Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth


Interview with Mike from “Picture Day”

It has been way too long since I’ve shared someone else’s work.  I need to do more of it because while sharing our own work is wonderful, finding others’ work that we enjoy is a lot of the fun in Word Press!  So having said that, I’m hoping that you enjoy this interview and images by Mike of Picture Day.

Question:  Where are you located?

Mike:  I live in Central NY about half way between Syracuse and Albany.

Question:  When did you start getting into photography and how did that come about?

Mike:  It all started in the summer of 2011. I have always had a camera (point & shoot) but it had only been used to record family vacations, school events, etc. I have also been going to Walt Disney World, almost religiously, since the Spring of 2002. The first trip was for the kids but it became an obsession for me. I had been following numerous Disney photographers online and in the summer of 2011 I decided I wanted to bring home pictures like those I was viewing online.

I started by reading the manual for my Sony DSC-H20 camera. I struggled at first but through a lot of trail and error I was developing an understanding about photography. After a lot of web research I bought Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure. I spent the next 9 months learning what I could do with my camera and exploring exposure, composition, and post-processing. Finally, in March 2012 I felt I had outgrown my little Sony and I purchased a Nikon D5100 and two lenses. Even before I purchased this camera I knew photography was something that would stay with me the rest of my life.

Question:  What is your most favorite thing to photograph and why?

Mike:  If I was to classify myself as a photographer it would be for landscapes. I can’t pass up a good sunrise or sunset. To be truthful though I love to photograph everything (except people, I am not comfortable photographing people). If you look through my blog or portfolio you will find quite the eclectic mix.

As far as a why? The best answer I can provide is that through photography I now see the world around me differently. I have a hard time driving as I am always examining the scene around me. I always carry my camera and more than once I have stopped on the side of the road to capture an image. Light and color catch my eye and I find myself reaching for the camera to capture it. I feel before finding photography I walked blindly through the world.

Question:  What (or who) inspires you to take photos?

Mike:  At first I thought this would be an easy question to answer but once I started to coalesce my thoughts I realized my answer is more complicated than I realized. The what portion is fairly easy, light and color, with smaller influences by shapes, reflections, symmetry, details, etc. The who portion is more involved.

Even though it might sound clichÈ I really enjoy Ansel Adams work. I have learned a lot about the use of light and shadow from his images. I also developed my love for B&W images from him. David duChemin for his books and images as well as his Craft & Vison website. My kids gave me his ‘Photographically Speaking’ book for Christmas one year and I have been hooked ever since. From the Craft & Vison site I found Andrew S. Gibson. I have most of his ebooks. From Andrew I fell in love with the square image format. I learned to appreciate and create images using long exposures. Both David and Andrew write about creating images that ‘speak’ to the viewer or evoke emotion. To use the technical knowledge but not to fixate on gear/technique and capture how you feel. The list grows constantly ñ Rick Sammon, Bryan Peterson, Art Wolfe, John Batdorff & Jay Maisel. I could also list dozens of photographers I have found and befriended online who constantly inspire me with their photography.

Question:  What camera do you shoot with and what is your most favorite lens?

Mike:  In October 2015 during my autumn trip to Walt Disney World I found myself using my Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera over 75% of the time. I found the bulkier Nikon equipment and accessories was wearing on me and the freedom the smaller micro 4/3rds camera provided was very liberating. I enjoyed being able to simply carry my camera and lens via a hand strap. The reduced weight was a relief to my shoulders and neck. And to be totally honest I was enjoying using the camera even more than my Nikon.

When I returned home I made the drastic decision to switch my platform. I sold my Nikon gear and I added the Olympus OM-D E-M1 along with a few more lenses. For the most part I can now fit my normal gear in a small shoulder bag. It makes it even easier to always have my camera with me.

As far as my favorite lens, hands down it has to be the M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8. On the E-M1 that translates to a 24-80mm equivalent focal length. Perfect for my landscapes but still allowing me some reach. This year I added a Vu Filters filter holder with 4 & 10 stop ND filters, a circular polarizer and a 2 stop graduated ND filter. The 10 stop filter allows me to achieve the long exposure water images I enjoy capturing even during my lunch break at work.

Question:  Inquiring minds wanna knowÖÖtell us something about your life away from photography.

