So yah, at this juncture, there is absolutely no point to this picture. Well, actually there WAS a point. But that point has since passed and it’s too long a story & not worth getting into here. I just loved this shot too much to let it sit forever and do nothing on my external archive drive. It somehow looks like (and I know this is an unrealistic statement) an old fashioned wooden Coke machine dispensing a bottle of the beverage.
No one else owns any rights to this picture except little old me. Hence, I thought I’d share it with y’all :).
One of my favorite types of pictures in photography are long exposure shots. At night (when it’s nice and dark), it’s easy to create long exposure pictures. But during the day in the sunlight, it’s much more of a challenge – especially in the wide open of big beach with bright sun and little or no clouds. In order to make these type of photos happen, you need something to make what the camera sees appear darker. The best way to do this is with a Neutral Density Filter (ND Filter) in front of the lens. I created this particular picture using a 10 stop ND filter, ISO of 200, aperture of F-8 and using the Bulb setting to vary the shutter speed – in this case, the timing / shutter speed ended up being a 10 second exposure.
This is only one picture from a brand new project coming very soon (stay tuned, please). 😉
Well, I had plans of getting out and making an attempt to capture the full moon / super moon yesterday (January 30th, 2018), But let’s just say those plans fell apart. So I thought perhaps tonight (Wednesday January 31st, 2018), I’d see what I could do. I stepped outside, waited for the moon to rise. But by the time it did (6:26 PM), the sky was already black, hence, I couldn’t capture anything in the foreground to signify the “Superman” status. So here’s just another shot of a full moon. Nice as this is, I just really wish I could’ve done what I wanted and made it stand out as a super moon.
So here’s a quick funny story before I get to the real purpose of this blog post. If y’all have ever seen the old cult classic movie comedy, “Airplane,” then this will make perfect sense and you’ll be able to relate. There’s one quick scene in that movie where air traffic controller Steve McCrosky (Lloyd Bridges) stops and while still standing, leans on his desk with a cigarette in his mouth. As the camera pans and zooms out a bit, you see a picture on the wall. In that picture / portrait is an EXACT duplication of Steve McCrosky leaning on his desk smoking a cigarette. Well – – – – – what I did today was 100% coincidence and not planned. I happened to wear the same yellow outdoorsman shirt with a black t-shirt underneath as the one in the picture of me on the wall (and that I use here on this website and everywhere else as my profile picture). When I noticed this and after I stopped laughing, I had one of the Bok Tower Managers take my picture in front of my picture LOL :). That’s what the picture herein is all about. Hope you find as much humor in it all as I did today!
Now for the news :). Just a quick update on the meet & greet today at Bok Tower Gardens. I got to meet loads of very nice, great people who appreciate the arts and coincidently, had very kind words to say about my work. A HUGE thank you to anyone and everyone that came out for this event today.
Additionally, along with my hanging art pieces ‘on the wall’, the gift shop at Bok Tower Gardens is now carrying various versions, sizes and formats of my photo art. Prices are slightly lower due to the fact that the pieces in the gift shop are matted w/ backing versus the matted, backed and framed style on the walls.
Anyhoo – – – just wanted to let you loyal blog readers how it went today and let y’all know about the additional merchandise in the Bok Tower Gift Shop.
So I’ve had several inquiries as to what type of work or theme I have on display at the photo art exhibit at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. I figured the best way was to put together and produce a short (about 2 minutes) video slide show of what’s hanging on the walls as well as what they (Bok Tower folk) are going to be carrying in their gift shop. Soooooo – here it is :). Also FYI / reminder – yours truly will be there at Bok Tower Gardens tomorrow (Wednesday January 24th, 2018 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM for a “Meet The Artist” type thing. If you’re in the area and have some time, by all means come say Hi :).
After little sleep, loading in of all the frames and other art pieces in the unusually freezing Florida temps (32 degrees) this early morning (“O’Dark Thirty” lol), my photo art exhibit, “Florida Backroads” is now officially open at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. The exhibit runs through April 26th, 2018.
All pieces on display are also available for purchase as well. Prices range from $85.00 to $110.00 per piece and include frame, matting w/backing and of course the image printed on archival fine art paper. Sizes range from 14″ X 18″ (frame and matte) / 11″ X 14″ print; 16″ X 20″ (frame and matte) / 11″ X 14″ print; 18″ X 24″ (frame and matte) / 12″ X 18″ print. Bok has also requested my work to be available in their get shop as well. FYI – the gift shop pieces will be offered in smaller sizes and unframed (matted & backed only) and will therefore sell at a slightly lower price (prices TBD). The aforementioned merchandise art will be coming to the gift shop within the next week to ten days.
OK, so much for the sales pitch (for now… LOL). If you’ve never been to Bok Tower Gardens, you really need to go there – especially if you’re looking for a peaceful, tranquil, 250 acre environment with the tower itself (known as “The Singing Tower”) chiming out over the grounds as the musician in the tower loft plays an old fashioned Carillon.
