July 2014 - Bens Viewfinder

July 31st, 2014 - A Calm Venice Afternoon

Usually when you take a photo there is one thing you can boil down to being the reason you took the shot. Whether it be a cool flower, an interesting building or a nice texture. It could be many of reasons. When it came to this photo I simply just enjoyed the scene and I don't think there is one singular reason I enjoyed it. I love the brick and textures on the left and right, I like the older boat styles that line the sides of the canal. I enjoy how calm and serine the water is and the reflections that it is casting back up and I love the depth to the shot and even the slightly abandon feeling you get with it because there are not a bunch of people around. It is just one of those times to me that the whole scene just seemed to work well together. I hope you agree and give me some feedback on this calm photo of Venice.


July 30th, 2014 - Sunset Over Arizona

Just outside of Page, Arizona if you head west there is a huge lake called Lake Powell. If you are driving on highway 89 after you cross over the dam there is a huge overlook park that you can drive up and look down over the valley and a large portion of this beautiful lake. It is also a great place to see the sun set on the other side. What was surprising was how windy it was when we went up there. When I set up to shoot the sunset I thought it was going to be one of the coolest sunsets I had seen in a good while. Unfortunately the clouds thickened up and got pretty dark so I didn't get quite what I had imagined but I really liked the light shafts that the scene produced. Such a beautiful place, go see it!


July 29th, 2014 - The Vibrant Web Weaver

Today we look at another beautiful spider that I discovered while on one of my macro adventures at a local park here in Arkansas. I of course have no clue what kind of spider it is but I am sure one of my very knowledgeable followers will let us know. I just loved the long legs on this guy and the vibrant colors on it's body and also the little hairs that come off the legs. I am a sucker for details. At first glance you are probably curious what those semi translucent bubbles on it's underside are. They are actually the points where the legs are connecting to its body. As with a lot of the macro stuff I do this guy was really no bigger than a nickle so he wasn't very scary. Sorry to my friends who are not fans of the creepy crawlers but I love finding the beauty in these types of things. Enjoy, comment and as always share! Thanks all.


July 28th, 2014 - The Room of the Gods

How about we venture back to Rome today and to the Vatican museum. I don't actually know if they have name for this room but I called it "The Room of the Gods". I loved everything about this room. The cool intricate ceiling and the statues of the different gods and even the little arch over the door above me is cool looking. Then add in the skylight giving the room a nice ambient glow and you have what I think is a pretty cool photo. The sad part is that this place is just packed with people all the time so shooting a full room view is nearly impossible without a hundred tourists in your shot. Still pretty amazing to see. Enjoy!


July 27th, 2014 - The Lone Pond Tree

Sara and I traveled up to her Mom's house this weekend to visit and yesterday she took us around the property and showed me the more interesting things they had sitting around. One of those was this awesome little pond in the middle of their land and in that pond was this lone tree reaching out of the water. I immediately loved this thing and I shot it from quite a few angles. I think it would have looked even more amazing if the wind hadn't been blowing and the water would have glassed up but in the end I went across the pond and shot back at this with my 70-200 and zoomed all the way in to 185mm to compress the scene. I am happy with how it came out. What do you guys think? Leave me some feedback and remember to share away. Also remember to set to get notifications from my Facebook page to make sure you are getting the daily photo every day. Cheers!


July 26th, 2014 - Hungry Hungry Hip...Umm...Bird

So a few days back I just randomly decided to grab my camera and wander around my house a bit looking for interesting things to macro. That is the lovely part about macro, you don't have to travel to an exotic destination to get cool photos. Down behind our house we have a little pond and this little birdhouse sits at the edge of it. So I turned around and saw this little guy sitting up there and thought he had a little grass or something in his beak, maybe building a nest or something. Turns out when I got it on the computer that he has a bug of some sort and that must be dinner! Enjoy the shot and I will have some new blogs for you this upcoming week.


