December 2014 - Bens Viewfinder

December 31, 2014 - A Walk in the Park

Reporting from Yosemite again today as I take my first full day of hiking and photographing this gorgeous place. I thought I would share an image great contrast to what I am experiencing. This shot of central park in NYC has some of the same characteristics I enjoyed in all of those photos. The meeting of nature and city. I loved how the trees form a nice canopy over the area and I really enjoy how the trees are in transition to losing their leaves so you get toms nice views of the tree trunks. Enjoy and tomorrow I will be heading out of Yosemite and back towards the California coast to head north.


December 30, 2014 - A Moment to Yourself

Today I am wandering around Yosemite National Park enjoying the amazing gorgeous views and fresh air. Hopefully getting some great photographs to share with all of you. I share with you today a photograph taken from atop Sleeping Giant mountain back in Kauai. I did a wider angle photograph of this bench that I posted a couple months back that was more focused on the area around the bench that you get to see. This I wanted to kind of give an artsy twist and focus more on the solidarity you get to experience and give you a different perspective. Enjoy and we will see you again tomorrow from California!


December 29th, 2014 - Gondola Morning

We head back to Venice today because I thought it made sense to escape the islands a bit since I am getting on a plane in a few hours to travel. I have been doing a lot of planning the last couple days and if things all work out I will be seeing some seriously beautiful places and hopefully bringing them to you. I am going to try and set up my daily posts to go up on Facebook ahead of time but my website has to be done manually. I am going to try and do it myself on the road but I have my wife ready to do it as a backup if needed. So hopefully there won't be any interruptions in your daily dose of my world. I really liked the contrast of this image both actually and figuratively. The contrast of the clear bright sky to the cluttered dark gondolas and water. I also enjoy the lamp posts that are around. I took this very early in the morning before all the hustle and bustle of the city had started. About an hour after this most of these are out on the water doing their thing. Enjoy the shot and please continue to like, comment and share while I am on the road. I will check in often and give you some updated. Thanks everyone!


December 28th, 2014 - Deep Kauai Forest

So here is a part of Kauai you won't see everyday. This extremely thick forest is very hard to get to here. I am not completely sure what this area is called but I believe it is part of the Waialeale river system. This took over an hour of driving through some of the roughest road I have ever driven and then another hour of hiking on what can not actually be described as a trail to see this. You actually have to follow ribbons tied on to trees to mark your path as you climb through some of the muddiest and wettest forest you can imagine. It was so thick that I actually had to turn back due to not having the proper gear with me to manage the hike. As you can tell by this shot though, the views are unlike anything you can find easily. Seeing this is what I always imagined the world would look like if it was untouched by humans. The feeling of being so disconnected is extremely nice. I love the water flowing through all over and then the big mossy covered tree limb going across the top of the image. Hopefully you enjoy the shot and had a great weekend with your family. Tomorrow starts my trip and also the beginning of trying to manage my posts while on the road. I will set up everything I can ahead of time but I apologize ahead of time if something is a little late getting posted. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!


December 27th, 2014 - Looking Over Kauai

A week ago my wife and I went for a lovely hike with some new friends up the Kuilau trail. This is a hike that I had done part of before but we actually hike the entire thing this time. The weather was much nicer to me on this hike and as you can see when you get near the top the views are just astonishing. While I was standing here taking this photo I had a moment when I stopped and had a laugh at the fact that it was five days before Christmas and I was standing on a mountain in shorts photos. I enjoy the weather here a lot! You are looking towards the middle of the island here where no one lives and it is pristine rain forest with some of the most beautiful waterfalls you have ever seen. I love that this land is almost all protected and that we won't be seeing condos or anything being built into this view. You almost never get an unobstructed view of these mountains. It is some of the rainiest spots on Earth. I think the clouds add some nice character to any photo though. I hope you are all having a great weekend, I am trying to get some editing done today so I have everything ready for this upcoming trip.


December 26th, 2014 - Hard at Work

After a weird computer blip it appears my text from yesterdays daily photo was accidentally posted with todays. I am not quite sure why it happened. It basically said I hope you are all enjoying a relaxing extended weekend with your family and friends. I share with you today a simple but beautiful shot of a bee hard at work gathering pollen from these flowers. I love the angle and the layers of this photo as you work backwards through the flowers and plants. A good sense of depth with this shot. Today marks my last semi relaxing day of the week, tomorrow packing and check lists start for the big trip. Have a great weekend all!


