June 2014 - Bens Viewfinder

June 30th, 2014 - A Country Sunset

We venture randomly into Illinois today and a shot I took the other day while driving up to Michigan for my sisters graduation. Just before sunset a shower had moved over the highway we were driving on and created a really cool looking rainbow, so I ducked off on an exit in hopes of getting a good shot of it. The rainbow kind of faded a bit but since I had the gear out I set up and shot a sunset. The sun was back lighting the taller corn stalks in the foreground and I really liked the little tree off on the horizon. I actually shot this with a telephoto lens to try and compress the distance and really make the sun big and prominent. Let me know what you think of the shot, this was kind of an experiment.


June 29th, 2014 - Totally Tubular Rock Formation

Back to Arizona today and to one of the coolest and unexpected things I saw. We had been hiking through Waterholes Canyon for a few hours and the last 30 minutes or so you really start getting into the slot canyon part of it and as you crawl your way in you eventually come to this almost room type area and you basically can't go any further.That is where I found this almost tubular rock formation that must have been carved out by the fast flowing water over the centuries. Better even yet was that the sun was in late afternoon an casting a very fiery glow through the small opening in the top of the formation giving it this beautiful light. Very cool to see in person. Enjoy the shot and remember to share and comment. You have two days left to share photos for entries into the 24 x 36 print give away.


June 28th, 2014 - A Baby Bird

We took last Saturday off from the animals but I actually have one this week. This little guy or girl just literally showed up on my doorstep. My wife heard it tweeting and so I grabbed my macro and slowly sat down next to it and worked my way in slowly to get the shot. It was extremely calm and didn't seem to be scared of me. I have no clue what type of bird it is, so if you do feel free to share. I am most likely on the road heading home and looking forward to my own bed I am sure. Hope everyone's weekend is going well, cheers!


June 27th, 2014 - Welcome to Zion

For the first time we venture into Zion National Park which is in Utah. This is a place I will be visiting again because I didn't get to see very much of it. It is a pretty awesome spectacle of beautiful though. Driving through the long tunnels carved through mountains was pretty fun too! This is a shot of one of the rivers on the southern side of park. Of course weather didn't want to play nice and I had to shoot in completely clear skies harsh sunlight directly over the top of me just burning everything, still beautiful though!


June 26th, 2014 - The Glory of Rome

Something about some of these shots from Rome just really brought up the dramatic feeling in me and it has come through in some of my processing of the shots I took. This was taken on the same day as that dramatic Colosseum shot and it was very cloudy and rainy. This is actually part of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and this statue just looked so cool up in the air with the dramatic dark clouds behind it. Hope you dig the shot and if you have been voting on Bing thank you!


June 25th, 2014 - Silky Kauai River

Today kicks off the auto posts for the week because I am up north in Michigan probably doing a little shooting but mostly going to see my amazing sister graduate from college. We are back in Kauai and this pretty sweet river that gave me that lovely fast flowing water that looks oh so sweet in a photograph. As you can tell by the surroundings the forest here is so lush and overgrown it looks like you would be hundreds of miles from civilization. When in reality this is about a 45 minute hike from a neighborhood in Kapaa. Enjoy the shot and I will be home Sunday.


June 24th, 2014 - Post Rain Plant Droplets

So if you remember a few weeks ago I posted a photo of some water droplets on a plant petal. I took this image at the same time and just really enjoyed how all the rain droplets just rest upon the plant in different areas and how different each of the droplets can look. I also like all the layers to the plant and area around it. Enjoy the shot and if you haven't gone and voted today at the Bing Contest please do so. I am losing by a long shot but would love the support. Thanks guys!


June 23rd, 2014 - Beam Me Up Scotty!

So since Arizona was so good to me I figured we would head back there today with another shot of Antelope Canyon. There really isn't a ton to say that I didn't mention in the last shot. It is unreal to witness this stuff in person, these light shafts are just so pronounced and the light just seeps into the walls giving them this awesome fiery glow. Enjoy the shot and make sure to comment and share with your friends. Also if you haven't already please make sure to go vote for my photo in the Bing contest, you can vote once a day all week and I will need your support to have any chance. I'm currently in like 5th place. Make sure you vote using a regular PC because it does not work on a mobile device. Please invite your friends to come vote too! This would be an incredible honor for me and I can't do it without you. Thanks a lot guys.

Vote Here!


