Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nighttime fountain play in Boston (and a link to a video with a special message)

My little image of this fountain in Boston has waited patiently and quietly in the "to post someday" file. I've stared at it many a times and, not today. I like it when I can tie an image together with a thought....or in tonight's case, a message. Read on....., something most of us take for granted. In fact, we have more than we need for the most part and don't even consume half of what we are all supposed to. It is a stark reality, however, that a lot of the world is not so fortunate.

I am linking you to a video here and embedding a copy on my blog. If you get a chance, take the time to view it.

While attending a service this morning that, for some reason or another, I had felt a strong urge to attend, I was slapped a bit about the message. (To put things in perspective here, I can count on one hand the times I have actually gone to church this year) That doesn't really have anything to do with the story, but just painting a picture here. For some unknown reason, I felt a strange urge to attend.

They opened the service with this short little clip. (You really should stop for a few seconds and watch it.....really) I decided to google the video to see if there was more online, and bingo, there it was. I'm not here to push a belief, but the theme is quite powerful. Several messages actually. How so many in this world are without some of the basic needs absolutely amazes me! I mean....clean water!!!

Seriously, watch it a couple of times. It just might change you.....

Dig a little deeper into their site. Can one incredibly rich country make a difference? I think so!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A colorful day on the way to Key West

Hmmmm, I was gonna drone on about some reference to color and how life is all about the perception you choose to embrace this wonderful colorful world with and what it has to offer, and wouldn't ya know it.....I lost my train of thought......LOL.....

to be continued, I guess....

(hope you are having a great weekend!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

An end to another great day.....(A day of thanks and reflection)

So another wonderful Holiday comes to a close. I like these kind. No mass commercialism, no fanfare (except for the parade I guess), no excessive late night party......just real people sharing real feelings. Gratitude and thanks, definitely something that we all (especially us Americans) seem to take for granted on a daily basis.

I definitely have a lot to be grateful for. I blogged about it last year, and to be honest, I still mean every word of it. Here is the link....

My real focus this evening I guess is one of my vision or shall I say, my wish for the future. Making a difference in the world seems to be a tune that has been resonating a lot in the world recently. Perhaps it has always been playing softly in the background, but I have just started to allow myself to hear its precious melody. A reminder of what is possible was quite evident to me this evening as I tuned into CNN's Hero special out of the corner of my eye as I got a little caught up on some work. To be honest with you, it was kind of a slap in the face to me as to what is really possible. I have been grappling lately with this concept of giving without ANYTHING in return. To give with your heart, mind, and sole for the sole purpose of making real resonant change in the world (or at least to a small part of it.) Sure, that has a lot to do with why we all want to be great parents, but beyond that, and especially after watching that show...I know that I have so much more to give. Finding what that is exactly continues to be a journey.

We all want to leave our mark in this world. I guess its only appropriate to realize, except, and harness that feeling when it hits you. I am sure that I will continue to find ways to make a my life, my families, and the world around me....and for that, I am sincerely thankful!

More to come......

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reflective landscape in Iceland (and a Happy Thanksgiving!)

My trekking about Iceland, as I have mentioned way too many times by now, rewarded me with a few challenges when it comes to lighting. Kind of ironic for someone who lives in a world of light! When I shot this scene however, I knew that I could work it a bit in post.

The original shot was just half of this. I have stared at it for a couple of months and never really thought that it was finished, until it hit me tonight. The scene was really quite grandiose there (sorry, I kinda hate that word to....just a bit stuck here), but I didn't really capture that when I was there. I decided to work the ole' copy and flip trick here, dodged and burned a bit, and created this. I kinda like it :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A break in the Swiss Alps (while the timelapse camera clicks away)

I had a few ideas while on this little trek up in the Swiss Alps, and here is one of them. Before I left the States for my trip, I had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to procure a room with a great view of this most majestic of mountains. My thought was that the camera could live, safely on the balcony, whilst clicking away all day for a time-lapse capture. Well, I started thinking, how about a nice little break during a hike to do the same thing? I must admit, after loading a little Pat Metheny into the ipod playlist, throwing the hood over my head, and just sitting down to enjoy the view and fresh air for a couple of hours, I was in heaven!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ville France (as seen from the eyes of someone who ate just a bit too much Captain Crunch!)

I felt like posting one of my more subtle and soft black and white images. Hope you like :)

(looks like an explosion at a Sherwin Williams paint factory....geez, look at the color!)

Sometimes I get just a weeee bit carried away!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reflections in infrared (and a thankful perspective)

Life changing moments. Indeed, we all have a few of those. A couple of days ago, I had an anniversary and a reminder of one of mine. I kinda blogged about it a year ago if you want to dig it up, but this post really isn't about that. Its more of a reminder to myself about a bit of personal perspective and progress.

