say about this. The majestic beauty of Paris was just how I remembered it not a few short years ago. There is timeless beauty in this incredible city that always possesses me to wander for hours upon arrival. The seductive scenery of this amazing city has not intimidated me and my description of this image however, it is the distraction on my TV as I type. You see, the best show ever is on now.......No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, and they are is Spain. Sorry, gotta go....C Ya, I'm outta here........

Sunday, August 17, 2008


As I continue with my image rescue from the hard drive week, here's another one from the trash. I kinda like the contrast between the soft background and the sharp forground detail.

Mike, not feeling very creative are ya.

Na, not really.

Alright, didnt' think so.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Sunday game of Chess in Paris

I my opinion, there is nothing quite like wandering arround Paris with a camera. Plop me down anywhere in this city and I am in heaven. I knew I wanted to do something with this image someday, I just wasn't sure what. By the way, I am not sure if it actually was taken on a Sunday or not, it just sounded good.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Waiting for the train

Well, I have decided that its "rescue an image" week. Well, at least for the next 7 days. I have a little pool of images that I blog with that are on my macbook pro, but its in for repair. So, for the next few days, I'm gonna dig, dig deep, on my external drive with the desktop and see what I can do with some older captures. This was a black and white that I captured in a train station in LeHavre, France. I obviously painted a little texture in there. This image says two things to me. First, I guess I am looking forward to my next experience on the road. Second, I guess I am feeling a little down today. Its not any one thing, but a bunch of things all at once. I guess always get that way in the later summer and the slowest part of the season. Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Arch halls at Castle de Amorosa

I arrived at this winery on a whim. As I was getting to the end on road in Napa, I really wanted to get up high to get some scenics of the region. I took a rather quick left hand turn as a few rows of grapevines caught my eye, drove up the hill, and found this incredible castle. Castle de Amorosa was built not a few years ago with all of the bricks imported from Europe! I'm a little confused about something though. I thought that I would have taken took more images. This place was very "Old World Europe"....a photographic gem. I am sure I must have taken the time to capture it. Oh wait, that's right, I spent most of the time in the cellar.....tasting! There's always next time. :)

And now for something completely different. One would think that the Olympics and the impressive display of physical strength, determination, and focus of these athletes would kind of rub off on me. I mean, the workout room is within a stones throw of where I am sitting right now. Have I been working out? Well....., not so much. By the way, I wonder what Michael Phelps listens to on his Ipod?

More on all of this later....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chasing the light

Driving home the other evening, I had a hard time keeping m eyes on the road. Great sunsets sometimes just appear out of nowhere in South Florida.....totally unpredictable at times. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a great sky and not having a great subject in front of you. When this happens, I sometimes hop over the bridge to Palm Beach. Hop? Well, not really.....would be kinda funny though....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Porcelain tree

Its posts like this that I realize that I am all over the map in my techniques. Jack of many, master at none...LOL. This was an infrared image that I almost got rear ended trying to capture. I was looking for a turnoff coming across the state a while ago. The guy behind me apparently needed to get across the state in a real hurry! Some people just don't appreciate "braking for the sake of art." Anyway, I applied a few textures....some from Trey, and a couple from others. I like the porcelain look. Its been a while since I processed this one so I don't even remember where the other textures from. Thanks to whoever it was! Enjoy :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Highlands Hammock State Park

As I sat on the railing of the small one way bridge in Highland Hammock State Park a couple of weeks ago, I had a vision. This my friends, is not it. In my minds eye, I saw a great high contrast black and white image of these beautiful trees and the reflection. In the digital darkroom, I had a hard time creating what I originally wanted to. That being said, I reluctantly post this.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Focus and determination

There is no event that I know of that is as motivating as the Olympics. The sheer determination and focus of these athletes is to be commended. Their days are filled with concentration and with many hours of solitude perfecting their techniques and craft. Although I am completely out of shape and would most likely drown or have a heart attack attempting a 100 meter anything, I can sometimes relate to this feeling. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you must possess similar qualities to succeed and excel. Long days spent building my company from nothing at all took a huge amount of focus and determination.

I have been told (in a negative way I might add) that I am a workaholic. Well, what about these champions I am watching tonight. Their days are absolutely consumed in proper diet and nutrition, exercise, practice, press conferences, endorsements, and focus. 16 to 18 hour days of extreme determination and focus. Could they be labled as "workaholics"? In many ways, I feel that this is just perception. It takes hard work to be a champion at anything! Yes, balance is important, but having a strong focus and drive is quite healthy.

