I ended up at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando Wednesday afternoon. I’ve shot there many a time before. But I can always find something new to shoot whenever I make the trek down there. I think it’d been about 3-4 months since I’d last been there. While walking the path around the lake itself (about a mile or so), I see this guy set up at a table along the pathway. Upon approach, I see what I realize is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. This guy, Paul, is setup and writing poetry on his typewriter. Yes, TYPEWRITER. Not a laptop or tablet. TYPEWRITER! Hence, the reason I categorize this whole thing as one of the coolest things ever 🙂 (see the photos herein). He has his stand set up with a sign that reads, “Pick any topic – get a poem.” We chat for a little bit. I ask if I can take his picture and post it here on my blog. Paul says ‘sure’!
I chat with him further. He tells me his website (www.getapoem.com). He asked me if I’d like a poem or if there was someone I knew that might like one. I think a bit and remembered an old friend of mine that had recently gone through some tough times. My old friend is definitely back in the almost high speed lane and doing better now, but I thought she could use a little ‘pick-me-up’. He says he’ll do a poem for or about her. While he was writing, I captured several shots of him and his typewriter.
If you’re ever down Lake Eola way and want to impress a special someone with a very personal gesture, look for Paul and his “Poems By Paul” setup. He tells me he’s basically there every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday (I’m guessing weather permitting). Prices, by the way, are more or less on a donation basis. I’d rather not say how much I or others paid him. Being a songwriter for over 35 years myself, I know the ‘priceless’ value something like this can be worth and would not want to short change him or any artist that creates such value for any human being.
Thanks Paul! Nice, creative, original, unique and bold job sir – all the best of luck with your endeavors.
That title sounds like a segment of “Saturday Night Live” doesn’t it? Anyhoo – – –
This post is to bring everyone up to date with a few changes and new direction in the ever changing, ever evolving life and career of yours truly, Mike Thomas. Some of this may not be very exciting to y’all. But to me, these changes have been a LONG time coming and are pretty monumentous (is that a word?) to me.
As many of you know, I’ve been a photographer almost all my adult life and have taken leaps and bounds just in the last 4-5 years with both the business and creative side of this art form. I’m now at a point where I want – correction, NEED to divert my efforts and passions to this outlet.
First, everything Mike Thomas will now be under the title, blog title, web site and more as, “MIKE THOMAS IMAGERY.” All the former titles regarding Mike Thomas Productions, Mike Thomas Music etc… are no more – gone! Which leads into point #3. But first, point #2. Is this getting confusing? Sorry if so. Please read on. It will all make sense in the end I swear :).
Point #2 – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – but mainly, Facebook. Here’s the deal. About 9 months ago, I made a decision to shut down all my Facebook Pages (as in ‘business pages’ – not my personal Facebook page). Well, the decision was not wrong. BUT – (and I’ll say this as eloquently and politically correct as possible), I’ve come to realize that a personal Facebook page does not serve me well. In fact, with the changes in society, I find that whenever I go on Facebook to see what others are up to, I end up navigating away from Facebook after about 5 minutes due to frustration levels, stress levels and observations off many (not all) people’s’ choices to post topics that cause and fuel more stress & negativity almost to the point of anger between people / rivals. This is not what I signed up for Facebook for years ago. Now that being said, I’m all for freedom – freedom of speech and expression more than anything. Anyone can do whatever they choose – this is still a great free country. But this option or right if you will, applies to me as well. Henceforth, all postings on Facebook will appear only on my “Mike Thomas Imagery” Facebook (business) page. I’m just tired of viewing so much negativity and political protests and undertakings. Not saying anyone is wrong or right for what they believe or post. Like I just said above, it’s a free country. But I, too, have the same freedom and I’m choosing to not be part of or view things that do nothing except steal my joy and drain me of creative energies etc… Who knows, maybe someday when things quiet down I’ll return to utilizing social media for fun. But for now, anything and everything regarding Mike Thomas Imagery – the pictures and stories that accompany them will emanate from my web site / blog, MikeThomasImagery.com . Those pictures, stories and posts will appear on my Mike Thomas Imagery Facebook Business Page as well as on Twitter and possibly on Instagram. I sure would be appreciative is y’all would “LIKE” my Mike Thomas Imagery Facebook Page – and if you decided to follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, that’d be way cool, too. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Way Cool?” – 1985 perhaps LOL. I still live too much in the past, but that can be a good thing with this new artistic preservation project I suppose.
Point #3 – Music. I know never to say never in this life. BUT – I’ve had a wonderful and rewarding 41 year run with my live musical performing, song writing, recordings, productions, touring and more. But it’s just time for me to move on. I’ve been fighting this for about 10 years (maybe even longer). Not retiring, mind you. I still plan on playing the piano and synth at home in the studio – maybe even write & record a song or two. And maybe even get together with a few select friends and jam or whatever. But the live aspect of it all … well …. life and times have changed y’all and so has my desire to put all eggs in one basket as I’d done for so many years – that being music. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE music and always will. Like I said above, I plan on playing and being a little creative at home, on my time, without lugging hundreds of pounds of equipment from gig to gig. And I will always be so thankful and appreciative to everyone that has supported my by coming to the shows, buying my CD’s and other stuff. Most of all, “To God Be The Glory.” I take no credit for my talents. God gave me those upon coming into this world. It’s simply just time to lighten up, slow down a wee bit and put my creative efforts and juices into another art form – photography & multimedia (and lug around much less equipment 😉 ).
My biggest wish going forward is that I can be creative in such a way that my artistic abilities / pictures honor God and the humanity of this ever changing world. What do I mean by that statement? Well, I’m all for progress. I’m a geek, tech head and more – love new things :). But there are some aspects of life that need to be preserved. Whether it be for simple beauty or be it for future generations that may not get to know enough about our heritage or history. This doesn’t have to be huge happenings necessarily. I can think of so many geographic areas, incidents, and progress that has over shadowed what once was etc… Unless someone documents them in one form or another, they may just fade away like invisible ink. THAT, my friends would be too sad for me to just stand by and do nothing about when I possess another God given talent that might lend itself to the artistic preservation of such slices of life.
Please keep an eye out for lots more news, updates, postings and more from yours truly. And please follow me here (subscribe above left) or on Facebook, on Twitter or Instagram – or ALL THREE! :).
That’s it for now. Be good to each other – we’re all we’ve got!
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).
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 ;).
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?).
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 :).
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 :).
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.
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 :(.