Mike:  Away from photography… hhhmmm? I am a big video game player. I wish I could blame it on my kids but truthfully I am as bad if not worse than they are. And being an adult with the means to support a bad habit I own more gaming equipment than I would care to admit. This year I have tried to cut back but with winter fast approaching I can feel the pull of the controllers… LOL

Question:  How can we find you? Insert your blog link here along with any other social media link you wish to share.

Mike:  I am a computer and internet geek so I am all over the web. You can find me at:

Portfolio –
Blog –
Flickr –
Instagram –
Twitter –
Tumblr –

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Hearst Castle

During our Thanksgiving holiday we toured Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.  What a place it is!   I was so fascinated by this place and the history of how one could accumulate so much wealth that I included a bit of history below should you be interested.  The image below is from one of the bedrooms there.

The architect, Julia Morgan (January 20, 1872 – February 2, 1957) designed more than 700 buildings in California including a mortuary near me in Oakland, California where many of my deceased relatives are.  I made a post about the mortuary some time ago which you can find here.

Hearst Castle Bedroom - San Simeon, California

Hearst Castle Bedroom – San Simeon, California

Hearst Family History

Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California in San Simeon.  It was designed by architect Julia Morgan, between 1919 and 1947 as a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951.  In 1954 it became a California State Park and the site was opened to visitors in 1958.  Since that time it has been operated as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts “millions of travelers each year”.

William Randolph Hearst was very rich to say the least.  A lot of us remember him as a newspaper magnate of the SF Examiner but he did not create his wealth from scratch.  That was done by his father, George Hearst, and what an amazing story!

George Hearst (September 3, 1820 – February 28, 1891) was a wealthy American businessman and United States Senator, and the father of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst.  George Hearst, of Scots-Irish origin, was born near present-day Sullivan, Missouri, to William G. Hearst and Elizabeth Collins.  George was raised in a log cabin on his family’s farm in rural Franklin County. His father operated three small farms, all of which were mortgaged, with slave labor.  George Hearst grew up before public education was widely accessible in Missouri, and so his elementary education was inconsistent and fragmented.  He supplemented the gaps in his formal education by observing the local mines, and reading information about minerals and mining in his free time.

When George Hearst’s father died in 1846, he took over the care of his mother, brother and sister. In addition, he did some mining and ran a general store.  He first heard of the discovery of gold in California in 1849.  Before deciding to depart, he continued to read further news on the subject so that he could be more certain it was true.  Finally, in 1850, as a member of a party of 16, he left for California.  After arriving in 1850, he and his companions first tried placer mining in the vicinity of Sutter’s Mill on the American River.  After spending a cold winter and making meager finds, they moved to Grass Valley on the news of a new lode.  Using his mining education and experience in Missouri, George switched to prospecting and dealing in quartz mines.  After almost ten years, Hearst was making a decent living as a prospector, and otherwise engaged in running a general store, mining, raising livestock and farming in Nevada County.

In the summer of 1859, Hearst learned of the wonderful silver assays of the “blue stuff” someone had picked up over what was to become the Comstock Lode, and sent to a Nevada County assayer.  Hearst hurried over to the Washoe district of western Utah territory, where he arranged to buy a one-sixth interest in the Ophir Mine there, near present-day Virginia City.  That winter, Hearst and his partners managed to mine 38 tons of high-grade silver ore, packed it across the Sierra on muleback, had it smelted in San Francisco, and made $91,000 profit (or roughly $3,550,000 in 2013 dollars).  (I can’t even IMAGINE traveling across the Sierras on muleback.  It must’ve been extremely difficult.)  It was the sight of the bars of Ophir silver that started the rush to Washoe.  George knew Marcus Daly from the Comstock Lode work, and in the summer of 1872 Daly suggested the possibilities of the Ontario silver mine in Park City, Utah.  The Ontario carried Hearst through the Panic of 1873 and produced seventeen million dollars in ten years.  Hearst later financed Marcus Daly to operate his Anaconda mine in Butte, Montana and acquired an interest in that mine as well.

After striking it rich, George made many investments.  One of his holding swas the SF Examiner (newspaper) which his son, William Randolph Hearst, took over and made even more money to build his castle on the hill in San Simeon.  He was inspired to build this castle from his childhood trips to Europe with his beloved mother.





Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

This is my last Golden Gate image….for awhile lol.   You know how I love this bridge!

I’m a day early with my holiday wishes, but I wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, to those who celebrate it, while I take a break for the holiday.   I might pop on to check your posts but won’t be posting anything new for at least a week.   So enjoy that turkey and cranberries!  See you soon!

Drama at the Gate

Drama at the Gate