Sticker Balls

Posted on April 6th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Sticker Balls

When I was a kid, there was a sweet gum tree out in front of my house, planted around the time I was born. The kind that sheds those little prickly seed capsules. The fresh, heavy green ones hurt when they hit you in the back of the head, and the dried brown ones really hurt when you step on them in bare feet.

Some of the more colorful names for these spikey things include gum balls, space bugs, monkey balls, bommyknockers and sticker balls. Even though they can live to be 400 years old, some cities have vowed to destroy the trees, citing them as nuisances.

But I loved my tree. I learned to walk under it, and to ride a bike, and I sat in its shade on hot summer days. When I looked out of my bedroom window as … Read More »

The Last Mom

Posted on April 6th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on The Last Mom

Quick trip to the old neighborhood today, and I visited with the last mom living on our cul-de-sac. Everyone else is gone, literally or figuratively. While I’m very lucky that I still have both of my parents, they moved away long ago, and she’s now the only friend that I know in my home town.

In 1955, nearly all our neighbors moved into brand-new identical tract houses, on GI loans, and their kids grew up around the same time. Most of us did kindergarten through high school together, as people just didn’t move around that much.

Moms usually stayed at home in those days, and because their kitchens faced the street, this was a place where you could get in trouble from anyone’s mom, if you were doing something you shouldn’t. However, anyone’s mom would also feed you if you forgot your … Read More »

Number Fifty

Posted on September 2nd, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Number Fifty

Well, there goes state #50. One of my wishes was fulfilled in July when I had a brief visit to Alaska; partly for a work project, but mostly so that I could get a little taste of the last frontier.

It took me a while to see all 50 states, beginning with a family road trip across the country when I was nine. I had just enough Social Studies (is it still called that?) to appreciate the history and geography of what I saw. I noticed accents, license plates, regional food and countless other things that kindled a lifelong love of travel and faraway places.

I’ve had a hard time getting a sense of the proper set of rules: Do you need to eat a meal in a state in order for it to count? Stay overnight? Pee? Touch your toe across the border, a … Read More »

You get what you need

Posted on August 19th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on You get what you need


During a recent trip to Vancouver Island, in a little place called Tofino at the end of the Trans-Canada Highway, the weather was alternately foggy and sunny (mostly foggy).  On my last evening, I wanted the obligatory sunset shot, and went down to a nearby beach.  The fog, seeing me coming, rolled up and along the beach in a shallow dense layer.  Disappointed, I almost turned around and gave up.  But the sun began to bore a hole through the fog, and allowed me to photograph what looked like the last two people on Earth.  Which would beg the question of who took the photo.  I might have put it on a timer, but then who posted it?

“The last people on Earth”     Tofino, British Columbia ~ July 2014

Meanwhile, Back in the Old Country

Posted on November 18th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Meanwhile, Back in the Old Country

It started with a walk in the woods in the Pacific Rim National Park in coastal British Columbia in 2006.  Walking through the lush green canopy of the rain forest, I saw a number of fallen trees, with other younger trees growing out of them, their roots straddling decaying trunks.

One memorable scene (for some reason, I didn’t take a photo of it) was a row of small trees growing in a perfectly straight line, each of them bowlegged, and growing out of an invisible giant that had long since disintegrated into empty space.

It struck me that the mother tree had grown, flourished, died and returned to the earth over a period of hundreds of years, never to be seen again, and yet here she was; her ghost clearly visible, her influence still being felt many years into the future.

Writers, composers … Read More »

Four Haircuts in an Hour

Posted on July 30th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Four Haircuts in an Hour

Last week I was asked to help a fellow photographer and friend by photographing her haircut.  Four haircuts actually.  Kimberli was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and will soon be losing her hair due to chemotherapy.  True to her spirit, she decided to turn last week into a celebration of her hair, which she has worn long since junior high school.

It was quite a wild ride, seeing her transform into 4 different women in such a short amount of time…and a bittersweet session at that.  Luckily we got to see how she could look when her hair comes back.  I think she is radiant in all of her “do’s”

Soon the hard part of her journey will begin.  So many people face illness in so many ways, but I’m so grateful to have experienced the grace and good humor with which … Read More »

MHCC Class of 2013

Posted on June 7th, by mspeditor in Blog, Classes. Comments Off on MHCC Class of 2013

Great reconnecting with my my Fall 2011 students who just graduated from Mount Hood Community College‘s Integrated Media program. Last night was a portfolio show in Portland.  Some great work shown!

Here’s wishing them all everything they wish for themselves.

Summer Workshops 2013

Posted on May 29th, by mspeditor in Blog, Classes. Comments Off on Summer Workshops 2013

Photography Workshops in Portland, this Summer

Group or Private 

 Street Photography  – Step out of your comfort zone, and capture people and places in a whole new way
Off Camera Lighting (Strobist)- Take studio-quality images using a Canon or Nikon speedlight
Adobe Lightroom 4 – An Introduction
Get your camera out of “Program Mode” – Don’t let the camera be in charge!  Capture an image the way you see it!
Intro to iPhoneography – We have a great camera in our pockets!  Learn some new tricks!

Contact me for more details regarding rates and dates!

Children’s Cancer Association – 2013 Heroes

Posted on May 24th, by mspeditor in Blog, Projects. Comments Off on Children’s Cancer Association – 2013 Heroes

I was recently honored once again to create portraits of 24 children from Oregon and SW Washington, who are battling life-threatening illness or injury. These kids were nominated by local hospitals, and then selected to become Children’s Cancer Association Community Heroes for 2013.   Each child has a unique circumstance and personality, but they all demonstrate a special spirit and grace that inspires others.