Click anyone of the Bok Tower Gardens links within this blog post for a full description and history of Bok Tower Gardens. And by the way, Bok Tower Gardens is on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks. Just can’t say enough good things about the place!
Hopefully I’ll see you there. Bok has me doing a ‘Meet & Greet’ on January 24th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. I’ll keep you updated as the event progresses. Y’all also might wanna check my Instagram Account(www.instagram.com/mikethomasimagery/) as well as I tend to post quick / short updates there.
So, yah – I’m pretty excited about my first photo art exhibit of 2018 opening tomorrow was Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. But to be honest, all the last minute ‘stuff’ is taking its toll right now. I pretty much forgot about all that last minute ‘stuff’ ;). But it’s still all fun and so cool.
For those that don’t know or haven’t seen my blog post (or Facebook / Instagram prior to this), my traveling art exhibit show I’ve been doing on and off now for about 2 years is getting a post by the good folks at Bok Tower Gardens. I entered into an agreement in about May 2017 to have a showing of my photography featuring all the natural b beauty of Florida. This show or exhibit is a never ending project. But it’s taken me about 4-5 years to go out and capture what I consider enough GOOD imagery to properly represent what I’m attempting to bring to the folks that appreciate – and those that perhaps do NOT appreciate and respect what was here in Florida long before growth, theme parks and more.
Anyhoo – if you’re looking for a little different, peaceful, tranquil escape, please consider visiting Bok Tower Gardens, and of course, check out my exhibit ;).
Please click any of the highlighted links to Bok Tower Gardens for more detailed information about this National Historic Treasure!
I’ve posted similar subject matter in the past with the same underlying premise. Translated, there are some shots that have taken me hours – even days to shoot due to lighting, placement, angle, availability etc… But there are those wonderful rare shots where I’m walking by something or someone, I just pick up the camera and click the shutter without even thinking or preparing. Then there are also shots like this one where I started out framing up a shot of the flowers with the bright blue sky in the background. Then (in this case) – along comes the Disney Monorail ….. and …. voila !!! :).
First off, hope y’all had great Holidays! Also hope everyone is making their way through these frigid and snowy conditions on the east coast (and elsewhere, but I’m on the east coast and experiencing Florida’s version of a cold snap).
OK, let me get right to it. If you’ve read my blog over the last several years, you know I’ve visited Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida many times. I LOVE this place for many reasons but mainly because of its serenity, beauty, peacefulness, attachment to nature, the size (250 acres) and of course, the 205 foot ‘Singing Tower’ itself (click the Bok Tower Gardens link here or below for in depth details on the ‘singing tower’, the surrounding gardens and more). You can also find some wildlife, tons of butterflies fluttering all around you (and these offerings are all truly wild and not in a sanctuary or similar). Best of all, Bok Tower Gardens is on the National Historic Landmark Registry Listing – meaning it’ll be there for a long, LONG time!
Above and beyond all the aforementioned, Bok Tower Gardens offers to their Guests an art exhibit that runs pretty much year round. The artists / exhibits are switched out every few months or so. I saw this exhibit section for the first time at their Welcome Center dating back about 5-6 years and have always thought how I’d love to have my work on display there since it fit the theme (nature, wildlife, Florida). Well guess what? I was offered the opportunity last spring to be the featured artist for one of these exhibits! (YAY! WOO HOO! lol :))
My exhibit entitled, “Florida Backroads,”will begin its run on January 19th, 2018 and finish on April 26th, 2018. All items on display will also be for sale (FYI – any items purchased will remain on display until March 26th, 2018 … at which time the buyers will then receive their photographic art pieces).
In addition to the exhibit, Bok Tower Gardens has me doing a ‘Meet The Artist’ type welcome on January 24th, 2018 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Refreshments will be served during those times and of course yours truly will be in attendance to casually chat and answer questions about my work as well as photography.
Hope anyone and everyone can make it to Bok Tower Gardens between January 24th and April 26th, 2018. Again, the display is inside The Bok Tower Welcome Center. The exhibit itself is free. However, admission to the massive grounds and gardens is required. Below, please find the address and web site link for Bok Tower Gardens:
Today being December 7th, 2017, the date marks the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I wanted to post about something – anything – different but related directly to ‘that day in infamy‘. I remembered doing another photo shoot in the downtown historic area of Kissimmee, FL, a town that borders The Walt Disney World Resort, just to give geographical reference. The monument or this post has nothing to do with Disney. Anyway, while doing the shoot I mentioned, I recalled seeing a very unusual monument in this section of town called, “The Monument Of The States.”
Upon further research regarding this unusual monument, I discovered that this structure was the brain child of Dr.Charles Bressler-Pettis. Dr. Bressler-Pettis’ idea was to have every one of the United States send a rock significant to the respective state to him. He would then use these rocks within the construction of The Monument Of States. The reason behind it all was to create or display a symbol of patriotic unity in the early, dark days of World War II just after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Dr. Bressler-Pettis sent out a letter to each of the governors of every state requesting a rock from each respective state. The response to his request was phenomenal and unanimous. All 48 states (at that time) complied and became a major part & contributor of this project.
