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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist.

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Michael's 2016 International Photography Contest

08.24.16         photography  

How to become a better photographer through 'visual exercise' by Sean Tucker

This video is by London based photographer/videographer Sean Tucker. He offers some advice about how to incorporate 'visual exercises' into your daily life. I've always believed that the mark of a great photographer/videographer is pre-visualization. When you can visualize the shot you want before you even begin grabbing the gear. This exercise is really great for developing that skill.

We all love technical specs and new gear. It's undeniable, great gear is going to produce better images. However, you'll never get those shots that speak to people until you get back to the basics. Recognizing amazing light when you see it and being able to compose a compelling shot. Whether you care about the "art of photography" or not you want your images to grab people. Either for business or hobby. Learning how to "see things" is critical.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think below.

08.23.16         photography  

Canon Files Patent to Improve Micro Sensors for Better Edge Performance

The diagram above shows a recent patent submitted by Canon in an attempt to improve image quality around the edges of images. They're hoping to reduce coloration and vignetting problems.

It's all about the micro lenses on the sensors. This new design is supposed to help direct and shift straight angled light using convex and curved surfaces. The intention is to catch and process as much light information as possible to give us, the users, a better image (especially on the edges). If you're a technical person and enjoy the details you can check out the full patent application HERE.

via DP Review

08.22.16         fun!  

How to User the "Rubber Thingy" on Your Canon Camera Strap

This is a really fast tip that actually might come in handy if you like shooting at night. If you own a Canon camera and use their strap you may have wondered with the little rubber "thingy" on the strap is used for. It fits right into the slots on either side of the viewfinder to help prevent ambient light spillage when shooting long exposures at night.

" target="_blank">Bassam Sabbagh shared this simple but great tip so I'll be following Bassam's page to see what other great knowledge he has to share.

via DIY Photography

08.21.16         video  

Drew Geraci Uses the Prisma App with a Time-lapse

You may be familiar with the Prisma app. Many of your friends on social media are probably using it to give their images a cool effect likened to the art of Pablo Picasso.

Someone you may not be familiar with is Drew Geraci. He's the owner and DOP for District 7 Media. A pioneer of incredible time-lapse videos and according to his Vimeo page he's done work for such well-known TV/media broadcast as; "House of Cards, NFL Super Bowl 47,48 & 49 time-lapse intros, 2013 NFL Draft intro time-lapse shots, Corona Extra “Luna Corona” promo, PBS's Frontline, HBO Documentaries, and many other commercial productions." That's a pretty impressive resume.

Using a beautiful time-lapse video of China processed through the Prisma app he's created a visually unique and engaging story. Check it out below.

China: A Prisma Tale from Drew Geraci (District 7 Media) on Vimeo.

08.20.16         customer service  

Photographer Takes to YouTube About Sony's "Horrible Customer Service"

While nobody except the photographer knows for 100% certain what the camera has actually been through, this is an interesting video. Photographer/videographer Amir Zakeri says "Sony Customer Service is a Joke". Those are pretty strong words. So what went wrong?

Apparently after several months of use his camera would freeze in video mode. He sent it in for repairs and Sony first claimed water damage, then "corrosion". (Watch the video to see what they were calling corrosion.) On photography blogs and sites this has brought into question both Sony's quality and customer service. I personally have not had issues with either. Have any of you had a positive or negative experience with Sony?

Also - there's been an update and Sony has agreed to replace his camera after the video was posted.

08.19.16         photography  

Back Button Focus for Nikon by Mike Hagen

This video is floating around all the major photography blogs/sites. If you've ever purchased one of my tutorials or watched any of my videos you know I'm all about efficiency. (I'm even writing a book about it.) I thought this video by Mike Hagen explaining why he thinks back button focus for Nikon is more efficient was pretty compelling. While this is not a technique I regularly use I think some shooters, specifically sports shooters, may find it really useful.

While lower end Nikon's don't have this particular feature, don't worry he shows us how to create a setting to copy the same technique to achieve same result.

Check it out below.

08.18.16         tutorial & training videos  

Throwback Thursday: Aperture Lesson

Understanding and knowing lens aperture sizes is critically important to being to the best and most creatively free photographer you can be. Below is one of my classic photography lessons on apertures sizes. You can use it as a useful guide if you're just learning about aperture or if you need a refreshers course on it.

This is from the "intermediate section" of my online photography school (I offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced - all for free). You can check it out HERE as well as print "homework" and visit my other helpful links and resources.

08.17.16         photography  

FULL List of Specs for Canon 5D Mark IV Released


- Sensor: Effective pixels 30.4 million pixels, dual pixel CMOS
- AF point: 61 points
- ISO: 100-102400 (extension) standard ISO up to 32000
- Continuous shooting: 7 frames / sec.
- 150,000-pixel RGB + IR photometry sensor touch screen
- Anti-flicker
- Dust and water specification
- Video is 4K 30fps
- Can cut out the JPEG still image of 8MP from 4K video
- 120fps HD video for slow motion
- Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi · NFC connection
- Media: SDXC / SDHC / SD, CompactFlash Type II
- The main terminal: USB 3.0, HDMI
- Time-lapse movie
- Size: 150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm
- Weight: 890g

08.16.16         photography  

Strange 'Microburst' Weather Phenomenon Captured over Phoenix

If you saw this mushroom cloud looming over your city you might assume the worst. Luckily for the residents of Phoenix it was simply a weather pattern called a microburst.

Microbursts are a phenomenon that happens during strong thunderstorms. It an air current that moves in the opposite direction of a tornado. They don't last long (typically only a few minutes) but can produce winds strong enough to wipe out trees and debris.

Check out this video of a microburst in action.

Photos by Jerry Ferguson and Andrew Park.

08.15.16         photography  

How to Shoot at Night by Stuart Palley for TIME

This is a great video with very practical tips and advice on how to make the most of your night shoots. Photography Stuart Palley has a really great quote in here; it's 90% preparation and 10% execution. He also says roll with the punches. Sometimes your shoots don't always go as planned even if you were really prepared. Sometimes the best shoots are totally unexpected.

He shares his favorite apps for tracking ambient light and an app that superimposes a 3D view of the sky based on where you are. That sounds extremely useful for planning your perfect night shoot. Check out the video below for all of his tips and advice.

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