Saturday, February 28, 2009

A walk along the coast

As is so often the case, the real image that I want to create sits dormant buried in a stack of zeros and ones somewhere on the hard drive. Whether exploring the local world around me or in some exotic local, the process seems to be the same. Seek out, soak in, click and capture, and God image will be created someday.

I truly do love to wander...always have. I am sure that the word wanderlust was created by someone who I share this passion with. I can remember my first transatlantic flight like it was yesterday. Upon landing in Gatwick International airport in London, my inquisitive mind wouldn't let my body rest for at least 30 straight hours. Subsequently, each trip after that started the exact way. Hmm, the hundreds of miles I must have logged!

Knowing that, I guess I could have predicted how my travels would take shape as I treked up the coast of California last year. As I wandered up through this beautiful state, It was hard to stop. Clicking like a mad man as I explored, I couldn't wait for the next turn. I could spend a lifetime bringing these images back to life. Hope you like this one as much as I do.

Friday, February 27, 2009

5 continents in 5 days - Asia - Shangri-La in Singapore

In the infamous words of Anthony Bourdain, Singapore is Asia 101 or Asia light for the westerner. Having never been to Asia before, I was OK with that! After the 20 hours or so of travel, it was quite a treat to be able to rest my weary head here at the Shangri-La Hotel. Thanks for the opportunity to work there Rick...let's do it again!

Well, hope you have enjoyed this little virtual trip round the world. Knowing that I have a hard drive loaded with images from trips this past year still waiting to be processed, I have a strong feeling that this little jaunt might happen again soon :)

Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

5 continents in 5 days - Africa - A carpet in Morocco

Up until now, it has usually been about the image. A hyper processed HDR, an illustrative art piece, an added texture to portray a painterly effect.....well not today. For me, its more about what I felt behind the lense.

As we were bouncing haphazardly through Europe one summer, the idea crossed my mind to head down south of Spain. I had heard that it was quite easy to catch a boat from Tarifa and cross the mouth of the Mediterranean and arrive in Tangiers. From there, it was an easy trek into the rest of Morocco. This sounded like an exotic location to explore!

After a little research in the guide books, we determined that the best plan of action would be to get on a train as fast as possible once we arrived and get out of the stressful port town that would welcome us for our first taste of the African continent. We had heard that the local guides would badger and pester you into buying a carpet or some other local authentic ware from what they always claimed as their relatives shop. "Special price only for you my friend...special price only today...almost free!" Yes I heard that all to many times before in the straw markets of the Bahamas.

With this knowledge, we quickly navigated the confusing port town of Tangiers, made our way past the local carpet guide racket, and plopped our backpacks onto the first train car we could find. We made it. No carpet for me thank you! The plan was to head south into the personally uncharted landscape of the Moroccan countryside and spend a couple of days in Marrakech. At least that was the plan.

As we rode, bleary eyed on this regional train, a seemingly harmless passenger got on the train and made it into our little car. For what seamed like an hour, not a word was spoken. As the small talk and pleasantries began to exchange much later, our little "friend" had us convinced that the large sprawling town of Marrakech was not the ideal way to experience his wonderful country for the first time. He described a beautiful seaside village called "Asilah" that he called his home. It sounded quite wonderful. In fact, he had a couple of friends that just happened to run a little pension or bed and breakfast that would be perfect for 2 young Americans. Hmm, sounds great...almost to great I should have thought.....but there we were, getting off at the next stop, at a town called Asilah.

Fast forward a few hours and I find myself behind this lense in his relatives carpet shop, sipping mint tea, wondering how in the hell did I get here! Guess I'm buying a carpet!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

5 continents in 5 days - Europe - A night in Paris

The city of love, the city of light, the city that never sleeps......aahh, Paris. My fondness of this city, ever since I visited for the first time a few years ago, has always sparked a dream of mine. To have an apartment in the ILLe' de Cite', the St. Germain de Pres', or perhaps up near the Sacre' Coeur in Mont Marte'. The sidewalk cafes, archectecture and art museums are an excuse al by themselves for such a choice! Could you imagine, what a great place to base yourself for day and weekend trips to the rest of continental Europe. An overnight train to Barcelona, Lucern, or Copenhagen......a leisurely weekend in the Mediterranean.....a week of touring the vineyards of Bordeaux? I ask you, what could be finer than this?

