Out to a Frosted Morning

There are surprises in every day.

I welcome and accept what each day and its new light brings.



What I’m currently working on:

  • continuing to update the new online portfolio (website)
  • Finishing up November / December 2012 clients (Closed to new projects until 2013)
  • Inspirational Video Blog Posts:)

BBC Planet Earth on a New Level


I’m sure most of you have watched the beautiful series called Planet Earth that was first aired on the BBC in 2006. The film crew spent 5 years documenting the high – def footage. I was pleased to see them using a Nikon D200 in some of the time lapses, not because I work primarily with Nikon but because it goes to show that if you know your gear you can produce ‘miracles’. I’ll call this series a miracle because it combines unexplored terrain with pure art.

I was introduced to the idea of watching the series on mute, while playing an album in place of the narration. Strangely enough, friends and I discovered a perfect match up when we paired the “Caves” episode with Tool’s 10,000 Days album. Of course you need to start the music where the footage begins and the music fits perfectly with the imagery throughout the entire episode. I went on to discover that Beef Terminal’s ‘The Grey Knowledge’ fits just as well with the “Caves” episode. Point being… if you’re looking for a way to sweep yourself away into oblivion with inspiration, try experimenting with different albums paired with different episodes.

My 10 year old son and I enjoyed this phenomenon together lastnight and ordered a pizza; let’s just say he was nothing short of thrilled:)

alternate versions of self

We fluctuate between alternating versions of the ideal self in search of the perfect balance.


Recent Work: Film

Recently shot on Kodak Professional 400 BW Film using a Holga toycam.



What I realize as I continue on, is that photographers tend to cling to what they think they should do, based on “industry standards” — what they see, how to “properly compose” an image or “get the light right”. I started off selling photoshop actions that represented what I taught myself, then. I designed a ton of stuff and absorbed as much of what was going on in the industry that I possibly could. What I realize now is, I was flooding myself with the wrong things. The internet and the opinions of the mainstream make it very difficult for a photographer to truly come into his/her own vision. But there are no rules. I’ve had to completely strip myself down to the place I was when I started out so I could begin again, only with a fresh mentality and a clean slate — that was NOT easy. Even some of my recent work isn’t entirely what I (now) know I should be doing. But I’m here at this new beginning, right now, and that’s what’s important. Listening to a lot of inspirational speakers and taking in a lot of new knowledge, inside and outside of ‘the industry’ has helped me to arrive at a question: what kind of a photographer am I? Not the first time I’ve asked myself this. Any photographers reading, I’m sure you’ve stopped and asked yourselves as well….



I have an answer. It takes some people years to find a true voice, while some start off right away working in their true voice. Some drift and try new things. Ultimately….. it’s inside of you, whatever it is that you do — not just photography. You don’t have to listen when someone says “this is what you should do,” ” this is how it’s done” “this is how we do it in the industry” “it needs to look this way or that” “the light should be here” – NO.

No, no, no!

It is only right when it feels right for you. You can find that place and exist only there, separate from the others. It doesn’t mean you aren’t connected or can’t learn from them, but you have to listen to you. And when you’re truly doing that, others have something to gain from you in return. When you figure it out, go do it. Don’t think about how you’ll do it…. don’t think about what others will say… and especially do not think about what someone else is doing that you aren’t doing. You’ll get to the place you need to be when you take your abilities and use them. All you have to do is recognize your strengths. It’s easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing. Love what they’re doing, but nurture what you’re supposed to do. Let it guide you.



Sometimes a moment feels so surreal that a soundtrack can almost be heard playing along in the background. In this case, there was one – sort of. As I was going through these images, a remix album called “Missing Deadlines: Selected Remixes,” featuring Ulrich Schnauss songs, was playing. It turned out to be the perfect soothing-spacey-airy music and really pulled me back into that summer night, beneath the stars drinking cream sodas out of glass bottles.

» Parrish The Thought - August 22, 2012 - 11:05 am

[...] morning started with a blog post from the incredible Michelle Black. She posted lovely text and images from the “after party” of our Summer Solstice [...]

Getting to Know Jupiter

Jupiter was bright, and my heart was light, before sunrise. And everything is changing.