July 25th, 2014 - Hockey Night 2.0

If you remember a while back ago I got to go photograph my first hockey game and I had an absolute blast doing it. Last night they invited me back and this time I got to shoot most of the game without the glass in front of me. The guys were extremely nice and accommodating to me when I am sure I was just in their way. It is definitely a learning process when shooting something so fast paced. Also starting to learn where my cameras limits are. My D3x is designed for fine art and high resolution photography. Nikon has the D4s for high speed and high ISO work. Overall I have a boat load of photos to go through and get put together. Check out the website at www.BensViewfinder.com over the next few days under the Hockey Night 2.0 gallery and I'll be uploading them as I finish them. Thanks again Memphis City Hitmen, it was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy the shots!


July 24th, 2014 - The Zion Bypass

We venture back to Utah today and Zion National Park to show you this beautiful scene of the bypass you can use to drive through the park. You actually don't even have to move more then 10 feet from your car to see these amazing scenes in this place. As you can see the road weaves down the mountain from left to right you get an idea of how massive and interesting of a drive it can be. I am itching so bad to go back to this area and spend a few weeks just really getting into some of the great scenes around this Arizona / Utah area and get some more shots. I am hoping I can plan a trip back next year with some more time. Until then enjoy this and tomorrow you will most likely be getting some sport shots because I am off shooting a hockey game this evening!


July 23rd, 2014 - Lord of the Fly!

Lately I have really been getting into doing a lot more macro photography because I find it extremely interesting to take the things you wouldn't really ever notice in your day to day lives and show you how cool those little things are. This is just a common house fly. He was buzzing around out behind my house so I sat down next to a bit of concrete and with some patience I finally got him to hold still long enough to shoot this. Normally you think of flies as an annoyance but in a way I think they are kind of cool looking with their interesting colored bodies and those crazy pitted eyes. I hope you can find the interest in in like I can, I have a bunch more macro stuff I will be rotating in in the next couple weeks. Enjoy!


July 22nd, 2014 - The Fishing Pond

So I drive out a few evenings ago to try and scout out a good location to do a long exposure night shot and on my way back I drove by this beautiful pond. I didn't want to trespass on the land so I stood on the side of the road and tried to get a few shots. Soon after a gentleman in a truck stopped (at which point I thought I was going to get yelled at), and a very nice guy just asked what I was doing and was very interested in who I was and what I did. He said it was his dads pond and I gave him a business card and told him to check the website this week and if anything came out I would post it. After seeming like I had consent to photograph I moved in a little closer and got nice and low to the ground to capture this shot. It was a pretty clear sky so I really wanted to go for the light vs dark of the scene and embrace it. How did I do?


July 21st, 2014 - Looking to the Light

We are back in the depths of Antelope Canyon today and a slightly different angle then I have been showing you so far. When you see this photo you would think that we had to descend down into a deep dave but in reality you actually just walk from down in a dried up riverbed. I love that this kind of shows you the light change between where I am standing to the top of the canyon. It is tough shooting here with the fax that you are being herded through the canyons so fast and trying to set up a tripod and in this case shoot a 13 second exposure. You really only get one, maybe two shots at each composition if you are lucky before you have to move. Luckily most of my shots have been coming out pretty sweet from the canyon though. Enjoy, comment and share!


July 20th, 2014 - Beautiful Symmetry

We venture back to Venice today for what I can say was almost a forgotten photo! I absolutely love how this photo came out, so much so I was sure I had published it months ago when I processed it. Turns out I only thought I had and it has been sitting in my backup folder ever since. The good news is I realized my mistake and today you get to see one of my favorite photos I have ever taken. This shot taken at St. Marks Square just as the sun crested the roof of the square which cast those beautiful shadows off of the pillars on the right. I love the contrast, depth and symmetry that all came together to create this. Also another case where having a good wide angle lens is a priceless tool in your arsenal. This angle could not have been taken without it. Hopefully you love this photo as much as I do, as always let me hear what you think! Remember to share if you love the work and spread the word. Thanks!


July 19th, 2014 - Countdown to Home Begins!

My plane ticket has been officially booked for my move to Kauai. I am now 29 days away from this being my backyard. Well kind of. I am going to be living on the east shore of the island and this is the north shore, but it isn't that big of an island! The island offers so many different kinds of beaches from big surf to coral reefs and everything in between. I can't believe this is going to be my every day scenery soon. Editing photos from here makes me feel better and reminds me why we are going through all the trouble to move there. I hope you guys enjoy the shot, you will be getting a lot more of Hawaii soon so get used to it.


