With Mike Wewerka
This week’s Feature Friday highlights first-time Platypod user Mike Wewerka, a Tallahassee-based portrait, cosplay and landscape photographer. We recently met Mike on a recent blog post by the talented Gilmar Smith, one of this year’s Worldwide Photowalk leaders and avid Platypod user. Let’s get to know Mike a little more!
What do you do now and how did you get into photography? I’m a full-time graphic designer and photographer; the two really go hand and hand. The majority of my work consists of Portrait and Commercial work (food photography) and when I’m not working, I love to take landscapes. I got into photography while attending the Ringling College of Art and Design. Upon graduating in 2002, the love of photography has never left.
Tell me about your experience at this year's Worldwide Photowalk. And, why this location for you? I sort for fell into this one. I happened to be near Orlando, having a meeting with the Florida State Vietnam Veterans Association about an upcoming portrait project, which I’m very excited about and is featured on my website. Gilmar Smith mentioned to me that there was a Photowalk happening that same day in Epcot. Epcot is my favorite Disney park, and I couldn’t turn it down.
What gear did you bring for the Photowalk? I brought my Sony A7R III, a Sony 85mm and my travel lens, the Sony 24-240mm as well as my tripod and a few filters, for daytime shooting.
What was the biggest challenge of getting your shots on this Photowalk? People, people, people. With Epcot hosting the International Food and Wine Festival, it was very crowded. But as it got later, and people showed up for the fireworks, getting a tripod out in busy areas was just not going to work. So when I saw opportunity to photograph this spot in Morocco Pavilion, Epcot’s World Showcase, Gilmar asked if I wanted to use her Platypod Ultra and I said sure and man, did it save the day.
Had you ever used Platypod before; What did you think about it?
I had never used a Platypod, but just looking at it, it was very self-explanatory. I just popped off my ball head from my tripod and put it on the Platypod. I used the Platypod Ultra to keep my camera in portrait view so that I could snag about 4-5 shots that I could blend together. Without the Platypod, and no room for a tripod, I would not have been able to get that shot.
What was your favorite takeaway from the Photowalk? The first would be the friends that I made on this walk — from Gilmar, Mike, Gilbert and the rest, we had an absolute blast and I’m already looking forward to next year. Of course, coming away with a great picture is great too.
Are you currently working on any cool projects that you can share with us? As I mentioned briefly above, I’m working on a portrait project with Vietnam Veterans. I’ve already photographed a local chapter and will be having a gallery opening to show off the photos, with 100% of the proceeds going to the chapter. But I also met with the State leaders and we’re working on doing an even bigger project. I’m going to be offering free portraits to all Vietnam Vets here in Florida. It’s quite ambitious and completely free, as it’s more about giving them something, since they’ve already given so much.
Feel free to add anything additional! If you are a photographer and you haven’t tried a Platypod, you need to. I heard all the buzz about them from Photoshop World, but never really understood until I used one. Now I’m hooked.
Each Friday, we feature the work and stories of our fans and followers on social media. We especially love to post stories of Platypod users and their experiences with the product. If you are interested in being featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.