August 2014 - Bens Viewfinder

August 31st, 2014 - A Return to Venice

I figured maybe today we could escape Hawaii for a little bit and visit Venice again. It is amazing how many places are so easy to photograph in the city. Walking around Venice is simply an experience all on its own. You don't even really need to buy or do anything just stroll and enjoy the wonderful surroundings. There are shops of all kinds and plenty of food to keep you fat and happy. Of the canal photos I have shared so far I enjoy this one because the sky is a little more prevalent and you get a great sense of depth. I really like the church steeples peaking through on the horizon. It really is an experience visiting Italy all together I would recommend to anyone. I don't think I'll go back to Venice but it was well worth it to see it once. Hope everyones weekend went great, cheers!


August 30th, 2014 - The Ends of The Earth

Since moving to Kauai I have been looking into some of the art culture here and wanting to start making some friends and connections with local artists. Someone mentioned last week that we should check out Friday nights in a town called Hanapepe. The reason is that every Friday evening from 6 until 9 they hold this kind of cool art night where people can come and display their work and the shops stay open a little later and people from all over the island come and see the awesome work of all different kinds of amazing artists. After taking in some of the art and eating an amazingly awesome hot dog my wife got dessert at an ice cream place and while she was waiting for her order I looked at the sky and noticed it was an oddly clear night for Kauai standards (It rains a lot here). So when we were leaving I asked my wife if we could head back down to the Waimea pier which I took photos at about a week ago to see if we could get a good starry night photo. It turned out way better than I had imagined. The Milky Way band aligned almost perfectly to make a gorgeous photo and I took advantage of it! Luckily there is very low light pollution when you live on an island in thousands of miles away from anything. I absolutely love this shot and I actually have a second one from tonight I will show you guys soon. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, let me know what you think.


August 29th, 2014 - An Old Friend Revisited

So this may look familiar to some of you, those who have been following along the longest or those who poke around the site. This is actually a shot that I produced nearly a year ago. If you remember back a month or so ago I reposted a shot I took from Gunner Poole also. I simply just feel that some of my older work needs just a lithe bit of an update.I love this photograph, I actually have a 24 x 36 canvas of it that was hanging over my bed until we moved. I am using it however in my upcoming book and thought it could just use a little cleanup. I remember taking this photo very well and how proud I was. It was one of my first big hits when I launched Bens Viewfinder. I'll be curious if those who saw the old one notice the differences and for those who didn't see it I hope you enjoy it with fresh eyes. Enjoy!


August 28th, 2014 - Sunset Over The Mountains

I told you to be prepared for lots of Kauai and I am delivering on that promise. This shot was taken two evenings ago here on Kauai and I think it is just sweet! I love the lush overgrown grass in the foreground, the cows in the field and obviously the mountains look great. Add in the towering clouds, the bit of rain falling in-between two of the mountains on the far right and then backlight the whole thing with the sun and you get a pretty nice result I think. The views here are just unreal. I will say I am learning that "Private Property" is a huge thing here. Which I completely understand. So many tourists around and I am sure they don't all respect peoples boundaries. Looking forward to making some local connections and getting some access around the island to really showcase it's beauty. Let me know what you think of the shot, share and invite your friends to follow along and we will venture back outside of Hawaii tomorrow. Cheers.


August 27th, 2014 - Our New House Guests

If you are not a fan of geckos than Hawaii is not the place you want to live. At least the island of Kauai has a ton of them. I can't speak for the other islands. We get a bunch of visits from these guys on a daily basis, but they are actually a very good thing to have around. They are kind of the natural insect control system for the house. Especially at night when the lights inside are on. They climb up on the screens of the windows and hang out and wait for insects to fly up because of the attraction to light and they snag em. Usually they scamper away if you try and get too close to them, but this little guy was very friendly and let me take quite a few shots of him. I just love the detail in it's skin and how vibrant it is. Those eyes are pretty darn cute too. All you can ever think about is car insurance now a days though, thanks Geico!


August 26th, 2014 - The Hidden Cove

The day after I arrived on Kauai I went for about a five mile hike along some of the south shore following a not too difficult path. After about an hour a half of hiking you come to this wonderful cove that has been carved out by the ocean, full of rocks and drift wood and flanked on both sides by large rock pillars. Watching the waves crash into these pillars is awesome! I decided to use a play on depth here to use a piece of driftwood, not very big and put it in the foreground. While the rock pillar you see in the back, which is quite large, maybe twenty five or so feet high out of the water. But looking at it you most likely would have never guessed that, It is one of the limitations that two dimensional photography can never quite give you the grasp of, it can also create a cool way to get creative with your work though. Hope you enjoy the shot, I am loving Kauai and there are going to be a lot more photos so be ready!