My image above was created on a brief trip here a couple of summers ago while enjoying a cool evening walk along the romantic Seine River. Enjoy :)

5 continents in 5 days - South America - Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Well, here we are as promised, on another continent, this one being South America. (too many commas there I think)


I know this image is a little lame, but trust me, the lighting was brutally awful when I was there. I still took a bazillion images and hope to find the time to process them someday. This is one that I decided to add a little texture to and try to bring to life. As is so often the case, its quite difficult to capture the feeling of such an incredible place, but here is my shot at it.

The sheer sound of all that water was quite deafening by the way. Quite the incredible theatre of water nature carved into this setting.....a must see for anyone heading to South America!

Well, see you we go! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

5 continents in 5 days - North America - Driftwood along the Oregon

In an effort to give my posts some sort of direction this week, I have decided on this little project. Five continents in 5 days. (Which basically means that I have a few images already toasted and ready for god, did that sound stupid or what!?)

Anyway....I hope you enjoy this and what is yet to come....

The coast of Oregon is a jewel for the photographer and image maker. At nearly every turn of the road is a vista that almost sucks your car off the road. Stop, breathe, savor, and enjoy. This region should best be sampled in several days, and not the marathon 2 days that I alloted, buy hey, there's always next trip!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jupiter Inlet - I like it the way it is!

My usual browsing of images in que for posting had me slam on the brakes as I came across this one. I captured it a while ago, processed it a few days ago, and heard some disturbing news this evening. Apparently, there are some controversial plans on the table for this unique marina setting. As I spent a good 10 years of my life around this area growing up, I have a special bond with its older Florida feel. Are the new "yacht condos" that are in the plans really the best vision for the area? This blogger thinks not. Looks like big money is gonna win this one though....doesn't it always :(

I think I'm gonna have to capture a bit more of this area before change happens.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Images from the NFL owners party - part 2

As promised, as a followup to yesterdays post, I have a few more images from an event we did a couple of weeks ago right before the Superbowl in Tampa. Above is a little more of the flavor from the cocktail area. Cold weather at the last minute (yes, we do get a little of that in South Florida) forced a redesign of the cocktail lighting and decor from the original outdoor area by the water to the foyer outside of the ballroom

Hanging decor detail

Bokek from the unknown

Wall treatment detail
Details, details, details.....
I seem to get lost traversing the room when there is enough time looking for different angles, focus points, colors, and subjects.

A fragrant centerpiece

More table detail
These 2 shots are an example of when I really like to use HDR techniques. Since we pin light the centerpieces, they always tend to be about 4 to 5 stops brighter than anything else in the room. Metering for these over lit and overly bright areas can render the rest of the room in black. On the contrary, if I expose for the rest of the room, these floral and centerpiece details will be total blown out or too bright. These scenes are a perfect candidate for my HDR techniques. Of course, when I process, I tend to tweak it a little to kind of give it a slight "illustrative" and crisp look. Some like it, others cringe. Hey, can't please everyone right?
Tony Bennett 3

Tony Bennett 2

Tony Bennett 4

Tony Bennett 1
For the nights entertainment, master vocalist extraordinary Tony Bennett entertained the team owners and their guests. I shot these with my 70 to 200 from out front at the lighting console. Vance the tour manager ran the lights and the presets from the console as we set it up for him. I was just there in case he needed anything. Quite an easy guy to work with he was. He trusted us to layout a nice plot for him, focus the rig, and layout the console subs. Thanks for being a real pro Vance and trusting me. I hope to cross paths again!

Well, hope you enjoyed the little tour of this event as seen thru my eyes. I have a couple more events to post in the coming weeks. I started this season with the goal of capturing every event. Kinda hard when I can't BE at every event. I missed a few good ones while on other shows. Well, I had a good intention anyway. Missed a few, but the seasons not over :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Images from the NFL owners party - part 1

A couple of weeks ago, we were privileged to be able to provide the lighting for the NFL owners party during the week of the Superbowl in Tampa. On the way to meet the crew and begin our load in, I just had to stop and look behind me as this scene was unfolding in the Florida sky. Below are a few images that I captured of the room, details, and show. Enjoy :)

Before the gear arrived
As the doors of the truck were being cracked and the crew was assembling, I raced up to the ballroom to get a "before shot." Its always pretty amazing to see first hand what a little decor and lighting can do to transform a space. I wanted to capture this "before" shot of the room before we came barreling in. This is always an uneasy time for me personally. Double questioning my design, trying to stay on budget with labor, wondering if I forgot to order a critical piece of gear, knowing you have a long and exhausting day ahead....all this mixed together can drive ya a bit mad!

