Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dreaming of the future

Since I will be working tomorrow evening, I figured that I would get a head start on my post for the day....a really early start. Well, Happy New Year! I hate to make resolutions as I never really keep them (who does anyway), but I would like to make a few wishes and thanks at least...

I hope that my loved ones, family, friends have a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year! Love you all :)

The last couple of years have been quite a change for me, and I thank everyone who has been a listening ear for me :) THANKS!

To my crew (Chris, Keith, Sarah, Eric, and occasionally Dallas, Allan, and Eric W. ...... What can I say? Thanks for being there for me. You guys always make me look so good, and I sincerely thank you for that. I hope that this year can be all that we deserve it to be.

I also want to thanks my loyal clients for a great year. I have been quite fortunate to travel a bit this year (something that inspired this picture actually) and I appreciate all that made that possible, especially Rick Lawall! I can only hope that the coming years bring more of those great opportunities!

And lastly, thanks to anyone who has followed my blog and flickr stream. Your comments are always appreciated. Thanks for the daily inspiration!

Happy New Year everyone!

Be safe!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another explosive Florida Sky in West Palm Beach

After an incredibly successful day yesterday of overseeing the load in for one of our New Years Events, a tent party, and an event at a private club, I was rewarded with a view of this incredible sky as I came over the bridge to West Palm. Sometime the day just clicks and life is good. Actually, life is always good.....but somedays its just a little clearer.

Looking forward to another great year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Todays party in Palm Beach

In his usual style, Michael Ereshena had the room finished in plenty of time. He is another designer that I have been working with for about 20 years. Even on the small events, his attention to detail is one to be admired. I stopped by to check on the room, say hi to Sara (our LD for the day), and see MIchael. One look and I had to run for the camera. For these shots, and many many more I have not included, I decided to use one lense. Just one 50mm lense shot mostly wide open, and no tripod. It was a real diversion for me, but I think I did ok :)

One more thing, I just realized that an image in my NAPP portfolio is in the editors choice group again this week too! Wow...that means alot to me! Here is the link if you care to check it out. Mine is the second from the right.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Private Party in Boca

As we start to load in our events for this New Years Eve, I guess its about time to get my head back in the game. I am sure I will be documenting at least one of these events so stay tuned. For now, however, I'd like to post a few from an event we did a few days ago. This first shot is from the cocktail area and the ice and seafood display that showed up in a surprise location at the last minute. "Quick guys, we gotta light this. Grab those 2 lighting trees and move them into here!" Not exactly the way I like to work, but thats the way it is sometimes in the event world. On a different note, I did everything in my power to keep from grabbing some of these yummy stone crabs!

Caos just before doors
The apparent look of scrambling and caos is, sad to say, real here. Since the hotel apparently booked an event down the hall, the guests arriving for that event were treated to my guys on a ladder focusing, chefs setting up food displays, bartenders clanging bottles as they set up their stations, and assorted other catering staff scrambling to get the space ready. A delicate and well rehearsed ballet this was not!

Room detail
The main room was set up in plenty of time to get a few room shots. A black room surround and glittery table cloths allowed lighting to be a star performer.

Glitz on the dancefloor
In addition to programable moving lights and the beams off of the huge mirror-balls, the dance-floor lit up from within.

Top O' da bubbly
Once again, when the room is set up, I seem to find infinite details to capture.

Colors and bubbly!

Fibre optics and color

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cemetery in WPB know....this one was taken and processed a while back, and patiently awaiting its turn in the blog. My question is why am I posting it now? I have looked at this one several times and thought "Well, I like it, but not yet."

Why now I ask? Well, I have no idea actually. I guess if were to sum it up, it would be "Make the most of the time you are here!" My God, I can only hope that I am doing that. Only time will tell............

Friday, December 26, 2008

End of another day

Enough of those penguins already eehhh? What were those posts all about, geez!