I look forward to passing these traits onto my daughter. I have no choice but to focus on how important it is for my daughter to receive only the most positive traits from her mother and I, even though we are not under one roof. She will gain access to the best in both of us, both of our polar opposite qualities. As I see it, that's ok. At this point, it has to be OK.

I never intended this blog to be a platform for rants about my ongoing divorce. I have been tempted many times recently. If there is anything I have learned in the last 2 years or so, its that you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness. Sounds rather simple, but its huge. You also can't change the way someone feels. I guess its time for me to focus now. Focus on my happiness and future and being the best father I can be.

Creating an advance schedule that works for both her mother and I has recently been the biggest challenge. Chaotic as my schedule is, I feel I am doing the best I can. Sometimes the best I can do is seemingly not enough however. I am in the family of a huge group of separated fathers out there.......doctors on call, fireman, regional sales executives, pilots, red cross workers, entertainers....all with similar challenges. I have to remind myself that it is not all about me. There are aggravations on both sides of the one said this was going to be easy. This is a challenge that I must continue to embrace with great determination. I can only hope that time will eventually settle all ill feelings and create a positive environment during these exchanges for us to raise our wonderful daughter in. She deserves that!

Now, back to the real purpose of this blog, to continue to develop my photo and image skills. I will try to keep the personal rants to a minimum, or else start another blog! My experience in travel will continue to be fair game however!

Aaannnnn cut! Rants over. We got it. That's a wrap!


As I sit here contemplating the work I have ahead of me in  preparing for events in Minneapolis, I remembered taking this image. The client, event coordinator, club manager, and a small entourage of other professionals were trying their best to figure out how to squeeze 500 people and major name entertainment in a space about the size of my first apartment. I quickly realized that there was no way this space could even possibly accommodate this event, so I used this time to sneak off on my own to try to capture the feel of the dark and colorful space.

Our event in North Carolina is over and the gear is on its way back to Florida. Our strike was as brutal as ever! Hats off to my crew once again for making it all happen for me. I really appreciate the LONG days.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Welcome to the Lighting Lounge

I spend the majority of my time on this show out at the lighting console out at front of house. After load-in and focus is completed, there is not a lot to do for my crew. The first 2 days are the most difficult, then they get to kick back a bit until strike. Up until this year, they used to have a little bit of a challenge figuring out where to hang out. I was kinda wondering where they were the other day. As I passed by the stage after lunch on my way back to the console, I noticed a soft warm light glowing from underneath the stage. I pulled back the drape and whalla! The lighting lounge!

Not really sure what the Hannah Montana poster is all about.......Eric
Sarah says, "Hey, how about a puzzle?"
Notice the plush carpet they placed down there. Hey wait, I don't have any carpet out here!

The hammock is actually very symbolic of the week up here. Peaks
for the load-in and load-out with a nice a nice low valley between. I think Sarah is gonna miss dozing of with visions of the cute puppy's.

Looks like Chris has decided to kick in and help finish the puzzle before strike. No wonder we needed 2 trucks. Look at all this stuff!

By the way, I have spent way too much time trying to get this layout to work. I know what I want, I just can't get it. The window I type all this garbage into looks one way, the preview tab, when you click it, creates a completely different view. Lastly, the actual post ends up looking like something completely different! Not sure why its not a WYSIWYG interface. What a piece of garbage! I gotta use wordpress soon cause this is crap!

Pyro entrance

Pyro entrance, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

I was really happy with this image until I saw some of the pyro shots on the NBC site from last nights opening ceremony of the Olympics. Guess I could have done a little better if I wasn't running a lighting console at the same time! This is a shot from a convention we are doing in North Carolina this week. This pyro shot was done as the CEO made his first appearance.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 2 before walkin

I've spent the morning before walk-in messing around with Nikon's remote capture control. Kinda cool to control my camera remotely! I am really pushing it on the usb cable length however. Thats all I need, more stuff at my station!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Up on the hill near Ricoletta

There is nothing like wanderlust. I stumbled upon this church in Buenos Aires one cool evening on a 4 hour walk. That evening, the city was full of students, families, and devoted soccer fans celebrating a victory for a local team. I had know idea who the teams were, but it was kinda fun to be part of the excitement. The sidewalks leading up to this impressive cathedral were lined with temporary tents of locals selling all types of handmade trinkets, food, and clothes. There was such a warm friendly feel in the air.....a great evening to celebrate life.