July 18th, 2014 - Yup I Did Some Portraits

Obviously if you follow me you know that I don't do a ton of portrait work. I enjoy doing it, but my passions mostly lie in nature, landscapes and fine art. When you have someone as easy to work with as Brianne talk about wanting to do a modeling shoot with a bike I got pretty excited. This is actually my bike, which is soon to be sold hopefully. I had this vision of photographing in the street and trying to get the "down the road" feel to the shot. It was tough fighting with traffic and lights but in the end I think it came out awesome. I didn't nearly get any non keepers from the shoot. Poor girl was getting eaten up by mosquitoes at the end though. She was a trooper though. Show her some love and tell her how gorgeous she looks and if you live in the area you still got a month before I gone so I can still squeeze in a session!


July 17th, 2014 - The Patient Butterfly

Like yesterday today's daily photo is a second shot from a same scene. The same way I felt the Colosseum had multiple shots worth producing, I felt this little guy did too. If you saw my other shot it was very back lit and black and white and really showed off the pattern in its wings. This shot I really feel is much more calm and shows off the entire butterfly. Not to mention how incredibly patient this guy was while I was photographing him and he just didn't mind a bit. Really two very different images of the same butterfly but both I feel are keepers. I hope you agree!


July 16th, 2014 - Old Meets New at The Colosseum

So today's daily photo might look slightly familiar to you. But in reality it is a bit different. I took two main scene set ups when I photographed the Colosseum this night and one was with the moon in it, which you have already seen and then there was this one where I wanted to include some of the modern day traffic coming through at night in front of such an ancient structure. As I am sure I have mentioned the Colosseum is something I have wanted to see my whole life, so when I got the chance to photograph it I promise I took a lot of different views! I really love this one and the play of modern day society vs ancient Roman times. I hope you do too, let me know and don't forget to keep sharing!


July 15th, 2014 - Infrared Dabbling

We try a little experiment today. I spend as much of my time learning photography as much as I do producing it. Recently I watched an entire webinar on infrared photography and I really enjoyed the uniqueness and style that it offered. I know for the purest it is way too far out of the box but I love things that are different so I gave it a go. What is nice is that I wasn't horribly fond of this shot how it was in color so by throwing this different style on it I was able to really give it an interesting twist. This dock is actually sitting on a slightly frozen lake which was kind of cool. I shot this way back in February at a park in central Arkansas.


July 14th, 2014 - The Dirt Road to Lightning

As a storm rolls in over me as I post this I thought I would share another lightning shot from the other night when I was chasing. This isn't the greatest shot of the lightning itself but the setup with the rain curtain I thought made this look really cool. Also the clouds set up pretty cool too. Maybe I will get a chance to go out and chase this evening if we get some weather. Got my new remote shutter release today so I will really be able to get some nice long exposures. Enjoy the shot and hope everyone has a great week!


July 13th, 2014 - The Uneven Path of Waterholes Canyon

Today's daily photo, along with a lot of the shots I am processing from my trip to Arizona and Utah and proving difficult to put together. The problem isn't so much what they are photos of but simply that the desert sunshine just washes everything out so drastically. I am working my way through them and I think overall I have had a pretty good success rate with my shots. Today we venture down into Waterholes Canyon and what I wanted to show you was not so much the super beautiful dark cave like slot canyon but the main part of the canyon we had to hike through all day. I was really trying to evoke the feeling of being funneled and almost being like a bug in the bottom of a cage and you can't get up the sides. I don't mean to make it sound bad but there is very much a sense of isolation and almost being trapped while you hike these. Knowing that if any predator or flash flood were to happen, you would be in a tough spot. The tradeoff however is seeing one of the most beautiful things you have ever witnessed and the feeling of accomplishment when you spend six hours hiking the canyon to get the shots you wanted in over 100 degree heat. Enjoy the shot, remember to give me feedback because I love hearing what people think of my work and of course share with friends and invite them to follow along!


