Elizabeth Gilberts Ted Talk on creativity and where it originates is one of the most authentic and inspiring Ted talks that I have heard. Watch below as Elizabeth share her thoughts on the creative genius.Read more →
Official blog of Susan Michal and home of 365 get inspired. Join me here for a daily dose of inspiration.
When it comes to being creative it’s easy to let fear keep you from moving forward. Fear that you are not ready, or that you are not good enough. All artist go through a period of feeling like what they are creating isn’t ready to release into the world. It is just a part of the process.This presentation is by American radio personality Ira Glass, the creator, host and executive producer of the award-winning public radio show ‘This American Life.’Read more →
What does it take to get you inspired?
What does it take to get you inspired? 365 Get Inspired will give you a daily dose of inspiration an help you get your New Year of to a great start. What are you waiting for? What keeps you from doing all of the things you want to do with your life? What is your purpose in life?
Now is the time to stop trying and start doing.
What are you going to do this year that will change your life?
Starting 365 get inspired came as an idea as most do, completely unexpected. I have been working on a book, The Heart of Transition for the last year and as I was finally finishing it, from out of the blue, comes this crazy idea. The Heart of Transition is a book about creativity and passion and how an artist navigates changes as they go through life transitions. So it makes sense that this idea would come fourth, as a natural extension of all of the work put into that book. Of course everything in me said, you are crazy, don’t even think about trying this. But anyone that knows me, knows that I would jump all over something like this and do what ever it takes to make it work.
The idea was simple. Throw out a dose of inspiration every day for 365 days. The practical side of exactly how to make that happen… well a bit mind boggling. I am not a 20 something media savvy person with hours available daily to spend on social media. Nor was the idea to create this and somehow monetize it to replace the very busy career as an artist I already have. It was a challenge of the heart, and a big one! A challenge to myself to inspire others everyday for 365 days and to figure out how to make it work from a technical standpoint. But more than anything else it was a challenge to myself to take on a huge project and have the determination and perseverance needed to see it through. After all isn’t that what the book I had just written was all about?
Hate me if you must, but I am one of those people that jump out of bed most everyday, ready to to hit the road running. I have my down days like anyone else, but more often than not I have finally realized that I am usually the person in the room always pushing, always wanting more. It took many years to accept that that was OK. In fact I can honestly tell you that I spent most of my life down playing it. Always referring to myself as the over the top person that could be a bit too much. Well no more of that crazy thinking! Making excuses for passion instead of embracing it can be a big mistake. It is only natural that you want to fit in, but I have finally accepted that I am different and happy to embrace what makes me unique.
I have crammed ten years of learning and living into the last two years of my life. I have written three books, launched a fine art photograhy line and been president of Professional Photographers of America all while running a very busy photography studio. Life has been a bit crazy, but out of it has come some of the most exciting work I have done in years. I have a new lease on life and could not be more excited about what lies ahead.
And so I have decided to share what I have learned, and hopefully inspire you to challenge yourself to be more. Get out of your own way and see what is possible. Stop fear dead in it’s tracks and accept the challenges life throws at you head on.
I invite you to join me in this journey. Laugh with me at the mistakes I am sure I will make in the process and get inspired abut all that life has to offer. I have been incredibly lucky to have made a living as an artist for over 40 years. Wow! That is a long time. I would not have traded it for any other life. I want others artist to know that if I can do it they can do it. For it is in an artist heart to never stop learning, growing and dreaming.
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Flowers in Transition Susan Michal
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I have always loved the amazing and complex beauty of flowers.They speak to me! I can literally spend hours photographing a flower and not know where the time has gone. I especially love the transition a flower goes through during itʼs life. Daily I find myself dropping everything to photograph a flower when I see it change into an interesting state because I know that ten minutes later it may look completely different. Recognizing that small window of opportunity and having the discipline to act on it, has been key to the success of the flower images.
I am very aware of the short life that flowers have, and have been interested in photographing them as they transition through the stages of bud to full bloom and death. As flowers transition through different stages colors change drastically and the textures become intense. Many of my favorite images are of blooms well past their prime.
In the beginning of this project I was more interested in finding unique flowers to photograph, but very quickly I began to experiment with more common flowers and realized that every flower was an incredibly interesting subject to photograph. Some of my favorite images are of flowers I found along the roadside blooming wild, or in my studio garden.
When you look at a flower through the camera lens you see things that you may never have noticed when viewing them with the naked eye. I love the complex textures the intense colors and the unexpected shapes. Some are soft and gentle in their beauty, some are bold, many are funny and some are just strange, proving that God has an intense sense of humor and a strong imagination.Read more →
It is really exciting to be the featured artist on the Cover of this months Arbus magazine
in association with Unity Plaza and the opening of my “Flowers in Transition” show, October 29th at the Trasher Horne Center at St.Johns State College. The show is the official introduction of my Fine Art flower photography to North Florida. It will be exhibited in the
beautiful Jack Mitchell Gallery located in the Thrasher Horne Center. The show is open to the public during Box office hours. The public meet the artist reception will be October 29th from
I have always wanted to visit the Salt Flats in Utah. I recently spoke at the Inner Mountain Professional Photographers Convention and got a chance to visit the Bonnyville Salt Flats. I was fortunate to be able to have a beautiful dancer make the two hour drive out to the flats with me.
