Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Iceland - a calm in the evening

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~Lao Tzu

In what I am going to call a little break from HDR and that intense desire to push back color, light, and detail into most every image I post, you will find me posting a few calm ones this week from my Iceland file - the forgotten few.

After last nights post, (see the blog for the video link), I read up a bit from the blog of Tim Ferriss (the author of the book called the Four Hour Work Week). It really kinda hit a cord with me. Vagabonding, wanderlust, directionless travel, bumbling about the planet, nomadic pursuit......whatever you like to call it.....there is a side of me that lives for that. I used to travel every summer in the off season just like that. Just get out and go! For anyone who has popped into this blog from time to time knows that and also knows that I get a bit stir crazy around this time of year. Its hot here in South Florida and the world is calling me, begging me to come out and play LOL!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A fisheye view in Singapore - The courtyard in Raffles

Wow, I think I finally have it! I spent what could be calculated by any sane and rational man as an eternity over the past few days searching for a new blog theme and layout for my new site and think I finally have it covered. Not sure when I will switch over for sure, but I'll let ya know. Seriously though.....I uploaded wordpress onto the server at least 3 times, had it freeze up, screwed up the permissions settings, had import challanges, couldn't see the images while experimenting with one of the cool themes I liked, you name it. There was one session is which I don't think that I left the chair from about 8PM till 4AM! Not sure if that can be labled as tenacity, dedication, or insanity!

All that being said, the real reason for my Dallas visit was not one of a creative visit, but more about additional education in my real estate investment ventures. My vision of the trip before I had left was to balance out the long and couped up days with evenings of exploration of the Dallas night scene and capture it thru the lense. Well, not so much LOL!

Anyway, I am pretty excited about the new possibilities for the blog now with a totally new look, format, and stay tuned!

As far as this image, it was taken during one of those trips in which I DID allow myself to wander about a new a foreign city. Singapore, as is South Florida, is humid.....very humid. This shot was setup and exposed in a pretty cool hotel called Raffles right in the heart of the city. I don't like to overuse the "fisheye" effect, but this spot seemed like the perfect place to play with it!

One more thing....

I came across this video that another blog posted while catching up on my email this evening. Its a bit long, but cool if you are a fan of Tim Ferriss's book called the Four Hour Workweek. I had never seen him speak and was a bit surprised at how good he presented his message live too. Check it out!

Tim Ferriss keynote The Next Web Conference 2010 - Love the Haters from Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten on Vimeo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dallas skyline - from the W hotel

The pool deck of the ultra hip W hotel here in Dallas seemed like a cool place to capture the skyline. I musta looked a bit lost and out of place as the 3 or 4 security guards stopped me on the way to what I thought was the pool deck. Lucky for me, they let me up there long as I didn't take any interior shots. If you're ever in Dallas, its definitely worth a visit there. Its like south beach chic in the middle of Texas. I warn you though, its worth dressing to fit in!

By the way, the processing really exagerated the clouds in this image. I don't remember it looking quite this crazy. Here, it kinda looks like Dallas is about to be swept off the map!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dallas - wandering around Victory Plaza

I saw a few images online of this place while searching flickr for images of Dallas. While traveling into a place I have never really explored, flickr is always a great place to start the search thanks to all the keywords left from my flickr friends!

And about that cone to the, why in the world didn't I just reach over and move it? I guess I could clone it out though......anyway.....

Any great suggestions for a place to catch sunset tomorrow? I think I have one lined up, but I'm always open to suggestions.

Till then, cheers :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Montmarte' in Paris - a walk amongst the artists

Having spent a bit of time in Paris over the years during a few various trips there, I didn't really take the time to wander this remote area called Montmarte' till last summer. Set up on the hill near the Sacre Couer that overlooks this city of light, its certainly worth trecking up there for an evening if you can. A great night usually begins with a bottle of wine and some local cheese while enjoying an incredible sunset from the steps of this cathedral. The tableaux vivant of street performers, travelers, and the like are a great theatrical feast while the Parisain skyline serves as its scenic backdrop. After this "living french" experience, the procession then continues to any one of the various street cafes or quant restaurants just a few enjoyable steps away. While it can feel a bit touristy, the trick is to wander away from the crowds and immerse yourself in ths wonderful area, like the famous artists Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso must have done.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Color in the harbour - San Diego

"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." -Bill Bryson

Nothing balances out being cooped up in a dark ballroom for 8 hours for 4 straight days furthering your education than getting out and exploring the landscape of a city. I did just that when I was out in San Diego a few month ago on a training seminar and I intend to do the same starting tomorrow. This time, I'll be in Dallas for a long weekend. Not sure what I'll find whilst in pursuit of the image, but I am sure I will find out soon. For now, its off to bed....yikes, alarm in 4 hours!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Details from Touch Floral - and a bit about some changes

I've given a bit of thought to my blogging strategy recently. Blogging that sound a bit strange doesn't it? Having a few irons in the fire tends to create a stream with no real direction. Perhaps that's ok I guess, but I think I am leaning towards a complete restructuring of things round here.

