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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance photography instructor and tech innovator. Read More

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04.17.14     photography  

Epic Shootout Between Cheetah CL-360 (Shom) vs Speedlite 600 Coming Soon

Had a fun shootout vs Shom of Shom's Photography this weekend. He is a spectacular photographer and I had my hands full as he was using his Cheetah Stand CL-360 and I had a single Canon 600 Ex which is always in my bag. I placed it on a a NEW Maven Adapter, which allowed me to get it close to our model which is the only way you can pull off this kind of shot with harsh sunlight behind the model. I thought it worked out well for what I had lighting wise. We were both shooting with the Canon 5Diii

Processed with Michael Andrew Paintballer Pro ® Presets

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04.17.14     3d printing  

3D Printing Cancer Tumors To Find New Therapies

A team of scientists in Philadelphia are 3D printing cancerous tumors in order to better understand them. Up until now most scientists were using 2D sheets to test new therapies, but tumors are an entirely different structure that made the 2D sheets inadequate. The Drexel team has started producing 3D cervical tumors that will help analyze the behavior of the cancer far more accurately.

The surface hasn't even been scratched on the amazing possibilities 3D printing. This is yet another astonishing example of it's fast moving future. Will 3D printing be a major force in cancer research? Learn more about what the Drexel team is doing by clicking here.

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04.16.14     gadgetry  

The NEW Maven Adapter | Now Available!

For a limited number of customers we are offering coupons to save $20 on the NEW Maven Adapter, making the new price $49.95. Here it is:


To Purchase The Maven Adapter - CLICK HERE

The Coupon is available on a first come first serve basis, and is limited to the first 20 orders.

For those of you who have been following me on Instagram know I have been extremely busy this weekend working on some shooting for the NEW Maven Adapter and shootouts with my good friend Shom of Shom’s Photography in Southern California.

I have been getting a lot of questions about the Maven Adapter and what it does, so for those of you who do not know, this will be helpful and interesting:

The Maven Adapter is a device, which fits between your camera gear and a standard utility pole which you can purchase from any hardware store. A good pole will run about $40, and this connects to the Maven Adapter. The Maven Adapter connects to a Ball Head, or an assortment of photography accessories.

Once connected to a ball head, you can then connect just about any camera to it, and get that camera high in the air. How high? This high:

and these are the kinds of shots you can get:

How To Focus- If you do not have Wifi or an infrared remote

You can trigger your camera in a number of ways, including 10 Second Timer, Infrared Remote, Wi-fi App Trigger, Radio Trigger and the like. A flippy monitor will allow you to compose your shot, or if you have Wi-fi connectivity you can do it all from the ground.

Originally, I created the adapter on a 3D Printer last year and we sent out some samples to friends and test shooters who had a blast with them. We also got some important feedback:

The ABS plastic, while great for lighter camera set-ups and applications, made many photographers nervous, as ABS is in fact plastic.

We went back to the drawing board and decided to have them professionally manufactured, with better materials and more features. What’s new about this model?

In addition to a Go Pro Mount, the standard 3/8 bolt mount, and the 2 hot shoe mounts, the NEW Maven Adapter includes:

- Glass Filled Nylon Composite Material (Extremely Strong)
- Rotated Hot Shoe Mount, ideal for Microphone Boom Poles
- Umbrella mount for softer lighting
- The new production method will allow us to make bigger runs if needed, depending on demand.

We have also included a new safety and instruction video on the product page, which we will also make available for download for those of you who purchase the product.

We are editing a series of promotional videos and at that time will push the marketing machine into overdrive.

My one big worry: I don’t think we will be able to keep these in stock, that 3D printed versions sold out almost immediately.

Other uses for the Maven Adapter, include speed light mounts:

....Plus an Umbrella

Great for using a small LED Light Panel as a fill light for video (the closer it is the brighter the subject will be)

For the Videographers who need an inexpensive boom pole solution when they already have an on board microphone:

Works Great with Cameras that have Flippy Monitors!

We have a lot more great information coming, please standby!

To Purchase The Maven Adapter - CLICK HERE

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04.16.14     featured photographers  

TIME Names Photojournalist in North Korea 'Instagram Photographer of the Year'

American photojournalist David Guttenfelder is the chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press. He is a seasoned veteran of photojournalism having won numerous prestigious awards. For the last year was one of very few people granted access to document life in North Korea.

