Welcome to Michael’s Blog!

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

07.29.16         tutorial & training videos  

Top 10 Lessons Learned from my First Cinematographer Job!


1. You Will Make Some Mistake, Plan Accordingly
2. What Are The Priorities of a Cinematographer in Creating an Image? A) Lighting B) Composition C) Lenses D) Camera
4. When in Doubt, Try It Out
5. Why I Chose the Canon C300 II
6. Top 3 Books Michael Recommends
7. Lens Lessons - PRIMES
8. Check Your White Balance Like Crazy!!
9. Follow Focus and Matte Box
10. Pre-visualize Story Board, Create Shot List

CLICK HERE to learn more about Lover Everlasting

CLICK HERE to learn more about Sacred Vow

07.29.16         instagram  

Scared Vow

07.27.16         photography  

Pixels After Dark: Shooting the Night by Jeff Cable

Professional sports shooter Jeff Cable does a lot of traveling. As he explains in the video below he typically has no time to do any personal shooting until very late at night. This sparked his passion for night shooting.

While the video below (which was produced by B&H Photo) is over an hour long, it really might be worth the watch if you're interested in shooting really excellent night shots. It's jam packed with tips, info, and real world experience.

Check it out below and I hope you enjoy it.

07.26.16         photography  

How to Quickly Fix Shiny Skin in PS or LR

Just like the Joe Edelman says in his video; its summer and people can look hot and shiny in your photos. Not to say they don't at other times of the year it just seems to be a much bigger problem in the heat. You'll probably run into this problem often if you're shooting wedding or doing senior portraits.

This minor issue is easily corrected in both Photoshop as well as Lightroom. Joe also points out, and this is something I've already said, it's always best to get things right in-camera but if you do find yourself in this situation with an otherwise great image, no need to get rid of it.

Check out the video below.

via ISO1200

07.25.16         michael's insights  

Success & Why You Should Avoid Talking About It

When I lived in Russia, a common answer to the question “How are you?” was “Terrible.” This was a regular response, regardless of whether or not it was true, and I am starting to understand the wisdom in it.

There was this man I used to know. Every time I saw the guy, he would make it a point to go out of his way to tell me how great things were going for him, the success his business was having, how excited he was etc. I always tried to let him know how happy I was for him. He would then ask me how I was, and as soon as I would start to answer, he would say “Oh..excuse me I have to go.” Get up and leave. And sometimes he wouldn’t even say that. Looking back on it, man that guy was kind of a jerk! He was only interested in talking about himself! Lol

I’ve been writing a book for several years now about efficiency. It began as a curiosity after a football practice over 25 years ago. Once that spark ignited, I’ve used every opportunity I’ve had to experiment, observe, study, note take and apply the things I’ve learned. Around 2012 I got serious about putting a book of my notes and observations about it together. Last Friday morning, I finished what would be my third draft, and it is currently in the hands of my editor. For me personally, this is a HUGE deal. Bucket-list kind of thing for me.

There is a human tendency that when you accomplish something big in your life, you want to celebrate it! At least for a day or two. And having a few close people in your life celebrate with you makes it extra special. Keep in mind I am extremely reserved about feeling good about my accomplishments, but this was only the second book I’ve written & it takes years to do so. I shared my finishing the book with a few really close friends and the reactions were not what I was expecting.

I felt sad to learn, that the vast majority of those I shared this with, were dismissive. These are all people I love and care about. It was as if I was making them uncomfortable. I’ve seen this before, but hadn’t really noticed it to this degree. There were a few friends, who were genuinely happy for me, but the majority seemed very neutral, and a couple negative..

Why in the world would telling a friend about my success, bother them?

I have thought about this for several days now, and I think I have some answers. People care mostly about their children and themselves, usually in that order. When a parent see’s their child succeeding, there is great joy, pride and happiness. Sometimes even more than the child might feel. Sometimes because it is obligatory too.

Seeing themselves succeed also feels really amazing. But seeing someone else succeed triggers a reflex of comparison, and when they are on the shorter end of the stick, envy. This is regardless of the fact that the person enjoying the success may have paid a dear price for it, only the spoils seem to matter.

I believe there are a few exceptions to this idea:

1. Friends who are already very happy, do not feel threatened with others success. (This is not necessarily related to financial success).
2. Friends who have a high self-esteem do not seem to feel envy.
3. In cases of unusual humility, there are those who are unhappy, low-self esteem and suffering who are still able to empathize with those they love and feel happy for them despite their own personal struggling.