August 25th, 2014 - Does My Hair Look Alright?

A few weeks back I posted a photo of a beautiful luna moth that had visited us in Arkansas. You didn't really get a great chance to see it's wings in that shot though so I am glad I took it from multiple angles. At the time I didn't really pay much attention to this shot but now that I have, I really like it! You are probably curious as to what it is standing on, it is hard to make out when you only see this much of it. It is actually on the side of our old Audi, right at the top of the passenger door where it meets the window. Which is why you also get a good reflection off the glass. It is almost like the moth is checking itself out! You also get a nice idea at how absolutely beautiful their wings are. It is sad these creatures only live for a week a year, but boy are they pretty amazing to see if you get the chance. Enjoy!


August 24th, 2014 - The Antelope King

So as you have realized by now this shot is from Antelope Canyon in Page. What you may not realize is how in love with the photo I am. Basically all the shots of these canyons came out really well and I think are worthy of print. This shot though, after finishing it yesterday I think takes the new crown as my favorite from the trip. That is a lot considering my other shot with the sand falling won runner up in that National Geographic contest. I just really feel like this shot has more to offer. The scale of dark depth all the way to the bright top opening in the canyon can be seen in this and you get a great sense of the beautiful shapes the rock walls have managed to be carved into. The glow is extremely intense and you really get a sense for how much dust and sand is in the air from the light beam coming through. Hopefully you find this shot as amazing as I do. Please leave me some feedback and always share with your friends and invite them to come follow along. Draft one of the anniversary book is complete and I will have some more details for you guys later this week!


August 23rd, 2014 - Birds of a Feather

So in those last few days I was in Arkansas I spent a lot of time around the house taking random photographs of mostly macro stuff. But one day I was sitting on the back deck and there was this family of blue jays who had set up shop in a tree in the neighbors yard. I decided I would grab my longer lens and see if I could get a snap of one maybe flying through the air, which I did. But this seemed to be my favorite photograph of them. I imagine the two in the middle are Mom and Dad and Mom is flirting a bit and the kids are on the sideline and the one close is yelling "www" and the one on the far side is like "Just look away!".  Yes I know I got a little carried away with the story haha. It isn't my technically mod interesting photo but I thought it was a cute one either way. Hopefully you enjoy it too.


August 22nd, 2014 - Venice A Little Differeent

We visit Venice again today but from a slightly different viewpoint then you have seen so far. Shooting directly into the sun can prove to be a challenging photo to get right, per usual I had to shoot many exposures in order to balance this shot out. This is part of the Grande Canal and I just liked the wooden boat dock thing in the water there with the shadows being cast by it and everything on the wall of the building because of the strong sunlight. I also like the government building back down the canal a ways which makes for an interesting secondary note. With the diamond like glimmer off the water and the bird flying through the sky and you end up with what I think is a pretty nice "different" kind of shot of Venice. Enjoy!


August 21st, 2014 - Smile Mr. Dragonfly

So as some of you know from following along I enjoy submitting my work for contests using a few different outlets. One of those is a site called View Bug. What is interesting about their contests is that they have so many of them and they come up with subjects for you to shoot that makes you want to go out and photograph. Two weeks ago they posted a contest for Dragonflies. I took a few shots when I was in Illinois last and none of which were really too impressive. Then when I was in Arkansas about a week and a half ago I went out and shot some around my old house. You saw one of those shots last week, but this one I think is the best of the bunch. I really enjoy the positioning of his head and how it is looking right at the camera for me. I am sucker for good detail and you can see all the little individual hairs on its head. Macro work is not easy, but every now and then you get a really nice shot. I think this is one of them, you agree?


August 20th, 2014 - South Shore Kauai Panoramic

Yesterday we visited the desert and people didn't seem to be very excited about it, I kind of went back and forth in my brain about what to put up today but in the end I figure I would give you yet another shot of Kauai and all it's glory. Get used to seeing the island folks because it will be my subject matter for a good long time! I still have shots from Rome, Venice, Arizona, Utah etc etc but this is all so new and exciting! This shot of the south shore of Kauai is once again a panoramic. I am really enjoying doing these because of the massive amount of detail you can preserve in your shots. Not every situation calls for it, but honestly this is probably my favorite pano I have done yet. Everything from the texture of the coastline which is near me to the mountains in the backdrop and the gorgeous clouds moving overhead. You even have a nice wave crashing into the rock face from the right. The beauty of this island is almost indescribable. Hopefully I can present enough through my camera to give you an idea thought. If you have the chance to view this on an actual computer screen and get in close there are tons of details in the mountains and the far shoreline with the palm trees. Enjoy!


