The website has been completely rebuilt with all new features and moved to a faster, dedicated web server with the latest versions of Apache and PHP software running on it to help improve the quality of the site. In addition to a new banner logo, the website has many new features, such as a random slideshow on the front page, social media and Google map integration, keyword dynamic albums, a new slideshow system, and much more. Most of the changes are on the backend and will enable me to upload and manage the system much faster
Finding out what's new and updated has never been easier! The latest updates are posted on the main page and you can easily click on the thumbnail or topic to go directly to the new photos. To subscribe using your favorite service , you can click any of the buttons at the top of the page under the subscribe link. Whether you prefer the RSS feed, iGoogle/Google reader, Myspace, Twitter, Flickr, My Yahoo, Facebook, or by email, MikesPhotos is there!
I never imagined the website would get as large as it did, and the old codebase simply couldn't keep up with the latest advancements in web technology. Unfortunately, It simply became bloated, difficult to manage, and overtime errors and other issues overwhelmed the database. I have included a link to it on the main page, but any hotlinks, will cease to function and broken links/images will not be worked on. I will keep it available until the majority of the images are moved over and integrated into the new website.
Most of the photos on this website were taken with either a Canon EOS-1D MkII or a Canon SX10IS. Photos taken before 2005 were shot with either an Olympus C3040 or 4040, or a Leica R5 with motorwinder.
The Olympus C3040 and 4040 were the first digital cameras I bought and I chose them because they had full manual controls as well as an amazing f1.8 lens that was above and beyond what the other cameras at the time had. It was absolutely great for night/lowlight shots and had a good shallow depth of field for a point & shoot digital camera which is rare, even today. It was a great transition camera that allowed me to move from the fully manual Leica R5 to a world of digital photography and auto-focus
The Leica R5 was the camera I learned to shoot with and carried for many years. I primarily used a 19mm wide angle lens with it, though at times I'd put a 75-200, or 28-70 for general walk around photos as needed. I loved the image quality of the photos, and while it was manual focus only, some of the greatest shots I've taken were with this set up. Unfortunately, the price of film and developing eventually relegated the body to backup and rare use only, thought the lenses are still used often.
The main camera today is the EOS-1D MkII which accepts both the full range of Canon EF Lenses as well as Leica R lenses with adapter. When I made the jump to digital full time, I realized I needed to go with a system that would allow me to continue to use my old glass with the new body as I slowly built up my new lens collection. With a blindingly fast 8.5 fps burst mode and the ability to mount Leica glass, the Canon was the hands down winner. With a standard walk around 28-135mm lens and a 70-200mm for portraits and distant shots, I have a good range of wide angle and moderate reach for all lighting conditions. For flash, I use a Metz 54MZ-4 with Stofen omnibounce which I prefer due to the built in fill flash.
The Canon SX10IS is used for the movies and as a backup body. With its long range lens, It's great for a 2nd camera to grab those must-get shots when the 1D MkII has a wide angle lens on it. It's also much smaller and can be used in a pinch in places and at times when the SLR just can't be. The old saying of the best camera is the one you have in your hands is a true statement.
Many of the ones on this website are indeed for sale. Please send me an email anytime for pricing, licensing and publication access. If you are a hobbyist simply looking for larger versions to help you complete a NON-PROFIT project, feel free to contact me and I may be able to assist you on a case by case basis.
The MikesPhotos website is geared towards those who are looking for specific images of specific topics easily. With everything broken down into albums and categories, you can easily use the album select tool or search for keywords or names to find exactly what you are looking for. The images on this website are also larger and the site is integrated into facebook and other social media to help you share what you like. The flickr site is for those who are just looking to see the latest photos in a timeline with no real categorization beyond the basic groupings and to allow participation in their groups. The photos on the flickr site are also smaller and less quality to make uploading quicker.
All of the videos will now be on the new MikesPhotos youtube channel @ http://www.youtube.com/user/MikesPhotosUS , to bring everything inline under the MikesPhotosUS banner. A link will be placed in each album to take you to them where appropriate and they will be included inside of the keyword albums as well.
MikesPhotos.us is really a network of sites for photos, videos, and information that branches out across the internet and social media. The main site is, of course, http://MikesPhotos.us which has the latest information and photos posted. Facebook has become the place to go for sneak peaks and where tutorials and helpful tips and tricks are posted. Other sites under the MikesPhotos.us umbrella are:
This website is categorized for people to find exactly what they want without having to look in too many places. One of the largest problems with photography is deciding how an image should be categorized. A typical problem for example is a photo of a sunset at the beach, should it go in sunsets or beach? Well, the answer is - both! People looking for sunsets may not necessarily click on beach miss a good portion of the images they are hoping to see. To solve this, I use a system of keyword albums and special album links that quickly jump you from one area to another with images you might also be looking for. Another example is if you are looking for photos of a particular fire apparatus. Inside the apparatus page, you'll find a keyword album that will show you every photo in every album of that apparatus without having to go to 10, or 20 different places that those photos may be in. This way no one misses what they're looking for!