If the person you are sharing your success with doesn’t fall into one of those exceptions, I’m beginning to believe it’s probably not a great idea to talk about it. They want to hear about their success, not yours. If a close friend really wants to hear what I am up to, they will ask and we can discuss. Do not take it personal either, they can be good friends or even family members, they might have something on their plate you do not know about, or they might be hurting in some way that prevents them from feeling happy with you.

I am also coming to the conclusion that if I feel like I want to celebrate an accomplishment, it is better to find a way to do so alone. Definitely not as fun, but this way there aren’t bad vibes created. Self-contained congratulations and celebrations seem far more satisfying then getting worked up over why someone else may not feel the same about your accomplishment. If it’s big enough and they are a true friend, they will definitely let you know.

Which leads my to my next conclusion: It is probably better to talk about your failures and lessons learned from them, than just your successes and why you may be perceived as “doing better” than someone else. Failures are not threatening to others. “Schadenfreude” is a German word to mean “taking pleasure from another’s misfortunes.” It is a real psychological thing. For whatever reason, we can feel good when others fail. What a jacked up concept!

So the take home message is this:

A. If you want to engage others, and help them to feel good, get them to talk about their (or their children’s) successes, not yours.

B. If you have something you are super excited about, and there is any possible way it can be interpreted as bragging, or possibly creating envy, telling others probably won’t always get the reaction you are hoping for. No one is going to be as happy with your successes as you are personally.

C. When you talk about yourself, share with them your failures and lessons learned because that probably won’t offend anyone.

D. Find a way to self- congratulate your efforts. It will be faster, easier and often more satisfying than trying to find some who feels the same way you do about it.

E. I think it is a horrifically bad idea to talk about money and how much you make. If it is substantially more than those you share it with, it is definitely bragging, but worse, they will feel ok in coming to you if they need it. Seriously, nothing good will come from it.

PS- Im just curious...have you guys ever had a bad experience in sharing your success with others? If so what happened?

07.22.16         movie reviews  

Star Trek Beyond

Not quite as good as the other Star Trek movies we've seen under the direction of J.J. Abrams bur still pretty good. It kind of felt like they were sticking to a formula that they already knew worked. They didn't take any really big chances. Overall, it was a fun movie and I recommend seeing it in theaters if you enjoy the others.

07.21.16         video  

6 Pitfalls to Avoid as a Boom Operator by Aperture

As I mentioned before, if you've not been on a movie set you may not know just how many talented craftspeople and artist are involved in making the storytelling ideas a reality. The goal of course is one flawless and cohesive movie/film that is as close to the directors vision as possible.

A boom operator is necessary for recording sound on set. It's a critically important job and takes a lot of knowledge and skill. The team over at Aperture make these videos called '4 Minute Film School'. In this installment they go over the '6 Pittfalls to Avoid as a Boom Operator'. Even if you have absolutely no interest in ever making a movie or operating a boom mic, it's still really interesting to understand what went into creating your favorite movie.

Check it out below.

07.20.16         video  

Slow Mo Guys Back at it With Another Great Video

The Slow Mo Guys love destroying things in the name of art -- err fun. :) This video centers around the popular household measuring cups by Pyrex. Since the label says not to heat the glass cups and to avoid sudden temperature changes, that's exactly what they're going to do. They want know (as do I) what exploding glass looks like at 343,000 FPS.

There's just something fascinating about watching the videos these guys produce. They're always humorous and fun too. On top of all that, they're extremely knowledgeable about their gear and photo/video. You get to enjoy watching things explode, smash, and crash in slow motion and learn a thing or two at the same time.

Check it out below.

07.19.16         photography  

4 Types of Light Explained by wolfcrow

Understanding light is the backbone of photography. If you don't understand light, and how to use it, you'll continue to struggle with less than spectacular images.

I really like this quick video by wolf crow because he quickly and clearly explains the four main types of light; hard, soft, specular, and diffused. He uses some nice graphics that are easy to understand. If you're struggling to understand the difference between these types of light or how to achieve them, this video is for you.

Check it out below.

07.18.16         fun!  

Super Cool Video About Stanley Kubrick's Camera and NASA Lens

This video is a great watch. Especially if you're a fan of the critically acclaimed "genius" filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Adam Savage of MythBusters fame gives us a lesson on Mr. Kubrick's crazy lens and the 'FrankenCamera' that had to be built to match it.

Adam was visiting the Stanley Kubrick museum in San Francisco, going over various pieces on display, and delves into a discussion on this lens and camera. As he explains; Stanley Kubrick wanted to shoot Barry Lyndon by natural light only. This would require a very fast lens. Lenses that matched this level of criteria were only made by NASA at the time. Then of course he would need a camera that fit this lens.

Adam goes on to discuss various interesting facts and tidbits about Stanley's iconic style. I really think you'll like it so check it out below.

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