Saturday, January 30, 2010

Waiting for the thousands - Market America at the American Airlines Arena

Wow, how time flys. I think this is actually the 10th year I have worked on this event. Just after this was taken, the house doors were thrown open and the attendees scrambled to get a great seat for an intensely packed day of knowledge, training, and inspiration. We're about half way thru the day and coming down the home stretch. The closing will include a little mini concert with Latin star Alejandro Sanz.

My home for the week
My home as I like to call it for the week. All the basics for a great show.....a lighting console, an online backup console, laptop, internet access, cue sheet, a nice chair, water, and most important.....COFFEE!

View from the floor
On this view from the main floor, I tried this little technique to simulate a kind of "rendering" look. Kinda cool? I like it :)

And this last one....well, nuff said. was kinda late indeed! (click on it, its a video)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting on a train in the South of France

Seems like my posts run the gammat from where is Mike today to "Family Guy flashback meets Episode of Lost."

(Good Lord, what did that even mean?)


My long days here on headset at the conference I am lighting has me spending a bit of time processing a few images and catching up on some real estate investment online classes. I know, a strange mix I am indeed. Very strange.... By the way, the producer thinks I am working on his show on the Mac Book so it's our little secret.....shhhhh....

As far as the image, while exploring a bit of the South of France in the summer, after a nice dinner, I was lucky to catch the very last train heading back to my village. I was also lucky to catch this almost deserted station with my Nikon and sticks. I could spend a lifetime photographing the train stations of Europe. Hey, there's another one for the bucket list!

And as far as the Family Guy, check out this hilarious video clip!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Old and New in Shanghai

Old and New in Shanghai, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

I didn't have a lot of time to soak in Shanghai and all of its diversity, but for the couple of days I was there, I gave it my best. Although, the Hyatt on the Bund was a great place to base myself with its heavenly bed, sleek design, and roof top view of the electric skyline, deeper darker alleys begged to be explored.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A late night walk in the lobby at the Boca Hotel

After a quick and enjoyable tear down this evening here at the Boca Hotel, I found myself in need of a little photographic exploration. Day one's event was the welcome party poolside and what a great night it was. I can't remember the last time I actually enjoyed a strike as much. Normally, the tear down is the most brutal part of the event. After a crazy little 2 hour load in to get set up and focused, I was happy to see that the lighting design worked to a tee, without a second to spare. The cool breeze of the late night South Florida air from the Atlantic along with the soothing sound of the waves made the tear down fun I must say!

Since I didn't even have a second to get a shot before the guests arrived, I took a bit of time after the truck was loaded and the crew was cut to wander about the hotel. What a great way to unwind. This one was created from the newly remodeled lobby area.

Well, time to get a bit o' shut eye. A long long day ahead!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Searching for clarity along the mucky path

Well, I guess my little blog break didn't last all that long did it? Whilst packing up a few things for a week of events I am on, I caved in a bit. Not a spectacular image, but matched my mood I guess. Vibrant and saturated but yet not really clear on what I should be focussing on. I haven't allowed myself the time to wander and clear the mind out in nature for a while, and I'm starting to feel the call again!

For the immediate future, or at least the week ahead, its time to rock it out. The crew starts at the crack of dawn loading up the semis with lights, cable, and heavy stuff and off we go for a 3 day event for Loreal as well as a week long meeting for Market America in Miami. The schedules a bit funky this week....really funky, and so shall my posts be.

Hope the weekend treated you all well. Start the week out on focus. Call your folks, if you can and tell them you love em', hug your kids, give to someone in need, and do your best to make a difference in someone's day :) Make the day count!

Friday, January 22, 2010

End of the day in Austin Texas

As the Texas sun bid its warm farewell to the Austin sky, this seemed like a great place to stop and feel its last few minutes of light. Taken during Trey Ratcliff's first ever HDR workshop. What a great time!

So, as I am kinda ramping up for a couple of fairly large events whilst burning the candle at both ends, I think I'm gonna revisit my post and blog strategy for the next few days. I love to post in the evenings as a wrap up, but with a pretty intense seminar this week, up and coming events, and my total lack of proper sleep, I find myself begrudgingly attempting to keep on this daily schedule. Instead, look for random posts perhaps shipping a few days here and there. I know, the world will survive....hahah.....

