Thursday, April 30, 2009

A hall on the outside of the Louvre in Paris

So, my original plan was to post a poster type collage like I did yesterday for the week I am here in Iceland......

Yeeeeaaaa........that's aahhhh....not gonna happen.....

Having just returned to the hotel at after midnight from a full day shooting, scouting, and driving, ...... I have changed my mind. I can't wait to see the puffins by the way!

As the memory cards are dumping into Lightroom as I type this, I decided to dig this one up. In my usual fashion, I am all over the map.

All is well....enjoy....

More to come :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Trek in Iceland - Day 1

My Trek in Iceland - Day 1, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

From what I have seen so far today, I am going to run out of time long before I run out of ideas for my images here in this incredibly diverse island of Iceland. Day one.....jet lag and all, rewarded me with a few great locations already. The biggest challenge is apparently going to be the weather. Of course, I embrace this challenge wholeheartedly cause, well, I'm in Iceland!

More to come :)

A much better view is here!

Driftwood on the way to Key West

Although this is not Iceland (if it was, we would all be in big trouble!), its what I have for now. Arrived safe and sound....and quite tired. After a quick nap at the hotel, I'm off to meet the gang and head to a place called the Blue Lagoon. From what I hear, its a geo thermal spa of sorts and really looks cool from the images I have seen of it. Gotta run.....

More on all of this later :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Slip n' fall zone

Slip n' fall zone, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

As I take a break from preparing for my next little trek...with my mind going in a million directions, I thought I would post something that had that raw landscape feel to it. Of course, you sharp pixel peepers will notice the buildings up on the horizon, but I hope the initial emotion is more of an isolated and remote feeling. After all, I am heading for Iceland in the AM and I hope to capture some of that feeling in my images. For me, there is nothing more stimulating that heading into a foreign destination.....foreign for me that is. From all I have seen, the Icelandic landscape is quite the location exploring and photographing. The weather prediction looks a bit sketchy, but I am certainly up for the challenge. I'm not sure what my internet connection will be like, but stay tuned for more.

Back to the excessive packing of WAY too much camera gear!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The artist at work

The finishing touch to her work incredible work of art could only be created as the guests entered the ballroom for this special night. As only the eyes of a true artist can capture, various guests were introduced to the painting, giving it realistic details that the bride and groom will cherish for many years to come....a unique remembrance to this wonderful evening.

The finishing touch

My thanks to the artist, Agnes Russo, for her conversation, inspiration, and kindness. Please check out some more of her work at:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swiss Chalets

Swiss Chalets, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

The average post starts out with an inspiration. Something that happened during the day, a reflective moment, a that I think of it, there really is no average post for me. More often that not, it actually begins with the image. Fifteen or so odd years ago, I had no idea what could eventually be of this image. For whatever reason, us photographers are kind of possessed. We are on a constant search for the next image.....dragging bags and packs of excessive gear to incredible places. Why is that? For me, it is quite simple. There is a beautiful world out there! I find great happiness in gathering and sharing those moments. Travel becomes a full time sensory overload as you open your eyes to the world. Scanning your surroundings for unique situations, color, patterns, light, emotion, .....the whole world becomes quite cinematic!

Wow, I am completely off track here....again....

I was inspired to post this image tonight based on an incredible artist I met. More on her in a minute....

I have always been inspired by paintings. How someone can create the illusion of reality, light, and emotion on a canvas has always intrigued me and to be quite honest, made me a little jealous. Perhaps taking a brush to canvas is something I really need to try someday. Put that on the bucket list I guess....

So, at the event that we did this evening, I met an artist.....a painter of live events. I hope to post an image of her at work tomorrow evening. She started the day at about 11AM when we were finishing up the lighting focus and tweek. With a blank canvas, she spent the day capturing the incredible setup, florals, architecture, hanging cherry blossoms, lighting, and as the guests walked in.....she proceeded to paint a few of the guests into the painting. I have never seen anything quite like it before!