When the sun starts to set here in Florida, its kind of a toss up for me. I have given up trying to figure out whether I am going to be treated to an incredible light show or not. I have scrambled many times out the door, an excessive amount of camera gear clanging around by my side, only to be dissapointed. Whats even worse is glancling out the window and catching an incredibe glow....knowing damn well, that its too late to get out to a great location. That's the worst actually.....

When I get a chance to head out, there is one secret place I like to head to just west of town. I never really see anyone there.... I feel like like its my secret place. Even if the sky disappoints me, its still a few moments....still, quite, and peaceful moments with nature.....and isn't that what its all about really.

Time for these little guys to turn in!

Well, after a long day visiting my wonderful family's, I was a little hesitant to even open the door to my place when I arrived home. I half expected the place to be a mess knowing the condition these little guys were in when I left. Well, quite to my surprise, the wrapping paper was cleaned up, the bows were picked up (very tiny bows I might add), the place was vacummed up, and they were tucked in and fast asleep!

Hope everyone had a wonderful and heartfelt holiday with family, loved ones, or just themselves. Its times like this that we all need to stop and count our blessings and also work together to make this a better place for our chldren.

I am sometimes quite guilty of not doing this myself. That said, I would like to link to a very moving post I read tonight after I tucked my little one in. My heart goes out to anyone in the armed forces that were not able to enjoy this simple pleasure as I did tonight. Please pray for them and read this:

A Christmas on enemy lines some time ago

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, looks like the penguins have kicked it up a notch. I came home and apparently, their little celebration was in full swing. Not sure where they put the nativity pieces, still looking though!

On another note, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. I sincerely appreciate all the views, emails, and comments on both my blog and flickr stream over the last few months. You all are a daily inspiration. It is great to be in the company of such a diverse creative group!

Well, the penguins are starting to get a little out of control now. Looks like I have to break up there little "party". Have a great day tomorrow :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The natives are restless

Well, its a well known fact that I love penguins. These little guys do get a bit feisty when hungry though! As I walked in after work, there fins were folded and they were staring at me as they were tapping their little feet on the floor in anger. Guess I gotta head out and grab some food for them! Hmmm, maybe I'll start my Christmas shopping while I am out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Enjoying what's most important

In the middle of the Holiday rush, there seems to be a million things to try to remember. Its sometimes easy to forget about what's most important and what should be at the top of that list. I was reminded of that today. :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The rest of the story

Although not widely accepted amongst most theologians and religious scholars, there is another widely disputed theory about exactly who did visit that manger on the first Christmas morning. Another small part of this controversy is the argument about who in fact made the longest journey to bare gifts to the baby Jesus. Was it King Balthazar from Persian, King Gasper from Syria, King Melchior from Kashastan, or King Bartholomew the Emperor Penguin from Patagonia.

Christmas color around my place

As I walked in the door this evening after a great dinner at Cityplace, I noticed a really cool reflection on the stainless steel fridge. I captured the linear lines and light streaks with the hope of using it for something. After the little one was tucked in, I created this layered image.....just a little light and color from my place. Guess I am starting to get into the spirit a little bit. Bout time I suppose!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend folks :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sebastion Inlet at Sunset

Before I dash through the door.....or actually, open the door and dash out the door opening.....or rather.....

Mike, what are you rambling about!

Oh, to a Christmas Party :)

As I like to post every evening, don't want to forget later.

This was captured on the way home after a site survey in Orlando a few days ago. Enjoy! And Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

At the Top of the Hyatt is the hippest place to view Shanghai

According to Wikepedia "The theme of the exposition will be "Better City – Better Life" and signifies Shanghai's new status in the 21st century as a major economic and cultural center. It is expected to generate the largest number of visitors in the history of the world's fairs in terms of gross numbers."  

Starting in May of 2010, when Shanghai welcomes everyone to The Worlds Fair, this city is going to be the place to be. Actually, right now, its the place to be. And to get a REALLY good view of the high tech skyline...THIS is the place to be. At the top of the Hyatt on the Bund, where cool music, great wine, tragically hip people, and good times meet. I know where I wanna go back to!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A walk thru Old Shanghai

I was only in Shanghai long enough a month ago to realize that there are terabytes of images I would love to capture someday. For now, here is a little sampling of a morning walk I had in the older part of the favorite part.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Waiting for the guests

While the rest of the country was bundled up inside last weekend, a few invited Palm Beacher's were enjoying a fantastic evening in wonderful South Florida. The weather held up for a beautiful event in a tent on the island to benefit organization to provide quality healthcare for those who need it. We were proud to be a part of this special evening.

