Some Test Shots With A New (18mm) Lens

 

 

WAIT! So how did I get a night time sky with the subject matter all lit up? HA! The beauty of old fashioned filters and black & white photography. And that’s all I have to say about that (can’t give away trade secrets or I’d be outa business lol).

For various reasons, I ended up needing a single, small, prime lens. Specifically, an 18mm. Those reasons have to do with work related stuff more than just fun, games & pleasure – although creativity does come into play there a bit. So I picked up a good deal 😉 this lightweight, tack sharp beautiful lens. I needed to go out and test it to make sure it was gonna do what I needed it to do. Happy to say, IT DOES – and does it very well. Tomorrow and/or Thursday, I plan on heading out and doing either some street photography or landscapes, putting the new lens through further tests. But for today (Tuesday January 31st, 2017), I did the testing over at Disney World – specifically, Epcot.

Unless you have a good eye or you’re a photographer yourself, you might not notice the difference or beauty of this lens itself. Along with an A/B comparison with a few other lenses, I had some free time left (since I was there on my own time and not shooting for Disney today), I strolled around World Showcase Lagoon and tried a little artistic, creative shooting. The link below will take you to several of those shots (like the two atop this blog post page).

Click HERE to view more NEW pictures from yours truly.

Enjoy and thanks for stoppin’ by!

Peace – Mike T.

Florida Backroads: Cocoa Beach Pier & Night Stars

 

florida, cocoa beach, cocoa beach pier, stars, starry night, ocean, atlantic ocean, night photography, florida, florida backroads

Well, the story goes like this … I was out on Cocoa Beach, FL Wednesday night. My objective was to shoot time lapse photos and morph them into a starry night sorta thing and use as part of my live, interactive, multimedia show, “Florida Backroads.”. But, as happens all too much when I attempt to shoot night shots of the stars, there’s just too much light pollution. Perhaps “pollution” is a bit harsh – too much ambient light all around, everywhere. So my goal was not reached. However, Since I DID manage to knock off several pretty good shots, I thought I’d post one – for your relaxation, stress relieving pleasure :). Also to show just one more thing to do in Florida besides the parks and attractions – not that that’s a bad thing … just an alternative ;).

Peace – Mike T.

From The Archives: Rainbow Springs State Park, FL

waterfall, stream, river, florida state parks, rainbow springs state park

In preparation for an upcoming change of my social media & online presence, I was going through some photos I’d taken in the past – looking for some new cover and profile pictures etc… More on all that soon. THIS photo I guess I’d forgotten about. I captured it at Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida. This place is one of the very few locations in Florida where you can see a natural waterfall. Granted, this shot is an off shoot from one of those falls – more like a stream. Nonetheless, pretty. Thought I’d share for your relaxing, peaceful, escapement (is that a word?).

Peace – Mike T.

The Tree Of Life In The Early Morn’

disney, animal kingdom, tree of life, nature, wildlife, theme parks
“The Tree Of Life” – Disney’s Animal Kingdom (photo by Mike Thomas)

I don’t often post many “Disney” shots anymore – especially of the Disney Icons that everyone and their brother posts on Social Media daily. Nothing against Disney or anything like that. I’ve just spent so many years there shooting that I ended up having more desire and feel the need to be more creative and profound with shots I take out in the wilds of Florida (and elsewhere ;)). BUT – I was at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this morning doing a very early morning shoot for Disney. After I finished up with that work, I was strolling by The Tree Of Life as I headed out. It was just one of those quick, inspirational moments where the lighting was just great (sun still on the rise even though the park had opened to early morning Guests), the (blue) lights inside the tree were still on from the night before and the sky had mostly blue color but with streaks of clouds running across it. All this added up to and produced a wonderfully detailed and colorful photograph. Enough words – the photo speaks for itself. I’ve said it before but – I wish they were all this easy :).

Peace – Mike T.

