Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends!

This is the time of year when we all take time to reflect on where we've been, where we are, and where we hope to be in the coming year. 2012 brought some great opportunities and I took on a lot of exciting projects, including developing and launching my site and blog, trying my hand at some product photography and learning some new techniques. Now it's time to look ahead to 2013. I've spent the last couple days of my winter vacation setting and starting work toward some goals - I don't want to call them "resolutions" because resolutions are usually well-meant but broken within a few months.
  1. Be more active with this blog. I started out doing pretty well, but I've gotten lax over the past few months. When I started this blog I wasn't really sure what direction I wanted it to take and  tried to force myself to keep to a two-post-per-month schedule. In theory that sounded great, but I found it really needs to be more organic than that.
  2. Market myself better.  I've never been very good at the shameless self-promotion thing, and that's something I need to get over.
  3. Make better use of my Facebook page. This ties in with the above, and I've started working on doing so in the past few weeks. I hope to continue that trend throughout this year.
  4. Revamp my site. Some exciting changes are coming, including refreshed and reorganized galleries, new photos and completely revised pricing. I've started weeding out some of the least popular photos already, but don't worry if one of your favorites disappears. Everything is being archived for easy access in the future.
While all of the above is a great start, I'm more interested to hear your thoughts. What do you like about my site, the blog, my Facebook page? What changes would you like to see? Your honest feedback is extremely valuable and helps me to tailor your experience to be as seamless and positive as possible. If you do have a moment to spare to share your thoughts either here, via private message on my FB page, or through email, I'll send you a coupon code good for $5 off your next purchase of $10 or more.

Thanks for your continued support, and may your 2013 be filled with blessings!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bryant Park & Citi Pond

My husband gave me a wonderful early Christmas present - a 50mm f/1.4 lens! I just had to take it out for a test run, and I knew just the spot: the holiday shops at Bryant Park and Citi Pond. I knew the 50mm wasn't going to be perfect for every shot I wanted, but I had a feeling I'd get some great stuff with it and get a good idea of its capabilities. I definitely wasn't disappointed.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!


Make it Stop!

Got the Funky Flo

Skating Lessons

Watching the World Go By
All a Blur
Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain

Holiday Shoppers

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Christmastime in the City

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. There's something magical about this time of year - the trees, the lights, the decorations, the traditions - and it all seems that much more magical in New York City. As much as I love the season, I tend to avoid the traditional holiday draws - Macy's, Saks, the tree at Rockefeller Center - because the crowds are just so overwhelming. This year, though, my husband is working up in midtown and I've met him at his office a few times over the past week, using it as an excuse to force myself out to take in the holiday sights. I have to admit that other than a bit more jostling than I'd like, it has been really fun to get out and photograph new subjects. I often take for granted that I live and work so close to sights that people travel thousands of miles to see (I almost apologized to my 365 project followers the other day for "yet another" Times Square shot). So without further ado, here are some favorites from my recent wanderings.

Lit Up - 6th Avenue

Ornaments - 6th Avenue

Radio City Swarm

Radio City Music Hall

Rockefeller Center

Angelic - Rockefeller Center

The Tree - Rockefeller Center

Breezy - Rockefeller Center

Holiday Market, Union Square

Believe - Macy*s

Window Shopping - Macy*s

Thursday, October 4, 2012

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Sandra Murray, the winner of my very first giveaway! Sandra chose "Waterlily", which is one of my favorites - it even adorns some of my business cards.

A huge thank you to everyone who entered - I wish you all could have won! Don't worry, there will be plenty more chances. I'm only 19 followers away from 100...please share my page and help me get those last few followers to break the century mark. To celebrate, there will be another giveaway, plus there's something special in store for my 100th follower!

Friday, September 28, 2012


I know this is a photography blog, but I want to take a minute to be a bit mushy if I may.

The other day I was feeling pretty down about my photography and the success of my site. My Facebook page had stagnated at around 40 followers for a while - occasionally a new follower would trickle in - but I wasn't seeing much growth. When a friend posted about passing 660 followers on her page, I made a tongue-in-cheek comment about being happy if I ever broke 50. Being the wonderful kind soul that she is, *Autumn shared my page and before I knew it, I'd broken the big 5-0 barrier. And the numbers just kept climbing. In just two days' time, I'm up to 70 followers.