I like the term "self growth". There are many that chuckle at the mere mention of this study. For others, its a life long focus. I guess I belong to the latter club.

Over the past year, one of the daily rituals I have allowed myself to enjoy is perhaps something that I should have been allowing myself all along. I try to start my day with a quiet 20 minutes or reflection and focus. I use these special moments to give thanks to at least 10 things....usually the first 10 things that pop into my mind. Be it personal, relationships, family, business, investment, comfort, financial, artistic,...from the minutely simple thoughts to the rather complex ......gosh, they just come flying at me actually. In that special time of reflection, I truly give thanks for what I have and what I have achieved. It is in that vibration of energy that I then allow myself to focus on the direction I intend to take myself, not only for the day, but in the near future. Although I don't always get that far in this process, I never get past the morning without at least giving thanks. Seems like a good week to mention this :)

So, on a similar note, I would like to also give a bit of thanks to all who happen to stumble upon this. For the last couple of years, I have been regularly posting images here on flickr, while in turn uploading to my blog and facebook. I have received comments from all over the world, over 200,000 views, been published a few times, been in 2 books, had my images used in a couple of industry brochures, had a few people ask to use an image on their business card, and for all of that.....I am very thankful! It means alot to me :)

And, as I like to do now and then, a musical journey that inspired the image and the post...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A late night stroll in Paris

A late night stroll in Paris, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

There are a few places in the world that when there, I feel like I am in the center of the world. Europe is one of those places, France in particular, Paris to be exact, ....... and this area seems to be the heart of Paris. (What's with that sentence!)

I've never been much of a painter, but enjoy pretending to be one in the digital world!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Waiting for the right moment in (where was I exactly) Arles, France

My travel technique is one often ridiculed by those who don't understand. Actually, i've ridiculed it myself! Ever since my first trip to Europe, my style has been that of the typical American I guess: See as much as possible and at a rapid pace. I actually spent about 4 hours in Venice my first trip there. FOUR HOURS! Jumped on a boat from the train station, headed to St. Marks, walked a few alleys, got back on the train, and to Florence. Silly, I know...

Fast forward a few years and I'm essentially the same guy, not quite AS bad, but still a bit hyper. All that being said, it was at first quite torturous to wait here for the slowly wandering tourists to clear out of the shot. Its kinda funny, when your waiting...they seem to move slow as molasses, don't they? Appearing to be studying nothing at all, one guy wandered in and out of my camera view for what seemed like hours!

Like a slap in the face, however, my focus changed. What in the hell was I in such a rush for. If I could only slow the pace down a few clips, I might actually be able to let my mind wander a bit and imagine the stories these walls might be able to tell. Almost like a scene from a bedtime story I might have read to my daughter, this place was magical. As I sat down on the cool stones in the corner, I allowed myself to sink into the music on the Ipod while noticing the details in the arches, the texture in the stones, the musty smell of years gone by, .......WOW. Its amazing what we let out minds filter out in the rush of the average day.

I sometimes wonder what value there is in spending so much time behind the lense, until I recall moments like this :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Details from an industry event

I finally got around to editing a few images I shot for a great florist that works out of our studio. It was an industry event showcase at a really cool and trendy location in Miami. Yes it was a couple of month ago (notice the use of the word finally), but I finally (there it is again) got a few done and delivered today. Its nice to kind of take yourself out of the comfort zone every now and then to see what you can create. I actually wish that I shot a few more while I was there. I shaved the batch down to about 40 that I liked and did minimal processing. As for now, here is one I shot just before I grabbed a fork and snuck a taste out of the backside of the cake (LOL!)

More to follow soon......

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

West Palm Beach - Sunset Panorama

Okay, so the world is quite saturated with sunset images.....REALLY saturated, but that still doesn't stop us photogs from chasing this most magical moment of the day. Sometimes its a bust, but on occasion, the sky here in South Florida reveals yet another unique masterpiece. Wow, what can be created with one light!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Skull Lounge

The Skull Lounge, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

Devils night, Halloween, Alls Hallowed Eve, ...... whatever you choose to call it, its a great excuse for a party. This year was of course no exception. My friend Kevin sinks a huge amount of time, creative energy, and focus into this event, and like last year, I was happy to be a part of the magic!

Ghost pond in the Haunt

Just around the corner from the "haunt" where guests could be hears throughout the gardens schreaking from the many surprises, the ghosts danced their little ballet over the pond. Backlit smoke effects silhouetted the brick sculpture while creating a backdrop to the moody environment.

A place to chill - Devils Night at Ann Norton Scukpture Gardens

An area in the middle of the Garden was appropriately named "The Skull Lounge". Here, the guests could chill out under the stars while listening to a bit on a mix of ambient "Ibiza Chill" tunes. Wildfire black-lights illuminated the spider web decor suspended overhead.

