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

05.07.16         contests  

Michael The Maven's 2016 International Photography Contest

This year's 2016 Grand Prize Winner will receive a $1000. Other prizes will be awarded in each category, see listed below.
The contest will run until From May 15 - July 15 2016.

If you are interested in entering, please read these rules very carefully as there is a “Second Chance Submission” opportunity, as well as failing to follow the rules may result in disqualification.

Main Categories:- 

Landscape / Cityscape/ Nature / Astrophotography
Sports / Action
Animals / Pets
Abstract / Textures
Lifestyle / Street Photography

All Winners & Honorable Mentions will receive a PDF Certificate of their Achievement 

Grand Prize Winner: $1000 Cash!!

Each Category Winner Will Receive:

1st Place- $300 Gift Card to Michael The Maven's Online Store
2nd Place- Think Tank Camera Bag, Most will Receive Suburban Disguise 30, Landscape and Animals Division will Receive: UltraLight Sprint 16L backpack (from MindShift Gear)
3rd Place Winners - (The Incredible) Cheetah Stand C8 (Seriously THE BEST light stands in Michael’s Opinion)
4th Place Winners- Paintballer Pro V2.0 (4 years in the making, never before released)
5th Place Winners- Michael's Business Crash Course
6th Place Winners- Michael's Lighting Crash Course
7th Place Winners- Maven Adapter or $65 Coupon to Michael's Store
8th Place Winners- TBD
9th Place Winners- TBD
10th Place WInners- TBD

(Because this is an International Contest, Michael reserves the right to convert the value of each prize into an online gift card for his store in the event shipping costs, as well as import costs to the winners would be overly burdensome. Winners will have 2 weeks to claim their prize once posted on the blog. We will also reach out to each winner at their given email directly. If we do not receive an answer after 2 weeks the prize will be considered forfeited.)


A. --> Entries must be submitted digitally as a JPEG image less than 5MB in size each by email to mavenphotocontest2016@gmail.com. All other formats (RAW, TIFF, PNG, ETC) will be disqualified. Watermarks are fine, but are preferred on the edge of the image so we can clearly see your work. We recommend resizing and exporting for web instead of sending straight out of the camera images which can be very large.

B. Be absolutely sure to include the Category and Your Name in the Subject Header, as well as the re-name of the file itself, so we know it is yours, with an image number: Example: "Macro-2016-Michael-Andrew-4562.jpg”- (Please Do not use weird symbols like #$%^&(*), - This helps us keep track of each entry and will greatly help and speed up the judging process.

C. Send your “Second Chance Submissions” separately for each category, and please include at least 1 social media link to verify. (See Second Chance Entries Below)

Rules (Rules are subject to change) - READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE SUBMITTING! I realize there is a lot of info here, but it should answer nearly all of your questions. If you have more questions, please submit them below in the comments box and I’ll do my best to answer. All rules and prizes are subject to change at discretion of Michael The Maven and if so will be posted as updates here. Michael tries very hard to run a fair contest.

1. There are no entry fees, however this is a family friendly website and we reserve the right to disqualify any entry for any reason. This includes but is not limited to any image which may be deemed as inappropriate, offensive, pornographic, poor taste, cruel to animals, advertising, violent, spam etc. We are looking for fantastic imagery that inspires all of us to get out and shoot. 

2. If you are under 18, you must obtain your parents permission before entering. By entering the contest it is assumed you have your parents permission. We hope to have a youth contest later this year as well. If you enter without permission, we cannot accept your entry.

3. Entrants may submit up to 1 photograph in each of the 7 categories. Each of the images need to have been taken sometime during 2016. This is an honor rule (meaning we expect you to play fair on this), but if we have evidence to the contrary, we will have to disqualify the entry.