My image for today, tough not painted by hand, is my art. Thanks for the inspiration Agnes!

Check back tomorrow for a shot of her at work and a link to her incredible artwork!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oregon Dunes

There are a couple of times a day...very special times of the day, when the lighting is just right. Chasing this golden lighting is kinda of a crazy and maddening feeling for the photographer, especially if you are still scouting for a site. I know, cause, well, I have been there.....too many times to admit. As the golden light tonight starts to paint the trees outside my balcony in the courtyard, I am starting to get that feeling again.....C YA, off to "chase the light" again!

What really matters

I realize that these daily blogs and posts are at best "all over the map." Well, as a personal blog and account of my life over the past year, I guess thats what it should be. With several great images finished and ready to post as well as several raw images just waiting to be processed someday, I decided to capture what had caught my attention as I sat down to blog this evening. It truly is amazing how these simple words, written candidly at some point today onto a note pad just inches from where I type this, from the petite hands of my 8 year old, can toss a million emotions at yours truly. This "tossing back and forth" of her for the last 2 and a half years between her mother and I continues to be the strangest emotional challenge for me......especially when I catch a little note like this. A million of the most colorful HDR images mean nothing tonight to me...this however, well, I think you get it............

Check back tomorrow and, well, I should be back on track.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From out front

My guys were laughing at me....I know they were (i'm pretty sure I saw them chuckling in the main tent!) during this setup. I was doing a mid day dance about the base of the tree with assorted pars, scoops, and cables. How to light a huge Oak Tree...a 200 year old one at that. I first for me I must add. Wide floods for the truck, medium washes for the high leaves, and very narrow beams for slashing the branches. Hey, sounds like a good start! As the the sun went down the first evening of our setup, the stress started to subside....excellent, looks like its gonna work. I knew I was at least half way there, and thats a great feeling. Another slice of a great day in the world of special event lighting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looking elsewhere

It's a little rough out there for some people, a lot of people! For quite a while, many of those same people have been screaming for change. This slogan was embraced passionately and helped fuel our recent election. What I am afraid of is that the long dark road that we all need to travel to get back on course was envisioned by many as being this brightly lit super highway void of all roadblocks, debris, and distractions. Sure, there is a beacon of hope ahead....I see it....but its way out there. Your time now is best spent preparing yourself for that long journey ahead. Fuel up, tune up, and clean up.....your vehicle need to be taken care of! As we all travel down this new road, I guess its up to you to determine how you take the ride. Will a flat tire force you to stop and quite the game or will you take that opportunity during its repair to get out and explore what this beautiful world has to offer you. Will you hang out on the side of the road waiting for help, or will you trek out and blaze a new path to that incredible vista that might be right around the corner. The choice is yours......embrace the challenge and most importantly, enjoy the ride.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Little India in Singapore - Vertical Collage

An hour or two was barely enough time to scratch the surface of this colorful ethnic quarter of Singapore. The uniquely Indian hanging Jasmine Garlands, spice scented alleys, and brilliantly painted architectural elements were what I had hoped to capture in that short little visit. Upon return to the hotel a little later that night and a quick glance through the images captured, I felt that a composite was the best way to tell the story. I have always loved the look of the 4 or 9 picture spreads of Conde' Nast Travel Magazine, and that look was the original inspiration for this layout when I started it. It then quickly turned into more of a poster look. Hope you like.

View On Black

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Soft spring reflections (OK, lame name, but it works no?)

Perhaps the greatest part of reflecting back on the past is realizing the exciting possiblilitys of the future. As you proceed through life, sometimes you have to stop and remind yourself that the future memories you hope to enjoy are being created now. So I ask you, what are you doing to create these? Are you passionate about your work.....are you spending time with the ones you love.....are you doing something today to realize your dreams for the future?

Make every day count if not every moment of every day and you can be sure of great memories to reflect back on. Enjoy the journey!

A better view!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cityplace before New Years Eve

So, what's the story here Mike?