View from the table
As you can see, even with all that stress, the rewards are quite worth it.

Centerpiece detail

I had a couple of hours before doors to capture al kind of details. I have been lighting Michael Ereshena's events for about 20 years. One thing you can always count on with him is attention to detail. I thrive on the synergy that happens between artistic and creative talent like his and ours. It is quite nice to work with clients that appreciate and understand the importance of great lighting in these environments.

Floral decor in cocktails

More details from cocktails
There is one more thing you can always count on with Michael, and that is his ability to finish his setup well ahead of schedule, giving us plenty of time to finish our lighting focus. (and of course, give me plenty of time with the camera!)
Piano Sillouette
The stage was preset for the evenings name entertainment. We have worked with Tony Bennett a couple of times before, and like always, he gave a stellar performance. I'll post a few images from his show tomorrow.
Another from out front
Taken just before the wait staff swarmed the place to layout the flatware.

From stageleft

Taken from the stage left area, the design included a few "chill out" areas to talk, enjoy the ambience, and watch the show.

More images to follow tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by :)

Old boat outside the harbor

A photo workshop is a cool environment to be a part of, but wandering the island after the workshop was over was kind of rewarding as well. I found a few disintegrating jewels on this trip. I have always found the beauty in decay of just about anything in my travels, and this little boat just seemed to be a perfect subject.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On the bridge in Shanghai

My post this evening is driven a bit by a show that happens to be on this evening. On Discovery HD, a show called China Rising is giving insight into the social economic challenges that are accompanying China and especially Shanghai as it springboards into its dramatic new future. Although I was only able to visit for a couple of days when I was there, I could feel the energy of this city as change was unfolding. This show unveils some of the resistance of the locals and a little of the ugly side of rapid capitalistic growth.

This image was created from a snap out of the old G10 as was wandering around one afternoon looking for "Old Shanghai". I particularly liked the grungy feeling of some of these older neighborhoods, however, I feel that all of this will be bulldozed over and gone by the time I make it back there someday. Every inch of this evolving city seems to be giving way "New Shanghai". Exciting for some, yet kind of sad for many.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We're outta here!

Well, for me, this shot says today. Sometimes there's just nothing like riding around in a 60' boom lift hanging lights. "Mike.....why were you riding around instead of someone else?"

Well, cause, its fun :) !!!

As the sun was setting and the truck was being loaded with dead road cases, it seemed like the perfect time to ride up about 30' and capture this image.

Hope to catch a few more this week out here at the "Horse Auction" .....

Horse Auction???!!!

don't ask......cause, I don't have any answers yet.....but, stay tuned!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Parisian night

There are nights when I know exactly what I want to post, and there are nights that I gaze with a blank stare at the 30 or so images processed and ready to post. Then, there are nights that I am inspired or influenced by the post of another flickr friend. This nights thanks goes to Rachelle.

Check her post at

I think its time to take another quick virtual trip through Paris this week. I have a few more in the stack waiting to be seen. More to follow :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hmmmm, I've got an idea!

As I raced across the state of Florida in search of some Everglades landscape shots, the lack of a high vantage point along alligator alley started to frustrate me. Just then, a thought. Aahhhaa!

'nuff said......

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our beach sculpture

For me, there isn't anyone more dearer to my heart than my daughter!!! Love you 'Becca :)

This was taken on a special day with my little one. As Trey Ratcliff mentioned on a radio show I was listening to not a few days earlier, our school system has a way of beating the artistic nature of children out of them. This struck a cord in me for a couple of days. Some of his insightful words were all it took for me to sloooooow down and spend an afternoon with her. As we were building our unique little driftwoosd and seaweed sculpture, I could barely notice the other beach goers double taking a view of our little art piece.

Good times....... :)

(taken with the iphone.......tortured in Photoshop!)

