Welcome to 2016

It is important that we allow our passions and commitment to lead us.

Ballard Locks Long Exposure

2016 has been an amazing year so far. When I graduated from film school I took on the risky proposition to not only attempt to make my living as a freelancer in the competitive film/video industry but also to continue to pursue a breadth of professional roles both in film and as a photographer. There is a pressure in all industries towards specialization. But particularly so in film/video. Yet I continue to hear anecdotal stories of people doing their own thing, such as directors who edit their films and others who have forged their own professional identity. In school, I had worked as a producer, a director of photography, a director, and an editor. It wasn’t until after school that I began to get hired regularly as a sound mixer. My first job was unpaid, but my second one was paid and others followed. People seemed to like my work and enjoy my personality on set and so I began to feel like maybe I had found my niche.

At the same time, I continued to pursue my other creative interests, gaining experience as a camera operator and DP on ultra low budget narrative projects, working as a one man band shooting and editing videos for local businesses and taking photographs at family events and of our unique NW environment. I have always worried and will probably continue to worry that practical career interests will compel me to focus on sound. It is the one thing I have the most experience at and the most specialized equipment for. But I continue to find that as long as you are passionate and committed to your craft, you can indeed forge your own unique path. I think it is important to young people and to those starting out in a new field, to consider what drove your interest there in the first place. We all must consider long-term financial impacts our decisions may have on our careers. But it is important also to consider what we love doing. It is that love, that passion, that will drive our careers forward. If you are charging for something, you must be very good at it. And to move forward we must continue to hone and improve our craft. By this, we reap the benefit of rare skills and unique abilities. The good money comes after we have committed ourselves to something or some “things” we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success

What I continue to find is that if you have passion and commitment for your craft, even if it is in multiple areas, you will succeed if you apply yourself seriously and continuously. If you are a young person or someone starting out in a new field, consider what drove your interest there and hold onto that above all else. I think the worsed thing you can do is to settle for doing something you don’t love, or don’t love doing all the time. A diversity of talents can lead, not only to synergy but to practical skills in communication and problem solving.

The good money will come after we have committed ourselves to become really good at doing things we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success

Mother Walking Through 100 Stones. Anchorage Alaska, Dec. 2015.

In 2016, (and 2015) I’ve found myself working not only as a sound mixer but also as a director, DP, camera operator, producer, editor, and photographer. My goal for 2016 is to not only advance my craft as a sound mixer but to push myself to bring my skills in other roles up to a similar level. If I can do that successfully I might add acting and screenwriting into the mix. If it stimulates me professionally I say why not. Hopefully my peers and those who hire me will feel the same way.


For Our Fallen Vets on Memorial Day

Model Melinda Raebyne in this photograph by Michael Kleven honoring American veterans.
In reverence to those who have died while serving their country and heartfelt support for the loved ones they left behind.


Earlier this Spring actress and model Melinda Raebyne contacted me about doing a photo shoot paying homage to the movie icon Marilyn Monroe to enhance our mutual portfolios. I’ve been trying to decide when I should share some of these creative images with the world. Then I recalled that one of our images might be especially meaningful to veterans and their families. This photograph was created at my home studio in Bothell Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Be on the lookout of more from this shoot here.

Melinda is currently seeking new projects as an actress. You can contact her through me if you like. She is great to work with and a true creative force.

Michael is currently seeking new photo projects for weddings, events, portraits and portfolios. He also is a freelance filmmaker producing projects for business and the arts. On set he works as a director, cinematographer and production sound mixer.

Contact me at 206-307-7588 or Mikekleven@gmail.com


Over Anchorage

On the second day of my December journey to my parent’s home on Anchorage, I borrowed the truck and trekked South onto the windy roads which snake into the Chugach Mountains South of town. The low slung mountains, once a haven for miners seeking gold, offer wide vistas from which to capture images of the Cook Inlet, Anchorage, The Alaska Range to the North and the valleys and ridges of the Chugachs. Here is a set of HDR images from that trek. They are available to purchase and enjoy from my sister website at Photoshelter.

All photos were taken with the Canon 7D and processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. Contact me for custom cropping of the images. I am also available for weddings, portraits and events. Contact Michael Kleven at 206-307-7588


Rugged Alaska Mountains
HDR image from the Chucach Mountains over Anchorage.




Over Anchorage – Images by Michael Kleven

Independence Day in two small NW towns

Independence Day in two rugged Northwest B-towns

My first 10 years of life took place in and around Bothell Washington. I’m back not running a photography and video production business with services tailored to families and small business. In my spare time I enjoy photographing the people and places of the Pacific Northwest and working on feature films. I went to High School and College in Bellingham Washington. Another small town just 65 miles North of Bothell. On the 4th of July this year I decided to sample and photograph a little bit of the distinctive imagery of these two Northwest cities and record a little bit of how they celebrate the 4th. I think you will agree that natural beauty and the joyful spirit of our people are two reasons why people chose to settle here.


Bothell 4th of July Parade 2012 – Images by Michael Kleven

Bellingham is known for it’s serenity, tranquility, sunsets and natural beauty. It also hosts an annual fireworks display in the towns harbor area. This year we were fortunate to experience our first sunny day after a very wet, cold and rainy June on Independence Day. The sunset that day was particularly stunning, perhaps fueled by the wildfires of Siberia bringing a rare light to our skies via the jet stream. I graduated from Bellingham High School in 1982 and Western Washington University in 1988. I always enjoy my trips home to this small city on the shores of the Salish Sea.