Before the crowds

As always, my favorite part is scrambling just before doors with my tripod and kit to capture details. These environments are always a great subject for me from the overall space, to the colors, to the fine details. I am always striving to capture a new fresh angle, and that keeps me on my game.

At the step and repeat wall

The tent was constructed in a parking lot behind Market Salamander. As the guest passed through the store, there were welcomed into the colorful space we helped to create.

Ready for the show

Multi color logos are now quite easy for us to create at the last minute....and even on a small budget with the image pro system. Digital image, minimal photoshop work, print, mount, project, thats it!  The screens were projecting images from a unique system that we have never used before. The digital video booth consists of a camera mounted in a slick housing with a soft light, and backdrop, a cable release, and a printer. The guest can self pose in front of the backdrop and have their image show up on the ever increasing slide show loop onto the screens during the evening. They even receive a small high quality black and white print to take home. Pretty slick. They loved it!

Waiting for a new owner
The auction item...the Mini Cooper extended....was won and then turned back in to be auctioned again. My hat off to the generous attendee that was so gracious.

Palm Beach on a full moon night
After the party started to wind down, I walked a block down to the beach. This was the evening that the moon was the closer to the earth than it has been in I can't remember how many years. I captured a few images of the moon up close with a lot of detail, but I kinda also like the look of this one now.

To be able to help create such a wonderful space and then polish the evening off by viewing this incredible moonlit landscape, well, lets just say that life is good :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dock detail

Well, since i've been posting a few images from my trip a few months back in the San Juan Islands, guess I'll continue. I have a file of processed images that I have already worked on for just such days. I keep them there as I think they deserve a life......even if just for one day. Go go my little into cyberspace.....enjoy (my God, that sounded stupid!)

Oh Yeah, one more thing (if your still reading this that is)....I updated my portfolio on my NAPP site (quite possibly, the worlds best photoshop training organization ever) and my portfolio made the editors choice this week! I am one of 6 photogs that they chose! Kinda cool :) Here is the link....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Driftwood Sunset in the San Juan Islands

I am not sure quite how it all got here, but the hundreds of thousands of logs and driftwood outside of Friday Harbour in the San Juan Islands made for a pretty cool subject. I found myself climbing all over these like a kid.....looking for the "perfect perspective. More to come someday (if I can find the time to process them), but for tonight, it was this ones turn.
More from the weekend events to follow soon.

For now, hope you enjoy this one :)

The edge of the Island


Mike, that's it? Nothing profound to say about the image?

Well, not really...

Okay, well, where is it from at least?

Oh, sorry.....The San Juan Islands....


Well, kinda tired....that's it really....

Allrighty then.....guess that's it....


(Seriously, thanks for viewing! )

Friday, December 12, 2008


Having just finished an event this evening and one loading in at 7AM, processing a current image from today is, well, not gonna happen. This one however is a reminder of how much shopping I haven't done as of yet. You know, I live a block from here and, well, still no shopping done. I am not sure but I think Christmas Eve is the man's version of black Friday, and with that, I have a little comfort. Yes, I guess I am part of the club!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mirrorballs at work

There are some events we do that I decide to photograph and others come and go without any documenting at all. This season, I am gonna make an effort to really capture as many as I can. One of the saddest parts of working so hard to help create these environments is knowing that come midnight or so, its gone....the decor, lighting, ambiance, all of it....gone. Yes its packed away and awaiting its next event, but that moment is gone. My favorite time is just before doors. If all goes well, everything is set up and there is a calm before the guests arrive. Thats when I get to enjoy this wonderful environment. Just me and my camera. Yeah, I like that......

