Thank You ….

bok tower gardens, bok tower, florida, historic sites, lake wales florida

Greetings All,

Just wanted to post some quick ‘bloggage’ thanking everyone that came out to see my Photo Art Exhibit, “Florida Backroads,” at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. The exhibit was a wonderful success. After just about 3 months, It came to a close last week on April 26th, 2018. I’m quite pleased (and proud) to say that more than a half dozen photo art pieces sold and over 3/4 of the photo merchandise at the Bok Tower Gardens Gift Shop sold as well. Not bad at all for a ‘first time in’ for this photographer. I must also thank the fantastic staff members at Bok Tower Gardens. They were so helpful and instrumental in making it a success from setup to tear down and everything in between!!! You guys and gals ROCK!

If there’s anyone reading this post that visited Bok Tower Gardens while my exhibit was taking place and was, or is still interested in acquiring one or more pieces (either framed display pieces or just matted & backed), please contact me: MikeThomasImagery@Gmail.com and I’ll be more than happy to help you out. As I say, quite a bit sold but there’s still some good stuff remaining (and more on top of that which was not on display at Bok (only so much space on the wall there, ya’ know? 😉 )).

Thanks one more time everyone!!!

Peace – Mike T.

Dirt Roads

dirt roads, paul harvey, the rest of the story, good day, backroadsWhile I was out shooting more photos for my ongoing Florida Backroads projects, I came upon this dirt road slightly off the beaten path. As I set my cameras to take various angles, lighting variations and more, this story suddenly popped into my head I’d read – actually heard YEARS ago from the late great Paul Harvey. I loved Mr. Harvey’s daily news show and was so saddened when he passed on. Just in case there might be some ‘youngins’ out there who’ve never heard of Paul Harvey, first off, my sympathies. But Paul Harvey was best known for his off the cuff and almost odd news stories of the day. At the end of each broadcast, he would tell some story about someone or something that you wouldn’t know what he was actually talking about until the very end of the story. Then he would finish with his signature phrase, “…And now you know THE REST OF THE STORY…”

Below is a copy and paste of one of my favorite stories I ever heard from Paul Harvey. It’s called (as if you haven’t figured out already), “Dirt Roads.” Please read through it and it might just change your way of thinking or perhaps make you remember the way things were in days gone by.

=====================================

Dirt Roads

What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many
Dirt Roads have been paved.  There’s not a problem in
America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency
that wouldn’t be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads,
because Dirt Roads give character.

People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that
life is a bumpy ride.  That it can jar you right down to your
teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home…
a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system
if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.

There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.
Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they
knew they’d be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double
barrel shotgun.  And there were no drive by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse!
People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and
motorists were more courteous, they didn’t tailgate by riding
the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust and
bust your windshield with rocks.

Dirt Roads taught patience. Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn’t hop in
your car for a quart of milk – you walked to the barn for your milk.

For your mail, you walked to the mail box.  What if it rained and
the Dirt Road got washed out?   That was the best part, then you
stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony road on Daddy’s shoulders and learned how to make  prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted
like soap. Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.

At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car
was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime
income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to
hitch up a team and pull them out.  Usually you got a dollar…
always you got a new friend…at the end of a Dirt Road.

Paul Harvey

====================================

And now you know …. ‘The Rest Of The Story‘.

“Good Day” ;). Thanks for stoppin’ by neighbor!

Mike T.

A Night Under The Stars

Ever wonder how much ‘activity’ is going on all around us – In particular, above us? Well, Saturday night (02-24-18) I went to an event at Lake Louisa State Park here in Central Florida. By and large, it was a fun, educational astronomy event presented as a family happening. While the facilitators were very good and informative, I went with the soul intention of capturing some astro-photography as Lake Louisa State Park provides a minimal light pollution environment – one of the few areas in Central Florida capable of this.

star trails, astronomy, sky, night sky, lake louisa state park, florida, disney

The first photo (above) was pretty much a single, long exposure shot conveying or portraying a pretty, peaceful and fairly clear night sky with a fair amount of stars up there. As beautiful as that shot is, the one below depicts what’s really going on overhead during this event.