Main Stage

The main stage was the place to be scene as this inaugural party of the Palm Beach Season kicked in. Moving lights, fire projection effects, and dramatic red washes of color helped create the ambiance. If the neighborhood allowed, the energy of this event would have lasted till the weee hours for sure, but instead, the after hours crowd took the party over to Palm Beach!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ez in the South of France

Ez in the South of France, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

My travels usually find me loaded down with an excessive about of camera gear lately. The trek uphill to this little village in the South of France called Ez was no exception. Soon after I planted down the tripod legs for this shot of a little bit of "Old World Europe", I half expected the door to creek open. I envisioned an old French lady waving me off in a cranky old voice while simulating a motion of smacking me upside the head with a freshly baked baguette. Wow, that was really weird........geez!

So, now for something completely different....

If you get a chance to catch the Michael Jackson movie thats out, I highly suggest it. As someone that works in the live events industry, it was quite interesting to me. A great behind the scenes look at the magic behind creating a show. I must say, he really seemed like a sincerely devoted, passionate, and caring performer to work with. The movie portrayed a man with a real heart and compassion for all he worked with. Beyond the fact that the world missed out on what appeared to be an incredible show in the making, the real loss is the message that he was never able to communicate through his art. As he mentioned, this planet is hurting and its up to us, all of us, to do what ever we can before it is too late. Who knows how many people he could have effected with that show and the difference it may have made. Its sad that we will never know!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bumbling about the Oregon Coast

Bumbling....indeed how I do feel sometimes when chasing the light. This trip was definitely no exception. Its funny how the sun appears to be falling at the rate a bowling ball would when you're racing to find a place to capture this special time of day!

Along the Oregon Coast, the sea is quite cold; unique, but very cold. As I studied a few of the locals heading to the beach in this part of the country, I noticed that they seemed to be a bit more focused......perhaps sophisticated as well.....?

Just before exploring the tide pools off in the distance, I decided to plop down in the warm sand to capture the amber light that was beginning to paint the landscape in this coastal paradise. Good God, that was one of the longest sentences ever! And kinda lame too.....

Anyway, hope ya like it.....the image that is....

And, to continue a sort of recurring theme this that inspired the edit:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moonlight along the Oregon Coast

My post this evening finds me with a bit of a backlog of shots I either have been wanting to post, have perviously talked about posting, or promised others that I would post soon. So, with all that being said, I'm not really sure why I put the headphones on and dove deep into the drive to find a blank palette to paint on. I guess it has a little to do with the afternoon I had. I decided to take a wee bit of a break and goofed off for a while today. This afternoon, I took my daughter to see The Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in 3d IMAX. Definitely a must see!!! What a buffet of visual inspiration. It's hard to figure out what is animated, generated, and real. I guess when it all works, it really doesn't matter. What was even cooler was the opportunity to discuss the movie in a rather philosophical way with a 9 year old over dinner afterwards. Indeed, my life is good :)

A quick shout out to for his cool textures that I was able to use to paint with tonight. Check out his stream!

Musical inspiration I used for the edit

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Somewhere in Zermatt

Somewhere in Zermatt, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

After a long trek up in the Swiss Alps, my legs were shaking as I approached the bottom of the last path. Throw a flat country Florida guy into the Swiss Alps for a day, and thats what you get. For a short couple of days, I severely abused my out of shape body for the exchange of some incredible scenery, fresh air, and relaxing moments near the Matterhorn. Of course, with my trusty Nikon kit at my side, I captured a few images along the way.

I did something a bit different on a few of these outings on this trip. I decided to record my thoughts as I was setting up for the shot with my G10. This location was one of them. I remember rambling on as I set up this shot about why I was taking it and what I hoped to do with it. I am sure I sounded like quite a dork, hahaha. Anyway, I hope to edit a few of these video clips soon and incorporate with some editing tips as well.

Musical inspiration from the edit.....Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just outside the tent before the guests arrived

I gotta admit, I love to "get in the zone." Perhaps its just an escape, I'm not really sure. I like to think of it as more of a creative journey to a place that I am perhaps supposed to spend a little more time in than I allow myself. We all have those special places we allow ourselves to travel to I guess. Seems like the rushed pace of life sometimes prevents us from hanging out there too long though. For me, I visit that place when putting on the headset, cranking Itunes, and painting a bit with light. Wether it be a stage in a dark theatre or arena with the haze blasting as I program a few moving lights to cues to a dramatic score, or the comfort of my home studio as I paint a few lighting effects into an image of mine......the creative expression is quite similar.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a quick link to the music that I rode with as I worked on this image. I was introduced to the music of Jamie Cullum by a good friend of mine about a year ago. I tend to follow a small group of musical artists that I feel have an intense passion for their art, and Jamie has now been included as one of them. Incidentally, he has a new CD coming out, which I am certain will do well. Definitely an artist you will be hearing about for a very long time!