In an effort to simplify my life, I think I have actually complicated it a bit. Funny how that happens :) Having multiple interests and passions can sometimes find one driving down a few paths at the same time. Lighting, real estate investments, photography, travel...trying to keep it all on the track can be a bit maddening.....yikes!

So anyway, look for some big changes in the MDS site as well as the Hylite site soon. My plan is to keep the 2 kinda separate with their own individual direction and applicable posts. I have a few interesting products, tutorials, and goodies I am working on in the near future with my photography as well. Check out the blog for a place to sign up to be notified first!

As far as the image, I created this collage with a cool preset I created with lightroom. I plan on sharing a few tips like these and others in the newsletter!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Found this on a hike - Zermatt in Switzerland

There's usually a moment within the window of time that I give myself to explore the art....a point at which I have to ask myself "Is this a keeper, or am I creating a piece of serious garbage!"

I had a few challenges with this one, I must admit, but when I decided to let go, paint in a few textures, and just enjoy the started to come together. Now, mind you, it could still be judged as a rubbish, but thats ok.....

And for all you Fathers out there....I hope you enjoyed your special day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Magic hour in West Palm Beach

We've all done it. Heart pounding as we race to a place to park the car. The suns dropping like a bowling ball. That light, that incredible light! Its fading fast...please wait till I get the shot!

Then of course, you glance at the LCD screen and think "thats not at all what I saw, where is that deep color, why is the sky blown out, how come I can't see the dark details?"

That is of course why I spend half my time creating the magic in the digital darkroom.

I can't do much about that fading light though. That will always continue to be a race! Unless of course if you are in someplace like Iceland in June, which is of course is exactly where my friend Trey Ratcliff is from Stuck in Customs. Six hour sunsets, hard to beat that!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Matterhorn on a misty mountain afternoon

"The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there." -
Robert M. Pirsig

There is something very settling and familiar when exploring about an area like Zermatt. Seems like no matter where you are, one of the most majestic of all mountains called the Matterhorn always seems to be looming off in the distance - like an old friend there to comfort you, ya know. (my gosh, where in the world is all this going?!) Nowhere I what?

Hmmm, how about a little about the image?

I had to do a bit of work on this one. The light was kinda flat and even, so I played with painting a bit of contrast in here in there to create more of a sense of depth and texture. There always, at least when I was there, seems to be a mess of clouds around the peak (like the time-lapse I took when I was there). I'll link to it on the blog if you want to check it out. In this case, the sense of mystery helps a bit (I think). Hope ya like :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Through the window for the shot!

Our final night during a great destination wedding we were lighting in the Bahamas had us staying at this really cool bungalow on the water. As I tossed my bags on the bed, I couldn't get to the 2nd floor patio that was attached to my bedroom fast enough. One problem however, the door handle was frozen...a salty corrosion throughout. Hmm, what to do. Suns heading down to the horizon and it looks like a killer view. Hey wait, the window. And with a little squeeze, I was out the window! (notice the screen on the left side) LOL....

More to come...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The colors of LaBoca - Buenos Aires, Argentina

I'm thinking about painting the outside of the building, what do ya think? Oh I don't know, slap a few colors up and we'll have a look see!

I didn't really have alot of time to photograph all I wanted to here in Buennos Aires. It was certainly one of those "Oh, I gotta make it back here" places. Next time, I think I'll do a little reasearch!

Speaking of that, I have an idea or 2 I am working on. Has a bit to do with photo locations. As a traveling image gatherer with a focus a few knotches above a casual snapshooter, I am always looking for the "inside scoop" on where to go.

If I've peaked your interest a bit, check out the blog. I have recently added a place to sign up for my future newsletter I am working on as well as a few other possible goodies!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking to the west for color - West Palm Beach, FL

First off, I sometimes have to remind myself of how lucky I am. As a photographer and lover of light and color, sunsets are one of lifes truley magical experiences. When I get the urge (which should be daily since I am so close), all I have to do is head down, grab the bike, cruise over the bridge to Palm Beaches Bike Path, and enjoy the show. Mind you, not every night is a symphony of luminous design, but its still worth the trip. To get out, clear the mind, and recharge the emotional batteries is essentially the goal. As the skys opened up this evening, however, I had a feeling that a nice scene was about to unfold, and boy was I right. At first, I was a little bit upset that I didn't even have a camera to record the beauty that was about to unfold in the sky, but I quickly realized that the real moment for me was just to see it.....really see it. Sometimes when you are fiddling with the tripod, lenses, knobs, and all that ghack, you fail to really get pulled into the moment. So thats what I did.