Outside at cocktails, the guests at the March of Dimes Fundraiser here at MaraLago got a chance to check out this incredible of the items up for bid in the live auction. A fundraiser is in essence about.....well, raising money. Even though there are many causes to support in this community, this one always seems to attract a great crowd.

Masseratti...going once, going twice...
The cloister is always a great location to chill out and get away from the music.

Out in the Cloister
Bruce Sutka....aka, the Palm Beach Event genius.....divided the space with fabric columns and HUGE mirrorballs. We lit them with Varilite 3000 spots and BAM, The room came alive!

View from the table
As always, the event is in the details. I notice that more and more everyday.

These little guys were auctioned off for between $ 1,000 and $ 5,000 each. And a great cause it helped! Hey, how about a Masseratti full of these cute little bears?

A pile o' bears
Just had to sneak in a shot of the crazed LD scrambling to capture images before I changed for show.

Scrambling to get the shots
This favorite....taken from the control area just minutes before doors.

Just before walkin
Hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes tour of a Palm Beach Gala. More to come this season :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Follow the tree

One of the coolest things about being on a photo workshop is to see how everyone else sees the same area. If you are ever considering it, I think its a great way to spend a few days with like minded people. Moose Peterson and the great folks at the Digital Landscape Workshop Series ran a pretty well oiled machine....a nice balance of shooting time, classroom sessions, and inspirational talks.

We had arrived at this location here in the San Juan Islands outside of Seattle, WA for an afternoon shoot. I was personally on a mission to do a little infrared capturing of the warm fields of dry grass and these most unusual trees.
Hope you like :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

View from the water

When planning an event, sometimes the first area to get hacked in a budget crisis is the lighting. Well, what would a shot like this be WITHOUT the lighting? Well, quite dark actually.....

Here are some images from a private house event that we worked on last weekend. The shot below is the view that the guests were treated to after they arrived for the event......beyond the gates that is. Nothing like an outside Florida party in December!

The arrival to the Partee'

The balcony seemed to be a great place to project kinetic water effects for the outside walls of the tent and vine covered walls. A custom logo was then projected into the pool as well as on the top of the tent. Minimal landscape lighting enhancement rounded out the treatment.

View from the North

Once the cocktails were over, the guests proceeded to the tent interior for dining and dancing. 

The tent treatment

Since I was in Miami, I took full advantage of capturing some of the city's incredible night skyline. Having no idea where to go, I was on a wild goose chase for awhile. The funny part about that little trip was what I noticed as I was leaving the fenced in seawall. The area over the bridge onto Watson Island has some great places to capture the skyline, and some great places to tie off the thousand or so "No Trespassing - Miami Beach Police" signs that I didn't notice upon arrival. Funny how that seems to happen to me :)

Miami at night

Monday, December 8, 2008

Legacy Place - before the rush

With any luck, this place will be impossible to photograph without hordes of traffic this month. I captured this a couple of weeks ago...when it was a bit slow...before the Christmas rush! The sky was pitch black, so I brushed in a bit of textured sky. Hope you like!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Flagler Museum.

Note: I origionally had images up here from the museum. Apparently, the landmark is copyrighted and as a vendor there, I am respecting the fact that these are not to be published. 

Following is the origional blog spot post WITHOUT the images.....

In an attempt to get a little caught up on posts, tonight's ramble has us at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach.....from last weekends event. When I originally started this blog, I wanted it to be a day to day slice of images from my experiences as a lighting designer of special events. I assumed at that point that it would be a very current blog of these images and experiences, with an ocasional sprinkle of other creations and captures. Well, things change and evolve. As I got a little deeper into these posts, I started posting them on flickr first (a photo sharing community site) strictly to get a larger file to show up on my blog. Well, that has changed a bit as I have found that the flickr community is really a great group of creative "virtual" friends. There is so much talent out there that has inspired me on a daily basis. All that being said, as the season starts to pick up, I really want to try to get back into posting images from some of these incredible events. So, as I trek forward into the blogosphere, my plan to to be a little lean on the captions on the flickr site and ramble a little more on the blog. At least thats the plan for

jeeez....what in the world was I talking about??