Well, nothing really, its just where I'm heading out for a quick bite now. I love being able to walk over to Cityplace......and, ahhh...

Thats it?

Hmmm, thats about all I got now. Been a long day ya know....

Got it. Another lame post. Geeeez!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A lone oak

WOW, I just realized that the Ocala event hasn't been fully wrapped up yet! I guess there is always next week. In my defense, this was created up there during our setup. Hope you like.....

I just love these solo tree scenes. Something very simple, stable, and calming in a world of chaos, instability, and confusion. Ok, that was a bit too deep I guess.

6:30 AM load in, so, I'm outta here!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sometimes the grass IS greener

So, as we have all heard many times (probably too many times actually).... "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." We'll, I guess that just depends on what side of the fence you are on. So I ask you.....what side are you on? Have a close look at it before you hop over. It could be astroturf.....or in this case, well....., my little photoshop secret :)

More from Ocala to roll out this week so check back.....and, oh yeah, thanks alot for stopping by! I appreciate each and every view :)

Check it out larger!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Park bench in Paris

I know I've said this before...many times before actually...

When my mind wanders, it wanders to Europe for some reason. I guess it all goes back to those pre marriage days of the early 90's when I used to get out the maps and guidebooks around mid March as the Palm Beach Season was coming to a fast and furious end. I eventually got my trips up to 2 months. Living low to the ground and soaking in as much of the world as I could. It never took alot of money....just one bag, a camera, a tape recorder, a meager budget, and a free spirit! That was the norm for me.......standard practice every year. 

So.....what happened? Hmmmm, guess life got in the way of living!

So here I am, 15 years later, living on my own again (for roughly the last 2 and a half years) and all I can think of is grabbing the back pack again! There's a huge and beautiful world out there just waiting for me to continue to explore what?

(more from the Ocala gig tomorrow......I felt like a little mind trip tonight)

click for more detail

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Under a blood red sky

So sometimes in the wonderful world of digital imaging, experimentation is part of what its all about. Playing with different blend modes, diving deeper into hidden menus, pushing the envelope, ....... all part of the game. I love it when you hear instructors talk about trying to present a more accurate representation of what your eyes really saw. Everyone seems to have a different approach in what the game is all about. I tend to embrace it all. Sometime its about trying to recreate the dynamic range of what your eye captures as apposed to the limited range of the camera sensor. But, more often than not for me, its pushed a bit more. How about capturing what I would love my eyes to see or better yet, what my crazy "out in left field" mind's eye sees. With that in mind, I share this one with you.

As promised, we are still "hanging out" in Ocala with the posts this week

Eric on break
After returning from lunch with a few minutes left on the break, Eric sneaks a few of the Central Florida rays

Lines of fence
Of course, my breaks .... at least at the beginning of the week, were spent exploring the farms looking for light. As far as I am concerned, I do any gig that has golf carts as the preferred mode of transportation.
I kept trying to get this little guy to pose for me. "Alright, looking good, fantastic,... oh that's perfect, thats it. Look into the fan....yes yes yes, lets see that main, shake it baby...."  Hmmm, maybe it was my approach......nothing seemed to work..... LOL!
Canopy of oak
I've always loved these canopies of trees and this place had lots of em.
Thanks for stopping by......more to come!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another great day in the event lighting world

One of the greatest parts of creating and providing lighting for the special events industry is the fact that a day at the office can mean a day at just about anywhere. Last week, we were fortunate to be chosen as the lighting vendor for a wedding in a most unique location.....a horse farm in Ocala.

Large Oak in Ocala
The area under this 200 year old oak tree was a most unique setting for the clear top and clear sided tent. Just outside of the frame, camera left, are 2 more trees equally as impressive and massive as this one. I must admit that I was a little intimidated by the scale of this pallette and my ability to illuminate these monsters adequately. Sometimes that insecurity and doubt is just what you need to continually challenge yourself and keep you on your toes. As it stands, the end result was quite drop dead gorgeous. More to follow this week!