As far as the show goes that I am on.....well, were past the hurdle. Everything got loaded in, focused, and rehearsed on schedule. Those first 2 days are always the most brutal. For now its now smooth sailing for the most part. We had a little network hiccup with our control system today but Chris calmly helped sort it all out. We were so smooth that no one noticed it at all. Thank god for the backup consoles we had.

Hope to catch some more images tomorrow, especially the "Lighting Lounge" that my crew setup under the stage.


Opening day walkin

When 9AM arrived, the doors to the arena flew open and everyone scrambled for a great seat. We are in the middle of the day now and this place is packed! There are even people sitting clear up in the very top seats. My stomachs growling big time.....wonder what's for lunch?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Everyones favorite knob

Sitting back during rehearsals, I just noticed that there are over 120 buttons, knobs, and faders on this console. For some reason, this seems to be everyones favorite.

Loadin day 2

A surprisingly calm picture of me at this point in the day. After an 18 hour day, I think we are in good shape for tomorrow's rehearsals. This is a shot of me at the control area that I will be living at for the week. It took all the energy I had left to actually blog with that said, good night!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Before the loadin

When we finally get to the load-in on a show of this size, sometimes I tend to get in the way. I am really not involved in the details at the shop leading up to this point. You see, after I complete the design and I hand the plot off to my shop, an intense preparation is done. Lamps marked, automated lighting dialed in, cables labeled and cased's prepped like a concert tour! I may have joked a bit on my last post cause, well, its kinda fun. In reality, my incredible team is the only reason that this load in is never a train wreck. Oh, it definitely has all the ingredients for one! I have to thank Chris, Sarah, Eric, and Keith for keeping "our" train on track and getting us this far. Thanks guys!

This is a shot from yesterday before the onslaught of equipment. Points are being marked with a scurrying of riggers in the background and Mikes clowning around with the camera!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The tip of the state

A simple, quiet, calm image seems appropriate to post as a contrast to the chaos that is unfolding on the arena floor in front of me. Our load-in in Greensboro, to the untrained eye, might somewhat resemble a train wreck. It is however, a delicate and well choreographed dance of at least 50 stagehands, 6 semis of cables, trussing, speakers, lights, motors, video, and a million other things.

7PM update....

Well, some of the train is on the track. The last 1/3 however is being dragged along on its side flopping uncontrollably back and forth destroying everything in its path!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fort Zachary Taylor State Historical Park in Key West

Back in Florida for a day so I figured I would post one from here. I am off to North Carolina in the AM for a week long event. More from there, I am sure.

Now, for a little more on this image. The Fort Zachary Taylor State Historic Site, better known simply as Fort Taylor, (or Fort Zach to locals), is a Florida State Park and National Historic Landmark centered on a Civil War-era fort located near the southern tip of Key West, Florida. (from Wikipedia)

I was wandering around earlier this month while we were doing an event down there, and stumbled upon this site. Seems like I always find the best sites for HDR when I don't have my tripod with me. I had to shot most of my shots handheld, except for resting the camera on the occasional cannon!

On a closing day between week long events to catch up, do laundry, repack, and visit your family is not really ever enough, but its better than nothing! Cherish every moment :) 

Friday, August 1, 2008

View from the 16th floor of the Hyatt Regency

When I arrived late at the hotel in San Francisco a few days ago to check in, the hotel was sold out...I mean "pissed off people unable to check into their their rooms and scattered all over the lobby" sold out. I was lucky enough to get a room as I was part of a huge group. There were quite a few people giving me the evil eye when I received my room key!

They were able to upgrade me to the "key required 16th floor" the next day as the only room they had that night was a smoking room. Its kind of awkward when you are on the same floor as the CEO and meeting planners! It was kinda fun dogging the other guys on the crew about it. This is a view I captured earlier in the week. The area off to the right near the water is where the double high freeway was that collapsed during the earthquake a few years ago.

Gonna try to play a quick game of catch up with my daughter tomorrow! I miss her so much!!! I leave on Sunday for another week long event in North Carolina. Then, after that, i am home for a couple of weeks!

By the way, this post on August 1st actually marks 4 straight months of blogging. My first post was on April 1st. Didn't really think I was gonna be persistent with it. Jeeeezzz, what in the world have I babbled on about for 4 months come to think of it! Maybe soon, I will blog about why I enjoy it and what I get out of it. Until then, after a long day of travel, I am kinda beat.

More on all of this later :)