Welcome to Michael’s Blog!

Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist.


06.22.17         website reviews  

Turo - The Best Rental Car Company You Have Never Heard Of

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Turo.com, the rental car version of AirBnB. Thats right, you get to rent your car to renters for whatever price you decide. This might sound far fetched, but I have used it now. Twice. And I must admit, I will be using it again. There are some things I truly HATE about traditional car rental companies, all the hoop jumping, and especially the fact that many of them don't like debit cards. Ugh.

Combine this with the fact that sometimes rental cars are high in demand, it can be very difficult to find a good deal, like when i went to Kauai. The smallest rentals were nearly $76/day. That is just insane, rental on Turo? $30.

If you have an extra car you are not using, it can also be an opportunity for you to make some good money. The woman I rented from in LA last recently was buying more cars to rent them out on Turo. She basically was running her own small rental car company.

While they are not in every city, they are expanding quickly. Definitely worth checking it out as well as the reviews- And yes they have an Apps on both of the App store:

Turo On Apple App Store

Turo on Google Play

06.20.17         photography  

Canon 77D | T7i Tutorial - How to Shoot a Sunset

We are happy to announce that the first draft of the Canon 77D Crash Course Video is now available.

Here is one of the lessons from the course, how to shoot a sunset! One of my favorite ways to shoot. You will need a Cokin P Filter holder, in this case a 77mm thread and also a 1.2 ND filter, I get mine on Amazon, they are about $40.


CLICK HERE FOR Canon 77D / T7i Crash Course Tutorial Video

06.19.17         instagram  

I wanted to share this sunset with you guys and...

I wanted to share this sunset with you guys and wish you could all be here in person to see it. It never gets old. If you haven't been to Hawaii, put it on your bucket list. #maui #luckywelivehawaii #77d

06.19.17         photography  

Gatorade's Running Waterman

This is amazing to me, not only for the photography side of it, but for the creative thinking in tying in a new artform directly to the product itself (water replenishment). This is what good commercial work is all about!

06.18.17         gadgetry  

Bear Bowl Review

Being that I am pretty much a prepper (for disaster aid preparedness) I am always looking for the latest and greatest camping supplies. I am all about anything and everything I can do to pack a lighter bag. I rarely cook on disaster aid trips, but there have been occasions the need existed, and I have looked at several different kinds of cooking pots and was intrigued with the Bear Bowl which uses a mylar square that folds up on an aluminum base. I received my bear bowl today and here are my thoughts:

They way it folds together, while confusing at first is actually quite genius, I think the concept of the mylar bag as a cooking pot is also brilliant, but there are 3 problems I didnt force when I ordered, nor do I think this could have been portrayed in the promotional launch on kickstarter:

1. It is heavier than I thought it would be, most of this weight is coming from the aluminum base.
2. The aluminum base is a little wider than on the kickstarter video.
3. The aluminum bases edges are rough. Almost (but not quite) sharp enough to cut someone who is mishandling it.

One distinct advantage is does have over aluminum bowls (which weigh about the same) is that it is definitely more compact (flat).

Ill put in it my bag of extra supplies just in case, but I don't think Ill be bringing it with my main bag. Im not seeing the weight savings vs a normal camping pot. If you are interested in the product, my gut feeling is that the biggest, the mama bear would be the one to get.

This is what the display on the kickstarter page:
This is what I received. Look at the increased size of the base.
I do think they have a potentially GREAT product. My recommendation would be to try to figure out how to make it work with just the mylar bag, perhaps reinforced with another material. Make it weight literally almost nothing, then it would be a homerun product . All this said I was happy to check it out and give them a chance.

Bear Bowl Collapsable Cooking Pot

06.17.17         photography  

Canon 5D IV Sensor Issue Update

Just a little update on the Canon 5D IV sensor issue!

Of the 336 of you who responded, about half of you had the issue. Canon seems to be aware of it, but didn't want to publicly admit anything. if you find the problem, send it in and it should be fixed! Enjoy!