His Instagram is filled with incredibly haunting images from life within a country that is largely closed off from the rest of the world. Constantly being accompanied by official government guides it was difficult to capture his normal quality of work. The luxury and freedom of a relaxed environment wasn't an option. Most of the time he found himself being rushed and limited.

Despite the challenges the pictures are fascinating and give insight to a country that is a mystery to almost everyone else in the world. For his distinguished work he's been name TIME Magazine's Instagram Photographer of the Year.

If you'd like to check out Guttenfelder's Instagram (or follow) click here.

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04.15.14     featured photographers  

Light-Trails of Firefly's by Vincent Brady

For many living in the cooler climates of the US, it's been a long winter. After such a hard winter photos of beautiful blue skies and green grass can be a relief. Another one of the staples of summertime are firefly's. Their magical lights swarming the air on a summer night can capture the imagination of almost anyone who witnesses it.

Photographer Vincent Brady has taken that wonder and brought it to a whole new level. Using the same techniques used to create star-trails he has captured the trails of the little bugs. The photos are enchanting and seem unreal. It makes you consider what other amazing photographic possibilities there are for light omitting objects.

Speaking of light omitting objects, it's evident in his work that it's a serious interest of his. He's drawn to clear skies and photographing light not seen by the naked eye. It's also obvious he's taken a lot of time to hone his craft. The source article states that Vincent Brady is from Missouri but on his personal website he states that he's from Michigan.

In the video below you can check out a really unique time-lapse he made called 'Fireflies'. In addition to some of his firefly work I've also included some of his star-trail photos because they're really cool too. You can check out more of his work on his website by clicking here.

Vincent Brady: Fireflies &emdash; Fireflies by the Rope Swing

Vincent Brady: Fireflies &emdash; 360 Firefly Panorama Over Lake of the Ozarks

Vincent Brady: Fireflies &emdash; Fireflies of Woldumar

Vincent Brady: Planetary Panorama Project &emdash; Milky Way Rising at Delicate Arch

Vincent Brady: Planetary Panorama Project &emdash; Devils Tower & The Heavens

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04.14.14     featured photographers  

The Invisible Man: Chinese Artist Liu Bolin

Chinese artist Liu Bolin has made an art out of hiding in plain sight. His elaborate productions of painting himself to blend with his environment can take up to 10 hours not including the photography.

His previous projects have been popular across the internet. Now, his newest creations are being exhibited at Eli Klein Fine Art Gallery in New York. You can check out more of his images here. As you can see by the video below he is the orchestrater of the master plan but enlists the help of other artists to execute the final piece.

Source Article

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04.13.14     featured photographers  

'Tiny Sydney' A beautiful Tilt-Shift Time-Lapse of Sydney Australia

Australian photographer Filippo Rivetti has made a beautiful little time-lapse video with a tilt-shift effect added in post-production. The project was commissioned by Expedia. The fact that the tilt-shift effect was added in post might be devalued by some who are purists and exciting to others who don't have immediate access to a tilt-shift lens. This means with the right software this look can be yours too!

Gear used:
Bodies: Canon 5DMIII & Canon 7D,
Lenses: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, Canon 24mm f/1.4, and a Zeiss 50mm 1.4.
Post-production: LRTimelapse and Adobe After Effects

Tiny Sydney from Filippo Rivetti on Vimeo.

You can check out the source article on PetaPixel.

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04.12.14     featured photographers  

Liquid Sculptures by Tapan Sheth

Computer and software developer Tapan Sheth discovered and fell in love with photography after purchasing his first DSLR. He started out with wildlife pictures but soon became obsessed with mystifying water droplet/sculpture photographs.

Since then he's perfected his craft. As he explains, even with 100's of clicks entire sessions will sometimes fail to produce a single useable image. Learning patience and persistence he now has a beautiful portfolio that's worthy of envy.

You can check out his portfolio here which includes his other interests including wildlife and artistic subjects.

Source Article

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04.11.14     customer service  

US Airways Refund Scam - Buyer Beware

I love the United States. I love Freedom. I freaking LOVE the First Amendment. And you know what else I deeply, truly enjoy? Telling everyone I know about how companies try to screw their customers over and why my friends should never, ever use them again. This is not my first problem with US Airways, and as of today, they are on the very bottom of my list of Airlines to fly with and you should put them there too.