4. Once your images(s) are submitted, these are your final entries. Contestants sending in multiple images, or changing submissions are disqualified unless it is a Second Chance Submission. You should receive a confirmation email after submitting you first images. You will only get one notice. Note; do not wait until the last day, it crashed our email account last time. ;) 

5. “Second Chance Submissions” - Participants may enter an additional image in each category, if they actively promote the contest on their social media. The recognized hashtag for this years contest is #mavenphotocontest2016 - To be eligible participants must include the contest link of this contest page and include the hashtag on the post. The posts may be made on any social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube or even a blog post. If you are posting a blog article or other social media post that doesn’t recognize hashtags, please include the link in the comments below or with your submissions.

6. Contest is open to all ranges of experience of photography, from beginners to amateurs, semi-pro or even professionals, however, we ask that semi pro and professional photographers do not submit images for the contest in the category in which they specialize. For example, if you are a wedding or portrait photographer, you may submit images in any category but "Portraits". This is also an honor rule, please be fair. We had a number of "pros" enter into the category of their specialty last time and they were disqualified in the late stages of judging. 

7. Images which have been submitted into other contests are not eligible. 

8. By submitting your images, you give Michael The Maven and its representatives, permission to reproduce & show on websites, social media or other materials for promotional purposes with respect to the contest. Copyright remains property of photographer of course. 

9. We reserve the right to expand the number of winners and make adjustments to the rules and prizes at our discretion. 

10. You can use any type of camera, dSLR, Point and Shoot, Cell Phone etc. (Photoshopping is allowed, HDR is allowed, presets/actions are allowed, very light compositing is ok, heavy compositing is NOT (this is where many images and components are assembled together into one image.) It should pretty much more or less look like a single image. 

121 There will be an initial selection process by Michael, which will narrow contestants down to 20 or 25 per category. The Final round of voting will be done by our TBA judges, & Michael.

13. Cheating - Unfortunately, each year we have cheating in various ways. Cheating will not be tolerated and in the event we have sufficient evidence, we will notify the proper copyright owners, provide them with all of the information we have and even publish these cheating attempts. Winners may be asked to verify they are the original creators of the image by submitting the full size resolution image as it was taken. We ask that everyone please respect the rules, as it is a tremendous amount of work to organize these contests and cheating ruins it for everyone.

Judging- Most of the Pre-Judging will be determined by Michael. Semi-Finalist Judging will be determined by a Panel of Judges who will rank in order their favorite images per category. Each rank has a point weight and each images total scores are then tallied. In the event of a tie (and is has happened several times), visitors votes are considered the tie breaker.

Judges- Michael Andrew (AKA Michael the Maven), Remaining judges to be determined and will be added here.

If you have questions, please ask below in the comments box and I will update with answers. 

Even if you are not interested in entering, please help me get the word out because I do all of the marketing for this on my own, sometimes people would love to enter and just don't know about it. 

Thank you for all of your support!

06.29.16         gadgetry  

Apple One Step Closer to Having Camera Disabling Capabilities

This is probably a fairly controversial idea. Apple has been awarded the patent to use infrared technology to shut down your phones camera whenever they'd like. The claim is to stop annoying concertgoer's or prevent people from filming sensitive places. Is this REALLY such a problem that Apple needs to make this extraordinarily intrusive step?

What do you guys think of this? How would you feel if suddenly your camera got shut off? Or would you pleased to see an annoying concertgoer get shut down? I'll guess we'll have to wait and see what actually becomes of this. If you want to read the whole patent you can check it out HERE.

06.27.16         gadgetry  

A Quick Guide on how to Register Your Drone in the US

This should be helpful to hobbyist drone users. If your equipment is under 0.55 lbs, you're good to go - no need to register. However, if it weighs more than that (and under 55 lbs) you'll need to get registered. It's just $5 dollars and it's super easy. You don't need to register every drone you have but your equipment needs to me marked with your registration number. It's required to do this every 3 years.

Check out the quick video below.

06.26.16         video  

Film Riot's Epic Bar Brawl

As you know I've been off shooting another movie. Making movies has been a strong interest of mine for years. I'm so grateful this dream is finally becoming a reality.

There are so many details required to make a successful movie. In the video below the team at Film Riot outline how they shot this epic bar brawl. It's such a great watch and I highly recommend it. If you're thinking about getting into to shooting some video yourself, I really hope you enjoy this.