Seems content

Enjoying the sun

Coming over to talk to me
Because the celebration was divided into 3 or 4 distinct areas for the wedding, cocktails, and reception, golf carts were decidedly the best mode of transportation. Of course, I couldn't help but stop and say high to these beauties as I cruised about the farm during setup.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

When its raining in Boston, grab the tripod and venture out!

As the rain started to let up a bit, I had my eye on this location from my room on the 20th floor. The slight architectural overhang was just what the doctor ordered to keep water off the camera lense for this series of long exposures. I was dying to check out the interior, but from what I could tell.....or what was apparent from a brochure, you had to be on a structured tour and only at certain times. Sorry, not for

In other news, I hope to post a few from our trip up to Ocala this week and a few from the event. I might spread it out over the week as I have some pretty nice ones.....horses, infrareds, cool lighting, waterfalls.....quite a stay tuned ......and have a great week!

( I like using those strings of dots, can't ya tell! .......... )

For a better view

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crucifixion Scene

So, OK, I know its not the best capture, but its gonna help tell my story this evening. What do you expect when the left hand has the cable release and I'm trying to hit lighting ques with the other! HAHA... aannnyway

Its been said many times that if you can find passion in your work, you'll never work another day in your life. I am truely blessed that this rings true to me so often.

I love painting pictures. Now, first off, I can't paint worth a damn......traditional painting that is. For me, there is fortunately another way to paint with light! I guess that why I love photography and digital imaging so much. I love to try to tell a story, tell the eye where to look, create drama with color, and portray emotion in a scene. Every once in a while, I also get to do this with lighting.

You see, as is so often the case, we are lucky to have enough time to get the gear in the space and get in working let alone having the time to create art. A few times a year however, I get the chance to really sink my teeth into a project. This is a shot from one of those projects.

Creating lighting scenes for live theatre is similar to creating a painting....a 3 dimensional painting. This painting, however, also moves in a fourth dimension....time. As the show progresses, this live painting evolves and tells its story in a way that is quite unique. If everything REALLY clicks....(lighting, sound, voice, action, the audience), even I get a chill up my spine, and as was the case several times tonight, a tear or two. Now thats a great day at the office!

Happy Easter everyone :)

A great morning at Blowing Rocks

So, I just realized that I have a rare opportunity to catch sunrise tomorrow morning. Once again, a rare opportunity for me for a Saturday morning. The real question for this guy, however, is will he take advantage of it. For me, unless it is work related, that snooze button is just way too convenient. Soooo, just in case, here is a shot from one of those mornings when I actually made it :)

Coming up this week, stay tuned for images from the Passion Play I am working on, images from the Ocala event, photo paintings, a few travel images, and assorted other work.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Looking for George Jetson

As we were leaving the Fontainebleau Hotel (the incredibly new and improved Fontainebleau Hotel) after the YPO event, I glanced over my shoulder at this. The over the top LED lighting encapsulated the whole area giving a feeling of The Star Trek Enterprise meets George Jetson!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sunset along the Seine

So, as you might remember, I have been dappling a bit with photo painting. Since I have never been one to have much talent with oils and canvas, I have lately embraced this digital approach. I know I have a way to go, but I am enjoying the journey. Isn't that what its all about anyway?

The quay along the Seine in Paris is a wonderful place to stroll. A great place for artists, authors, lovers, and people ....... well, just enjoying life.....the Parisian way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Boston in the rain - First Church of Christ Scientist Boston

When it rains...out come the reflections! Even though it was a bit freezing for this Florida boy, it was still a great evening to explore the details, color, and lighting. While in Boston a couple of weeks ago, a slight drizzle created this beautiful scene just across the street from the hotel at reflection pool just outside of what is called the Mother Church. For a few details, see below. And yes, the glare is annoying up at the top right side, but its a bit late. Hope you like!