December 25th, 2014 - Merry Christmas Friends

Merry Christmas my friends! I hope everyone is having an awesome holiday with friends, family and loved ones. This year has been quite different and honestly when you live somewhere for the first time that isn't cold on Christmas your internal clock gets a bit messed up. I mulled over which photo I wanted to share with you today and really it came down to Christmas being a holiday that always made me grateful for what I have. I am grateful for a great many things, when it comes to photography though it is moments like this image that make me incredibly grateful. I just love how the sand is dancing through the light shaft in this, really gives that fire type look to the scene. Few things I have witnessed in this world are as beautiful as Antelope Canyon. Enjoy the shot and your Christmas. From my family to yours thank you for all your support this year.


December 24th, 2014 - The Spanish Steps

We change it up from Hawaii life today to visit Rome, Italy again. This beautiful landmark is called the Spanish Steps. These stairs were built in the 1700's to bring together the Spanish embassy and the church which sits at the top of the stairs. Usually these steps are pretty packed but I was able to get there nice and early in the morning before the crowds had gotten very big. I loved walking around Rome, so much to see and so much history. I hope you are all having a great Christmas Eve. If you are traveling please be safe. Cheers!


December 23rd, 2014 - A Beautiful Trail

We revisit the beautiful Kuilau trail today. I have actually hiked this trail twice now and I can't wait to go back for a third. It is a great mix of beautiful forest, open landscape views and not overly intense hiking. This day we went was a little later in the afternoon and the sun was working towards the mountains out beyond those trees. I loved the way it was filtering through to the trees but not so overly intense that it washed out the photo. Creates a great contrast of dark to light. I am working on getting prepped for this big west coast trip, I am hoping to get some editing done of some older stuff to change things up a bit while I am gone. Going to be a busy next 6 days for me. Have a great one all!


December 22nd, 2014 - Crowded Palm Trees

We do something different today with a shot of some palm trees I ran into on a hike in some pretty deep woods here on Kauai. I was having one of my artistic moments when I took this. These trees seemed very out of place during this hike. I liked how crowded together they were and how they kind of seemed to create an interesting U shape around me. I just thought a slightly different angle would be interesting for this. I haven't been doing a lot of black and white work as of late but I thought it showed a nice contrast in the image. Going to be a short post today, hopefully you enjoy the shot and have a great start to your week.


December 21st, 2014 - Kauai North Shore

I know we have visited the north shore a lot this week but look at it? Why wouldn't we? This extremely large panoramic was a shot I took earlier this week and is the largest photograph I have ever taken. The actual final flattened image is over 150 megabytes big. Considering most of my photos are about 20 or maybe 30, this is huge. If you were to zoom in on this shot you can actually see a guy pretty clearly stand up paddle boarding in the bay below. As I have mentioned with panoramic shots I have done in the past, these details matter very little to the everyday follower of the photographs I post, but in the case of printing in large format all these details are awesome. I actually have a massive metal print coming this week of my New York City skyline that is nearly seven feet long and all the details will really start to shine there. What is awesome about this view you see here and with a lot of amazing views on this island is that anyone can see them. You literally just pull over and get out of your car. I love the fact that the island has incorporated so many places to view the incredible beauty of the island so easily. I love how the clouds are wrapping around the mountains in the distance. Enjoy the shot, keep leaving me feedback and sharing with your friends. Your support is greatly appreciated.


December 20th, 2014 - Insanity at its Best

We are back on the north shore today and some more fun with the awesome waves that we had last week. I can't tell you what beach this is due to it being a local surf spot and the surfers are not big fans of their favorite spots being broadcast. I actually had a life guard come up to me and give me a bit of a hard time for taking photographs. I always hope to showcase the beauty of things, never exploit them. Now as far as this is considered these guys who were surfing these waves were awesome. I must have watched them drop in on twenty or so waves and I only saw one really bite it hard. You definitely have to have some serious guts to surf some of the waves around here. I hope to some day learn how to surf, I don't know if I will ever do anything like this though. Enjoy and have a great weekend.


December 19th, 2014 - Going to Extremes

Today's daily photo kind of goes hand in hand with yesterdays. When we drove out to the hike a couple days ago we had to do some pretty extreme driving. On our way back I decided I wanted to catch a shot of my Jeep doing what it loves to do. So I got out on the other side of this small river crossing and waded across with my camera and then had the wife bring it through. I thought I would try and shoot a super fast shutter and give you a nice shot of the action of the water spraying up. I have been a sports car fan my entire life and never planned to even own an SUV, but after having this Jeep I am so very in love. I still want a sports car but this thing is staying in the family. Enjoy the shot and happy Friday to all. Hopefully you all have awesome plans for the weekend. I will be back out hiking tomorrow for mine. Thanks for taking part!