For now, I'd like to leave you with a link to check out. During a real estate investment club meeting of mine this evening, a rather unique individual spoke. I've heard of him before but never had the good fortune of hearing him speak. He has made quite a name for himself here in South Florida building spec home mansions. His unique style of self branding and promotion is something to be admired in and of itself. His latest home is the as far as I know, the country's only Green mansion. Check it out, its beautiful!

He mentioned something that really stuck a cord. "Compassion with out reaction is a waste of emotion." Well, thanks to Franks quick reaction, a few lives were saved in Haiti while thousands will continue to be fed thanks to his great efforts. If you're looking for a great place to "react", check out his site below and head to the Caring House links.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A peak at Paris

A peak at Paris, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

Wow, just uploaded this and realize that I have absolutely nothing to say. I mean, really, absolutely nothing!

Guess there's always tomorrow....

(guess I gotta start posting earlier.....geeeez.....)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Midday around the Arc d'Triumphe

My first recollection of this monument was quite a while ago. Bleary eyed, and a bit weary after a day trip from London, I caught a quick glimpse of this arch lit up in in Paris night. Whilst buzzing by late in the evening on a bus tour surrounded by about 50 Japanese tourists with flashing strobes going off all over the inside of the coach mind you, I remember taking off the headphones with the narration, leaning over to my dad, and whispering "now, what the heck is that again?" LOL, yeah, that was certainly a bizarre way to see this most impressive of cities for the first time. We had this strange idea that the City of Light was also The City that never sleeps. Well, let me tell you.....about 3AM, there's a lot of sleeping going on, cept for us mind you. About the only place to end up around 5AM without a room, is one of the train stations. That is, until you get kicked out of them. I tell ya, that was the closest I ever felt to being homeless. Funny how vivid that feeling is even 25 years later! I've since taken the time to properly visit this vibrant city, quite a few times actually, but will always remember the first.

Sometimes I wish I could call him and laugh about that trip, and a million other things now that I think of it. Make memories now, when you can.....and share them, now, while you can. Call your folks, your kids, your brothers and sisters,, while ya can......

Miss ya Dad! :(

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Entrance to the Gala - a walk into color!

As promised....drum roll please....I present tonight....details of the event :)

I guess I should mention something as I usually think it is assumed. These event images are taken and processed by yours truly, but more importantly, are lit by, well, yours truly again. Actually, I'm not gonna take all the credit. It takes a great team of creative individuals that I am grateful for as well as an incredible synergy with other vendors, the venue, and the talent to create a great event. I am eternally grateful to have had such great opportunities to live that process.

As I was sorting thru and processing these images tonight, I was reminded of what a magical experience setting up and running these events really is. I'm gonna have to do a little behind the scenes video kinda documentary thingy someday. Tons of time to do that....haha. I'm a little bit of a goofball, so I'm sure it wouldn't be too serious. We'll see though....stranger things have happened. Might be kinda interesting to see, who, I have no idea!


View from the table

Table deails

More from the room

Monday, January 18, 2010

A look at a Gala

A look at a Gala, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

So I got a call the other day from a perspective bride that found a few of my images via tags that ended up on google images. Looking for a lighting solution for her big day, she called me up to inquire about details. I thought it was kinda funny that she started out the conversation with "I see you have a lot of really cool images posted on your blog, but do you still actually do lighting?" Haha, I got a bit of a chuckle outta that actually. Soooo, here we go......

Seasons in full swing here in Palm Beach, and this weekend found us illuminating a couple of the Galas here. I took a few shots from both events as I always find them full of subjects. Almost like a kind of toy box full of photographic opportunities. Tonight's post, as well as the following images are part one of a series from one of the events. Look for part 2 tomorrow night.

At the stage door

As the guests arrived to the cloister area, the brick facade simulating a backstage door welcomed guests into what was designed (by the mastermind event designer Bruce Sutka) as a walk thru a backstage area.

More of the backstage vignettes

Backstage vignettes

Various props, cases, costumes, and details you might actually find backstage as well as 2 live actresses helped create entertaining "tableaux vivants" to help tell the story of the scene.