I truly appreciate each of you who has taken the time to like my page, browse my site,  and/or read this blog. At the end of the day, the part of photography that makes me happy is sharing and connecting with other people. If an image brings back a memory or takes you somewhere you've never been, if it stirs an emotion or sparks curiosity, I've done what I set out to do. And it's made me incredibly happy to see both friends and strangers enjoying and interacting with my photos. 

Of course, I had to do something to show my gratitude, so between now and October 4, go to my site, choose one photo that you'd like to have hanging on your wall and leave a comment on that photo. You'll be entered into a random drawing to win an 8x10 print of the image you chose. One entry per person, please. And don't forget, there are still a few days get 25% off any photo from my California gallery! I cannot say thank you all enough for your support and encouragement. You guys are the reason I keep going!

*If you haven't already, please check out Autumn's amazing photography and follow her on Facebook. Her work is incredible, and she hosts some wonderful giveaways and raffles (hint, hint: there's a raffle coming up soon!).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Giving in to Instagram

I did it. I caved.

I downloaded Instagram ages ago, but I never set up an account. I was already using Hipstamatic, and I didn't see anything that made Instagram better, or even that much different. But then dumb me went and downloaded a Pak that didn't support my sad old iOS version, and poof, there went Hipstamatic. I went without for months, but I have to admit, there's just something about those mock low-fi, square format photos. So recently I created an Instagram account and became an instant addict.

That lead me to wonder - what is it about these inexpensive little photography apps that's so appealing? I spent thousands on my DSLR and lenses so I can get the cleanest, sharpest, high-res images I can and my current obsession is a 2mp iPhone 3G camera and a cheap app that makes my photos look like they're from a bygone era? It doesn't make sense.

But it does. I used to carry my DSLR with me everywhere, and admittedly it got cumbersome. Let's face it, my phone's camera takes crappy pics - but it's light and always with me, and the effects make my shots a little more interesting. You won't find them on my site (at the very least not until I upgrade my phone), but they're fun for capturing things that grab my interest but don't warrant much more than a passing snap. And for the casual photographer who may not have access to expensive equipment and editing software, it's an easy, accesable way to make cool images that can be instantly shared with friends.

Here's some of what I've been snapping. Follow me (@mpike_27) to see more, and if you've got an Instagram account, share it in the comments so I can follow you too!

Times Square
Breakfast cart coffee
High Line throwback
Sand art

Monday, August 27, 2012

A walk down memory lane

A little over a year ago, my husband and I took a two week trip to California, and it turned out to be possibly my favorite trip of all time. That's no small feat, considering in recent years I've visited the Caribbean, the Florida Keys, Mexico, Barcelona, Paris, London, took a 10-day driving tour of Ireland, and most recently visited Iceland and Sweden. Our California adventure began in Santa Cruz and Capitola, and we worked our way down the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur and San Simeon, cut over to Sequoia and Kings Canyon, up to Yosemite, over to Sonoma and then finished out the trip in San Francisco.

Today, in search of a shot to print for my apartment, I spent some time scrolling through my photos from the trip and had a great time retracing our journey. I felt like I was driving down the PCH again (only in my mind, I was in a convertible Mustang instead of the poor little Focus they rented us), or hiking in Yosemite or sipping wine in the Deerfield Ranch wine cellar. The memories are too many to list here, but here are some of my favorite photos that aren't quite site-worthy:
The Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

Walton Light, Santa Cruz

Walton Light, Santa Cruz

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Edward Sellers Winery, Paso Robles

The Organ - Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park

The (terrifying) stairs to Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park
Tucking in for the night - El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

Stars from our deck - Evergreen Lodge, just outside Yosemite National Park

Deerfield Ranch wine cellar & tasting room (we had it all to ourselves!)

Pinup girl graffiti - Haight Ashbury, San Francisco
Coming in for a landing - California Academy of Sciences rainforest dome (where I met with the amazingly talented Autumn Eden. Do yourself a favor and check out her site!)

To see more, check out my California gallery. I'll be adding more photos over the next few days, and I'm offering 25% off everything in the gallery through the end of September (offer code Cali11).