From Wikipedia:
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States is The Mother Church and administrative headquarters of the Christian Science Church and is located in the Christian Science Center in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.
Designed in the 1960s by the firm of renowned architect I.M. Pei, the 14-acre Christian Science Plaza along Huntington Avenue includes a reflecting pool and fountain that make it one of Boston's most visually recognizable sites and a popular tourist attraction.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fountaineblea event - just before doors

In my world of events and the illumination of them, my part is varied. For most events, especially in South Florida, we provide, equipment, labor, delivery.....the whole enchilada. We do this quite flawlessly I am proud to say. This has always worked out well....a full lighting "toybox" to play with with a great support crew.

For this event, however, we were chosen as mainly design and direction of the final evenings festivities. I worked closely with another production company to over see the design of the general session rig as to incorporate as much as we would need for our final night. I enjoy this challenge and "out of the safety box" experience. It's also nice to just design and direct and as a result, wear a few less hats!

Faux backstage entrance
The entrance to the event was classic Bruce Sutka them as soon as they walk in. The challenge was how to create a "Backstage at the latin dinner show" experience in a ballroom. Here we are, just outside of the faux backstage entrance.
Backstage vignette - stage managers station

Before the show vignette

We used various up lights and task lights to accomplish a low key and colorful look. The fresnel stage lights with barn doors on stands helped to sell the "backstage" feel. Chris's great idea of placing battery operated low profile flashlights inside them enabled us to have a slight glow in each high powered stage light. A very "Disney" approach and a great idea as the powerer was kinda limited.

As the guests were walking in
All servers were at attention as the guests arrived. Just after I took this, I started to plan my move to sneak a plate!

Casual seating area
Another signature "Bruce Sutka" effect is to create these really cool seating areas within the room. Here is a shot of one of those hip hang out areas.

When it all comes down
One of the few things the privileged guests never see is the condition of the room just an hour from the event. Soon after this was taken, the room was magically transformed to its original condition. Just another day in the event world!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poolside at night at the Shangri-La in Singapore

After a cool dinner with the crew in Singapore, there was one last place I wanted to capture....the hotel pool. I've been to some pretty tropical locations, but this one has them all beat by a mile! Heading outdoors with camera gear and lenses from the air conditioned comfort of the Shangri-La Hotel late in the evening means one're hanging out for about 30 minutes to an hour to wait for the fog to clear off the sensor and lenses. Unless, of course, you like that effect. But hey, I can think of plenty worse places to have to kill a little time!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Boardwalk in Key Largo

WOW, a whole year blogging! Has it really been that long? A year ago to this day (well, I missed it by a day actually) was my first post in the blogosphere. While out of town on an event, I decided that my time had try to post an interesting image with a little thought to go with it........once a day.

Here is the link to that pos

My original intention was to post a variety of images. As a lighting designer for special events, I have had the great opportunity to work on some incredible events over the years. With 2007 being such a great year, the momentum and energy was still quite fresh as I entered this event in California that was the subject of my first post. Well, have times changed alot in a more on that in a bit.

I must first admit that the idea of blogging and sharing images with the world was not really a unique idea or mine at all. A few months before that post, I had been following a couple of other notable blogs. My friend Steve LaRose had started a blog called Life in the Corporate Theater. A daily read for me now. Up until then, he was the first person I had actually known personally that was blogging. Until then, I hadn't even considered it. What on earth would I have to say on a daily basis or view for that matter that the world would want to see? Isn't there enough content out there? Well, Steve taught me that there is always room for another voice.

Another huge influence has been Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs. I link to him on this blog. His HDR work has always amazed me and as a traveler and visual artist, he has been quite an inspiration. I have traveled quite a bit in the last few years, but Trey's work has taught me to view scenes like I never have before. One of those mysteriously wonderful things about the internet, a friend you might never actually meet!

Of course, there are other countless blogs as well that talk shop about camera's, techniques, and software. While these are a necessary stop and quite informative for an aspiring photographer or imaging artist, they are certainly not the type of posts you would see outta this guy! I have never been the salesman and selling gear or software is, well, lets just say.....not my style.