06.16.17         movie reviews  

47 Meters Down

I love shark movies, its just sad that most of them are not done well.

47 Meters (or 154 Feet for those of us who dive in the States) is far beyond what is recommended for recreational diving. The biggest problem with the film, is that it seemed like two different writers contributed, one who knew tons about diving, and the other who didn't know anything, that those two authors didn't communicate with each other and the one who didn't know anything seemed to write most of it.

At 105 feet, the deepest I have personally dived, I had about 5-10 minutes of "bottom time". At 154 feet, I would have virtually no time at all and would need to start resurfacing immediately if I wanted to live (the deeper you dive, the faster you go through your air).

If you can mentally look past this HUGE error in accuracy, this is actually a very fun movie and I would definitely recommend seeing it in theaters if you like being scared lol. There are aspects of the visuals and sounds in a theater that cannot be reproduced at home. It was very immersive.

The CGI sharks, though not perfect, was sufficient to suspend disbelief. Lots of tension, very well done for the $17 million dollar budget. Twist ending, all round pretty well done and aside from the technical parts about diving, this is some good entertainment!

06.15.17         instagram  

My Promotional Picture for my official book launch...

My Promotional Picture for my official book launch next month. I'll be giving away many thousands of free e-copies. I'll have more details soon. Only a couple more weeks! #efficiency #productivity #mavennation #TheEfficencyPlaybook #themavennation

06.14.17         photography  

My Lens Isn't Sharp Enough...What Do I Do?

You would be amazed how much confusion there is going on in the photography world right now over lens sharpness. One of the biggest culprits is a company called DXO mark, which loves to publish lots of scientific looking data and then never publish how their numbers were produced or how to re-create their tests. For the most part I see it as nonsense (DXO mark that is). It does not help that there are some otherwise good and respectable Youtube Channels perpetuating DXO marks "perceived megapixel" scores, which attempt to summarize lens + camera combo sharpness into a single "mega pixel" like score, into a single number. That is like trying to explain the exquisite differences in case of a bacon cheese burger, with blue cheese and extra pickles with a single number. You just cannot do it, more so if you aren't publishing how you are arriving to these numbers.

What we are seeing more and more of because of this, is that photographers are preparing to abandon otherwise perfectly good lenses, because they are under the impression they are not "sharp enough".

This is my advice if you are not happy with your lens sharpness:

Stop it down. Most lenses are sharpest 1-2 stops down from being wide open and many lenses excel at f8. If you are shooting outside and have the light, and sharpness is so important to you as a shooter, this is the fastest, cheapest and most logical means to get sharper images.

If that is not enough for your purposes, then you should start looking for a new lens. (Ive been amazed by how many photographers do not know about the relationship of stopping down to sharpness)

Side Note: once you get in the f11 or f13, you will start running into diffraction issues, which is actually softer looking images. Yes, deep DOF will be there, but they won't be as sharp.

06.13.17         photography  

Laguna Beach Requires Permits From Photographers - Even Non-Pros!

I have had many run ins with "officials" who have said I cannot shoot, even non-commercially. Ill be recording an episode for my youtube channel about one such run-in I had recently in the Phoenix Airport, which in and of itself was insane.

I really, really cannot stand it when, as a responsible photographer, I am told I cannot take pictures when I am in my legal right to do so, and I try to make it a point to publish far and wide any time I hear about other such instances.

Some of this policing of photography is legal, and other times, it falls into some gray area and because no-one has the resources to challenge it in court, it stands. A legal example, would be the time I tried to take a picture at a mall and was told by security that I could either stop my photography or leave and if I didn't leave I was trespassing. That is a key distinction. Taking pictures in public isn't generally a crime per se, however, the property owners can ask you to leave at any time, and trespassing is a crime. Thats how they get around it.

Some local governments, as seems to be the case in Laguna beach, are able to enforce fines and penalties, if they own the property. At least that is what it sounds like. Im not sure it would hold up in court, so until someone makes that challenge, Laguna Beach's anti-photographer policies stand for now.

Read the Full Article on Petapixel

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