Who is Mike Mezeul II?
I’m Mike Mezeul II and I am addicted to photography and adventure. If you know me… you know I always have a camera in my hand, if you don’t, just think of my camera as that weird sticky feeling you get on your hands after touching year old gum underneath a restaurant table…you just can’t shake it, that’s basically my relationship with my camera, haha. Through the years I’ve photographed in many situations including professional sporting events, live music venues, 5,000′ in the air hanging out of a plane, natural disasters, the tops of volcanoes, and the bottom of the ocean floor and more. I’ve even been known to break it down on the dance floor while photographing at weddings. I’ve been shooting professionally now for six years and have had the honor of working with so many fantastic clients and cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings!
What’s in my bag?
A bit more about me…
Although I currently live in north Texas, I was originally born in the small town of Rome, New York. I moved to Texas at a young age, but have never worn (and never will) a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, or said, “ya’ll.” I got my first camera at the age of 15. It was a 1975 Yashica MG-1. I had absolutely no interest in photography then, but something about the camera gained my interest. I have been completely self-taught and have learned photography through a ton of trial and error. I took my camera out and shot with it, writing down the conditions and my settings for each frame I took. I then would save up my allowance to get my film (yeah, remember that stuff?) developed. When I got my images back, I compared them to what I wrote down and noted how I could improve my techniques. It was all pretty much downhill from there. Once I got my license I began exploring abandoned places, chasing the clouds, and of course taking photos along the way. When digital came out, I was too poor to afford it so I kept shooting film until I was too poor to afford film, then I made the switch to digital. Let’s see, what else? I graduated from The University of North Texas in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and obtained my Master’s in Journalism back in December of 2012. When I’m not out with my camera, I enjoy playing hockey. I’ve played for almost my whole life, all the way through the collegiate level, and it’s definitely my biggest stress reliever. I’ve been blessed with an awesome family and I don’t know where I would be without my mom, dad, and brother. Also, a huge thank you to all my friends who have supported me along the way with my photography…there were many days when I was eating Ramon noodles wondering if this was the right career choice. It definitely was.
Okay, now you’re just getting nosey (thanks for the questions you guys!)
All of it? Hmm…peanut butter M&M’s seem to hold a special place on my taste buds.
Sushi, next question.
Hockey. Nothing like a bunch of dudes trying to throw each other through panes of glass while wearing knives on their feet.
Favorite location you’ve shot at?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. Two spots hold that title. The first is Iceland. Everything about that country is beautiful. The people. The landscape. The night sky. The food. Everything. It’s like Narnia for photographers. The second would have to be the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. Seeing molten lava flow into the sea, creating the newest land on this planet…it was pretty surreal.
Definitely my Nikon 14-24mm 2.8. I love the wide angle, as it’s perfect for landscapes and concerts. The lens is also so sharp!
Spiders. Burn the house down. Done.
Who’s your inspiration?
My mother. She’s the toughest woman I know. She’s been through a lot in her life that should have killed her, but she fought and fought and is truly an inspiration to what it means to be “tough.” She’s also the most passionate, kindest, unselfish person I’ve ever met.
What advice would you give yourself ten years ago?
You’re going to lose your hair, enjoy it while you have it.
What do you look forward to in life?
I really look forward to the day I get to be a loving husband and a dad. I know that will change my photography career a bit, but it’s something I strive to achieve and means more than any career.
How did you know you wanted to pursue photography as a career?
I didn’t. I kind of just fell into it. I always wanted to pursue a career as a meteorologist or police officer, but when my photography (which was a hobby at that time) began getting recognition and a really positive response, I figured sitting behind a desk or dealing with criminals wasn’t as fun as trekking around the world photographing the beauty of it.
Scariest moment you’ve had shooting?
Nearly falling into a frozen lake in Alberta, Canada in -17F temperatures with no way to get help. It’s a long story, so ask me over a cup of coffee. Just happy to be here.
What is the most challenging aspect of your career?
There are so many great photographers out there and so many new up and coming photographers, it’s tough to make your work stand out. But with that said, I enjoy a good challenge, so challenge accepted.
If you were stranded on an island, what three items would you take with you?
An endless supply of Chick-fil-a, my camera, Joplin