March 14, 2023
We are pumped for this new blog in our series of interviews with some of the world's most talented photographers. This time we're featuring Mike Carroll, a professional landscape and night photographer who has a passion for moon photography, astrophotography, concert photography, long exposures and cityscapes.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Mike is a former musician who started his craft by photographing live music performances. His dedication towards photography has taken his journey from the sun to the moon and even the Milky Way — It’s all about getting that once in a lifetime shot!
Mike will plan his shoots a couple of weeks in advance. Preparation is key to capturing that big moon or that lightning shot — Even if he finds himself running in a thunderstorm to a location or navigating in the dark to shoot the moon.
Mike was recently featured on the TV station News 12 NJ for his time lapse of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket over New Jersey. In addition, the rocket was also published on Accuweather, Yahoo and MSN.
In this interview, you'll get to know Mike and learn about his approach to photography, his favorite subjects and techniques, and his inspirations. Enjoy!
Vallerret: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself when you started learning photography?
Mike Carroll: I’ve learned a lot from making mistakes out in the field. It’s the best way to perfect my craft. I’ve also learned a lot about the weather. I use many apps to determine the cloud coverage and I look outside to see if the forecast matches up! You will miss all of the shots that you don’t take, so it’s best to just go out and shoot and to have a back up plan!
Vallerret: What is your favorite subject to shoot?
Mike Carroll: I enjoy shooting the moon and the Milky Way. It’s really tough to decide as I have a love for both of them. I usually align my subject with the moon, such as a famous landmark in NYC or a lighthouse.
Vallerret: Do you think that you have a unique style and how did you develop that?
Mike Carroll: Great question! I started out shooting concerts because of the candid moments. I’ve always been interested in shooting the moon so I downloaded PhotoPills and started planning moon alignments with the NYC skyline. The unique part of my shooting is that all of my moon images are single shots without bracketing, stacking, etc. I’m also a mixed bag and I cover all types of photography such as: Abandoned, Macro, Portaits, Wildlife, etc.
Vallerret: If you could only shoot with one body and one lens for a year, what would you choose to use?
Mike Carroll: That’s a very tough question! I own a few different bodies. I would choose the Sony a7 IV with the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens.
Vallerret: Which is your most memorable/favorite image that you have captured and why?
Mike Carroll: Back in 2021, I captured the Spacex Falcon 9 Rocket over the Judges’s Shack at the Jersey Shore. it’s my favorite image because the aligment was perfect, it was a single image and there was a glipmse of the Milky Way in the image.
Vallerret: How do you stay motivated and consistently get great shots?
Mike Carroll: I’m constantly making new plans for alignments of the moon and the sun. It keeps me busy with my workshops as well as my personal images. There are times when I go out and my my plan is unsuccessful due to inclement weather.
Vallerret: When you go out to shoot, do you take any essential items other than a camera and lens?
Mike Carroll: Yes indeed. I always take extra gloves, batteries, memory cards, portable chargers, micro fiber towels, filters to name a few! In addition to the above, I’ll bring along a second camera body in case I want different composition and to use a different lens.
Vallerret: Any news/events/projects you want to share?
Mike Carroll: I’m working on a couple of blogs and interviews that should be released this year.
Vallerret: Where can we find you? (channels, social handles, youtube, website, or similar)
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