XO Mike

I’m still alive!

Posted in Family, Passing Through, Personal, Trips by Michael on December 8, 2010

The chief prepares for his dance with fire.

I’m still alive despite not posting since mid-July. Life has been crazy preparing to and getting married, closing a business, starting a new job (and the preceding search), getting a new apartment and filling it with stuff like a bed, dressers and couch. The honeymoon was amazing and where most of these pictures came from. I’m doing a portrait session with my new nephew Will on Saturday and I’m nervous because I haven’t shot much recently and barely remember ISO and aperture (ok it’s not that bad).

Here’s a few more photos from stuff that I liked (although I can see my decline in skill). I’ve chosen to mostly just take the photo straight out of the camera so there’s minimal editing on these.

Not purposeful but kind of cool looking. I was switching from portrait to landscape while on a slow shutter.

-XO Mike


Click your IT

Posted in Personal, Portraits by Michael on July 14, 2010

If you haven’t heard by now, I’m starting on site computer support business serving small businesses in the western suburbs. I registered with the county, state and US and I’m just waiting on some business cards at the moment. I spent some time today at my dad’s house using his office as a set for a couple of advertising photos. Getting two strobes situated without catching a reflection off of a glass case behind the desk was a struggle but it turned out. I also was model and camera man so the post processing was a bit more necessary than I think it would have if I were 100% operating the camera and not using a remote.

If you have any computer support needs or leads give me a call! (630) 589-9954 http://www.clickyourit.com

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Celebrating Stateside this Year

Posted in Events, Family, Personal by Michael on July 6, 2010

Last year I celebrated the 4th in São Tomé. It was fun but not the same. This year I went to Na’s with Elise for the weekend. Saturday, many of us went to Ravinia to see a live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. It was very nostalgic to sit out on the grass listening to a radio show and having a picnic. Reaghan accidently posed perfectly to show off a bit of Radio Flyer Americana before we went home to prepare for the 4th. At Na’s we setup a huge feast for about 20 people including burgers taller than your fist. After eating we went on her balcony where you can clearly see Oak Park and Forest Park fireworks and you can see about 3-4 other cities barely over the trees. Sparklers were in huge supply and we had a great time.

I exclusively used my 50D, 14mm and 50mm lenses this weekend because my dad was using his equipment in DC. It took a bit to get back into the swing, partly because I was used to the 5D and partly because I haven’t shot in a while. I forgot how much fun it is and I enjoyed the challenge of using just two primes on a cropped body in the dark.

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-XO Mike

First Wedding

Posted in Events, Personal, Portraits by Michael on June 11, 2010

As mentioned in other posts, I did my first wedding shoot a few weeks ago. The day went pretty smooth aside from people showing up insanely late. I was surprised how many good shots I got and was glad to send the couple about 200 images of their wedding. I need to work on using a hotshoe flash because I used it the entire time at the reception because of the poor which I did not expect, however, my eneloop rechargeable batteries lasted longer and with more power than I expected. I’m quite pleased with that buy.

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-XO Mike

New Technique with McFarland Memorial Bell Tower

Posted in Passing Through, Personal by Michael on June 1, 2010

Inside the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower

I’m back on campus for the week finishing moving out and hanging out with Elise. While Elise was at work, I went to explore the newly opened bell tower on the south quad. It is starting to look better, but I still wish they had either expanded Altgeld’s set of chimes or made a carillon out of this tower instead of just a computer controlled set of bells. Also, the design looks really dumb with all the catwalks going across.

To get the effect for the photo above I played with the Shadow/Highlight Split Toning tool to change the colors. I read about the technique somewhere and figured I’d try it out. I would like for the building to line up down the center split but I couldn’t get it right. Another more traditional shot below.

The McFarland Memorial Bell Tower

-XO Mike

Final California Shots

Posted in Events, Personal, Trips by Michael on May 26, 2010

The view from a trail near Palo Alto.

Another view from a trail near Palo Alto.

The Zipper. Quite a scary ride.

I have a good amount of saturation in these images but I kind of like it as a change of pace. Not for everything but kind of fun.

-XO Mike

Puppy! (and redwoods)

Posted in Events, Personal, Trips by Michael on May 25, 2010


Yup, that headline was just to lure you in. I made it up to Sacramento/Folsom yesterday and Hillary, BJ, their dog Trudy and I went over to Montgomery Woods to take a walk with the redwoods. We took some glamor shots of Trudy and had some fun hiking through the forest. Here are a bunch more shots from the trip. Beautiful landscape.

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-XO Mike

Palo Alto

Posted in Personal, Trips by Michael on May 22, 2010

Chris Long, protecting your facebook since April 2010. As incentive to all you hackers out there, if you find an exploit on facebook and send it to them they will give you a hack hat in return.

Disclaimer: I’m editing these photos on my notoriously uncalibrated laptop monitor so I’ll probably find out that they look terrible in a week.

I flew into San Francisco on Wednesday after a long journey but it was free with my mileage so I can’t complain. I came out here to visit my buddy Chris who recently got employed at facebook as a Vulnerability Assessment Engineer and Security Incident Responder. I got the grand tour around facebook and had a free dinner there which was quite nice. Since then I have toured around Stanford and we met with one of Chris’ friends to get the tour of Google. It was just after 5 on a Friday so things were cooling down but another free dinner there was excellent. Tomorrow I’ll take the train up to Sacramento to visit Hillary for a few more days before flying home on Tuesday night. No pictures of Google or facebook because of privacy policies.

Stanford's Hoover Tower - Primarily a library but at the 14th floor is an open air observation deck and a four octave carillon.

-XO Mike

Engagement Photos

Posted in Personal, Portraits by Michael on May 19, 2010

Warning! The following content is overly cutesy!

A few weeks ago Elise and I went out with Brad Meyer and had him shoot some photos of us. The goal was to be just about as mushy as possible and I think we succeeded. We spent some time at the Arboretum, Japan House and Memorial Stadium and had the perfect backdrop of blooming flowers and trees and a wonderful sunset. All images are from Brad.

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-XO Mike


Posted in Events, Personal, Portraits by Michael on May 15, 2010

Elise Nieman in front of Altgeld Hall.

After 18 or 19 years of school (including preschool) I’m finally done! In order to skip disgustingly long lines today and tomorrow, Elise, Xing, Meeker and I went out to all the photo spots around campus and played around in our caps and gowns. I’m glad to be done but nervous about the next few months. Next week I’ll head to San Francisco and Sacramento to visit Chris and Hillary as a mini graduation present to myself. I say mini because travel and lodging will only cost $40 after my free mileage. After that I’m going to be finalizing the plans for my computer repair business and opening doors sometime in June. Wish me luck!

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-XO Mike