Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Blog has Been Moved

You Can Find My Blog at

Monday, February 18, 2008

Katherine and Bobby - Engagement Portraits

What a fun and amazing couple! I can't say I've ever photographed a couple that giggled so much. I found myself laughing along with them. It was the cutest thing.

Here are some of my favorites from their E-session on St Petersburg Beach. To see the whole session, go to


A few weeks ago I got a call from an old friend, Brian Jones who is involved in a new band. He has been recording and performing solo and in other bands for the past few years. Brian is an amazing musician and an awesome guy. When he asked if I could shoot some location portraits for the new band, "Branded," I jumped at the chance.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sacred Hills

Sacred Hills 1
There is a local park that I haven't gone to in years. There is a section that is full of hills and old oak trees holding the hills together. It is both beautiful and spooky at the same time. I went for a walk there last week just to unwind and get my thoughts together. I was so glad I grabbed my D200 and 12-24mm lens before I left. It was drizzling and gray with occasional moments when the skys would open up and light up the leaves overhead. It was magic.

I think it is really important for all of us to take time to "stop the world" and get a little breathing room to think and pray. Too often we can get run over by all the things on our "to-do" lists. Go take a walk in the trees...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blake High School Lighting Seminar

I spent another great afternoon with some excellent students at Blake High School. This is such a great opportunity for me to give back what was given to me by so many great photographers when I was younger. I owe so much to people that would take the time to share their passion for photography with me. I think this should be part of every photographers life, giving back to the next generation of photographers.

I spent my time talking about the Nikon CLS system and how using the technology we have now can really foster a sense of play with the light. It is very freeing. I come from a very formal background in lighting and being able to experiment and "play" with light is such a delight. I can't help but have fun with all the possibilities.

Here are a few of my favorites from the day.





Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

It's always a beautiful time of year around the McCrystal house. My wife is so amazing at stitching together all the elements of the season and making sure our kids have a real view of the importance of our faith in this time of year. It is so easy to get carried away with all the excitement and gifts. We aren't always successful, but we sure try to make sure the cradle is more important than the presents.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I have been a die hard Adobe Bridge person ever since I started photographing in RAW. That wasn't too long after I went digital. I liked the speed of doing things, ability to create presets for common toning issues and the freedom to file in any way I wanted.

When I switched back to Macintosh after years working with PC's I bought a copy of Aperture. I thought that it might be useful for organizing and could potentially make my digital life easier.

Well, I played a bit with Aperture here and there for a long while. I loved the interface, but couldn't get over not having ultimate control over file locations. I also had some big concerns about processing speed and having to hand tone each image.

There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then... Aperture has made giant leaps forward and has made me a believer. I have moved all of my image archives into Aperture. Roughly 40,000 images to date.

What made this possible? First, I love to learn and I stumbled on an online course for Aperture that really got me started thinking about a better way to use that system to my advantage. Also, after a hard drive failure on my RAID I did a great deal of scrambling to re-back up a ton of data. That in itself is a huge process. On top of that I am constantly looking for images in my archive and finding a particular one can be quite frustrating if you don't have the number.

Aperture is opening a much better door for me in organizing, key wording, accessing, uploading and management. I have also found a great affection for Photoshop "Round-Tripping," a process where you open an image in the aperture library in photoshop for specific edits that cannot be done from within the main ap. Having the image tied to the original, matching keywords and maintaining continuity without ever harming the master image is solid gold in my book.

Yes, there has been a learning curve. As I mentioned, I like to learn, so that's not a problem

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Can't Believe It...

It has been almost a month since I checked in on the blog here. My apologies. It has been a very busy month for me with portraits, weddings, albums to make, holidays to prepare for and of course just trying to live life with my family. I know everyone feels about the same way. This is a time of year when we should slow down and be with our family and celebrate. Instead, we are running around like nuts trying to get everything done on our to do lists.

Well, here are some of the highlights from November to December...




DSC_2709 (1)



Monday, November 19, 2007

Kevin and Honey's Wedding

Kevin and Honey tied the knot last weekend! What a fun and beautiful day. I really love what I do. I can't say that enough. I am blessed to be a part of the best days of people's lives.

The wedding was at Weddings on the Water in St Petersburg. This is a very different location. The wedding chapel leaves port right next to the St Pete Pier. The service was out in the bay right before sunset. The party cruises for sunset before heading back to port. It was very cool.

Here are a few of the photographs to share with you. There are so many more at Look for the Kevin and Honey page that has their wedding and engagement portraits.

I will be sharing the album design soon. It is really amazing...


Groomsmen, Bridesmaid


Bride and Groom


Monday, October 22, 2007

Go Sox!

I have been a Red Sox fan all my life. Growing up my dad never taught me about football or soccer or any other sport than baseball. Having a family from New England, we are devout Red Sox fans. (My Red Sox hat hasn't been washed since the last world series... Getting Rained on helps...)