August 19th, 2014 - Smoke on the Horizon

We polarize a bit from the last few photos and go from tropical paradise to baron desert with this shot of the Grand Canyon. I haven't been doing as much black and white lately but I really felt like this shot called for it. I guess I kind of go in phases sometimes in what I prefer. As is pretty noticeable in this shot compared to the wide pano you saw a while back is the forest fire along the north rim. I can't wait to go back to this area and photograph more than just from the byway that we drove around. I am sure there are just amazing things to be discovered. It was pretty hazy the day we drove through so seeing far in detail was a little tough but overall I think I like this shot.


August 18th, 2014 - An Evening Butterfly

I spent a good amount of my photographic time leading up to my move just wandering around in nature finding little creatures to photograph. This guy was not nearly as fond of me as some of the others and proved to be kind of hard to get a good shot of. I just loved the pattern on its wings and the little flower he is eating off of I took a macro shot also and is pretty cool looking too. Enjoy the little guy and hopefully a good start to everyones week!


August 17th, 2014 - Sunset Over Waimea Pier

You are getting back to back Hawaii photos this weekend. It is all so new and exciting! This shot was quite the story to take. Let me start off by saying the water looks so smooth due to me using a neutral density filter to slow down my shutter. The waves crashing were actually pretty good size and beautiful. When I arrived at this pier to take this photo there were about six police cars in the parking lot and when we went to walk to the beach were stopped and told that a criminal who had ran from them was in the water and they were waiting him out to come to shore. We never saw him come to shore. He eventually swam down the beach and out of sight for us and we were told by a police officer that he had been in the water for six hours! The guy must have been really good at treading water. As far as the photo goes I nearly dunked my beautiful D3x in the ocean taking it. They have what is called "rogue waves" that randomly come in that are much larger than the others and it nearly knocked me off my feet! The sky didn't quite end up how I had dreamed up this photo but in the end I think it came out as a pretty cool shot! Enjoy and remember you only have tonight to order your prints with 15% off using "loyal15" at checkout. Tomorrow the code will be no good, so get your prints tonight. Cheers.


August 16th, 2014 - Welcome to my New Home

So as I am sure all of you know from following me, I am officially moved to Kauai now. I'll be honest, it is pretty freaking great! I flew in Wednesday night and about 14 hours after I arrived jet lagged and all I went for a 5 mile costal hike with the wife to do some shooting. This is along the south shore and is called the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail. You get some wonderful costal cliff views and a great breeze for most of it which helps off set the sun beating down on you. You also get to watch some pretty wonderful waves like you can see off in the distance in this one come crashing into the coves and kick up some cool spray. I even got to see some wild sea turtles swimming around doing their thing. Not a bad way to spend my first day in my new home. Enjoy the shot, remember to share and keep giving me feedback! I thrive on it.


August 15th, 2014 - Dinner Date in Venice

So the fun thing about today's daily photo is that it was almost a joke of sorts. Not the try and make someone laugh kind but the I set my camera down on the table and just pointed it in the general direction of the light and pushed the shutter. I didn't focus it or do any settings, it was just me goofing off and it turned out to be what I think is a very creative photograph full of lots of interested colors, depths, textures and mood. This was taken on one of our last nights in Venice and Sara and I had sat down by the Grande Canal to eat some dinner and relax for a few. While we were waiting on service I snapped it. It was a nice happy accident. What do you guys think? Keeper?


August 14th, 2014 - Big Beautiful Rome

It has been a little while since we have visited Rome and if my memory serves most of those visits lately have been one way or another involving the Vatican. Well today I am giving you just a shot of good old fashion Rome. This isn't even a historic place, that I know of. It is just an interesting place where like six side stress all converge into one area, somehow shuffle about and find their next street without killing each other. I just liked the sense of "big" and the sense of "busy" in this phoo. The clouds are interesting and all the buildings pointing in slightly different directions adds a nice story for your eye to follow. I hope you enjoy the shot.