Background: I purchased a ticket on US Airways from Phoenix to Pennsylvania on March 31st for my mold making workshop. I paid premium for a direct flight (4 hours), had upgraded seats, the whole 9 yards. The price was $879 and I paid with Paypal, which is cash to me.

US Airways cancels the flight within an hour, and sends me an email to let me know that they have rebooked me on a different flight. The new one, was routed with a layover through Chicago, and would arrive about 4 hours later to Philly than the previous flight.

The new flight was available for purchase earlier for about $370 less, but there was no mention of this in regards to the amount of money I already paid for the first flight ($879). USAirways basically decided to keep the difference in tickets, despite the much longer route. #shady. It seemed to happen automatically (the rebooking) so I don't see this as a simple mistake, but more of a company policy.

When I was 13 my grandma sent me to the store to buy some milk. When I came home and had kept the change, I was scolded for stealing. I learned a lesson that day; that spare change matters, if there is some left over- give it back to the rightful owner. Same thing here.

$370 may not sound like much, but when this is multiplied by every customer rerouted through that same flight, (the other was nearly sold out, but lets say 200 for guestimation purposes, this amounts to the sweet bonus of $74,000 for USAirways on a single flight. Very high probability this isn't the first time this happened, nor the last, but it makes you wonder….What is stopping a company from simply saying "This flight is cancelled due to mechanical difficulties and we have rebooked your flight", when really they just wanted to shuffle some customers around onto another flight that has more open seats?. Something to think about.

So, I call to tell them the new flight is unacceptable and ask for a refund, which they say they will begin to process the refund and it will take 7-10 days to show up on my account. Following up 10 calendar days later, I am told it is "7-10 business days" (2+ weeks) and finally today I get this lovely notice today:

2 Problems here…why did they wait so long to process it, and 1-2 billing cycles in the credit card world is 1-2 MONTHS. I have to wait up to 2.5 months to get my refund?!? This is insanity.

Further more, US Airways makes if very hard to contact them directly regarding refunds. You cannot email or call their refund center directly? They want you to fax them a request. (Who uses faxes these days??) The only way I was able to reach the refund department was to call reservations and then be transferred. They do have a number for refunds, but it never goes through.

I was finally able to speak with a manager who would only identify himself as "Tim" with the identifier letters "UR" when I asked for his last name). He simply responded that they issued the refund and it was out of their hands. When I explained that I had not received the refund, he suggested me to call Paypal and take it up with them. When I explained to him it wasn't my mistake (for the cancelled flight) and that he shouldn't be dishing responsibility back onto the customer, he said "well that $879 isn't here anymore".

Tim, if the customer hasn't received his money, is it a refund? No, it's called STEALING. Yes, US Airways is stealing from me. Does that sound harsh? Read on...

So I did call Paypal to see if they could straighten it out. When I had originally checked they said to contact the airline (can any reasonably sane person make sense of this misdirection nonsense?)

Lo and Behold, when looking at my account, I realized US Airways also didn't refund my seat up grade and wi-fi purchases:

In fact, they never processed that part of it either. Naughty, naughty US Airways. I can understand a mistake occasionally, but if you try to take advantage of a customer three times in the same transaction, its probably intentional. I say 3 because I still do not have my money.

Final Thoughts:

Most companies are very fast and efficient about taking your money at the point of the sale. It is immediate, but when it comes to refunds, they don't want you to have your money back for as long as humanly possible. I can only speculate as to the reasons why (collecting interest perhaps?) but any company that actually cares about customer service will refund the transaction as fast as they took it in the first place. Any time you find a company that is overly slow to refund, it is a good indication this is policy and intentional, and the company should be avoided at all costs.

US Airways, you are officially #MavenUnapproved.

Bonus- You can read the pathetic exchange I had with them on Twitter:

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04.11.14     photography  

Vote in Smithsonian's 11th Annual Photo Contest

Photographers from around the world have submitted their photos for consideration in the 11th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest. They've narrowed over 50,000 entries down to just 60 finalists. There are ten finalists in each category; Natural, Travel, People, Americana, Altered, and Mobile.

Now's your chance to not only enjoy the beautiful images from around the world but also place your vote. You can check out the website by clicking here.

Photograph by Ken Lee

Photograph by Christopher Doherty

Photograph by Stefano Coltelli

Photograph by Mark Kaplan

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