I think it's a bit unfair. My Dad had to wait till he was 74 to see the Sox go to the World Series. My Son has seen it twice now in his few short years.

The little guy had to call his "Pa" at 7:30 this morning to celebrate. He was heart broken when I told him we weren't going to fly to Boston for the series... ah to be young...

I Love Florida Weather

I have lived in Florida most of my life. I can't imagine living anywhere else. Those of you live in those odd areas of the world that experience frozen water falling from the sky, I feel for you.

One of the things I love in Florida is our afternoon storms. Most days during the summer there is an afternoon shower. Often times they are merely "liquid sunshine" with a quick line of showers coming in off the gulf and it doesn't even bother to get dark and cloudy.

Other days there is this amazing transition from beautiful and sunny to a huge blowing storm. They come out of nowhere and then disappear just as quick. This was one of those storms. I saw it coming on the horizon while playing catch with my son. After we got inside safely, I had to run out to photograph this powerful cloud line coming in. It was amazing.

Storm Fence HDR FRAMED copy

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Aaron and Rachel's Album Design

While photographing a wedding I am thinking actively about the page designs I will be creating. My albums are the core of what I do as a wedding photographer. I love the process of design and the way they grow and change with input from the couple. In a day where so many photographers are shooting, burning a disk and walking away, I hope to stand out because of my focus on albums and design. I want a long term relationship with my clients so I can give them my very best.

These are a few of the pages in Aaron and Rachel's Album Predesign. To see the entire book, view the slideshow here.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Aaron and Rachel's Wedding

I shot an amazing wedding this past weekend at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. What a beautiful location!

Aaron and Rachel were fantastic. What a wonderful couple. The plan was for the ceremony on the river walk. It rained and rained... Rachel was awesome. It was difficult I'm sure, but she rolled with changes to the plans and kept her eyes focused on her man. In the end, the atrium in the Performaing Arts Aenter was an amazing and different type of location for the wedding. It was beautiful.

Here are a few of my favorite images to share with you. The full day's photographs is online at my proofing site if you would like to visit them there.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

John and Jennifer's Engagement Portraits

John and Jennifer are such a sweet couple. There is a wonderful spark between the two of them. For their engagement portraits, we went to the park where he popped the question. John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor is one of their favorite places, they have spent hours and hours watching sunset and walking on the boardwalks. After spending time there with them, I completely understand why. Amazing!

Here are a few of my favorites from the session. If you would like to see the entire set of images, you can visit them HERE.



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

T-ball Fun

T-Ball Fun

I love watching these little ones play. The guys in the major leagues could learn a bit from them about how to love the game again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kevin and Honey's E-Session, Passe Grille, Florida

I met with Kevin and Honey this weekend for their engagement portrait session. Honey suggested a new place for me, Passe Grille. This is a beautiful little place. You can walk from one side of the key to the other in 2 minutes. It is quiet and quaint. There are so many places to photograph and there is just an amazing charm to it all.

Kevin and Honey have a charm about them as well. I love getting to spend time with couples before their wedding so I can learn their personalities and and see how they respond to each other. This is a beautiful, playful and funny couple. We laughed so much as we walked around Passe Grille.

Here are a few of my favorites from their session.


And Of Course the Slideshow.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

USF Bulls

It's the first night of the USF college football season. It has been
an excitng game. Both teams are really working hard to get points on
the board.
The sun was setting in the first quarter and I was a bit sad that I'm 
without a camera. (That doesn't happen very often.) I had to capture 
it, so the iPhone came out. I'm impressed with what it can do.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Boston Family Portraits

The Bostons came to me asking if I would do a family portrait for them for their 50th wedding anniversary. "Of Course!" That is a milestone that very few people ever reach. For this awesome portrait we gathered all the children and grandchildren at Legends Farm for some beautiful morning light.

I love these large family portraits. Not many people do them anymore and it is sad. These are the images that people will look back on and share with great grand children and great great grand children and share the family history.

Thank you for including me in your special day!

All Photographs Copyright 2007 Michael J. McCrystal

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

iPhone Spam Solution

When I first got my iPhone I was so excited about having my entire world in one place. My world runs pretty fast and

Pasted Graphic
keeping up with all the details can be a dizzying task for me. My wife is very wise "I'm just glad technology has finally caught up to the speed of your life." She is right. It has streamlined my world a great deal and on top of it all, it's beautiful and elegant, just like everything Mac. Mine is slowly getting packed to the ceiling with images, slideshows and audiobooks. (yes, I know I'm a bit of a nerd...)

The one let down for me was having to filter my mail manually. I get a ton of spam and the mail filter on my MacBook Pro handles it quite well. There isn't a filter on the iPhone. That made for a lot of deleting in my life.

Somewhere I received a wonderful suggestion. "Get a Gmail account and use it to filter the iPhone's mail."

Sheer genius! I've been running like this for a week now and I'm very impressed with Gmail's filtering capabilities. I set the Gmail account up to check my other mail boxes and filter them before sending them to my phone. Excellent.