If you look closely at some of the pictures herein, you’ll see what I mean. Each little section is labeled or named and has a rock (or something similar) within it. Over time, more rocks and placards were added to the monument. You’ll see offerings from Canada, Africa and more in the monument (and in a few of the photos).
The Monument Of States was created in 1942. Here it is 76 years later and it’s still standing! As a side note, the monument did have a facelift of sorts in 2001 making it look even better and due to incidents at around that time frame, have even more significance.
If should ever want to go see this thing in person, the address is 300 East Monument Ave, Kissimmee, FL. It technically resides in Lakefront Park at the aforementioned address.
To all who perished and to all who survived this day in 1941, you’ll never be forgotten by this photographer / writer!
Pray for peace everyone! Thanks for stopping by! And most important, thank you to every U.S. Military Person who is or has protected all of us from harms way. God Bless All Of You and your families!
So there I was – at a place called Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. Yes, I’ve posted a few blog articles on this gorgeous, peaceful, nature abounding place before (and more to come). I was there taking care of some “business”. And by the way, the “business” I speak of is pretty darn cool ;). There’ll be a separate post announcing some very exciting news for yours truly and whomever else wants to be a part of it all. But that post / announcement won’t be here (on this blog) until Friday (day after tomorrow, August 17th, 2917).
Anyhoo – back to where I got off track lol. While I was out walking in the gardens at Bok, I was astounded by the amount of butterflies and bumblebees hanging out in those gardens today.
It was almost like an enclosed butterfly sanctuary – but – without the enclosures ;). It was all wild, fluttering wings of both butterflies and bees. Scary to some who have an aversion or fear of bees perhaps. But to this photographer, I was right in my wildlife, nature element.
The pictures herein are just a few of what I captured out there today. So de-stress by looking at these photos and imagine you can hear those wings all ‘a-flutter’. 🙂
This post is about change, moving forward, embracing the future and sadly, saying farewell to two of my most favorite and nostalgic attractions ever at The Walt Disney World Resort.
Upon my second visit to Walt Disney World was in 1984, two years after EPCOT Center opened. Among the many rides and attractions, one that became my favorite: “The Universe Of Energy.” I thought it was THEE coolest ride ever. It was powered (and still was up until today – the final day of operation ever) by solar panels on the roof. It had moving theater cars that moved sections of an entire seated audience in and around the show / theater. The main focus was on energy, how and where it came from dating back to the dinosaur era. The attraction also contained many audio animatronic dinosaurs, too. All around very cool ride that in it’s day was so advanced and high tech. It remained a nostalgic favorite all through the years even through several changes spanning the 35 years of operation. Well, I believe it was George Harrison that used the line in one of his songs (or maybe it was an album title – don’t remember and it’s not really the point), “All things must pass.” The Universe Of Energy’s time has now come and gone. As of Sunday August 13th, 2017, the attraction loved by so many is no longer. The Walt Disney Company has decided to shutter the doors to make way for a brand new attraction. Exactly what and when that new ride will debut is not fully clear yet.
Now, as if that weren’t enough to break this old heart today, another major attraction that opened with the (then) Disney / MGM Studios Theme Park in 1989, “The Great Movie Ride,” has also been closed permanently by Disney in order to make room for another new attraction themed around none other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I coincidently was there for the grand opening of The Disney / MGM Studios Theme Park on May 1st, 1989. I didn’t plan it but it just happened to turn out that way. I was there as a Guest and not working oddly enough. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed AT FIRST with this park. About 3 years later after some major additions and expansions, it was a different story and my feelings changed. That park was now pretty darn cool! That being said, there was one attraction that I fell in love with the first time I rode it on May 1st, 1989. Yes, it was The Great Movie Ride. Disney had just introduced 3rd (I believe) generation audio animatronics. The characters in the ride (John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Cagney and more) were so life like with their moves it was almost creepy – but great! There was also a human interaction as the Disney Cast Member that ride with you in your theater car told a story as you travelled ‘through the movies’. At one point, the Cast Member would either get thrown off the ride at (fake) gun point and later, everyone got to experience some ‘magic’ as that Cast Member would reappear in another scene / portion of the ride. I could go on and on. But alas, The Great Movie Ride saw it’s final trip around the theater Sunday August 13th, 2017. 🙁
To all the Cast Members, technicians, Imagineers and everyone else that helped keep that attraction running and made us all feel like we were part of the movies, an incredible heartfelt THANK YOU! I get it when it comes to growth, progress, change etc… Walt Disney’s dying words to his brother Roy were, “Don’t let my parks become a museum … change, grow and update forever.” Nonetheless, it really does put a lump in my throat seeing these two classic attractions go away.
Here’s to the future – whatever it may bring all of us!