A quick trip to New York

The amazing people from The Weather Channel had emailed me in June about doing an episode of their upcoming “Destination Uncharted” web series. I was totally down of course, but weeks went by and I didn’t hear much and wasn’t sure it was going to happen. In fact, as it got into July I had completely forgotten about it.

But then on July 2nd a guy named Greg called me up and asked if I was able to fly out to New York the very next day. And it was already 1pm in the afternoon! Holy crap. I talked to my wife briefly, who said “Why wouldn’t you?”  and so of course I told them I would. I didn’t want to be gone long though, because I’m headed to Africa for 10-days on the 11th and just don’t want to be away from my family if I can help it. Plus it’s storm chasing season as well.

So a crazy trip happened. I slept maybe two hours, woke up at 4am, got on a 6am flight to Newark, landed at 2pm, took a taxi to Manhattan, got to the Weather Channel at 3:15, we talked a bit, they had lunch waiting for me, we filmed, signed some stuff and by that time it was 5:15 and my flight home was at 8:30! They got me a town car which took me to JFK, and I ended up getting home around 11:30 that night. Whew. What a day. Drained to say the least.

But it was oh so fun. The people there were great…Katie, Greg…even Laura the makeup girl who gave me the biggest compliment ever…she said I didn’t really NEED much makeup. Haha…wow. I felt like a VIP, was treated amazingly and will cherish the experience forever. Heck, they even had my July 5th Haboob photo hanging in their hallway next to some other amazing imagery. So proud of that.

The episode will be released online around August 12th and I will of course share it here and various other place. It’s about dust storms, how they form and why people might want to see one before they die.

I can’t post anything without including photos, so below are the brief images I shot from the plane, from the cab, from the front of the building and from the town car. I wish I had more time, but I was glad I was able to get back home quickly. It was a beautifully rainy afternoon when I landed…loved it.

All of this is processed with the new VSCO Film 3…brilliant stuff, really digging the B&W preset for the ones below.




















Published | Arizona Highways


When I started really getting into photography, one of my goals naturally was to get published in Arizona Highways. If you live in Arizona, it’s THE magazine to get into out here. It’s a part of our state’s history.

This marks the second time I’ve made it into this wonderful magazine! The first time was my July 5th Haboob photo which landed in their 100-year issue in 2012. That was a treat!

In their April 2013 issue they are using a photo of mine from Two Guns, Arizona. This was taken a few years ago on a little excursion I did with some buddies. The spot I was in to actually shoot the bridge was heavy with vegetation and took awhile to get to. I’m glad I did though! I loved the perspective of looking upwards at this very old bridge long with the ruins of an adobe house.

You can see the full image here.

Many thanks to Jeff Kida and the guys/gals at Arizona Highways for using this one!

Welcome to the new Mike Olbinski Photography!

Lyla says peekaboo and welcomes you to the brand-spanking new branding/website I’ve been working on for a few months now.

I’m beyond excited. The feedback I’ve gotten from my close friends who have gotten first looks at it have been amazing. Everyone had the same thing to say: It’s so you Mike. Which is exactly what you hope to accomplish on a massive rebranding/new website undertaking.

I have to thank Jon Ashcroft for his stellar work in designing the logo. He’s uber awesome and highly professional at what he does. We had a first meeting where he just had me talk about what I love, what I am hoping for and all about my business. Then he thew some mood boards together to get me seeing other logos and ideas. Back and forth we went. And then he came up with three mock-ups. And we talked about them, narrowed them down and ultimately he created something that represents who I am.

Thanks Jon for all your hard work! I couldn’t be more thrilled. And for everyone else, check out his website that I linked to above. He’s pretty great…and if you need some rebranding, give him a look-see.