Another Sebring sunset

This calm, soothing scene I captured one quiet evening at about 6PM in Central Florida is in quite a sharp contrast to the scene that I was a part of at 6PM this evening. I think yesterdays post was a clue of what was about to unfold today. Somehow, however, the event just comes together, albeit sometimes just seconds before the doors open. Our portion was flawless. A happy client, promise of future work, a happy crew......what could be better? Audio however....another story altogether. Mr sound-man had quite the day!

Perhaps, if I have the energy after tomorrows bloodbath setup, I will elaborate on adventures with this simple jackass.....stay tuned :)

And as always, thanks to my "rock star" crew today. You guys are awesome!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Keeping focus

Sometimes, I need to step back and realize what I (we) have accomplished. Sure, this image was from a few months ago, but its a good reminder for me. We have cranked out some incredible work over the years, and I frequently loose focus of that. It's times like now that I need that mental reinforcement to get through a challenge.

Tomorrow, we have a couple of load-ins. That means that we have to surgically split our team up. Normally, this would not be a challenge, but I have a strong feeling that the train wreck we are about to encounter on one of these events tomorrow would have really benefitted by having the whole team there. You see, we have done quick load-ins and turnovers many times before. I hate them and the stress that goes with em'......but we've done em'.

This event I am speaking about has us pre-rigging some of the lighting this evening. The train started to jump that track about an hour ago when I was informed by the production manager that we have to delay the load in by 3 hours and by the way, we can't rig in the whole room. In fact, now we can't access one 3rd of the room till tomorrow at noon!

Let's talk about tomorrow shall we? At 12 noon, trucks from audio, lighting, floral, draping, video, staging.......all trying to load in at the same time! Fifty or so tables, staging, name entertainment, decor, centerpieces, food service,........yeah, could be a cluster %&^(*&%^&!!!

Don't expect any pictures.......actually, maybe one. I'll take it from the ambulance as I am making my way to the emergency room just before doors!

This should be good................

Focus Mike, relax, think positive!

All right, I am positive it's gonna be a cluster &^%&^%#.....zat better?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Around the lake in Montreux, Switzerland

According to Wikepedia:

Montreux is a municipality in the district of Vevey in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. It was a haven for Catherine Barkley and Lt. Frederic Henry in Ernest Hemingway's classic, A Farewell to Arms.

It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population of 22,897Montreux lies on the north east shore of Lake Geneva at the fork in the Roman road from Italy over the Simplon Pass, where the roads to the Roman capital of Aventicum and the road into Gaul through Besançon separated. This made it an important settlement already in Roman times.

Blaa Blaa Blaa......

I know it as one of the coolest places to spend mid July in the Montreux Jazz Festival!!! See you there :)


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Modern Shanghai at night

Modern Shanghai at night

After a full night of shooting the incredibly brilliant and luminous city of Shanghai with a couple of other cool photographers and buddies of mine (does that mean I am supposed to be a cool photographer?), we ended the evening at the ultra hip rooftop bar at the Hyatt on the Bund. Nothing goes better with a glass of Pinot Noir than a cool breeze and this incredible view. Shortly after I exposed these images, almost ever light in the city was shut if someone threw one switch that controlled the exterior lighting on the entire city. Quite eerie to witness I must note, but very green I might add.

I barely scratched the surface of this foreign land in the 3 days I was there......I must go back!

View On Black

Monday, February 9, 2009

PGA National

While scampering around (hmm, do I really scamper...) before the holidays, I always seem to make it up to the PGA Spa to grab a couple of gift certificates for loved ones.

As I was leaving the Spa, I glanced out of the corner of my eye, turned my head as I kept driving, and almost hit a palm tree trying to soak in the beautiful light raking across the front lawn.

Well, I thought about it, slammed on the brakes , and made a U turn so I could capture a little bit of it. As I look at this now, especially after last week and the next couple of weeks to come, I cant help but wish I picked up a couple for myself!!!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

End of the pier - Beginning of the week

End of the pier - Beginning of the week

As it is time to purge all unused energy and stress from this past week and start preparing for the week ahead, I chose this simple image to post tonight......