This image, however, was from another one of those moments...when I was fiddling about with the gear. Enjoy :)

Austin Capital on a cool Texas evening

A little gift that I received the other day reminded me of the images I have yet to process from my trip to Austin a while back. A special thanks to Cliff for the cool art that he sent me! Check it out

And, of course, the link to my last piece of performance art!

The last disastrous video LOL!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Star in Austin - and a quick thanks

I decided to grab a shot from my Austin, Texas file after I returned home this evening. I had a nice surprise that came in a box from a friend in Austin! I do intend to post a more detailed blog about what I received from a fellow HDR artist tomorrow so check back. For now, a big thanks to Cliff for your kind gift!

And, as far as you pixel peepers out there, I kinda thought that the noise in the sky added to the stars that are there. Kinda looks a bit milky wayish?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Late night reflections in Paris

Dance is the only art in which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made. - Ted Shawn

My little reflection this evening is about art and the need to express yourself. Too often, modern society tends to place little importance on the arts. Not always of course, but the older I get, the more I see how that basic need to express yourself tends to get put way back on the burner for pursuits of money. Art being beaten out of the student to make way for skills to earn a living. Make more money to drive the economy, to buy more stuff, to keep the cycle going. Kind of maddening at times don't ya think? Guess I'm going off on a bit of a tangent here aren't I?

I guess my point is, keep it all in check. Balance it out. You know, its funny. We all pick up the crayons and express ourselves as kids, but somehow those artistic qualities that we are ALL born with become suppressed in that mad pursuit called life. I guess its easy to see why the enrollment in the art clubs, photography workshops, and dance classes is heavily populated by the over 40 crowd. Kind of a calling to get back to something of heartfelt meaning.

After seeing the look in the eyes of my little one this evening.....expressing herself in dance in her very first show....I am reminded of something that is so important. Support the pursuit of passion, for its not all about having the eyes on the prize, its about savoring the journey.....and expressing yourself along the way.

Oh, by the way, thats exactly what drew me into the streets of Paris here from the late hours of the evening and into the wee hours of the morning. Don't be afraid to explore your art and passion along your journey!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Miami - South Beach Poolside

As the sun started to set and the party started to kick in for an event I was lighting for the Food Network in South Beach, I decided to take the ole' camera and sticks and explore a bit of the area. You know, ya think your cool till ya wander around this uniquely hip area of South Florida! Dork with a I come! LOL

Hold on

Hold on, originally uploaded by Photomike07 /
"Patience, persistance, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." - Napoleom Hill
Just a quick little shout out to my clients from this past season for all the great events you entrusted my company and I to light for you. For any of you that have happened to pop by this lil' blog o' mine and wonder "why on earth hasn't Mike posted any images from our event yet. I am pretty sure I saw him scurrying about the space just minutes from doors. He's gotta have something worthwhile to post!"

You are indeed correct. Please hold on (get the image now.....hehehe...hehe...he....aahhh....well, anyway.....)

I made a bit of a punch list of shots to start editing over the next few weeks, so keep checking back!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A wet evening stroll in Buenne, France

I had a lot of strange looks as I explored the wet streets of Buenne on this particular evening. Rain, and lots of it, so of course I thought "reflections!" None the less, I still had a lot of "what in the hell is this guy doing out in the rain" looks.

The hardest part about my wet outing in the cute little French village was how to keep the constant spray of that bulbous 14-24mm Nikon lense. Have ya seen that thing?! That things like a magnet for water!

I decided not to fight the color temperature of the city's architectural lighting as I processed this one. Like a post from a couple of days ago, I also used a bit of texture to bring about a little interest to the sky and some of the architecture. I kinda like it :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Infinate beach in the Bahamas

So, unlike the image I spoke of the other night in which I was able to "visualize" the final look I wanted in post as I composed and clicked the exposure, this is quite the opposite. I love creating these other worlds that up until I let myself explore a bit, they don't exist (and thank goodness I suppose LOL!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Night sky at Raffies in Singapore

Alrighty now...

Here's another taste from the Singaporean buffet of images I have. Ok, that sounded kinda stupid.....but I continue....

I waited a bit outside of this rather cool hotel in Singapore called Raffes, or was it Raffies, or Raffles, definitely not waffles.....Aaannnnyway...