`Twas The Night Before Christmas

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays y’all 🙂

Several years back, I recorded this classic and heartwarming, nostalgic tale for various purposes. I’ve posted it every year since on Christmas Eve. So go get the little ones (and kids of all ages) and listen to this as if you were listening to an old fashioned radio broadcast. You remember radios, don’t you? ;). Enjoy!

Peace & Good Will To All!

Mike T.

60 Seconds Of Christmas Trees

(see video below)

So there I was, sitting at my computer catching up on some work when a post appears about Sea World Orlando from an old buddy. Then it hit me: I’d purchased an annual pass on a good deal from Sea World about 51 weeks ago and never activated it. I looked up the E-Ticket PDF and it said it would be expiring in about a week if I didn’t activate it. So I hopped in my car and drove over to Sea World. On the way I thought perhaps I’d go in and take a few pictures of the Christmas decor – specifically, the Christmas trees they put out on / in the water. I’d only seen pictures of them but had never seen them up close. In fact, it’d been about 10 years since I’d been to Sea World as a guest.

So to jump ahead, I did all the aforementioned. I parked myself – cameras & tripod at the ready near the beautiful Christmas trees that appeared to be floating on the water with even more beautiful reflections glimmering `neath the trees (Hmmm? Sounds like something out of “The Night Before Christmas,” don’t it lol). Anyhoo – below is a collection of some of the shots I was able to capture and turn into a picture(s).

Sit back, relax and escape a little of the potential stress, hustle & bustle that can take away joy at this time of year.

Peace – Mike T.

60 Seconds Of Peace

Greetings All,

(see video below)

I know – it’s been forever since I’ve posted here. I love my life & career. I also love and am proud to say I work a lot with The Walt Disney Company photographing (plus a few other multimedia things). But the fall is my busiest time of the year straight through until December 31st, then I get another break for a bit :). Anyway, not trying to make lame excuses. Just stating facts as to why I haven’t had much time to post on the blog.

Today, Wednesday Novel,her 16th, 2016 marks my first full day off since the Epcot International Food And Wine Festival came to a close a few days ago. Hence, I headed out to do an errand or two. Then I just said to heck with it – I’m just gonna get back in my car, start it, put it in drive and step on the gas. Where I’ll end up, I had no clue. Well, as it ended up, I found myself in the area of one of my favorite of the 176 Florida State Parks: Lake Kissimmee State Park. One of the reasons I love this particular park is because it’s so far out there that after you enter the park and end up in the ‘center’ of it all (about 3 miles in), the only things you can hear are the birds chirping, the gentle wind blowing, the wildlife making noises in the woods and the brush. You can’t hear any planes, trains or automobiles at all. It’s so peaceful. The stress just rolls right off as soon as I start hiking around the wooded trails.

I managed to photograph quite a few pictures. No wildlife today, but a lot of pretty, peaceful pics. Instead of posting some of them here, I decided to try something I experimented a few weeks ago with on Facebook. I put together a very short (about 60 seconds – hence the title of this blog post) slide show video coupled with some old-time music that I played / recorded for a CD of mine (from the musical side of my career) a few years ago. Hope it helps you find some peace & tranquility!

Peace – Mike T.

60 Seconds Of Peace from Mike Thomas Productions on Vimeo.

Florida Backroads: Silver Springs State Park, Florida

silver springs, florida, state parks

Hey All,

I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted here on my blog. I’ve been pretty busy without a day off since about September 14th shooting Epcot’s International Food And Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. Today (Tuesday, October 11th, 2016), I managed to grab a day off and head up to Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, FL.

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Silver Springs has been around a long time. But for various reasons, the Florida State Parks took it over and made it one of their 176 Florida State Parks about three years ago. My take on it all? Well, not bad. Kinda like an oasis in the middle of the city (area) of Ocala, FL. Much of the structures / buildings still remain from the old days. They’re in pretty good shape aesthetically. But they look pretty dormant. Some are still occupied and operating. But there weren’t a lot of folks within them That’s about the ONLY not so positive news of this post. The rest of my park experience is as follows.

