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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wild Fire

Wild Fire by Natalie Mikaels

Where has the summer gone? I'm sure you can relate to this feeling...I mean, it seems like last week that the weather just started changing to warmer temperatures and summer vacations were being planned. It is now the end of August and Autumn is just around the corner. In the spirit of autumn, I thought I would post this image that I took in Oregon at the Portland Japanese Gardens. Although this image was taken in mid-June, the orange and red leaves certainly suggest fall. This image won the photo contest for July 13th, and is proving to be one of my more popular images. I hope you enjoy it as well!

I've succumbed to the social media craze known as Pinterest...yes, I couldn't resist. For the longest time, I ignored this hot trend among the social networking sites. Not because I have anything against social media, but simply because I assumed it was the same type of website as Facebook and Twitter. Out of curiosity, I checked it out. The end result...I'm hooked. Pinterest is a very different concept, and one that 'visually inclined' people would find extremely compelling. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to search through millions of interesting "pins", in the form of high quality photographs, and pin them to boards that you can create. I've added a "Pinterest" button to the top of my blog page. Please give it a click and follow my boards. I'm creating some interesting boards that compile really cool photography and other topics.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to go on a few photography expeditions this summer...traveled to the north pacific and Minnesota, where I captured some pretty unique images. Check out my website to view my latest work

Best wishes,

Natalie Mikaels

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Wild Photo Trip to the North Pacific

Yes...this is me standing at the top of a mountain at Crate Lake National Park after hiking with a 30 lb. pack on my back.Some say I'm crazy for going on these high-risk adventures. Not sure if I get this feedback because I'm a woman, or simply becuase I am, in fact, a bit crazy. Nevertheless, I am always proud to represent female landscape photographers, particularly sense there are not too many of us. I can tell you that the sense of adventure and sense of accomplishment in reaching these "off the beaten path" destinations far outweigh the risk of getting there!. Moments after reaching the top of this mountain, a blizzard began, and lasted through the night. By morning, I was stranded inside the park because all access roads leading out of the park were closed due to dangerous driving conditions. That part sucked, but at least I got to see this amazing section of the world. By the way, this image was taken a few weeks ago, in June. Yes, Oregon gets blizzards in June. Wild huh?

THis is an image taken during this same trip to Oregon, at the Three Sisters Wilderness. Arrived about an hour before sunrise to scout out shooting locations in the dark. As light began to permeate the surroundings, I was able to see a thick coating of mist hovering above the lake. Initially, I became excited to shoot this scene with the mist, but I was pretty pessemistic about getting a dramatic sunrise sky. There were no clouds to be seen, and a sunrise shot without clouds to add contrast is quite boring. So...I waited and waited. Finally, out of nowhere, two lines of clouds appeared and quickly formed a 'v' directly over the peak of the mountain. I couldn't have asked for a better landscape to shoot. The moment was quite fleeting though, only lasting about 15 seconds. But...I got the shot! The colors were breathtaking and well worth the wait.

So many more new images on my website from this trip if you're interested in checking them out. Go to Im already thinking about where to go for my next photography trip. Would love to hear from you guys with any suggestions you may have. I've been throughing the idea of Utah and Arizona around.

Best wishes and more to come,
Natalie Mikaels

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today's Winner of Earthshots

Approaching Twilight

I am proud to announce that my image, Approaching Twilight, has won today's photo contest. This image was taken in northern California, of Mt. Shasta, during twilight. It was the perfect combination of atmospheric and red hues reflecting off the mountain peak...colorful low clouds enclosing the bottom of the mountain, calm waters that provided a silky smooth surface for Mt. Shasta's reflection. Check out Earthshots for more information!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Meditative Photographs

Have you ever seen a photograph that puts you into a sort of meditative trance? That's the feeling I get when I look at this image. Maybe it's because the actual place where this photograph was taken (Lake Tahoe) has that effect on me, but my goal when taking this image was to convey the sense of calm and peace I felt at the moment I clicked the shutter. Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places I have yet to see. Many people who view my images from Lake Tahoe think they are images taken at a tropical island. I think you have to experience Lake Tahoe yourself to believe its beauty. Yes, the water in Lake Tahoe is really this color! There are certain sections of Lake Tahoe where the water is more turquoise than other sections, particularly the north-eastern area, which is in Nevada. Unfortunately, when I made my trip out to Lake Tahoe, it had not yet snowed. I would have loved to photograph this gorgeous lake with snow covering the mountains. Oh least I have an excuse to go back.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Narcissus or the Peacock: Who is more arrogant?