The branding was the first part of this. The second was finding a new website to go with it. I had been wanting some more simple…something that showcases images in a bigger, better way. The old site was great, but I felt like perhaps it was TOO much to look at. Too many images. I wanted to have less photos, more powerful images and display them huge. My other desire was to have a splash entry page for people to arrive on and quickly see what I do: Weddings and Storms. Oh, and you can Meet Mike if you want to learn more about how I love Breaking Bad and Diet Coke.

If you haven’t seen the new home page yet, click right here to launch it in a new window.

I’m super stoked about the way it looks and how it delivers exactly what I wanted. It’s beautiful, simple, professional and also looks great on the iPad. It’s no surprise to say I’m in love with it.

Major thanks to my wife for helping me proofread everything. Not to mention all her ideas and feedback as we went along. Couldn’t have done this without her.

And now I’m ready to move forward. The process started back in April and just now has seen completion. I’ve been working on customizing the website itself for over two months. It’s been a long process. Just making it go live last night/early this morning was a harrowing experience! I’m sooooo relieved that it’s done.  Thanks to all my buddies out there for their words of encouragement during this and the positive comments. Meant a lot.

Hope you enjoy the new digs! If you see anything weird or funny, please let me know!


An early farewell to 2010

If I had known I was going to end up posing for a self-portrait against this wall, I probably would have worn a hoody or something more ghetto looking to fit the scene better. But sometimes you just happen upon a place where you are inspired to do something and you just go with what you got. I haven’t done a SP for awhile now, but there was awesomeness in this wall and the graffiti and for some inexplicable reason, I knew I had to stand in front of it.

That’s kind of how the year has gone for me in general. Going with my gut, finding shots on the fly during a busy storm chasing season and winging it when it comes to my portrait business. I’m not a planner…I tend to hate planning, I don’t write down goals and rarely strategize. I have visions in my head of things I want, but nothing down on paper. But that needs to change.

I’m on vacation from my “real job” until January 4th and during that time I will likely not be posting much on the blog (if at all) and will be instead focus on three things: Spending time with my girls, catching up on movies and TV and planning my 2011 strategy for the photog business. I may get so bored and so excited about an image that I’ll have to post it, but otherwise, I’m on vacation from the blog as well *grin*

There is no doubt that 2010 was an incredible year. In many ways it was Year One, despite having started some of the portrait work back in late 2009. So much happened. My mission to storm chase all over Arizona and then publish a book ended up coming true (okay, I guess I do have SOME goals). I was counting on doing more photoshoots for people and that really boomed the last few months. I’ve been a part of a gallery, a few farmer’s markets, got into Shutterbug magazine and have sold over 25 prints in the last 12 months. And one of those prints endedup in a performing arts show in Canada! I’m so very proud of that.

But likely my favorite part of the last year are the relationships I’ve formed along the way. Of course I love the people, the families, the kids, the horses, the new parents, the new babies, the newly engaged, the-about-to-be-married…all the clients that have had me take photos for them. I’m beyond appreciative of all of that. I thank you for your trust. I thank you for telling your friends about me. And I hope to see you again next year.

The largest impact on me personally this year has been the bonds I’ve formed with my fellow warriors behind the shutter. My buddy Dee at work and all our conversations, Rick who taught me how to use an off-camera flash correctly and Brian M, one of the very best guys I know who is a constant help, inspiration and friend (I seriously owe you a few beers man). And to all my Twitter peeps like Heath, Dave, Oscar, Phil, Pat, Jim, Bob, Jacob, Jacques, Jay, Chris (F and L), Scott (Wood, Wyden and Frederick), Steve, Doug, Viveca, Jon, James, Mark, Stefanie, Jesse, Justin, Tobias, Tim and others. I know that since I mentioned a bunch of names that I’ll miss someone, but I appreciate you all.

Some photographers keep all their secrets to themselves and don’t want to help others. Not these guys. They share in the struggle and would rather help those facing the same problems then to just sit and watch a guy drown himself without tossing out a life line. A few even bought prints from me and a few more bought copies of my book. Thank you guys for your unbelievable generosity.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Facebook, because I have a ton of supporters on there, too many to name. Needless to say, I love all the comments and all the kind words from you guys…some of the things you guys tell me about my work is incredibly humbling and confidence boosting. Again, thank you.