The picture below – taken at the exact same location as the first photo above – is what’s known as a ‘star trails’ shot. If you don’t know what a ‘star trails’ shot is, let me explain. In short, I set my camera to capture time lapse photos over a span (in this instance) of about an hour and fifteen minutes. Each of the 250 shots i captured had an exposure time of 15 seconds. Now as we all know, the earth is constantly rotating. The fact the camera had the shutter opened for fifteen seconds per shots times 250 shots, what happens is the camera a actually picks up the earth’s rotation while shooting pictures of the stars. The stars don’t move in these shots, but the earth does. The end result is the stars look like they’re streaking across the night time sky but in reality, the camera is picking up the earth moving against the stationary stars. Once all the photos are loaded into the computer, I use specific software to ‘morph’ all the 250 shots into one single shot. This one single shot is what you’re looking at below. Make sense? I hope so :).

star trails, astronomy, sky, night sky, lake louisa state park, florida, disney

Oh and by the way, what might look like a colored sort of trails going against the grain or opposite direction of the majority of the star trails in the final photo is / are actually airplanes, helicopters or maybe even a shooting star passing by. And the blurry coloration in the lower right corner of the photo are a few of the attendees of the event.

So next time you’re out enjoying the beauty and peace of a clear night sky, this ‘star trails’ photo show what’s really going on all around you and over your head.

Peace – Mike T

Florida Backroads: A Return Visit To Micanopy

For those that know me pretty well or possibly have been reading this blog for several years now, you’re probably aware of one of my favorite places to visit off the beaten path in Florida – a little town called Micanopy, FL (population 576 +/-).

florida, micanopy, doc hollywood, cross creek, gainesville, general store

Micanopy lies just southeast of Gainesville. But that’s being a little vague. I’ve written a few blog posts over the years about Micanopy. I even created & produced a documentary type video slideshow about Micanopy and an equally interesting and historical small town called Cross Creek, FL a few years ago.

As you can see, included herein this blog post are just a few pictures – all new imagery – that I managed to capture as the sun was starting to go down yesterday (Thursday, February 23rd, 2018).

micanopy, florida, backroads, church, small town usa

This little town reminds me somewhat of where I hail from up in New England – New Hampshire to be exact. Only thing this town doesn’t have are mountains and snow. What the town DOES have are several antique shops. For me, the one pictured right below is the most unique, quaint and old fashioned of them all!

florida, micanopy, gainesville, backroads, antiques, antique store

If ever there was a place in Florida that I would consider retiring to (IF I ever retire that is), it would be this beautiful hidden treasure with all it’s charm called Micanopy, FL.

micanopy, florida, horse & buggy, antiques, backroads

Thanks for stoppin’ by neighbor.

Peace – Mike T.

 

A Coke And A Smile – – – In The Woods

coke, cocal cola, soft drinks, things go better with coke, a smile and a coke, woods, forrest, nature

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 :).

“… Things Go Better With Coke…”

Peace – Mike T.

Melbourne Beach, FL – Long Exposure Shots – And A New Project Coming

florida, beaches, melbourne beach florida, long exposure shot, nd filter, neutral density filter, oceanOne 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). 😉

Peace – Mike T.

Bok Tower Meet & Greet Complete (WOW – that all rhymes!)

Greetings!

florid, nature, wildlife, backroads, bok tower gardens, lake wales florida, airplane, airplane the movie, steve mccrosky, lloyd vridges

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.

Peace – Mike T.

A Video Slideshow Of Some Of My Photo Art Exhibit At Bok Tower Gardens

Greetings!

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 :).

Peace – Mike T.

Mike Thomas’ “Florida Backroads” Exhibit Now Live At Bok Tower Gardens

 

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.

bok tower gardens, florida, lake wales, national historic landmark, florida backroads

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.

“Look Ma’, I’m In Print!”

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.

Peace – Mike T.

My Photo Art Exhibit Opens Tomorrow – Friday January 19th, 2018!

florida, nature, wilderness, forest, florida backroads, sunset, state park, national forest, national park, everglades
(One Of The Many Shots In My “Florida Backroads” Exhibit)

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!

PEACE – Mike T.

Mike Thomas’ “Florida Backroads” Photo Art Exhibit Coming To Bok Tower Gardens!

 

Greetings Everyone!

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:

Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, Florida 33853 – 863 676 1408

I’ll update this blog with more information as the opening date draws nearer. I’l also post additional updates as the exhibit progresses.

Thanks for stoppin’ by neighbor!

Mike T.

Monument Of States

wwii, ww ii, world war ii, pearl harbor, monument of states, kissimmee, fl, disney world

 

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!

Mike T.