Bellingham Bay on the 4th of July – Images by Michael Kleven

Crow Town

I started school in Kenmore and lived there until age 10 when the family began the transition that would lead us to Bellingham. Kenmore was a small town back then, still is, but much of the country charm has left replaced by a certain suburban quality decidedly upscale. I remember when I was a kid the firemen would let me play with their white dog with black spots as I stared in amazement at the shiny brass pole they would slide down during an emergency.

The drive-in was called The Arctic Circle or AC for short. The teenage girls who worked there would save the ice cream cones that had collapsed during their creation and sell them to me at a reduced rate. You would just ask for a “mistake”. My Grandma worked at the local thrift store called the Wigwam and my grandfather was a race car driver at a place called Sky Valley. I guess he was pretty good.

Two days ago I was looking for some inspiration and I looked up in the sky at the wave after wave of crows passing overhead as they made their way up the lake to there roosting areas in the marshes and forests beyond. I ventured down to the water and captured a few of the crows as well as the unique industrial area and the setting sun beyond. These are a few of the pictures I took.

Salinas San Francisco Pebble Beach Soledad & Big Sur

Click on the photos to view the galleries on Photoshelter. Photos are available for purchase or license. Your patronage is greatly appreciated!



I recently spent 8 days over the Thanksgiving holiday with my family in Salinas California. It was a refreshing departure from the wet and cold of Washington State. My aunt and uncle were excellent hosts and I had quite an adventure. Here is a small update. Earlier I had omitted the series from Salinas. Their are some really cool buildings around the John Steinbeck Center downtown. All and all the town has the ambiance of America 20 or 30 years ago.


We took a day trip up to San Francisco on Nov 26th the day after Black Friday. Me, my aunt Becky and cousin Katie. Traffic was a mess but we had a great time. We visited the district around Union Square. I was suddenly very excited as this is where the opening scenes of one of my favorite films, Gene Hackmen’s The Conversation take place. If you haven’t seen it please do. It is a great film, complex, subtle, yet the message is clear. I don’t think they make films like that anymore. We took a quick drive through Fishermen’s Wharf then made a stop to see some tall ships and brave souls taking a late November swim. We finally made it to the park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge just in time to capture some dazzling images in the twilight. I’m so glad my family puts up with me and my camera.





My aunt Becky is a hostess at The Tap Room at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. If you are in the area do stop in. The hamburger with cheese and bacon was the best ever. I promise a week of nothing but carrot juice! Later I toured 17 Mile Drive snapping lots of pics and shooting a bunch of HD Video, what for I am not yet sure. Amazing sites along the drive included The Lone Cypress, Spanish Bay, Fanshell Overlook and Point Joe. Photos of these can be seen in the gallery below. I took some interesting time laps shots of the stormy sea and had some fun with the effects in Lightroom.




Me and my Uncle Bobby visited the Corral De Tierra Golf & Country Club. The next day we took a trip to the Monterey County wine district. We started out near Soledad California at the Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Not for the communion wine but for a taste of the local history. The Mission was founded in the 1700’s when California was still the property of the Spanish crown. At some point in time the area became the property of the United States. It is a very charming and well kept establishment. Our 1st wine stop was Paraiso Vineyards One of two wineries that have lovely views of the valley below. As Bobby tells it much of the wine that sells in Napa Valley actually comes from Monterey County. Our next stop was the Hahn Estates also with a view, Wrath Wines, with a view of the haunted house you can see in my gallery, Manzoni and finally Pessagno. After several trips to the tasting rooms of the various wineries I realized that it was all good. And indeed it was. The wine tasting fee was small and waived if a purchase was made.




Before I left I made it down to Big Sur. My mother tells me that as a young child I stayed at Esalon for a time. Perhaps this is why everyone tells me that I seem so enlightened. I stopped in at Cafe Kevah at the Napenthe Restaurant. My hostess must have given me two ounces of jasmine green tea in my tea pot. I do love a good pot of tea. With two visited crows and 50 miles of coast to look at it was a very high tea indeed. I only had time for a quick stop at Pfeiffer Beach. Amazingly the sea has made two tunnels in the massive stone which protects the beach. Which do you think will win the sea or the stone? I had a glimpse of the future when the local gas station charged me $5.69 for a gallon of regular. My fault for not gassing up sooner. On the way home I rescued a small teddy bear near the Big Sur lighthouse. It was dirty and had no legs but was otherwise a charmer. I propped him up in a tree looking out at the lighthouse. Hopefully he will be there for some time to come.


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Hopefully you also enjoyed taking a look at my galleries as well. Those interested in my motion and video can view my film, motion graphics and TV portfolio here.

Tricia strikes a pose in Kenmore

Tricia posed for me at Logboom Park and the cement plant near Kenmore Air in Kenmore. She was a real trooper walking out into the abandoned construction site in her form fitting dress and heals. It was great to work with her. A really fun, lighthearted personality. Aesthetica does fashion, lifestyle and portfolio photography. Drop me a line and we can arrange a session at your convenience.