Earlier this week I attended the unveiling the 2013 “Wall of Courage” at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), which will travel around Oregon as a year-long exhibit to inspire others to get involved with kids and their families.

CCA tailors opportunities and programs to support kids, teens and their families as they face the realities of isolation, hospitalization, and a limited ability to participate in school activities, clubs, sports, etc.  The programs range from the Chemo Pal Mentor … Read More »

Melissa and the Egg

Posted on October 29th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Melissa and the Egg

Not sure how many ways a pregnant person can be photographed, and I’d love to take credit for this shot looking like an egg – but honestly I didn’t even notice the resemblance until after I’d taken the photograph and saw it from a distance.  Sometimes I’m so busy looking that I’m not seeing!

Only 10 more days to go before this chicken hatches, but it IS a full moon after all….

Dog Dreams

Posted on August 25th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Dog Dreams

Jillian moved away from Connecticut 10 years ago, when she was 2. Earlier this week we were there for a visit. We got out of the car in a parking lot, and without any prompting, she literally pulled me across the lot and into the Critter Outfitters store, went behind the counter, and woofed at the cashier. This, she remembered, is where biscuits are dispensed.

Later on, we went to a large park where she was first let off-leash, so many years ago. Although still attached to her lead (and me), she broke into a full gallop.I learned that day that dogs indeed dream of things that are long ago and far away.

– New Canaan, CT August 2012


There’s No Time Like ‘Now’

Posted on July 2nd, by mspeditor in Blog, Projects. Comments Off on There’s No Time Like ‘Now’

 A little time travel with some World War II aces – 70 years in the blink of an eye

In a post earlier this year, I wrote about photographing the 2012 Heroes of the Childrens Cancer Association.   One quality that made these little Buddhas heroes was that they did not seem to grieve for a future they may or may not have.  I didn’t sense any obvious bitterness for their lives to-date, but instead felt a serene joy of being in the moment – in living each day as it comes.

As impressive as they all were, I could easily rationalize this “live now” attitude as being the essence of childhood – until the next round of heroes I met:

This project, possibly still underway, has been to photograph American World War II aces for an author in the UK who’s working on … Read More »

Street Photography in Portland, with Joni Kabana! Sept 28-30

Posted on June 29th, by mspeditor in Blog, Classes. Comments Off on Street Photography in Portland, with Joni Kabana! Sept 28-30

Hit the streets in Portland Oregon with Michael and Joni as they teach you how to approach subjects, deal with varying lighting situations, and capture compelling compositions.  Be a part of building a makeshift outdoor studio to capture portraits of people we meet along the streets!

This class is also great for anyone who is planning to travel to countries where language poses a communication gap, as techniques will be covered concerning communication sans words.

September 28-30, 2012       Home Base Location: Joni Kabana Studios |  17 SE 3rd Ave | Portland, OR 97214


Friday evening (7p-9p):  Meet/greet and go over tips for working on the streets, approaching people, lighting, composition and general preparation
Saturday (10a-?p): We hit the streets!  Splitting into different groups, Joni and Mike each take a team, and then switch after lunch.
Sunday (10a-5p):  We review our images. We talk about the experiences … Read More »

Children’s Cancer Association – 2012 Heroes

Posted on May 23rd, by mspeditor in Blog, Projects. Comments Off on Children’s Cancer Association – 2012 Heroes

One of my most rewarding projects ever has been to photograph 22 of the 25 children who are Childrens Cancer Association’s 2012 Community Heroes, an exceptional group of children and teens who represent the thousands who battle life-threatening illnesses with strength and grace. The Heroes reside in Oregon and SW Washington, and were nominated by local hospital staff and families.  A selection committee chose the final 25 heroes, and the process led to the unveiling of a “Wall of Courage” which will travel around Oregon to inspire others to get involved and help bring “JoyRx” to local kiddos and their families.  

The 2012 Wall of Courage was unveiled May 23rd at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland.  Family, friends, and community leaders were in attendance for the celebration, and it was so great to see … Read More »

Just give me the REAL menu

Posted on May 6th, by mspeditor in Blog. Comments Off on Just give me the REAL menu

I’m a good tourist, and I don’t automatically expect everyone to speak English.  I learn at least a few phrases, no matter where I’m going – just enough to order a meal, say please and thank you – the basics. If the phrasebook in my pocket doesn’t get me out of trouble, I use sign language. Or I point and smile.  Maybe I’ve fooled myself into believing that people treat me better if I make an effort, but people are generally nice to me wherever I go, so I’m not looking to mess with this formula.

Before I arrive someplace new, I’ve probably read a little about what’s there, where to go, what to eat and drink.  My dining motto, especially while travelling, has always been “don’t order anything stupid.”   I’m sure you know what I mean.  The moment something arrives … Read More »

BC Workshop: Environmental Portraiture and Adobe Lightroom

Posted on April 1st, by mspeditor in Blog, Classes. Comments Off on BC Workshop: Environmental Portraiture and Adobe Lightroom

This course is an exploration of environmental portraiture; capturing people in their own habitat; where the setting is part of the story; and an introduction to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3/4, the editing tool of choice for many photographers. .

Street Photography – Amsterdam!

Posted on March 31st, by mspeditor in Blog, Classes. Comments Off on Street Photography – Amsterdam!

April 13-15, 2012 Street Photography in Amsterdam with the wonderfully talented Joni Kabana