December 18th, 2014 - The Deep Forests of Kauai

So today we venture extremely deep into the wilds of Kauai. So deep in fact that I honestly don't know the name of this river, nor can I find it on a map. I can tell you that you have to drive a road to the very end at which point a very vague dirt road takes over that only the most serious of four wheel drives can drive down. It took me nearly an hour of crawling through the dense woods to get back to the insane hiking area. I know I am being very specific but honestly I have no clue where I really was. What I can tell you is I have never crawled through such thick forest in my entire life. I had mud on me from head to toe, my camera gear was not a huge fan of this hike. I know there is a lot more to it than I did, but I simply ran out of time and really didn't bring the proper stuff to get up the rest of the mountain with my photography gear. I got a couple of beautiful photographs though and this is one of them. What do you think? Worth tearing up my beautiful Jeep for?


December 17th, 2014 - Meet the Nene

Today my friends I introduce you to something you can only see on Kauai. This bird is called a Nene. It is kind of like a fancy looking goose. But as you can tell by its feathers it is a beautiful looking bird. I took a few photographs of this guy and he was shockingly not shy at all. Even though this isn't the best composed shot I have ever taken I just loved how it showcased the feathers and design the Nene had. These beautiful birds actually almost went extinct during the 1900's and are now very protected on the island. I am off to do some hiking today I think and maybe some Hobbit later. I hope you enjoy your Wednesday as much as I will!


December 16th, 2014 - Ocean Beauty

Another day, another amazing show put on by this beautiful island. I was up on the north shore yesterday photographing some of the awesome big waves this time of year. They were not the largest we get here but I saw quite a few twenty footers. This however is not a twenty foot wave. Although this wave did give just a sweet barrel from my angle on the beach. Shockingly photographing a wave curling like this is tougher than it would seem when you are on land. I truly had never really witnessed the power of the ocean like this before. Seeing these monster waves crashing in with such fury was awe inspiring. Then watching as guys dropped in and surfed them was just baffling to the brain. What is a little different about this shot for me is shooting at extremely high speed. This was photographed at 1/2000th of a second. Fast enough to freeze the water droplets as they were blowing through the air. I think this is quite the awesome shot. You agree? Comment and make sure to share with your friends and invite them follow along.


December 15th, 2014 - A Moment Together

We sit lakeside today in Central Park in New York City today with what I assume are a lovely couple enjoying the moment. It isn't often I take photos of unsuspecting people but there are times that moments just write themselves. I liked the mashup of beautiful nature with the trees framing this and the big buildings with the architecture across the lake. Add in what some people would call the human element and I think that although not the most eye popping photo, you have a beautiful photograph none the less. Short post today, have a great Monday everyone!


December 14th, 2014 - Hanamaulu Bay Sunrise

So if you saw the shot of the rainbow yesterday I mentioned I photographed it after chasing a sunrise. This would be it. It is not the most amazing sunrise ever but I loved how the bay looked and the nice highlights the sun last in the upper clouds and the water. This is Hanamaulu Bay which is near our biggest city on the island Lihue. If you remember a couple of months back I took some photos at a beautiful landing with a huge stone breaker wall called Ahukini Landing. This photo was taken from the bay across the way from it. You can see the small pillar on the left hand side of the right land mass, it is the end of the stone wall breaker. I really loved the multiple laters of clouds, it resulted in the not so normal sunrise being ruined though, because about five minutes after this rain clouds moved in and it was over. I also loved the way the water looks. Enjoy the shot, leave me some feedback and let me know what you think. Worth going down and taking it?


December 13th, 2014 - Over the Rainbow

So this was my morning. Yep. I took this just a few hours ago. My sleep schedule is so far off whack that I was actually up until 11am today and am just going to sleep. The big advantage of being up all night though is that you can go out and get a nice sunrise. I'll have that photo for you soon. What was great was after going down to the coast for the sunrise as we drove back up the mountain to our home a rain shower swept across the coast into the valleys here as the sun was coming out and put up about four awesome rainbows. This is the best shot I got of one. I have never actually seen so much of a rainbow before. It is just insane how beautiful this island is. Hope you are all planning your next vacation, enjoy this gorgeous rainbow and have a great Saturday!


December 12th, 2014 - Stairway To Tybee

It has been nearly two weeks since I have shared a black and white photo. Which is quite a while for me. I love black and white photography, I just simply don't force images to happen. I really just let them happen how they happen. I was mentioning the other day with a shot of Arizona how it was six months old well this shot was taken almost a year and a half ago. As I mentioned before I back stock photos. Sometimes I just reach further back if I am not feeling any of my newer stuff. I am actually surprised I didn't publish this one though before. I think it is really cool. This staircase, which is very long I promise you, leads up a very large lighthouse on Tybee Island in Georgia. If you want to see the whole lighthouse check out my "Subjects" area in my portfolio on my website. Enjoy and we will see you tomorrow!