July 12th, 2014 - Going Back in Time Venice

I have had multiple professional photographers tell me that my inability to embrace a "style" as a photographer and really define my art is what keeps me from being a world class recognized photographer. To them I say, "That's fine". While I would love to be in National Geographic or published in Shutterbug I love being versatile in my work and not putting myself into a rut of having to fill a certain expectation. Hopefully this doesn't sound like a rant because I mean it as a positive thing. I love photography! All of photography! Sometimes I want to go take a picture of a tree, sometimes sky scrapers in a big city or macro a flower and even the occasional wedding. I love that when I get an itch I can scratch it! So moving onto today's photo this is a shot I took in Venice, Italy. I didn't really have a specific thing in mind when I shot it, was more of just wanting to show the atmosphere of what a morning in the city is like. I really felt creative and wanted to give it a very vintage touch. This is not an HDR or exposure fusion, this is a single shot that I simply processed using Silver Efex Pro and added an edge to give it the vintage look, something I don't think I have ever done before. I hope you guys dig it, I am happy with the way it came out! Hope your weekend is going great.


July 11th, 2014 - Creature of the Night

So I head out for my regular nightly ritual of playing fetch with my dogs a couple nights ago and I notice this little guy building a web in between the posts of my deck. He is about the size of a dime, so not a big huge spider by any means. I attempted to get a photo of him but I just couldn't get him lit properly to get a nice clean exposure. So I decided to try the next day during the day. To my surprise he was no where to be found. Determined I went back out that night armed with lighting gear and though probably not the most conventional means I ended up getting the shot. I don't have any clue what type of spider it is, I tried to look it up but failed. Either way I thought it was pretty cool and I love the way the shot came out with the web reflecting some light back off my flash. Hope you guys dig my furry friend!


July 10th, 2014 - The Glow of Fire

We haven't visited Antelope Canyon in a couple weeks so I figured we would say hello again today. I am extremely happy overall with how almost all of my shots from here came out. It went completely against my nature of how I shoot when we did this. It is extremely fast paced and you have very little time to process the information of your surroundings on how the light is looking or what composition you think is best. You just move and shoot, move and shoot. I may have mentioned it before but I would love to have this place to myself for a couple days to meticulously plan out some shots. Can't wait to go back there and shoot again. Enjoy the shot, remember your feedback and sharing matters! Thanks guys.


July 9th, 2014 - Lightning Over Truman

So as most of you know I love to chase storms. I love to photograph lightning and I tend to have horrible luck as far as odds go when doing so. This is usually contributed to the fact that I have to play driver, photographer, navigator, meteorologist and work on not getting killed all at the same time. But, sometimes, my wife has a day off work and can hop in the Jeep with me and do the navigating and radar watching and help me get into position to get my shots. My success rate seems to go up significantly when this happens! So last night we chased some storms that cropped up south east of us just below a town called Truman here in Arkansas and boy did it perform like a champ! I only got to chase it for about 90 minutes but I got some pretty nice shots in that time. This was some sort of irrigation channel that my wife managed to find. Hope you love the shot, give some feedback and tell her how awesome she did setting me up and remember to share and invite other people to follow along on our daily adventures!


July 8th, 2014 - A Rocky Lake Sunset

The nice thing with having stock piles of old photographs is that sometimes you can go back and give them a second chance. A couple months back I posted a photograph of a sunset over Lake Friarson just north of where I currently live in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I took this shot on the same evening but was just trying some experimental angles. I love pretty skies and I love the "earth meets water" kind of feel to it. What do you guys think? Worth a second chance?


July 7th, 2014 - Welcome to Vatican City

When we went to Rome we stayed in the ancient city, which turns out is a ways away from Vatican City. We had pretty much walked everywhere we went in Rome because riding in vehicles was extremely scary. If you survive the taxi ride to Vatican City this is basically the view you are greeted with when they drop you off at the front gate. This is the huge square where the Pope holds those huge sermons in front of those massive crowds. Right behind that central pillar is St. Peters Basilica. I don't have any clue what is off to the left and the Vatican Museum is off to the right. Although it doesn't look it in this photograph, it was extremely crowded. Luckily where I am standing everyone is off to my right trying to get through a security line so they don't really congregate from this view. Hope you dig the shot, haven't been doing a ton of black and white processing lately but this one looks considerably better in it.


