33 Strategies of War

I wanted to throw a shot out to Robert Greene’s new book the 33 Strategies of War. If you remember, Greene wrote the 48 Laws of Power, which was excellent. This is essentially a war history book, wrapped up into flexible, applicable principles, that any individual can use in different aspects of life, but particularly well in business.

Green breaks down strategy ideas for approaching problems, and then outlines them in a historical context. I will warn you, it is a very slow and very fascinating read, not something to rush through. Read a chapter, think about it, let is soak in, read the next.

While reading, I find myself asking how the principles can be applied to photography and I must say, if you are starting a photography business…this would be a great read!

How to Get This Shot #1

I get a lot of requests for information on certain shots. I hesitate to do this for a few reasons:

1. It is extremely time consuming to track information for each shot.
2. I would much rather teach by principles than by recipe. You have more options when you are flexible with your creations vs. just doing something you know.

With time, most students will be able to look at a photograph and tell everything about it, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, even what the histogram would look like.

The situation on this shot dictated what I my decisions were. I had two cameras with me, one with a 28-70 + 580 Speedlite, the other with a 50mm 1.4. I had gotten a few “safe” shots with the 28-70 and wanted to mix it up. There was very little light in the room, so I decided to try the 50mm at 1.4, however because they were dancing I needed to shoot at a fairly high shutter speed, so I bumped my ISO up to 1600. I think it looks fine in certain situations.

I wanted to go for a silhouette shot, using the videographers light but I didnt want Mary and Chris to be too dark, so I shifted my exposure compensation to +1.33 to brighten them up and over expose the light behind them. (these are all things I talk about on my DVDs if this is too confusing).

The last part was the composition. I decided to use a Rule of Thirds Shot for the couple with a Dutch Tilt. This was the result.

These are the settings on this particular shot:

f 1.4, 1/200, ISO 1600, +1.33, AWB

Did you guys find this helpful? If so I may do more in the future.

Michael Andrew Maui Desktop Wallpaper

So I was looking through some of my pictures from Maui this last week and I was thinking, you know a lot of these would make really great desktop wallpaper for my computer. Ive gone through hundreds of images and picked these as my top twenty-five favorites, they are available in the store for direct download here: Michael Andrew Maui Desktop Picture Pack

I will be honest with you though, I was a little torn because I wanted to just give them away for free, but didnt want to swamp the store with hundreds of free downloads, so this is what I am going to do:

If you help me with just a little bit of marketing, I will send you a code that will allow you to download the Maui Desktop pictures at no charge . All I ask for is for 7 of my links posted anywhere on the internet others may see them. The links I would like help with are:



You may post these on your Facebook, Myspace, blog, forum (just not on mine as everyone in there already knows) or whatever, you can even post these 5 links on one page and two more on another, or chose one link (www.michaelthemaven.com) and post that 7 times on 7 different sites. You can even count the links you have already posted, as long as they stay up for at least a year. Do this for me, send me an email giving me your word you have, and I will send you the code for a free download of the Maui picture pack. The images have been optimized for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

This offer expires in one month (May 28th 2008)

Sound good?

Canon Rebel XSi Review

So last night I was strolling through Circuit City and behold there they had the new Canon Rebel XSi on display. This was a little strange because Amazon and BH dont even have them available yet. I talked with the sales dude and they said they had gotten them in that morning and had already sold the 2 they received. To make a long story short, I tracked down the last available Canon XSi in the state (at least for now) in Fultondale and made the quick drive to pick it up. I spent some time looking it over last night, and this is my initial review:


1. Its very light, granted its body is made out of plastic, after holding a camera for 10 hours, you want something as light as possible.
2. 12.2 Megapixels
3. Dedicated ISO button.
4. Fewer buttons than the XTi, yes, this is a good thing- too much clutter on some of these cameras. Many of these cool features still exist, just a simpler interface.
5. Secondary selector interface uses primary selector wheel.
6. Simplified Menu System
7. Live View
8. My Menu

1. Feels a little small, as mentioned- not sure about a plastic body.
2. Lack of 50 or 3200 ISO
3. The lens it came with the 18-55 is a joke. It looks & feels like a toy. If you are considering this camera save your extra $100, get the body kit only and buy a REAL lens. The 28-135 is a MUCH, MUCH better kit lens.

Over all, I am impressed with this little guy. I will be doing an extensive analysis this week as I prepare to shoot for my Canon Rebel XSi Crash Course Training DVD. Look for pre-orders of that DVD to be made available shortly. 🙂

New Milk Cartons

Have you guys seen these bad boys? I am not sure how I feel about this….everytime i pick it up I think I am on a space ship or something. Looks like they are trying to save space as the base is smaller than the standard size milk container.