There was a lot to explore inside and my memory card proves it. I set up this shot just outside of the front valet area and tried to blend in. Kinda hard with a Nikon D3 and a huge Gitzo tripod, but I tried.

After a bit of processing the images in Photomatix and Photoshop CS4, I had a hard time getting rid of the incredible amount of popcorn sized noise nuggets in the sky, so I tried a different approach. I decided to mess around with a few textures that I combined together until I had a color and feel that I liked. I then used a little radial blur trick I picked up from Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs, used a layer mask of just the sky (remember the noisy one that I wanted to get rid of), and then painted in my own little creation. Sure its fake, but its fun....and looks kinda cool I think!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Freedom Flyer in Singapore

Well, I'll be the first one to admit that this ones a wee bit of a disaster. Having never really cleaned it up or liked what I had so far, its been staring at me as the first image in my "ready to post" folder for quite sometime now. I tend to work on these images a few at a time but usually like to release only one a day, but that pools getting a bit shallow.

The air here in South Florida has been freaking stifling and incredibly humid lately. I have made several references here on the blog to the humidity in Singapore while I was there as it might be one of the most humid places on earth. I remember taking this shot with a couple of my photo buddies late in the evening as the sweat poured over my glasses and into the viewfinder. We arrived back at the hotel a few hours later, memory cards full and drenched from head to toe!

I hope to post a few more from Singapore soon as I have received some really great comments and possible opportunities from that part of the world. As always, I sincerely appreciate the views, so I'll keep em coming :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A final look into the harbor

During our final "goodbye lunch" from the marina side cafe called Snappas (I think that was the name actually), I found myself a bit distracted from the conversation at the table. Not that I wasn't fully engaged as we were all in various stages of brainstorming about a million things (I love that by the way), but a scene that was being created just over my shoulder had me leaping from the table mid sentence to capture the foundation of this image I had in my head. I find myself doing that alot more often now (not leaving the table mid sentence like a hound chasing a squirel mind you), but previsualizing the scene and what I intend to create with the shot later.

Visualization and the law of attraction....powerful stuff. I find myself kinda deep in alot of that lately. Ask and it is given ya know. There's a million ways to phrase it, but getting a clear and focused vision of where you want to steer your life, visualizing it, and acting on it. Seems simple really, but it works!

I found myself doing this exact process this evening...with my nine year old. She has had this vision of multiple income streams for a while now. An art teacher that owns a highend cupcake bakery. Very creative for a nine year old I think. So I told her about a little place that just opened up in CItyplace the other day....a highend cupcake shop! She couldn't drag me there fast enough. It was a precious site watching her walk thru and take deep mental notes. After buying a couple of the "competitions" little morsels of goodness and a couple of business cards, she couldn't wait to get home to brainstorm with me and journal all of our thoughts on design, color, business plans, ingredients....heck, she even drafted out a floor-plan of the new place. Talk about visualizing.

Not sure where I am going with this actually, just felt like a bit of a ramble here.

I guess if I had any morsel of parting wisdom, it would have to be.....don't forget to dream! Stop and give yourself those precious moments in the madness of the day to be whatever you want to be. Its free to wander in this other world and you never know where it might actually take you. And in case that finds you running a cupcake shop, I'll have a double fudge please.

And, if you ever read this my little sunshine girl....thanks for those special moments you have given me to slow down and see this wonderful world thru your little eyes. I love you :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rich color in the Bahamas

I find myself a bit of a confused state this evening. The chosen career path I have enjoyed for the better part of the last 25 years indeed has its spikes of energy, emotion, and focus. I must admit, I have never been much of a nine to fiver.....just the sheer thought of that scares me to pieces! Instead, my schedule takes that path of chaos. I used to blame that on the business itself, but to be brutally honest, I guess I created that for myself. So after lighting an insanely successful weeklong destination wedding in the Bahamas, I am somewhat cursed with the mixed emotions that follow such a rush of focused energy and adrenaline on a project. Exhaustion, exuberance, relief, anxiety, confusion, fear, laziness, sadness, happiness, and of course an incredible feeling of accomplishment. I know, strange isn't it?

More to follow soon from the trip as it seems like a blur at this point.

One thing is crystal clear though. Take a fantastic crew, and mix it with a beautiful location, an incredible event designer, a tent company crew lead that goes the extra mile, a wonderful wedding planner, a happy client, a few golf carts, and a wickedly cool after hours party on a lit lagoon that rivaled the best clubs in Ibiza or Mykinos, and you have lived my life last week. Thanks to all who lived the moments with me!

More to come over the next few days and weeks.