A peak at the room detail

After the guests completed the walk thru the theatrical scene, they were treated to a spectacular room of color and kinetic energy. Watch for images in tomorrows post as I unfold the color and details! Also check out Sutkas site for more from Bruce Sutka and his amazing teams talent.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sunset at the Oasis

Sunset at the Oasis, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

In light of the fact that there were probably a million sunset images uploaded today, I present to you this....sunset image one million and one :)

I kept this one a bit real for ya. HDR processing tends to bring out detail in the lights and in the extreme shadows. Sometimes however, its kinda nice to keep those shadow details hidden. In this shot, there really wasn't too much of a payoff to linger in the depths of the foreground shrubbery. Taken during an HDR workshop I was on last week in Austin by Trey Ratcliff. Hope ya like!

By the way, here's a link to the post he did a couple of days ago as a wrapup. I must say that my image stream got about 6 times the normal view count for that day and the next. Wow, very powerful!

Stuck in Customs - Workshop

A special thanks to my stellar crew for the hard work this weekend (as I subtly shift gears to the event lighting world). We rocked out a couple of events over on the Island (I just love saying that) in Palm Beach at MaraLago and The Breakers Hotel, and as always, it was a pleasure working with them and I really appreciate the effort. Look for a few images over the next few days.

Till then, have a great weekend :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just stopped for a click or 50

I had a vision in my head of what I wanted to create with this scene, and well, this is not really it. Close though. So often, while working in the digital darkroom and especially in HDR, there is an edge we approach. We push those pixels right up to the edge, and normally hang out there. Its safe there, but yet we can see the dangerous slope just over the ridge. Sometimes we jump and take a leap of faith, hoping that we land softly and take those pixels with us, and other times.......

good lord, what are you rambling on about Mike! Your making no sense at all.......Geeez wizz!

Yeah, your right. Time to turn in for the night.......anyway LOL

Images to follow this weekend? Hopefully some shots from 2 events we are lighting here in Palm Beach. Gnite :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Infrared landscape

Infrared landscape, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

While swatting a few mosquitoes on a trek thru South Florida, I faintly heard this scene calling out to be captured. In infrared that is. While feeling a bit creative last night, I had a little fun processing this one after the Oregon Coast image (see last nights post, I really like that one!).

Sure, the caption is a bit lame here, but I must say that In light of what is happening just a few miles from South Florida this evening, my post seems kinda trivial. If you feel so inclined, pray for our our brothers and sisters in Haiti this evening. They sure could use it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A peaceful evening along the Oregon Coast

So I decided to trek back deep into the hard drive to see what I could dig up. Man, I have a lot of unfinished images! I decided to challenge myself a wee bit with this one. The scene really didn't scream out a need for HDR (this was done with one image), but I did have to massage it a bit to really tell the color and light story that I remembered that cool evening along the west coast. I have to make it back there one day and give it the time it really deserves. As I remember, I kinda scrambled up the coast in a rather quick and non Zen-like way. In retrospect, this Oregonian landscape deserves so much more respect than I took the time to give it!

The processes I used on this one had me taking a completely different approach here in the digital darkroom and I kinda like it :)

This one is worth clicking to view larger. Check it out :)
View On Black

And for the music. Although listening to this actually transports me to memories of train travel along the Mediterranean in Europe around 1993, I still like it to this day. Sure the style is kinda dated, but the tune rocks. Enjoy :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunrise from the Balcony

Sunrise from the Balcony, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

Friday at about 6 in the morning was a great time to watch the day come to life, even though I was actually supposed to be on a flight by then. Woops, what happened to those 2 alarms....hmmmm! I quickly realized that instead of freaking out, it was time to quickly put things in perspective, pop on the headphones, and welcome the day with all I had. I try to begin every day with a bit of a routine to align myself with gratitude, clarity, and focus energy for the day, and it was nice I had a nice chance to do so. By the time the sun got to this point, I was kinda glad I missed the fight!

Sunset at the Oasis (or at least what I saw!)

Sometimes, it kinda hits me. I am in essence coloring. Yes, a 45 year old with a coloring book and an endless supply of crayollas, proudly displaying a picture of the day he wants to show off! In this case, the refrigerator I choose to hang the image on is actually a bit larger and complicated. Perhaps, thru creating tagging, tweeting, facebooking, or linking, the fridge has a larger and more exotic audience, but in essence, its all the same. We all, (I am assuming of course) crave attention. Without an audience at all, the artist and creator has a deeper need to please himself, and thus will continue to create his work without this audience, but deep down...way deep down, is still a need to be recognized and appreciated. So, with all that said, here's what I drew with my crayons today.....hehehe. I hope your day was this colorful!