Anyway, check out this link for the clip I am listening to now. (on the blog, I'll post a link)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lutheran church in Minneapolis

As a lighting designer, I often find myself tuning into the quality of light wherever I am. I guess that helps quite a bit while pursuing my passion of photography. For this location, however, it was more about the lack of light and how to capture the extreme contrast. Of course, HDR processing to the rescue!

Mike, that's it for tonight? A weeks worth of events all last week......and you're pulling one from the archives? Your kidding right?

Well, it is Sunday....I figured I could slide with this one....

Sorry, more this week for sure, after I kinda get caught up!

And hey, have a great week!!!

A walk in the woods (and a bit of thanks)

Well, I kinda fell a bit short on my posts this week now, haven't I. I plunged into this week of events we were on with the full intention of posting current bits of details and images along the way, but in reality, resorted to somewhat useless dribbles of twitter posts, with the occasional Iphone upload. I know, kinda lame.....

More than anything, as the final truck is being loaded, I just had to give a few thanks. This whole week was quite the undertaking for us. To sit back now and revel in the success of our portion of the project is quite rewarding. However, the real unsung heros are those who often do not get recognized. I couldn't have done this without the dedication of my crew of Chris, Sarah, Eric, Keith, Carl, Drew, Alan, Rick, Dallas, and of course, the local power crew from Black Onyx. Thanks SO much all of you. You really made me look good and I am so happy that you were all able to be part of the team!

Now, time for some MUCH needed rest. Look for a few images this week!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Entrance to the Haunt

Entrance to the Haunt, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

Here's a quick peak from our last event on Halloween. This shot of the entrance of the party was the gateway to a few really cool effects and spooky gags just around the corner. Look for a few more images to follow soon. (Man, that event seems like it was years ago!)

As far as the event I am on now......well, I guess 4 hours sleep is better than 3!

As I trudge thru this mornings rehearsal for the luncheon, I have another team in place at the General Session, at the trade show floor, with 2 more ready for the outside event setup today and the turnover here in the ballroom. Couldn't have gotten this far without the A plus team that I have been graced with! Pictures from this event so far? Well, not so much, sadly. Perhaps I'll have a chance to capture this evenings event, I hope! As I try to stay one step ahead of all the shows, the camera has spent the last couple of days whimpering alone in the room....sad to report. Poor thing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another nightshot from Tampa - and more from the front line!

The 3rd floor pool deck here at the hotel in Tampa seemed to be the best place to capture a wrap-up shot of the day.

I must say that after 2 days of load-in, we really, I mean REALLY seem to be on track. General Session is loaded, focussed, and ready for rehearsals, the trade show is all but ready for show, tomorrows evening event is loaded in and almost ready, we hung the lighting for one of Friday nights events, and we made a dent in Thursdays load-in already. We are definitely rock-in the house!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A view of Tampa after a great start of the week

As I head into this week, I hope to do something a bit different on this blog. My normal style of post has me usually plucking random images from events and travels from the past. For a change, I hope to stay a bit more current for the week.

Whatever, right.....?

So, first off, we are off to a rockin start. We seem to be right on schedule and are positioned well for a great week of events here in Tampa. It was nice to have a chance to head out to dinner with my crew tonight to reflect on a great day of accomplishment while sharing a few laughs at stories from the past. Its such a pleasure to work with such great people, thats for sure.

So, for a start this week, I created this image from the view from my room. Although shot threw the window, turning the lights out kept out most of the reflections.

As always, more to follow, but for now.....its shut eye time!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A nightime look at the Tampa Convention Center

Well, at 8AM we're off and running for this weeks events. More to follow I am sure.

While out here on a previous site visit, I was lucky enough to have one of the hotel security staff take me up to the area normally off limits. I've always enjoyed being able to go behind the scenes to locations that the general public is not permitted. Not sure what thats all about.....kinda weird, I know.

The Bund in Shanghai, China as seen from the top of the Hyatt

My frantic pace of packing for the upcoming week of events finds me listening to a bit of a mix of music I used used for last nights event. So, what's all that have to do with the image Mike? Once again, relatively nothing at all, except for the vibe. The Ibiza Global Chill Mix blasting on the Ipod as I processed this kinda put me in the mood and reminded me of this ultra hip location in Shanghai at the Hyatt on the Bund. A really great place to chill, soak in the Shanghai scene, and hang with your friends. Perhaps a little hipper and cooler than yours truly, but lets not tell anyone.....shhhh.

So, as I would love to post a few from the killer Halloween Event we were on last night, thats gonna have to wait for a couple of days, till I have a bit of time to put theme thru the ole' process. Hopefully, it wont be too lame to post them a few days too late!

Have a safe one everyone. More to come soon!