July 6th, 2014 - A Second Look at Horseshoe Bend

So I mentioned a few weeks back when I released my photo of the sun setting over Horseshoe Bend that I I had a second shot I was producing after the sun had set with a bit of a cooler more ambient light to it. I also widened out my frame in this shot to give you more of a scope of the canyon around the river. I loved photographing this place and I so can't wait to go back. Next time I will maybe try a different angle or two, but this is the shot I have been wanting for so many years so I made sure I got this one. So which one do you guys like better? The sun flare closer or the wider ambient lit shot? Remember I always love feedback and keep sharing my shots and inviting people to come follow along with us. Thanks and cheers!


July 5th, 2014 - More Cow Bell, I Mean Panoramas!

Well this image has been just all kinds of fun to put together for you. Unfortunately I shot these frames for this panoramic and my software didn't like them enough to auto stitch them together for me. So I had to spend hours manually blending the seams and getting the sky tones and brightnesses just right to hopefully create a seamless panoramic shot of this gorgeous country side. Now the photo itself was taken on my way home from Michigan last week. The sky just looked like it was going to make for a beautiful sunset, which it didn't really deliver on. But it did give me a chance to set up this shot, which I have kind of had in my head as an idea for a shot for a while. What was cool was this was taken in thick Amish country and people on horse and buggy would go by every couple of minutes as they finished their day of work. I waved at one person and they politely waved back. Most just seemed confused why I was standing in the middle of the road. Either way let me know what you think of the shot, I worked hard on it! Again this is best if viewed on a large screen or something where you can zoom in a bit and appreciate the details. I can tell you how many windows are open on the big barn in the distance!


July 4h, 2014 - A Bit of 4th of July Composite Fun

Well today is something way completely different then usual. I am part of a few photography groups and occasionally I ask if anyone wants a blog done for any specific reason. Yesterday I had someone ask about how to composite photographs. This is a very tricky for of photo manipulation where you take multiple photos and try and make one scene out of them. In this case The sky is from a photograph I took in Michigan, the Giraffe is from a photo I took at a zoo in Tennessee, the eagle and the flag both came from a stock image site and the photo of me and Maggie was taken here in Arkansas at a park. Trying to edit these so the light looks correct on all the different pieces and make sure things are casting shadows properly etc make for a long fun editing session. I won't be doing much of this kind of work but I thought it would be fun to share the experiment. I even through in an eagle and an American flag for some 4th of July spirit!


July 3rd, 2014 - The Peaks of the Grand Canyon

We venture back to the Grand Canyon today with your first non panoramic shot of her beauty. I just loved the rock formation in the foreground against the vast huge canyon and peaks of the background. The way the sun is lighting up certain parts and how the clouds cast blogs of shadows in random places. There are so many little things to try and focus on that photographing it is quite the adventure. I hope that with my next trip to the area that I can actually explore some more of the canyon instead of just visiting the south rim. Sure is a beautiful place don't you think?


July 2nd, 2014 - The Kauai Canopy

So on my last visit to Kauai I went for a nice long hike down to Hoopi Falls and on the way you hike through some pretty dense forest. The way the ivy just crawled up the sides of these trees was amazing. It was almost like stepping back in time to see a place so untouched by man. I am undecided about the sun flare being there, It was just a byproduct of the shot, not really intentional, but it gives you a sense of how lush the forests are. Hoping everyone is gearing up for a fun and safe 4th of July, cheers!


July 1st, 2014 - A Quiet Venetian Morning

Walking through the streets of Venice early in the morning is a tranquil and beautiful experience. I got a lot of nice shots this morning and St. Marks Square was a treasure trove of photo ops. Me being a sucker for leading lines and loving a good sense of depth to an image I really loved setting this shot up. It was a little tough with the lighting being so varied between the sunrise and the kind of enclosed area I was photographing. I think it came out looking pretty awesome though. I love the different patterns and textures you can see. Hopefully you do too!


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