Inside of the Best Of category you'll find some special features that will exist only on the MikesPhotos website. Due to the need to cater to very specific interests, I tend to shoot a lot of photos that cover every detail of a subject to benefit modelers, game makers, and role players, among other groups. Inside of this category you will find just a small selection of my favorite images from each update, as well as an album of the highest rated photos that all of YOU have voted on. Another great feature will be the special Map albums. These will include a single image from every area I shoot so that each year you can see what areas I've covered by clicking on the album map. If you are a photographer looking for places to shoot or ideas of what is out there, this is a great way to find somewhere new to go!
Every photo is tagged with a multitude of keywords which you will find beneath each photo. All of these terms are searchable in the search box and you can also click on any of them to go directly to a keyword album containing all of the photos with that keyword. A good example of this might be someone's name such as Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman, or sunsets, or even black and white to see all of my black and white shots.
This website is broken up into lots of categories by design due to the large number of photos it contains. The easiest way of getting around and finding what you want is the site tree located below the thumbnails. By clicking on the boxes next to the icons or simply clicking on the expand button, you can easily jump to exactly what your are looking for with the least amount of clicking and searching.
To navigate through the photos, you have two choices depending on what you are looking for and hope to see. When you click on a photo's thumbnail, it will pop up to show you a larger image. You can use the next and previous navigation links above the photo to go through all of the images in the album, or you can simply go back to the thumbnail page and click on another photo to see it in the pop up window. When you click on two or more thumbnails, you can then use the pop up windows back button to create your own order, and easily compare the images that you might be interested in. This limits the amount of having to click the back button and then an image, back button, then an image, back-and-forth that you commonly find on other sites.
Mikesphotos is now integrated with Google map technology. Each photo is geotagged with a set of gps references so that you can easily see where each one was shot. On incident photos, due to privacy concerns, the location will usually be in the vicinity of that dot but not that spot exactly. In both the album and on the picture page, you can click on the View Album on Map button to see a large google map with a filmstrip at the bottom with all of pictures from that album. If you click on a dot or image, a bubble will appear showing the thumbnail and description of the image, and you can click on it to go straight to that images page.
An exciting new feature of the website is the new slideshow system using the CoolIris 3D wall! When you click on View Slideshow, it takes you to the new 3D wall that displays all of the photos in that album. You can use the blue slider bar at the bottom to scroll through all of the thumbnails quickly or simply click on a photo and press the play button below the photo to start the slideshow from that point.
In addition to Google maps, the website is now fully integrated with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. On each page, the buttons at the top allow you to easily share that page with others depending on what service you prefer. For Facebook users, there is Facebook like button so you can share that page on your wall, or you can tweet a url of the page to your Twitter account, and for Google+ users there is a +1. Or if you prefer, you can simply email the page with the email button. If you'd like to share a photo or album on a message board or other site, I've added "Get item URLs" which will take you to a page with already formatted bbcode and html so that you can easily link to the items. This prevents the nasty and controversial issue of hotlinking or leeching directly and allows others to see exactly where the image came from and easily find others like it without sucking up my bandwidth.
One of the biggest changes to the new website is the addition of a new commenting system. The new system allows you to leave a comment by using either your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail accounts. Because it uses the Facebook system, other people can like your comment, subscribe to it, and reply as well, even on your own facebook wall!
The Facebook like and Google+ buttons allow you to share things you like with friends, the stars under each image are your way of telling me and other people on the site which photos you like the best. Why bother? Well for two reasons really, the first being that when I go out and shoot incidents and events, it helps me understand exactly what people are looking for beyond the stuff I simply enjoy taking for my own needs and wants. I figure as long as I'm there, I don't mind grabbing a couple of extra pictures that people might need. The second reason is that the highest rated photos make it into the best of categories for other people to find and enjoy.
An unfortunate aspect to sharing these photos with the world is that a large portion of my time is spent dealing with those who are either unaware of or flagrantly disregard U.S. and International copyright law. While a small amount of the violations are simply people downloading/saving an image and reposting it, or using it for a background or banner on their website, the biggest issue has been the increase in some of the worst offenders that actually go so far as to try and download every image and sell them on their own sites or to stock photo sites and publications as well. To counteract this, I've had to spend way too much time and effort than I should have to which is a stress I simply shouldn't have to deal with. When I decided to start working on the new site, I was faced with a critical choice, either take some new measures to prevent these issues, or simply take down all of the photos and the website and walk away. It was by no means an easy decision, and there were more than a few times I felt that pressing the delete key would be the best route to go. Believe me when I say that I simply detest having to go through these measures and hate having to put the watermarks on the pictures as much as any of you. I would love to be able to post full size, unmarked images for everyone to enjoy, but that simply is not a feasible option anymore. So, for now, I've decided that the best compromise is to simply share a smaller image with both visible and invisible measures that will allow me to protect my intellectual property and artwork and still share it with all of you.
This is a question that's been asked more than a few times over the years and the answer is no. The reason why is that this is a place for me to showcase the photos I've taken with all of you, and to allow each of you an easy way of interacting with myself and the photos. With Flickr and Pbase and other free websites out there for everyone, I'm sure saying no won't ruffle to many feathers.