Also, I’m ‘escapetolight’ on Instagram. Have a great week.

Chamomile Mint Tea


Benefits of chamomile:

  • sleep aid
  • stomach soother
  • wound healer
  • cancer protector
Benefits of mint: 
  •  reduces pain
  • helps digestion
  • soothes sinuses (HELLO)
  • sedative/relaxes


Recipe I use: 

Just fill a tea infuser with about 5 fresh mint leaves and 2 tsp of dried or fresh chamomile flowers! Boil water and steep in your favorite mug:)

strip down to nothing

remove what ails you

you can

rig up those sails, new


hearts on trial, grew

we did

without further ado


austere, clear, taboo

don’t need

the money, the image, the froufrou


a strengthened worldview


get to your dreams before curfew


(c) Michelle Black April 2012



I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who take the time to make positive, optimistic posts on your blogs. Danielle LaPorte and Jenna at stopdropandblog.com are two of the first that come to mind! Sometimes all it takes is one sentence to give someone the motivation to try a little harder for themselves, or for someone else.  So writers, you’re doing a great thing for people and hope/encouragement is where it starts. Words are an extremely powerful thing and those of you who are making an effort to send out motivational messages have encouraged me in SO many ways. Thank you. Sometimes, even just telling a story that another person can relate to is enough to offer some consolation. Please, keep writing and keep blogging.

I recently read a rather cynical blog post about “people writing and talking about positive things on the internet isn’t as necessary as doing things and not needing to talk about it” – basically saying why not go out into the world and be a physical example of hope and help without having to say anything. Actions speak, but words are equally powerful. That’s why there are books;)

For starters, those of you who sit and make time to write out your thoughts and start up important discussions, raising important questions, pointing out beautiful things about the world —- you’ve helped me realized that my photography work alone, as a profession, or even just a hobby, wasn’t *quite* enough. And while I LOVE helping educate other photographers, being an educator in the field of photography isn’t quite enough either. Having been so busy with work the last several years, I haven’t had as much time as I would like to get out there and use my talent differently…. to throw myself into situations where I’m directly involved with the things that move me. I’m grateful for my friends and colleagues at SEE [Stories for Everyone, Everywhere] who are providing a stepping stone for others to get out there and make a difference, no matter how small. Even just a simple conversation with someone else, even if just to listen and not say a word. SEE has already given me opportunities to work with and get to know people – for the sake of the experience.


I’ve mentioned that I started school again recently. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to manage the time involved in learning and working, all while balancing the time I spend with my 10 year old and the activities he is involved with. Two weeks into classes, and still adjusting, I have zero regrets on making the decision to return to school. I chose to be a sociology major with a minor in philosophy, as I feel both subjects relate directly to photography and I have every intention of using these skills and knowledge to take on more documentary assignments. I’m already rearranging the kinds of sessions I’m doing, with a special focus on storytelling this year (as mentioned HERE) and am very enthusiastic about focusing more on wedding coverage. I’m also prepared to be a completely poor college student if I have to, in order to fully absorb all of this new information.

The Value of Your Services

Whatever it is that you do professionally, you are an asset to someone. Don’t ever feel less valuable than someone else. Don’t ever let someone tell you that what you’re doing for humankind is any less important than what someone else is doing. Anytime you put forth an effort, you’re making an impact. If you’ve read this far, it’s because you care and you are thorough in what you want to understand, and that in itself is a quality that deserves to be praised.

The Value of Your Interests

Is there something that has been tugging at your heart, something that you feel like you need to do… but you’re afraid, or don’t think you have enough time? Here’s the thing: do it. Talk to people who support you. They’ll tell you the same thing! You only live once – ONCE! It isn’t setting or even accomplishing goals that gives something significance – it is the effort you put into your experiences along the way.


Enjoy your weekend and thanks for reading! Until next time….



 self portrait

Starting over.
Breaking things down to the bare bones, to the essence.

The reasons why. The reasons why not.

Knowing what is best, right.
Knowing what is harmful.
Quietly self destruct.
Privately reconstruct.
Finding all the pieces
Sneaking away to a place that is clean
Where words nurture and kind hearts intervene
Where knowledge is the song that sings
“Overcome with a busy life
And in minding proper things”

© Feb 2012