August 13th, 2014 - Goodbye Arkansas Goodbye My Friend

So as this is posting I am somewhere most likely near LAX, either leaving or soon to. It is only fitting though that we leave Arkansas today with one of the most wonderful people we knew there. This beautiful young lady is Jennipher and for the last two days I was in Jonesboro she played my taxi driver with no complaints what so ever. So I could get my motorcycle shipped out and get the rental vehicle dropped off. So yesterday afternoon after dropping off the rental vehicle I got her to let me take just some quick shots down next to the graffiti wall that my wife wanted me to take a photo of. Well I for one think they came our quite swell! Especially considering I didn't have any lighting, reflectors, flashes or anything. I just shot this with my D3x and an 85mm f1.4 Nikkor lens. She was beautiful all on her own I didn't need all the gear. If you ever get to know this lady she is truly one of the most giving and kind people you will ever have the luck to meet. Thanks for everything Jennipher and you all show her some love and leave her some feedback!


August 12th, 2014 - Fly Oh Dragonfly

Another macro shot of a little creature today. This is one of the seven hundred million that are flying around outside of my house now. Again just to fill some time I went out and took a few macros last night around the house. I had never really noticed before but dragonflies always look like they are smiling at you. Kinda creepy in a way. Trying to get as close as possible to these guys while not spooking them and having them fly off is a bit of a trick. I noticed this little branch sitting in the yard and noted that they would occasionally fly over and land on it for a minute before taking back off. So I basically went over and sat down on the ground and took a few shots of the stick by itself and got all my settings ready and just waited. Eventually I had a visitor come over and I snapped this. I love the texture and detail in its eyes if you can zoom in and see it. Pretty cool result. If you want the high resolution version check the website out. My last night in Arkansas so I will see you on the other side starting tomorrow!


August 11th, 2014 - Boredom Takes Over

So for the last couple of days I have been sitting in my house here in Arkansas which is now empty of everything but an air mattress and my camera gear. I leave Wednesday morning for Hawaii and I am super excited! In the mean time though there is lots of down time just sitting around and so I look for things to do to pass the time. In this case I decided to take a macro selfie, I know weird. But, I actually really like how it came out. I didn't take this with the intention of using it as a daily photo but sometimes nice surprises happen. I took this by putting my camera on a tripod with my macro lens and then wirelessly tethering it to my iPad so I could focus, change my settings and actually trigger the shot. This was done with no flashes, just the light coming through my back door as I looked out it as you can tell by the reflection in my eye. Kind of a fun experiment. I'll have something more interesting tomorrow, I just thought I would share!


August 10th, 2014 - The Long Journeys End

We continue our series from the canyons today with probably my favorite shot I got from Waterholes Canyon. This was the area that took us three hours to hike down to and it was very special indeed. About five minutes before you get to this you are walking through extremely tight areas where you and your gear barely fit through. You finally hop up this little ledge and you walk into this room. It is maybe seven feet wide by nine feet deep and it almost feels like a bubble of rock as it curves over your head. This was the point where we decided we could not go any further. There was a small ladder that someone had carried down there to allow you to attempt to crawl up that tube you see on the right hand side and continue on, but there was no way I was getting myself and my gear up it. I love this shot because of the different levels, shapes and tones of it. It is the same room at the same time and yet depending on where the light was reaching it created a much different look to the rock. As I have said many times, this place is awe inspiring. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Just a warning, this is the last week for the loyalty discount. If you have been wanting a print, order it this week. Use the code "loyal15" at checkout to get 15% off your entire order. Enjoy!


August 9th, 2014 - Something a Little Simpler

Yesterday we had a very busy scene with lots of editing and a bit creative. Today we swing a bit in the polar opposite direction and go with the simple and almost unedited. All I did to this photo was turn the vibrance up a touch and crop it. The vignetting is actually how the photo was taken because I metered the photo to hit just a touch underexposed on the little bit of sun spill over left on the horizon. I actuality took this shot months ago and did what I call "shelving it". Sometimes I have a hard time finding the interesting in a photo and it took me a while to appreciate the simplicity of this. This was taken probably about 45 minutes after the sun had set. I really just liked the calmness of it all. I also really liked the silhouetting of the tree line and the silos on the horizon. You guys will have to let me know what you think.


August 8th, 2014 - A Little Friday Fun

So it has been a little while since I have had a full blown fun and artistic HDR daily photo. Even though I love these sometimes I have started moving a little bit away from them for the more realistic and true to how it looked shots you have been seeing as of late. I know I have shown you tons of photos form St. Marks Square but honestly look at it! The place just gave me one good shot after another. I actually took this while sitting on the side of the square waiting for it to get dark and the dancing and such to start. But there was a few minutes before it got dark when the lights in the square came on and I still had a nice twilight sky. I also loved the cloud movement in this photo and the textures of the ground. Add in ally he leading lines and I think it makes for a darn good shot. Do you agree? Leave me some feedback and if you dig it make sure to share with your friends. Also available for print with your 15% off code "loyal15" on the website still.