Ah shit, Robert Plant got the album of the year just now?! Should'a been Coldplay or Radio Head for sure! (I just saw this as I was posting...grrrr)

Anyway, back to the image. The sky was a disaster that day, but I was there on the West Coast and decided to grab a few shots anyway. I kinda liked how this came out. Hope you like.

Have a great week everyone!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Market America World Conference - with house lights

As we count down the hours to load out (about 4 right now), I'm gonna purge a few shots I worked on between paying attention to Q's on headset, listening to motivational presentations, and eating too much junk food. HAHAHA

Market America World Conference - with house lights

This first one is the stage and set in the Arena with all the house lights on before doors this morning.

Fisheye view of the Arena

Up near the stage

And with a little lighting, everything comes alive!

Just before doors open on the last day of the week

This gives a good perspective of the arena with our huge control area on the left side, the main camera in the center, and translation booths on the right.

Update at 10:30PM......

Well, by now, most of the rig is in and packed up. The unsung heros are hard at work finishing up the strike. Thanks again for my stellar crew!

I took a little video on this event and hope to start uploading some clips in the near future. Stay tuned! (this should be good, hehehe)

Update at 11:00PM.....

Trucks are loaded!!! Wow, a record strike. Awesome job folks :)

Our Worlds at ma World Conference

Our Worlds at ma World Conference

As we come down the home stretch the conference this week, I figured I would share this view with you. My home for the week is the area on the left, Howard .... aka, the the center, with Drew....aka, Dr. Drew the playback operator on the right. Oh yeah, I labeled it that way....duh!

Looks like we need a maid service up at the control deck, what do you think?

More images later in the day :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not in a real hurry to get home

So, after working on an event on the West Coast of Florida last week, I decided to take the long way home. I figured that I would find a million things to stop and photograph and, well,... that just didn't happen. After a few hours of desperation, for some reason, I thought I could great a great shot by shooting right into the sun. After a little photoshop work and a few textures, WHALLA!.....I present this piece of garbage....oops, I mean Art.

Thanks for viewing :)

Not in a real hurry to get home

Goofball at the console

Goofball at the console

Well, like the title says.....

This was taken this morning as the seats were filling up during walkin.

I do look a bit haggard here, but its just part of the processing......well, kind of...

As of this post, we are just about at lunch time. Only 12 more hours left in our day. Guess I am kinda haggard now that think of it!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shot of the stage - HDR and 3 renderings

Once the show is in and rehearsals are over, show mode is smooth sailing for us. While on headset today (as I am still right now), I had a little chance to check out some new techniques. The top left is an HDR and the other 3 are variations in Topaz to come up with a few "illustrative" looks. I like how they kinda look like renderings that a graphic artist might to when presenting a concept. Hope you like!

Guess I gotta pay attention to the stage now.....

View On Black
Shot of the stage - HDR and 3 renderings

From load in to opening day - the transformation

Well, we're off and running!

Before loadin to opening session

Although it seemed like such an unreachable goal just 2 short days ago, we wave reached and begun our opening session here at the American Airlines Arena. The top shot was created just before the gear started its journey onto the arena floor early Tuesday morning. I shot and processed the bottom one late last night after programming.

More to follow later :)

View On Black

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bike break in Paris

We, its late, I have the Ipod on, I'm in Miami, and programming 80 or so moving lights for tomorrow mornings opening show. And what do I post? A self portrait while waiting for a bike tour of Paris on a quick break. My god, I'm wierd.......but I guess you might know that by now!

Hahaha, back to the lighting console :)

From backstage

Well, day one is just about complete. Well, lets call it 2 days in one shall we. A show like this takes every bit of 2 days, but, well, here we are once again.....trying to cram it into the allotted 1 day load in. Fun.......

The first day of this show, the load in, is equivalent to a 20 hour root canal....with out the Novocain. For some reason, no matter how many hundreds of man hours are put into the prep, this one off setup always has me leaving the venue at well after midnight the first day. And of course, this year was no exception.

Sarah at the rack
Here's a shot of Chris and Sarah setting up their immaculate dimmer beach. All cables pre labeled and ready for power! Nice work :)

Goofballs backstage
And of course, Mike getting in the way.

Racks and cable
Although it looks a little chaotic at times, there is quite a method to the madness.
Back stage left
With just about everything to trim, the crew starts to carpet the stage....

More to follow over the next few days. Its late, and I'm outta here!