Check it out below.

06.24.16         photography  

What's In Nat Geo Photographer Bob Holmes' Travel Bag

Spring/Summer is a popular time for getting out there and doing some traveling. I've noticed that many of my followers do a lot of traveling. I get so many emails from people who have questions about travel photography. What should I take? What do I need? What don't I need? How do I get great shots?

I think you'll find the video really helpful. Bob Holmes is a veteran, award-winning National Geographic photographer. Getting a view inside a pros bag is always insightful. You'll learn what camera bodies and lenses Bob brings with him around the world. (He's a Nikon user.) You might be shocked at how minimal his bag is. He also shares some simple practical tips for being comfortable while you're exploring the world.

What interesting is that Bob gets all of his bags from our friends over at Think Tank Photo. Because as he says; they're designed by photographers. I couldn't agree more and if you're in the market for a quality camera bag, they really are the best.

06.23.16         photography  

Canon 6D Mark II and Other Rumors

Many were hoping for Canon to release an update to their popular 6D camera in 2016. Unfortunately, it looks like this won't be happening this year. According to Canon Rumors the Canon 6D Mark II is slated to be released some time in 2017. The good news is there's chatter about an entirely new camera. A never before seen camera that is NOT an update to an existing model.

The information and speculation is scarce as theses camera are still along way off from actual production but if we hear anything else, you'll be the first to know.

Meanwhile if you do own the current 6D you can check out my full crash course training video HERE.

06.22.16         photography  

Mark on a Bike

If you love photography, adventure, and travel then you should definitely check out Mark on a Bike. Mark Wallace is an American photographer and photography educator who's sponsored by Adorama. Now he's grabbing life by the horns and going on an epic journey.

In his words; "The plan is to ride my BMW R1200 GS Adventure to six of the seven continents..." He says his estimates is that it will take two years but he's very loose about the timeline and doesn't really mind if it takes up to five years. He just want to do it. CLIC HERE to learn all about his journey, see photos, and updates.

The video below is Mark while traveling through Jalcomulco, Mexico.

via Fstoppers

06.21.16         video  

How to Shoot and Edit a Timelapse by Bloomberg Documentary Filmmaker Griffin Hammond

Speaking in simply visual terms timelapse videos have an enormous impact. Everyone loves and can easily become mesmerized by them. Maybe you've been thinking about trying to do one for yourself. Maybe you've watched them and feel completely overwhelmed on how to even begin making one.

Here's the good news! Bloomberg documentary filmmaker, Griffin Hammond has shared two very insightful videos on his process for both producing and editing his timelapse videos. This is such a great place to start on your journey as a timslaspe filmmaker. Check them out below.

06.20.16         video  

'The Secret World of Foley"

A Foley Artist is a person who creates sound for movies in a studio. Often times sound is either not recorded well during a shoot or is lost when other (louder) sound footage is picked up. Sometimes the sound isn't recorded at all with the specific intention to record it in the studio afterward to ensure clear, clean sound. Sound has such a huge impact on movies. Most moviegoers don't notice the subtleties but that's really kind of the point. Without it though movies would quickly feel very dull.

I really enjoyed watching this short film about the craft of a Foley Artist. Having just got off a movie set I understand very well how collaborative making a movie is. It is perhaps the most collaborative art from. To have a seamless finished product you need the hard work, skill, and dedication of so many different talented people.

It's skills like these that often go unnoticed but are critical for emotionally effective storytelling. Check out the video below to see this beautiful short movie about the fascinating work of a Foley Artist.

The Secret World of Foley from Short of the Week on Vimeo.

06.19.16         photography  

Joe Edelman Shares Great Advice for Backdrops

If you're interesting in studio portraiture and want some very solid advice, this video is an excellent resource. Joe explains what the ONE backdrop you need is and why. He also delves into some great tips and how to achieve different color backgrounds for dramatic effect. The video is riddled with awesome tips and trick and I highly recommend you check it out.

You can learn more about Joe and his work Joe Edelman.

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