So, enter me. Actually, I had no idea that I was gonna stay current with this. Not sure why though. I used to back pack Europe every summer and have logged several hours of recorded thoughts. Verbal diarrhea perhaps to some, but great therapy for me I guess. There is something quite cool about listening back to a random thought or rambling session I recorded on a train traveling the country side of France 16 years ago! I don't think I had a clue what my life would turn out like back then......and that was totally OK. (I kinda feel that way now, the more I think about it). Putting coherent thoughts together in a somewhat readable and interesting format, (unlike the taping rambles of years past) however, was going to be my biggest challenge.

At the point I started this diary, things looked quite brilliant on the horizon. Big jobs, out of town opportunities, personal travel, self assignments.......there was quite a lot I was looking forward to sharing. The posts of events I was looking forward to sharing this season, however, started to become a little disappointing. There were either multiple events on the same day making it impossible to capture all of them, or large time spans of nothing. Not quite the season that we were all hoping for.

I guess that's what brings me to this image. A bridge. To where? Can anyone see what's on the other side? Does it matter? Is the bridge at least safe to walk on? Will it be there to come back later?

Alot has happened in my life over the last 3 years. Challenges, frustrations, disappointments, ..... I know, we all have them. Life is good though. In fact, change is good.....if understood and embraced. Sure, sometimes you have no idea what's on the other side of these life changing courses, but you have to have faith. Faith in your decisions, faith in your future, and faith in yourself!

With all this change and uncertainty in the world these days, its hard to tell what's ahead and over the bridge. I can almost guarantee one thing though. I'll be there blogging my way through it, sharing my challenges along the way, and working on my artistic creations (and perhaps, taping some more verbal diarrhea to listen back to!)

Thanks for listening :)

(oh man, the fire alarm is going off......gotta run!)  

Friday, April 3, 2009

Church in Buenos Aires - up on the hill

I guess I should post the name of this cathedral, but I am too tired to look it up! I know its in Buenos Aires, Argentina and up on a hill near the Recoleta Cemetery, so it should be an easy thing to research. I do vividly remember the incredible scent of incense mixed with age. The acoustics played havoc on my sense of hearing as the faint sounds of a crying baby reverberated off of the ceiling. (Geez, by the time I am finished typing all this extra verbage, I guess I could have just found the name of it!)

This seems like a fitting post as tonight was opening night for a Passion Play I designed, programmed, and provided lighting for. The interior is not quite as elaborate as this, but the story and message are still the same.

You know, I have attended many little performances and ceremonies as a proud father for my little girl over the past 8 years. Its kinda nice when the tables are occasionally turned though. She hung out with me in the lighting control area and watched her dad do his work this evening, and you know, she was just as proud of me too......and that feels good......really good

Hope you like this one :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Boat Quay in Singapore

Wandering the safest city I have ever been in at night, I was on a mission to capture the color and the light of vibrant city of Singapore. Not sure how that circular look happened in this image, but I kinda like it. Maybe it has something to do with the arch of the bridge on the right side. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Azalias in Ravine State Park

Well, not my usual style thats for sure. Guess you could think of it as an Aprils Fools post if you want, however, that wasn't the original idea when this fool captured them. On a recent trek through Ravine State Park up near the St. Johns River, these flowers were in full bloom. Having essentially NO idea what they were at the time, I felt the urge to capture the wonderful color that was all around. Hope you like the deviation from the norm for a change :)

I just realized that this blog is starting to turn into a daily twitter tweet! Seems like I used to have so much to say. Actually, what it really was, to steal a phrase from my little sister "So many words, so little information" or was it "So much verbage, so little said" wait a minute, I think it was..... (all right, we get it Mike!)

Enjoy :)

Azalias in Ravine State Park 1

Azalias in Ravine State Park 2

Azalias in Ravine State Park 3

Azalias in Ravine State Park 5

Azalias in Ravine State Park 6