A special thanks to Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs (google it, you'll find it) for the wonderful Texas hopsitality. His HDR workshop was all that I hoped it would be. I was proud to be part of the experience! Thanks :)

And, as is so often that case, a little taste of the music that I listened to as I was.....ummm......coloring :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Diving into the sky

Diving into the sky, originally uploaded by Photomike07.

After a ridiculously long day of travel yesterday, I finally arrived here in Austin. As I've said before, many times, its all perspective. For me, a 5 hour plane delay in Atlanta means only one thing, its time to scramble over to Concourse E for some sushi and a glass of Cote de Rhone!

Luck of the draw has found me here at Trey Ratcliff's first ever HDR workshop. I must say that after 13 hours, I am wondering where the time went! Trey has long been sort of an internet artistic mentor to me, so it was really cool to be able to attend to meet him face to face. His unique view of art, vision, and photography is always very insightful. After starting the class out with a little foundational theory and perspective, he launched into a little healthy critique of a few images. This process is always quite useful to the developing artist in all of us. Soon after that, the whole class explored a bit of the historical Driskall Hotel for a little shooting instruction and demo. We then scoured the lobby and bar interiors looking for our own unique perspectives. Soon after reconvening in the class, it was time to watch Trey work his magic. After viewing hundreds of his images over the past couple of years, it was really cool to watch the process from start to finish. After some intense processing and finishing techniques, it was time to head out to dinner with the gang to a place called the Oasis. Over looking several lakes, this multi level restaurant has a million open patios cut into the hillside (kinda like Santorini) to explore while capturing the incredible Texas sun paint the sky with its brilliant warmth. Oh yeah, its pretty freakin' cold here!

After dinner, it was time for a bit more processing and casual classroom instruction. I must say, I have picked up a few tips and am really happy I was able to be part of this inaugural event. For those of you who weren't able to get in, first off, sorry about that! Maybe he'll do a few more of these, you never know. If so, I definitely recommend it!

This image above was created today from a shot or two from the the Oasis restaurant, and a couple of textures as well. The new package of 150 were also included in the workshop. Cool, very cool!

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A stop in the tunnel on the way to the port - Somewhere in the South of France

As I walked down those stairs you see on the left thru this cool labyrinth of tunnels and passage ways on my way to the beach, I just had to stop and do a double take at what I was missing. What was the rush? Wow, look at all those details waiting to be captured. I have always appreciated the beauty of decay throughout Europe. For me, its a perspective. Its all in how you look at it. For instance, take right now. I was supposed to be in Austin by now, and most likely, would have been trekking about the city of Austin with Trey from Stuck in Customs. Having said that, the sushi is pretty good here at "One flew South" at the Atlanta airport! If you are ever stranded here for 4 hours like me, pay them a visit. Sometimes its not so bad having a flight delay :)

A different perspective in Boston

I kinda got a few strange looks as I crouched down low against the side of the building to get this shot. I seem to get those looks a lot when bumbling about a city with excessive amounts of gear actually. I tried to keep the rig trimmed down this time however for my trip to Austin. The TSA experience is getting a bit more involved. I think you have to be at the airport about what now, 5 hours before a domestic flight? Something like that.

Anyway, next post from good ole' Texas!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Louvre at night (and reflecting on the art of colaboration)

Collaboration.......a sharing of ideas, techniques, and vision.....all focused on a common goal. In this case, the goal is part of an artistic journey I have been on for a while. Creating what I like to refer to as art, or at the very least, my creative view of the world around me, has been a fun ride to be on over the last couple of years. HDR processing is often called a modern day form of Impressionism. Without getting into a long and drawn out history of the Impressionistic movement in Nineteen Century France , its very interesting to note the similarities between todays acceptance of modern day HDR processing techniques and the critiques view of early masters of this similar French painting technique. Artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Degas fought this and pursued their passion and dedication, while sharing their art with each collaboration.

Having said all that, its is no wonder that I am looking forward to heading out to Austin this weekend to spend a little time with Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs. He has been quite a pioneer in this modern day art and has been quite an open teacher to to anyone interested in this form of expression. His workshop, the first he has every held, has purposely been kept at a very intimate size as to create a kind of synergy. When he first announced it, his servers actually crashed for about 30 minutes! I must say, I am quite honored to be part of this groundbreaking event. As did the early French artists, I look forward to collaborating with a few other modern day rebels as we pursue our craft!