December 11th, 2014 - NYC Skyline Daytime

We are going to make things a little simpler today but still beautiful. I have shared lots of photos of this beautiful skyline at night, but I actually took a few during the day. I really think the city just came to life at night all lit up but as some would say; "The beauty is in the details." Which are much easier to see during the day. I love the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the One World Trade Center. Truly an incredible skyline. The wife and I are already talking about a return trip to give the city a more thorough photo expedition. I'll keep it short today for a change and tell you all thank you for following along. I really appreciate every one of you.


December 10th, 2014 - Flower Power!

Today we have a stark contrast in many ways to yesterdays daily photo, and not just because one is landscape and one is flowers. The big contrast here yet to me the similarity is the effort and result of the photograph. One took planning and planes and rental cars. The other took me about three minutes of wandering around my back yard with a camera. The result in my eyes are two beautiful photographs to look at and I personally would hang on my wall. I see a lot of photographers or aspiring photographers complain about their lack of fancy cameras and lack of living in an idle location. But as a person who has lived in some of the most boring landscape (never ending rice fields in Arkansas) and shot with super cheap film cameras from the 1980's; but now lives in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I shoot with some of the nicest gear a guy could be lucky enough to have; I have one very real conclusion. The best photos can be made under any circumstances. The best part is you don't have to be a naturally born perfect artist. I do agree that having an "eye" for art is important. But I honestly believe 90% of photography can be learned. 5% is experience and the other 5% is having a natural knack for it. Two days of extremely long posts with the photos, I guess I am feeling chatty as of late. Enjoy the shot!


December 9th, 2014 - Overlooking Arizona

So today we are going to talk a bit about my process. We are going to do that with this photo I shot from Arizona. Now I took this photograph on June 11th, 2014. Nearly six months ago give a couple days. While I was editing it the other day I had my wife give me a quick proof, which I have to do for all my work due to being color blind, and her first response was; "Why haven't you published this yet?" The way I work is I go somewhere and shoot hundreds, sometimes thousands of photographs and I get home and download them all on my computer. I then separate and edit out my first batch of photographs, which are usually my favorites and then I shelf the rest. I will occasionally go back to my "RAWs" folder and scroll through and see if something new jumps out to me. I will repeat this process quite a few times and more often than not I can keep pulling from the coffers for a considerable time. I am absolutely my worst critic, as most artists are. This results in me not seeing things with fair eyes after a while. So putting them in back stock and coming back allows me to have fresh eyes. This one just happened to jump out to me this week. I hope you enjoy it as I do. The name of this lake is Lake Powell and it is just outside of Page, Arizona. There is a beautiful overlook you can drive out to and watch the sunset, which was off to my left. But the way the sun was kissing the left sides of all the mountains and canyons just made for a very nice set up. A small treat if you want to look closer, there are messages written in rocks people have stacked up on the bottom left of the shot. Thanks for reading this far if you have no this super long post today. Enjoy.


December 8th, 2014 - The Humble Bee

We visit my own back yard today. With being sick lately (which I am nearly fully recovered from), my sleep schedule is truly messed up. This has resulted in me being up in the mornings. So yesterday morning I was sitting on my couch and noticing the flowers opening as the sun came up out my living room window and decided to take my camera and just snap a few quick shots. I had a few fun visitors and this was my favorite shot. I really liked the angle that the bee was facing when i took the shot and he seemed so hard at work getting its food. What was cool to me was the bright harsh highlights the sun cast on the flowers but there was a cool shadow cast over most of the flower the bee is on except the far left edge. It created something I love most in photography which is beautiful contrast. Hopefully you enjoy my little friend as I did and your weeks are getting off to a great start. Cheers!


December 7th, 2014 - Framing Beauty

Todays daily photo is one that I think is pretty freaking awesome. I shot this while on my hike last week and it is my favorite of the shots I got. Something about the way the composition of this worked out just really worked out well I think. I love the trees framing in the valley below and the beautiful highlights on the plants on the ground. If you are viewing it on a nice big screen you can also see the beautiful fog set in down below in the valley and the beautiful sun shafts casting out of the clouds in the distance. I am also a huge sucker for contrast and with the sun shining peaking through I got some great shadows. I like a lot of the photos I take but rarely do I really really enjoy one. I hope you like it as much as I do. Leave me some feedback and let me know what you think. Remember to keep sharing and inviting people to follow along too! Thanks everyone, hope your weekend went well.