Oh yeah, getting a bit caught up. Last week had us at a couple of little events at the Flagler Museum here in Palm Beach. These images are from the first. It was kind of a kick off party for the season and an event to create awareness for a New Years Party the the younger set in Palm Beach to be held at the Harriet in City Place. If history repeats itself, this party is gonna be "The One" to be at this year. More from that night to follow for sure. The image below is a little example of a little HDR work....kind of a before and after. The one on the left is pretty much right out of the camera and the one on the right was severely brutalized in a couple of programs by yours truly. This look is not really appreciated by everyone...and thats cool. Like any other artwork, the fan base is varied. Not everyone appreciates impressionism, chalk drawings, or sculpture either. For me, this technique has been my artwork of choice.....anyway...

This next one is a shot from the West Room looking into the Lake Room. Bring on the blackjack players!

As a diversion from last years event, Drew (aka....Dr. Drew Dedo) decided to let the party flow out onto the terrace outback. The West Palm Beach City Skyline is an incredible backdrop for any event here. The weather was incredible and outside was the place to be. That is of course till Drew rocked the house with his incredible wit and smoothness on the mic during the auction. Quite the entertainer I must add.

The Flagler is a really cool place to work......quite different than it was when I started this business thats for sure.....but still wonderful. If the walls could talk in this mansion, I am sure they would fondly recall memories of the Young Friends of the Red Cross Parties in the late 80's and early 90's. I say that from personal experiences. These events were "THE" place to be on New Years Eve and "THE" reason I decided to get into this insane industry from the get go. The environments that Bruce created in this space are legendary. There isn't anyone on the island that hasn't heard about them. I will never forget the opportunity he gave me......seeing a creative energy in me that, until then, I never new I had. I am forever grateful that he was willing to include me into his projects and give me a start.
Well, the rules have changed, but the memories are etched for eternity.......and sometimes thats all you need :)

Juno Pier

My little snipet of info about this image is gonna have to wait till later. Running lights at a black tie event in Palm Beach....and, well, the guests are walking in! Back atcha later :)

Me again.....coupla hours later. Awesome show......crew showed up like clockwork for the load out. Nice to be slamming buttons behind the console on these back to back shows. Reminds me of the reason I got into the business in the first place.

I have alot of images from the past couple of days...shots of the show setups, Miami, video of the arsenal of sounds in my room....alot of stuff to follow......someday that is. 

For now, time to get a quick bite and get some shut eye. Gotta grab a tree tomorrow and decorate with the little one. Good times....good times :)

Of course, more on all of this later.

By the way, this is one of those images that I probably spent about an hour or so on. Hope you like :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sails down

Here's one that I captured in the San Juan Islands this summer. Although it has nothing to do with where I am now, it does resemble the rays of sun that are going to be beaming into my hotel room here in Miami to wake me up in about 3 hours. Thats of course if the jack hammering, hammer drilling, and general cacophony of maintenance sounds don't wake me up first! Video is the only way to tell this story, and oh boy, do I have a few clips to post. Look for more on that soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008


It's amazing what you can see if you really open your eyes...

For starters, there are many ways to view the same thing....'s all in how you look at it....

Hmm.....makes you think a little bit.....

Very profound Mike...., but....,..... Whats with all the dots.... ?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Big ole' tower

Sure its been shot a million times, but it seemed like a fitting end for my last few posts. Its nice to take a little mental vacation once in a while, and Paris seemed to be the best place to do it. I don't care where in the world you have been, or how many times you have seen the Eiffel Tower, but there is nothing like being here at night. To sit back on a cool evening with a bottle of Beaujolais and a nice Parisian basket of goodies....ahh....Oui Oui!!! My best memory here was catching the fireworks at Bastille Day one year. And to think this monument was originally disliked by many Parisians!

Well, I have a few more to post, but I'll do that some other day. Tomorrow and over the weekend, I hope to post a few from last weekends show and the events this week. Seasons starting to pick up a bit. Till then, enjoy :)