Of course, his site is

More to come...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Focus (and a site recomendation of

Its not often that I take the time to pass on a link that has inspired me. That being said, I think it might be time for a change.

In my recent and deliberately chosen path of self growth, education, and personal discovery, I happened to stumble upon this site. Imagine condensing 100 of the top books on positive energy, law of attraction, and business wisdom into a concentrated package. Well, Brian Johnson has done an amazing job at just that in his program called "Philosophers Notes"

If your the least bit interested in improving your life by design, this is absolutely worth a peek. Poke around on the site and definitely check out the TV tab for a few short video on what he is creating. There is a lot of free info to check out. I am definitely a fan and student! People helping people.....a great way to live life :)

Check it out!

Link to Philosophers Notes

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A typical Boston scene (and time to get back to normal, whatever that is.....)

I must admit, I carry some really strange hours. Having worked in the events industry for about 25 years, and never having been much of a morning person, I guess this has worked out ok for me. Of course, disastrous results sometimes ensue when attempting to mesh this type of schedule with one who is polar opposite. Of course I have first hand proof of this, but we all learn our lessons and move on.

So what am I rambling about.....?

Well, as you can see from the times I normally post, it is usually quite late, and in turn, probably not the best time to experience cerebral clarity, but I blog on. Kinda funny, but the millions of ideas that seem to bubble up throughout the day seem to all but vanish when my image of the day gets uploaded......and so I blog on....

I usually try to pick out an image that meets my mood at the time. More often than not, I can't really connect with one, but instead choose one that stands out in color, detail, and vibrance. Then the challenge of creating a few words worth reading unfolds its ugly face. I have always craved the ability to write.....with passion and clarity....creatively taking a reader on an interesting journey. Yeah, like I said, I have always wanted to do that. Wonder if I will ever get there? ......and he blogs on...

So why this image Mike?

Well, guess its a little personal. Although its not my home, it indeed reminds me of what I am creating for a special little person in my life. A home. I have spent quite a bit of time with my little sunshine girl over the past 2 weeks. I love the way the holidays have been spaced this year. Seems like there was a lot of time off this way. Memories, great memories, can only be created by putting in the time. As a father, I realize this more and more each precious day that I am rewarded with this special gift I have been given. When she refers to our place as home too, I can't help but swell up a bit and realize that, ..... well,..... all is ok.....

Thnkx fer me that is. And as I sometimes tike to do, here's a link to some of the music that inspired me this evening

Monday, January 4, 2010

Arles France - In the footsteps of Van Gogh

Although I have never been much of a fan of Van Goghs work (he might not have been much of a fan of mine either, now that I think of it!), I had to explore a few of the locations that inspired his work since I was in Provence. I did, however, enjoy hearing a few stories about the life of this famous artist. Quite a character indeed!

Here in Arles, along the seawall of the Rhone, was where the great artist painted his famous "Starry Night over the Rhone." Here's a link to it:

You know, its sad that so many of these great visionaries were never even appreciated by the masses or art collectors during the artists lifetime. Just another testament of the fact that passion instead of profit is quite often the drive behind the artists work.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Merlion Fountain - Singapore (and a couple of New Years Clips from the Paradise Ball with a bit about 2010) ... wow, long enough title or what??!!

Well, first post of the year.....what to say, what to say....

For one thing, for me anyway, the new year is always a great time to reflect on past accomplishments and give gratitude. This past year has rewarded me with a bit of travel....visits to places I never dreamed I would visit, and for that....I am sincerely thankful for. Iceland, France, Italy, Switzerland, and of course the US. And with a cool sounding year (Twenty Ten.....I like the sound of that don't you? Has a positive and energetic ring to it), I am sure to be treated to more opportunities!

Being in the events industry, I must admit, New Years Eve is always one of those evenings that I am usually working, but I love that makes it fun actually. For the last 25 years, I have for the most part been on one of our events. This year was no exception. The countdown is always a kinda cool deal when you are responsible for a few effects to happen on Q. Sure, I've witnessed my share of balloon bags that never opened or confetti cannons that for whatever reason, decided not to go off....but this year, like most so far....we rocked the house! Here's a little clip from the countdown here in Palm Beach at the Paradise Ball while the second one is a little rough handheld psuedo timelapse clip created from a few images a couple of years ago.

Enjoy, and oh yeah, Happy New Year! May yours be safe, prosperous, loving, and full of self growth. More on that in future blogs to come. :)