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. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


 

04.08.22         movie reviews  

Ambulance


Lots of mixed vibes about this movie. Michael Bay is usually pretty solid. This movie is a mix of Heat & Speed, with a mix of parts of To Live and Die in LA and a couple other movies. Really well cast, some of the most impressive drone shots ever, but there was a big writing and editing problem. Can't put my finger on it, should have been about 45 minutes shorter and a better reason as to why they couldn't just block the Ambulance off.

All that said, I enjoyed it enough to say if you have seen any of the above movies and enjoyed them, you'll probably like it. Its kind of nice to see a nice line up of movies coming, especially in May! (Dr Stange & Multi Verse of Madness and Top Gun - Maverick).

04.01.22         movie reviews  

Morbius


I was honestly looking forward to this for a long time....
This had a lot of potential. I think Jared Leto is a fine actor. Morbius' issue was Bad Writing. Bad Editing. Bad Casting of Tyrese Gibson as the rational cool minded FBI agent (Was too hard to take him seriously after all the Fast and Furious Movies).

Even the attempt to whet our appetites for more with a post credit sequence (which felt entirely added on because of the success of Spiderman No Way Home) was not enough.

This is one of the worst Marvel Movies Ive seen, right next to Eternals. I would say skip it all together.

03.12.22         book reviews  

Make Time


Im happy to report that with the addition of a Kindle (my first ever) and traveling a lot, I have rediscovered my ability to read. Being that in todays world we are so targeted by distractions, short attention spans have led many, myself included, to not reading as much as we want to. I have several friends who have confided in me that they have complete lost the ability to read a book "because they don't have the patience". This is dangerous.

I finally got around to reading a highly recommended book "Make Time":
There were two really big take aways for me from this book:

1. We should categorize anything that eats up our time unproductively as "infinity pools". Social media, news, email, etc. These are anything in your life that takes and takes and takes without offering anything meaningful in return. I found once I properly labeled my "infinity pools" as weaknesses, I could more easily target them for elimination. I have deleted Social Media apps from my phone, and the result has been astonishing. I have far more time now to focus on much needed work, exercise and productive recreation.

2. Pick one "Highlight" every day. It's the one thing you want, should, need to get done. I completed 1 very difficult assignment each day, including leaning a brand new skill set, (making fully colored, custom shaped stickers), and a report I had been putting off for months. There is real magic in picking one and only one special task per day, and then fighting like crazy to get it done fast and early.

It was a phenomenal book and I highly recommend it!

Make Time Book

03.07.22         movie reviews  

The Batman


It's nice to be back in the USA. Arrived last Saturday night and still getting settled in from 2 months in Africa, so I decided to check out "The Batman" last night!
A lot of mixed feelings on this. First two words that come to mind were Dark and Loud, also violent, raw and gritty. Some aspects of it were GREAT like the visuals, I appreciated the time the director took to have so many great looking shots in it.

Other parts of it were not so great, literally too loud in some parts, and there was a repetitive theme song that never seemed to go away.

And...the obvious...how many more new batman movies are there going to be? Well, if its profitable (and they are) it looks like it will be an infinite amount, meaning we should probably expect a new batman reboot every 3-5 years.

See it in theaters? If you are a Batman fan, yes. That said I wasn't overly pleased with it, rather it was a nice (but long) way to come back to the USA for me.

Otherwise its a rental.

01.17.22         photography  

Michael's Sony FE Lens List


Im often asked about lenses for Sony Cameras. In the beginning, it was simple because there were so few. Not the case now. Here is a long list of available FE (Full Frame E Mount) lenses, with comments next to the ones I have owned or used.

G-Master These are generally regarded as the best in the class of FE lenses, that said, others offer tremendous value.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM = $2,198 - This is my bread and butter lens and lives on my Sony A7IV. I use it 80% of the time for all video shooting & landscapes and has become my walk around lens as well.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens = $1,398

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens = $2,298 Perfect for weddings, short distance sports, and portraits.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II Lens = $2,798 - This is the updated version of the above. While I have not used it, the reviews and sample images say this is a home run lens.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens = $1,998

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM = $1,798

Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM = $1,398

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM = $2,198 - An absolutely incredible wide angle zoom. One of the best I have ever tested. Amazing for landscapes and wide angle video.

Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM = $1,598

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS = $1,498

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS = $2,498 Probably a better tele-zoom than the G series 200-600 for general sports shooting. The 200-600 is significantly larger, heavier, but less expensive and is more suited to wildlife and bird shooting.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM = $2,998

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM = $2,098

Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM = $12,998

Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS = $11,998


G Series

Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G = $898

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 = $248 This is probably a must have for all FE shooters on a budget. Very light, affordable, decent results.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS = $1,398

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 = $598 Another a must have for all FE shooters on a budget. A better portrait lens than the 50 1.8.

Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS = $1,998 Large and heavy, but an outstanding sports and wildlife lens!

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS = $1,098 One of the sharpest lenses known to mankind. Incredible for Macro use.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 = $1,398

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 = $748

Sony FE 50mm f/2.5 G = $598


Sony FE 40mm f/2.5 G = $598

Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G = $907


Sony Zeiss

Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA = $598

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA = $998

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS = $898

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS = $1,348

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA = $1,010.48

Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA = $1,498

Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA = $610.72

Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA = $998


Tamron Lenses

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens = $899 An incredible alternative to the 24-70 2.8 G master.

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens = $1,199 An incredible alternative to the 70-200 2.8 G master.

Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD = $549.00


Sigma Lenses

Sigma 150-600 DG DN OS Sports Lens for Sony E - Ive used the Sigma 150-600 on other cameras, not specifically on the A7iv. Definitely gives you a lot of reach at an affordable price, its one of the best values out there. That said I wasn't thrilled with the performance of this lens on the extreme ends, especially anything over 500mm. I would really consider this a 200-500, but the price makes it one of the most purchased zoom lenses ever.

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens = $1,299 This is a very heavy, well built wide angle lens- has some of the best optics of any wide angle zoom on the planet. Better for interior shooting than landscapes, as it has a fixed petal hood that is not friendly to filter accessories.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens = $1,099

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens = $1,599

Did I miss any? Disagree with my assessments? If so, let me know in the comments below!


01.16.22         tutorial & training videos  

Sony A7 IV Crash Course Tutorial - Now Available!


The Sony A7IV Crash Course is now available for download!

If you prefer to stream videos and not download the large files we will be adding a streamable version of the course in the next day or soHERE
The first version of the Sony A74 Crash Course is finished! Being the Advanced training for the camera, you can expect to learn all of the secrets of:

- A Complete Crash Course of Digital Photography
- Composition Crash Course
- Lightning Crash Course
- Sports Shooting
- Portrait Photography Techniques - Including the ones pros don't want beginners to know
- Landscapes, Sunsets - Including the tools used for print quality results
- Product & Food Photography - The Secret to Sharpness with Deep DOF
- Long Exposure Techniques
- Time Lapse
- Using Flash With the Sony A7IV
- Cleaning the Sensor
- Focus Stacking
- Video production with the Sony A74 IV, including using with a Atomos Nina V
- Documentary Shooting Techniques
- Using a Gimbal With the A7IV
- Narrative film & Commercial making with the A7IV
- Vlogging with the A74
- WIFI Connections
and much, much more!

The A7IV Crash Course will available, at $20 discount - $39.95 (normal price is $59.95) - take advantage of this price before March 31st!

If you have suggestions for future lessons, leave them in the comments below and we will add them if enough are interested at no extra charge for those who previously purchased the course!


12.30.21         personal  

What Happened To Michael?


Thank you so much to all of you who reached out. This video is for you. What I have been up to & what is coming next. 2022 should be incredible!

Michael's "The Last Mile Miracle - Bringing COVID-19 Vaccines to Extreme Locations - Indonesia":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpUFIqBF9K4&t=29s

Michael's charity organization:
http://red-lightning.com

Michael’s Camera Tutorial Videos and Filters:
https://www.maventutorials.com

Sign up for Michael's newsletter here:
http://www.michaelthemaven.com/newsletter-signup/

12.27.21         movie reviews  

Spiderman No Way Home


Please enter the password below to view this entire post.

password:

By now most of you have seen this, but because Im guessing some haven't, have set up a spoiler section & my thoughts with the password "Spiderman". I consider this a must see if you are a Marvel or Spiderman fan. The chances I will see it again in theaters is nearly 100%.

12.26.21         movie reviews  

Matrix Resurrections


While I am huge fan of the original, none of the sequels ever matched up. I gave it a good effort and was asleep within 15 minutes of the film starting. I never fall asleep during good movies. This is a no, or rental at best.

11.26.21         tutorial & training videos  

Black Friday 2021


This is a very quiet Black Friday Coupon for those of you faithful readers who still come to the blog and support me!

50% off Everything in my stores listed below;

MAVEN21

Enjoy!

https://www.maventutorials.com
https://www.canontrainingvideo.com

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