I love peacocks! Such an amazing bird, really.
The grace...the elegance...the narcissism! These birds are the most arrogant animals I've ever encountered. Let me tell you the story behind capturing this image. Needless to say, it wasn't easy. I've been to many zoos and taken many photographs of peacocks, but never before had i had an opportunity to capture a peacock while admiring it's reflection in a pool of water. I mean, this was so metaphorical I couldn't even believe what i was witnessing. Here was an animal known for it's vanity and narcicissm if you will, and it was posing just as the famous painting of Narcissus by Caravaggio wherein Narcissus was admiring his reflection in a puddle of water.
So, here's how the story goes...I was taking some local photographs of a beautiful property that houses a French antique shop. The front of this property is lined with a white picket fence and cherry blossom trees. As I was packing up my camera gear and walking back to my car, i spotted a peacock walking around the grounds with its wings fully spread. This gorgeous creature appeared to be quite content as it flamboyantly taunted the other small birds that surrounded it. I quietly walked to the vicinity that the peacock occupied with my camera in hand. Just about to take my first shot, the peacock spotted me. In response, it put it's wings down, squawked at me, and walked away into some bushes. I knew this was going to be a challenge. I waited for a few minutes while hiding in a bush, and sure enough, the peacock came back out with its wings fully spread. I managed to take one picture through a bush, but this little rascal must have heard my camera's shutter and, once again, walked away. This cycle continued about 7 or 8 more times. It was as though this peacock absolutely refused to give in to the papparazzi one more time. I'm sure if they made little sunglasses small enough to fit its face, this peacock would have been wearing them. Finally, I managed to steal this one shot seconds before the peacock spotted me and, once again, left the scene with an irritated demeanor. So, what do you think? Who's more arrogant...Narcissus or the peaock?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New York City: In Your Face

If there was ever a city that I would want "in my face", it's Manhattan. Most of you know how much I love New York City. My love affair with this city began when I was a young adolescent, maybe 14 years old. Although I grew up only 40 minutes from NYC, I never really visited this amazing place until my teenage years. My mother brought me into "the city" for dinner...a mexican restaurant if I remember correctly. The energy was overwhelming. I had never before seen such tall buildings, so many people, bright lights everywhere...I was hooked! From that moment on I visited Manhattan as much as possible. I was lucky enough to attend college in NY, which was a dream come true. Every weekend I would take the ferry over to Manhattan. Even now, living 2 hours away, I still make my way into Manhattan at least once a month. I guess you can say it's an addiction. Of course, there are worse things one could be addicted to I guess.

I took this shot from South Street Seaport, overlooking the "three bridges"...Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and the Williamsburgh Bridge. all of which cross the Hudson River. I wanted to capture an image that really brought the viewer into the heart of the city. In my opinion, this particular vantage point really embraces the hustle and bustle of New York. On this night, the moon was extraordinarily large. You can see it rising on the right of the photograph, right above Brooklyn. Can you feel the energy??

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'Timeless' by Natalie Mikaels

There are so many styles of processing images. With time and experience, I've created a new way of processing images that I absolutely love. When I see a scene in nature in which I fall in love, I tend to view it through a dreamy-like state. Especially after staring at the scene for hours at a time, my creative vision of the scene tends to take on a romantic perspective. After months and months of experimentation, I finally discovered how to translate that romantic feel to my images. The above image is an example of this type of post-processing. This image was taken on the Mendocino coast of northern California. Having spent the majority of my life on the east coast, I was truely taken aback by the intense turquoise and green hues of the pacific ocean. As I sat on this cliff watching this powerful body of water, I couldn't help but wonder how many stories this ocean has to tell. How many people have fallen in love at this many heart breaks has this ocean many tragedies? As a photographer, how do I capture such a vast array of emotion and experience in one image? Well...this is what I came up with. My hope is that the viewer is pulled in to the picture, and maybe for one moment, can feel all that I felt at the time the image was taken.

SOMI Art Gallery- Opening July of 2012

More big news friends...I, along with two other very talented artists, are opening an art gallery in the emerging art district of Flemington, NJ. Somi Art Gallery, a factory-chic, Soho-style, space will feature the work of Natalie Mikaels as well as 28 other visual artists. If anyone is interested in becoming a member, or knows of someone who may be interested in applying, please visit to download the application packet. We will be hosting a grand opening reception to all who are interested in attending. Please shoot me an email if you'd like to be sent an invitation. Make sure to visit our site on Facebook and 'like' us at!/SoMiArtGallery