August 7th, 2014 - Hungry Little Fella

I came upon this little guy a couple weeks back while just wandering around the pond behind my house doing a little macro work. Lovely thing about macro that you don't have to travel far to find interesting things. He was a busy little guy flying from flower to flower and I got a few shots of him but this one I liked because you can really get a sense for what he is doing. You can see lots of details in his eyes and legs too. It is fun trying to capture that little moment with small creatures like this that are always on the move and don't stay in one spot long. Hopefully you enjoy Mr. Bee. Off to Memphis tomorrow night to take the wife to the airport for her flight to Hawaii for the move. Hopefully I will get to do some shooting in the city while I am there.


August 6th, 2014 - A Fun Change of Pace

As you all well know I enjoy trying to master the art of photography from every angle. I don't do a ton of work like this but I really do enjoy it. This was a shoot I did yesterday for the Jonesboro Healthcare Clinic / Sublime. These girls were gorgeous and I think had fun for the most part. They made my job very easy and I think the results came out pretty good. They also got to be my last official shoot for Bens Viewfinder with Arkansas as my home. Thanks ladies!


August 5th, 2014 - The Great Hoopi Falls

So if you remember not too horribly long ago I posted a photo from the bottom of this waterfall. Well today you get an idea of what the whole landscape looked like. Until the Arizona hike to Waterholes Canyon this was the hardest hike for photos I had done. Extremely muddy and at some points descending nearly vertically down forest walls while hanging from vines to support you. Man was it worth it. I plan to hike back here after the move and shoot this area again at a different time of day with some other lenses and filters because if you remember I had forgotten my gear on this trip and had to use a rental. Either way that little 5d Mark III did a pretty stand up job and I love how this shot came out in the end. It is truly breathtaking place to see. Leave me some feedback and remember I truly appreciate when you share my work with your family and friends and invite them to follow along.


August 4th, 2014 - The Super Pano!

Today I give you my largest and most difficult panoramic as of yet. This is actually six separate shots that I shot vertically and stitched together to create this super wide panoramic of the gorgeous pond at my mother in laws house. This is the same pond if you notice that produced that tree shot I posted last week. I get a weird kick out of putting these together because in this case this ends up being a 100 megapixel photo which is just an absurd amount of resolution. If you view this at full size you can zoom in and read the text on the life preserver ring on the dock. I don't have a lot of practical use for shooting this type of work but if you ever decide you want to blow it up to the size of a wall you can do that! I love how it all came out though. Enjoy!


August 3rd, 2014 - Pheonix Rising

We venture back into canyon world today. This shot from Waterholes Canyon which I lovingly call "Phoenix Rising" was taken on our last day in Page. You kind of have to use your creative mind a bit to picture it how I saw it. My wife said it reminded her more of an angel. To me I saw the kind of more bird like head at the top and the walls themselves as kind of the fiery wings crawling out from the body. Whatever way you take it, it is pretty awesome the shapes that mother nature manages to put together. This also gives you a good sense of how tight some of the hiking gets down there. We actually had to keep walking through that to get to the end of the canyon. Also gives you an idea of how if a flash flood happened you would be righteously screwed! Enjoy the shot, remember to always give your feedback and to share. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the craziness.


August 2nd, 2014 - The Luna Moth

Last night my wife came home from work for about an hour while she had a little down time to help work on getting things ready for the move. When she had to leave to go back to work I hear her yell at me from the garage. "Get your camera!" So I did just that and man am I glad I listened. This if you weren't sure what it is, is a Luna Moth. Normally you would think that a moth is a moth. But these guys are kind of rare. Their average life spans are only about a week and they tend to only spawn once a year depending on where they are. (Yes I have wikipedia!). I got a few pictures from a few angles but this one is my favorite. You don't get to see his cool wings but I love the antennas and the details in its eyes. Macro photography is so cool! Don't you guys think? Let me know. Don't forget to utilize that 15% off I have going on for you guys right now with the coupon code "loyal15". Cheers!


August 1st, 2014 - A Fitting Photo Today

So as I write this my beautiful 2013 Jeep is being loaded on the back of a truck to get shipped off to Kauai. So I thought we would share an older Jeep today. I love old rusty things and I have a soft spots for Jeeps of any kind. This was actually shot at my mother in laws house and I just really enjoyed how the lighting was and the way it comes through the windows and from under the body of the car. I normally photograph entire vehicles or create crazy angles or something but for this I thought I would try something a bit different and really focus on the iconic CJ front end. I hope you enjoy the shot.


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