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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.


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01.19.18         movie reviews  

12 Strong


I have some mixed feelings about the film 12 Strong.

I LOVED the story, especially because it is true and we (the United States) did a lot of bad things to a lot of bad people (the Taliban & terrorists (not "insurgents")). I truly feel any religion that does the things they do to innocent men, women and especially, children have a special place in hell. Yes, you are reading this correctly, for all of the disaster aid work I am a part of, sometimes violence is still the answer. I got into an argument with a friend today over this, but Im pretty certain they didn't really have a comprehension of how bad these guys really are. I think the horseback riders were determined, innovative and did whatever it took to get the job done and I salute them! There should be more films like this, especially the true ones. So from a historical perspective, I appreciate they are getting the airtime they deserve.

As far as a film itself goes for entertainment....something was missing and I really can't put my finger on it. Something in the editing, something in the firefights. I felt the dynamic of the Captain (Hemmsworth) and the Northern Commander was realistic, because that feels the way things really are on disaster aid trips. You have a mission, and have to worry about something as trivial as navigating an individuals personality or hurting someone's feelings.

What I didn't like, were the gun battles felt a little too unrealistic. Unlimited ammo. Charging at hundreds of emery on horseback, it was too Rambish. I also wanted to know the characters more.

Other than that, its a YES!

If you do see it, follow it up with an interview from one of the REAL horseback soldiers as interviewed by my friend Thad Forester on Patriot to the Core: A GREAT Interview with one of the original 12 Strong Soldiers

01.15.18         instagram  

This is why they call it JAWS- it eats people....



01.13.18         instagram  

Never an alert u want to receive. Thank goodness...


Never an alert u want to receive. Thank goodness it was a false alarm!

01.13.18         instagram  

And...that’s right...my new Nikon #d850 strikes...


And...that’s right...my new Nikon #d850 strikes again! #nikon #stunnersoninsta #silhouette #michaeltheman #maui #sunset

01.13.18         instagram  

When I did my Flagship Epic Shootout last August,...


When I did my Flagship Epic Shootout last August, my inbox was flooded with complaints that my rack zoom while focusing & accuracy tests were whacky. Over 100 negative comments on the video to that. As far as I know, I was the first and only tester to publish data on this specific af zoom issue.
Yesterday, Sony released a firmware update to fix a "AF-C when zooming" issue, as well as improve focusing on moving subjects.

I don't test cameras based on "feelings", I test by numbers and measurable data in repeatable conditions that anyone can try for themselves and get the same results if they follow the same methodology.

This is not the first time a major camera manufacturer has released a firmware update to serious flaw I have found in a camera system, so typically if I am saying something is off...there is actual data to back it up. I don’t know of many other camera testers in world who go through the trouble I do to find these things.
To all my haters, keep fighting the good fight, but in the mean time...you're welcome! #a9 #sonya9 #validated #haters #hatersgonhate

01.12.18         instagram  

The Nikon D850 does not disappoint! Incredible...


The Nikon D850 does not disappoint! Incredible dynamic range & resolution packed with all the bells and whistles. As far as DSLRs go, I think it’s the most well rounded do-it-all camera I’ve ever seen. Paired with that new 70-200, the sharpness is just insane. Im excited for every shooting opportunity with that pair. #mauisunsets #d850 #nikon #nikond850

01.11.18         movie reviews  

The Last Jedi


Because you asked, here are my thoughts.....with spoilers so you have been warned if you read more below...
For the most part, it was pretty good...

What I liked:

- Revealing new Jedi Powers. The phone connection ability, space movement (Leia), holograming and creating of even what seems temporary physical objects (dice) by the force, more mind reading from where Episode & left off. All cool things.
- Yoda showing up & chastising Luke.
- Humor, specifically at the very opening, when I first heard it I thought it was going to have more of this, but it seemed to fade after Yoda.
- Opening and Closing Action sequences were really really good. Especially the opening. The light saber fight in Snokes chamber was pretty dang awesome.


What I really didn't like:

- Luke Skywalker's attitude and repeated visits to "no, I don't want to help you". We got it after the first time he said it. I really feel they stripped Luke of many of his wonderful qualities specifically; hope, initiative, fearlessness, leadership etc. In TLJ he was a shell of his former self, "just waiting to die". I really didn't like this. While the ending fight scene was different, and clever, I honestly wanted to see Luke put the full power of the force on display in a way we had never seen, the opposite of Snoke.

- I thought the whole Gambling sequence and even the hacker could have been removed. It slowed the film down too much.

- I thought Captain Phasma was a wasted character probably created to only sell toys. She didn't do much in either film and her ending fight scene wasn't that interesting.

- I think about 20-25 minutes of it could have been edited down (specifically around the middle part).

Those were really the biggest things that came to mind, but in the end, being Star Wars, I was pretty happy with it.

What did you guys think?

01.10.18         instagram  

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited...


I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about a camera (#d850) - shooting gorgeous models doesn’t hurt either! Thank you @bethanyluptak ! You are a natural! #nikon #sportsillustratedswimsuit

01.09.18         instagram  

Looks like im a FF Nikon shooter now - #d850...


Looks like im a FF Nikon shooter now - #d850 #nikon - I was so impressed with the new 70-200 I bought the d850

01.08.18         the maven nation - efficiency podcast  

The Power of Good – Episode #039


Today I want to share with you one of the foundational stories that convinced me of the value of service and doing good in general. I hope it has the same effect on you!

What miracles of service or good have you experienced in your own life? Feel free to share in the comments below!


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