December 6th, 2014 - A Very Interesting Flower

We take a look at what I think is a very interesting flower today. I shot this while on my hike last week and what really stuck out to me was the interesting wheel type design the flower buds appeared in. These are very small, each flower bud is about half the size of a pea. What else interested me is how many flower buds there are. The wife is extremely fond of this photo and for once I partially agree with her. I enjoy this pretty well. I am loving shooting with my new lens and I think it is producing some really clean and nice images. Short blurb today with the shot, I hope you enjoy it though and I will have a shot tomorrow for you I really really enjoy so tune in. Have a great Saturday!


December 5th, 2014 - Time Square 2.0

So since you guys seemed to enjoy the first shot of Time Square I shared a couple weeks ago I bring you another one today.  Again it is not one of the most technically interesting photos but the subject matter I think tells a pretty interesting story. Definitely share some insight into the areas in which marketing seems to target. Young, athletic, good looking... etc etc. A couple things I find humorous. First the girl in the underwear rocking the beanie hat. Not quite sure what style statement that makes but I find it amusing because it is probably something I would do while in my underwear haha. Second is the couple in the foreground on the bottom left where the girl looks completely not happy at all while the guy is looking at her like "awe crap I messed up didn't I?" :-) I love street photography. I don't do a lot of it but the roll of the dice kind of feel it has to it is fun. You just never know what you will end up with. Enjoy the shot and I hope you are all having an awesome Friday. Have an awesome weekend and we will see you again tomorrow!


December 4th, 2014 - An Evening Gondola Ride

I thought it might be nice today to change things up a bit and head back to beautiful Venice. On my second to last day there I had gone out for an evening stroll with my camera just to capture a few snap shots as the wife and I walked around. Per usual there were gondolas out giving nice sunset rides through the canals and I saw this one coming up the one I was walking down and noticed these ladies enjoying some ice cream while on their ride and just thought it seemed like a nice moment to capture. Strangely enough I didn't experience a ride in a gondola while I was there, although I wasn't extremely interested in it either. I really enjoyed walking around this beautiful place though. Enjoy the shot and have a great rest of your Thursday!


December 3rd, 2014 - Some Neutral Density Action

We revisit Queens Bath today with a shot I am not overly excited about. Sometimes when I edit a photo or have it sitting around long enough they will sometimes wear on me or I start getting too overly critical of them. Sara keeps saying she really enjoys this shot and I should share it though so today I am. The water you see was actually crashing in at a pretty good rate but using that wonderful tool I have mentioned before called a variable neutral density filter I was able to limit the light coming into the camera and slow down my shutter and in doing so smooth out the water and make it look more like a calm serine scene. I loved this area and really want to hike back there and do some more shots sometime. The thing I think bothered me about this shot was its two toned feel to it. Mostly dominated by the black dark rocks and the color of the sky and water. So you guys decide, is this a keeper? Let me know and have a great rest of your day.


December 2nd, 2014 - A Happy Accident

We revisit glass beach today and really what happened to be a pretty awesome accident. I had showed up early for my photo session last week because it was a new location and I wanted to scout out some spots on the beach and get an idea of the light I was going to be working with. While I was walking around taking some test shots this nice family showed up to take in the beauty of the beach and the awesome glass. I don't know what it was about this but I just happened to snap a shot of them and for some reason I really enjoyed it. The mother and son crouched down looking at the glass and the cool umbrella she had over them just made for what I think was a pretty cool moment. Mix in the obviously beautiful beach scene and you have a shot I think it pretty nice. It isn't often I share shots of random people but I didn't really feel like any of them were easily identifiable and I liked the shot so much I thought it was worth sharing. What do you think? Maybe some friends and family can come visit and we can share some of these times for ourselves!


December 1st, 2014 - A Very Balanced Flower

I bring you another shot from the Kuilau trail today, this one obviously being a macro shot of a flower. It is rare that I take macro shots that are planned as black and whites but this flower didn't have the normal vibrant set up and the nice dark background vs the bright lighter flower made me really want to showcase the contrast. The biggest thing that drew me to this flower was the balance of the whole thing. If you look at the leaves and the flower buds they counter balance their other sides really well. I shot this with my new Zeiss lens and have been doing a lot of work with it lately. I am really loving it and my priority of getting some more Zeiss glass is really moving up my list. I hope everyones week is getting off to a good start. It is crazy it is December already. I hope you all have a great holidays!


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