Even though Utah was technically in a drought situation the flats were not completely dry. Have you ever walked on wet salt? It’s an interesting feeling. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the very first available Canon Mark 5s camera’s with it’s amazing 50MB file. What a great way to break in a new camera! Wet salt and a dancer! My good friend Drake Busath helped me out with one of his photographers and another dancer went along to help with ideas and posing.
The light can be very harsh on the Salt Flats, much like photographing on the beach, and this day was no exception. We ended up photographing until 10:45 at night. The later it got the more romantic and beautiful the light got. I think it is important for photographers to get outside of their box and try new things. The flats were defiantly a challenge, But we ended up getting some amazing images.Read more →
I love photographing dancers. I am always amazed by the the control they have over their bodies. I am in awe of how hard they work to keep in shape and maintain their flexibility.
When I photograph a dancer I want to capture the movement and tension. I want the photograph to be more than just another pretty picture of a dancer.
I love this session I did with Ava Ancelin. We both came to the session not sure of what the outcome would be. A good friend of mine had shared images with me of a marshal artist in movement. I loved the soft ethereal feeling. You could not tell exactly what the subject was. We knew it would be beautiful with a dancer. With this kind of photography It is difficult to predict the outcome. There really is no do over. Every image becomes uniquely it’s own. The bold teal and red of the costumes really added to the intensity of the images. These images were taken with a constant light source while the dancer moved through the movements against a black background. The long shutter speed helped elongate the movement.
Any day I get to photograph a dancer is a good day. I have always loved dance. It’s probable because of my musical background. I can understand the timing of a dancer. I love it when I feel in perfect sink with the dancer. Sometimes I feel as though I am dancing myself!
Dancers have such an amazing work ethic. They push themselves so hard everyday. I admire an artist that can be so passionate about such a physically demanding art form. No one dances to become wealthy. They dance because they love it. It’s so pure.
I love to photograph dancers in their teens. They have such resilience. They will do the same thing over and over again until they get it perfect. Of course it’s entirely different when photographing a professional dancer. They are so strong and sure of themselves. They bring an entirely different vibe to the shoot. I especially love to just let a dancer dance and photograph them as they move, not knowing what may come next. To capture that real movement and emotion as it unfolds is so much fun and so rewarding.
I don’t think my love affair with dancers will ever end. If I go to long without photographing a dancer I start getting restless. I am always up for the next challenge.Read more →
The Tom Coughin Jay Fund’s mission is to help families tackle childhood cancer by providing comprehensive financial, emotional and practical support. “From diagnosis to recovery and beyond, we are part of the team, allowing parents to solely focus on their child’s well being.”
I have been a supporter of the Jay Fund since I began my photography career. Years ago I helped by creating the “When I Grow up calendar for the Jay Fund. This was a calendar that helped raise funds and awareness for the Jay Fund. Over the years I have been happy to help the Jay Fund by photographing many of their functions and donating photography to their auctions. The Jay Fund recently raised over $500,000 dollars at their celebrity golf classic to help children with pediatric cancer. I was privilege to attend and photograph this event. Jacksonville is lucky to have Tom Coughlin and his family support the Jacksonville community through the Jay Fund. The Coughlin family is a part of the Jacksonville community. When Coach Coughlin left Jacksonville for New york to coach the Giants he promised to keep the Jay Fund in Jacksonville. Coach and Judy’s passion for the Jay Fund has helped so may family’s struggling with a sick child. Keli Coughin is executive director of the foundation and continues to live in Jacksonville with her husband and two daughters. It was my honor to photograph Keli’s wedding. She was a beautiful bride. I am blessed to get to work with such an inspiring family as the Coughlin’s.Read more →
I have always felt like entering my photography into competitions would help me grow as an artist. There are many different competitions available to photographers that can help get their art noticed.
One of the most important ones for photographers is Professional Photographers of America’s International Photographic Competition. As a long time member of PPA I have always been a supporter of this competition. Having your work judged by your peers is perhaps one of the best ways for a photographer to learn and grow.
Choosing the right images to enter into any competition can be a daunting task! While PPA’s membership is primarily wedding and portrait photographers, the competition actually reflects all of the many facets of PPA’s members. There will be landscapes, commercial and food photography along with portraits, weddings and many other types of photographic art.
Photography has gone through so many changes over the last ten years and PPA members continue to be at the forefront of these changes and always pushing the boundaries.
I received my Master Photography degree from PPA in 2001. I have continued to enter this competition over the last 15 years. I recently received my Imaging Excellence Award. This is awarded to a photographer achieving 13 print merits over the needed merits for their Masters Degree. It’s that time again and I have been working to choose images for this years competition. Every photographer that enters hope for the holy grail of a ”perfect case”. This would be four merits and four loan prints, resulting in a Diamond Photographer of the year award. This is no easy feat! As with any competition, you can never predict what will do well. Opinions differ and what the Judges think will vary based on the make up of the panel.
Having the courage to enter competition can really help you grow as an artist. Developing a tough skin is a must for any artist. To see a sample of some of the images entered in to PPA’s competition go to www.ppa.com or find PPA’s loan collection and showcase books on Amazon.Read more →