And of course, never last, never least, Jina. You are, as always, the reason I ever succeed at anything. You know this. I know this. Thank you.

So what is coming in 2011? I’m not sure yet, that’s what the break is mostly going to determine. I do know that I will be changing up my portrait photography business model to a more standard format. I’ve used the last year as practice and I’m ready to go to the next level. I will be taking a 4-5 day trip to the midwest this spring for some stormchasing, so expect something awesome to come from that. Depending on how busy the portrait business gets, I will be doing more stormchasing in Arizona during the summer months and will probably do another book.

My other big goal is to start teaching people about HDR photography. I always have photographers asking how to do it and that they’d be interested in a workshop. So I’m going to make it happen…hopefully in a few months we’ll get together a first attempt at one and see how it goes. I’m super excited about it, nothing is more fun that teaching what you love to people who want to learn.

If you are interested in those workshops, let me know. Also, if you’d like to see something else from me, please ask!

Mostly I want to keep doing what I’m doing. While I’m going to plan strategy and goals moving forward, I think my best strength is to stick to being me. I think most of us struggle with confidence and the desire to always be “as good at this other guy”…when in reality, we need to trust in our own vision and our own ideas. It’s good to aim high, but don’t sell yourself short. People are going to be drawn to you because of YOU, not necessarily because of what your photos look like (although having good images can’t hurt, right? *grin*).

Speaking of a lack of planning or strategy, this blog post wasn’t even an idea until last night, so here I’ve gone on rambling for an eternity. I’m going to skip the Happy Holidays mumbo-jumbo and just wish you all a Merry Christmas like the good Lord intended. And a Happy New Year. I’m sure I’ll still be all over Twitter and Facebook, looking at other photogs work and interacting, but I’m honestly looking forward to a little bit of a recharge and some relaxation. And relaxing to me is getting up at 6:30am in stormy weather and driving around downtown Phoenix.

Also rewatching the entire Firefly series on Blu-Ray (thanks Jina!) and catching up on the Event, Chuck, Dexter and Boardwalk Empire.

A few of us will be out shooting over the break, so if you are interested in an early morning downtown Phoenix photowalk, let me know!

Last chance before the New Year!

This last year has been amazing for me as a person and a photographer. Life changing even. A year ago I never would have thought I’d be here. I’m grateful to everyone who had me do their photos this year (newborns, kids, maternity, parties, family portraits, engagements and even a wedding), some who have purchased prints from me and those of you adding Stormchasing Arizona to your photobook library. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

Ah…but that is all so 2010 already. I’m thinking ahead. Lots of planning, lots to do, lots of changes.

My pricing for photoshoots will be going up in January, and the way I handle the prints and DVD of images will also be changed. I’m not sure of the specifics yet, they will be unveiled on January 1st (ish). In the meantime though, if you book your sessions BEFORE the new year, I will hold to the pricing I have right now, which is $150 for an hour shoot, a DVD of all images included.

I’m going to limit the bookings to anytime before April 31st, 2011. After that, the new pricing structure goes into effect for everyone. If you end up canceling the booked date, then that special pricing will go out the window! See ya, sorry!

However, there is one little caveat, one little bonus for those of you who had me do shoots for them already in the past. You will be “grandfathered” in to the new year at a special rate that has yet to be determined. I appreciate everyone I’ve done pictures for and would love to see you all again next year. So if you DO book with me sometime in 2011 (like for updated family photos, etc), you will benefit from a discounted price compared to what the current rates are.

I hope that makes sense. It sort of does to me *grin*

If you are interested in booking something now, just visit my Portraits page and fill out the form at the bottom.  If you have any questions, you can comment below or email me:  mikeolbinski @ gmail . com

Thanks again to all my clients and customers…I am truly, truly blessed.