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I honestly can’t remember the last time I was at Silver Springs Park. However, compared to what I experienced today, which was very VERY peaceful, serene, quiet and relaxing versus what I seem to vaguely recall on my last visit “X” number of years ago.

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The staff members were extremely pleasant and communicative. They (the staff) also told me there are plans of expansion starting with the boardwalk trek on the right hand side as you enter through the main gates. Supposedly, the boardwalk will connect to some of the islands out in the middle of the beautiful blue waters.

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I didn’t take a voyage on one of the Glass Bottom Boats due to time constraints. But even from the shore(s), you can see some of the underwater vegetation and blue decor. Very pretty!

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I also came across many picnic areas as well as a collection of rocking chairs, covered (shaded) sitting areas, some overlook docks – even an outdoor amphitheater (pictured below) making it all very nice for a casual day visitor as well as a photographer kinda person like me :).

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So would I recommend this to a friend as a “must see?” Honestly, probably not a “must” see. However, if you’re in the area or want a peaceful escape for a day, then it’s most definitely worth the visit. They have a restaurant and snack bar. But only the snack bar was open during my visit. Not sure if they’re open daily – or if the restaurant is in operation. But if you’re like me when you visit places like these, I prefer a picnic type lunch anyway.

Peace – Mike T.

After The Fire

florida, forest, state parks, fire, prescribed burn, nature, wildlife
Post Prescribed Burn

Not sure if everyone is aware, but various organizations in the U.S. such as The National Forest Service and others pretty regularly perform what’s called a ‘Prescribed Burn’. This is when a designated section of forest or woodland is intentionally set on fire for various reasons (i.e. – getting rid of dead wood, dead grass, eliminate specific growth so as to make room for new living vegetation etc…). This photo is that of a post prescribed burn in one of the State Parks here in Florida. Quite honestly, I never really thought of shooting the aftermath of a burn. But while out hiking in the woods over this past summer (2016), I came across the area pictures within this picture. What made this shot interesting to me was the lighting being so great! It really highlighted as well as shadowed the details in the picture – so good in fact that I was able to shoot in black & white (not post production converted but actually SHOT in black & white). Since then, I’ve actually been out searching for a similar post prescribed burn area to try and shoot. No luck so far though :(.

Peace – Mike T.

Can You See The Dinosaur?

florida, lake, dinosaur, nature, wildlife, forest, woods
Hidden Dinosaur

So there I was, hiking in the woods at one of the Florida State Preserves. I came upon this small pond in the middle of no where. The lighting was pretty good, nice colors and sky, hence, I thought I’d set up and grab a few shots in the hope that one of them would be good. I ended up getting lucky in that I captured a few photos that were in the ‘good’ category. However, it was after I completed the processing & editing of this shot I noticed what remotely resembled a dinosaur (sorry, I’m not a paleontologist so I don’t know the species) in the right side of the photograph. Can you see it?

Peace – Mike T.

Street Photography: Aspiring (and good) Singer / Songwriter

guitar, street musician, busker, neil diamondI was in the downtown area of Celebration, FL awaiting to do a portrait shot for a client. While waiting, this young man walks up, sits down on the steps (which overlook the lake in Celebration), takes out his guitar and starts singing & playing. I waited for a few songs to pass judgment being a muzoid myself (and a snob I guess LOL). A few songs pass and I realize I’m caught up in the music. Translated: This kid is good! He played some cover songs as well as original. The covers were fine. But I liked his original songs better. This confirmed the boy was good and I chose to sit and listen until I HAD to leave. Being of an older generation, my all time favorite is and has been Neil Diamond (mostly his earlier stuff and the acoustic stuff from 2005-2010). I realized after listening to about 2-3 of this guys original tunes that he was playing in a distant old time Neil Diamond chord progression. I surmised that this is why I liked his stuff. I think I might actually go back there and try and catch his sidewalk busker act again. And next time, I’ll even get his name (DUH!) and try and give this singer / songwriter some free PR.

Peace – Mike T.