June 22nd, 2014 - A Bridge of Locks

So I don't tend to do a ton of "abstract" work but I actually really enjoy it. This bridge in Venice, Italy is awesome to see. People bring pad locks and write messages or dates or wishes and lock them on the bridge in hopes of good fortune. There is very little space left to fit a lock on the bridge from what I could see. I wanted to create an angle of imagination with this shot and really just show you the important subject of the photo and let your mind fill in what the rest of the bridge would look like. Enjoy the shot and tomorrow starts the voting for the Bing photo contest so I am going to rally all of you to come vote! I will put up a link tomorrow. Hope you had an awesome weekend.


June 21st, 2014 - The Grand Canyon

Back in Arizona today but to a different part of the state then I have shown you so far. This my friends is the Grand Canyon. After the mess ups with the airport I picked my gear up in Flagstaff on our second day in Arizona and as we drove north towards Page we took the long way around and went and saw some of the Grand Canyon. The best way I can describe this is that it almost doesn't seem real, even when you are standing there. It just looks like a gigantic screen saver. Your brain almost has a hard time putting together all the different layers and depth and simply the size of the thing. This shot here is actually a mini panoramic shot. I only used two frames to make the image, but I thought it gave a great sense to the enormity of it all. If you look very closely on the left side horizon there is a very large forest fire taking place across the canyon. They actually had the north rim closed because of it. Enjoy the shot, remember to share my work every day for entries into the 24 x 36 print drawing at the end of the month!


June 20th, 2014 - Piazza Del Popolo

Having done a small fan choice on Facebook today as to the location of today's daily photo we come back to Rome! This is a shot of the beautiful Piazza Del Popolo that is located on the north side of the ancient city. I had gone out shooting one morning shortly before we left Rome and honestly didn't expect much of this when I saw it on the map but man is it way cooler in person. It is a huge open area with fountains and sculptures and people relaxing and reading or hanging out. Then there is a massive pillar with a cross on top that just shoots out of the middle of it reaching towards the sky. I also loved the brick that the square was made out of, gave you a feeling of traveling back in time. Enjoy the shot and as always, make sure to share and give some feedback!


June 19th, 2014 - Welcome To Panorma World!

Welcome my friends, to the world of panoramic photography. Now for the average person viewing this on a cell phone, this isn't going to look hugely amazing to you. This is however something quite awesome. What you are seeing is actually three separate photographs taken side by side and stitched together to make the one photograph you are viewing. Why do this you ask? Because it allows you to capture a much larger field of view then a standard wide angle lens would. It also allows me to capture amazing details even at extremely large viewing because of how many pixels it makes. My camera, which is considered a very high resolution camera at 24 megapixels can produce a pretty large image. This image you are seeing is nearly twice the amount of pixels as a normal photograph. This means you could blow this up and use it as wall paper on a huge wall in your house and it would still have some great details. This is my first attempt at this, so I would love some feedback on what you guys think. Not only of the photograph itself but the idea of panoramic shots. Also this is a shot of Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas, Nevada I took last year. Enjoy!


June 18th, 2014 - Palm Trees and Beaches

We travel back to my soon to be home of Kauai today. On our last day there during our last trip we drove up to the north shore and went to a couple of the beaches to just relax and take a few shots before we had to catch out flight. Walking up from the parking lot on one of the beaches you come to these beautiful trees that just seem to defy gravity the way they are bending. I liked how they cast a nice shadow on the ground and kind of created this doorway to walk through to get to the beach. A lot of beaches in my future and I couldn't be happier about it. Enjoy the shot and we will break some new ground tomorrow with my daily photo!


June 17th, 2014 - A Calm Summers Day

So we change it up a bit today. Don't worry I have a ton more stuff from Arizona and Utah for you. But sometimes when you least expect it, a shot comes to you. If you live near where I live currently in Arkansas, this should look familiar. This is shot at the Nature Center here in Jonesboro. I was out there a couple weeks ago shooting a bunch of macro stuff, like the butterfly you saw and the flowers. When I worked my way down to the nature hike area around this lake/pond, not quite sure what it is. It was just so calm and the reflection of the trees in the water just screamed to have it's photo taken. So I did. Hopefully you enjoy!


June 16th, 2014 - Antelope Canyon

It is very rare that I post photos from the same trip two days in a row and even more rare that I lead with two of my favorite shots from a trip. I am making an exception this week simply because I am so excited to share some of these. This is a photograph from inside Antelope Canyon. It looks peaceful and calm and beautiful. But it was absolutely chaotic. Seeing the light beams and the walls look like they are almost on fire and the waves is just mind blowing. It is however one of the biggest tourist attractions in the southwest and for good reason. I had to obtain special commercial permission from the Navajo to photograph their land for use professionally and I had to have a guide to even go in here. I will have a fun on location video from this up later. I hope you love the shot and I have a lot more coming. I doubt it can be as popular as yesterdays daily photo, but we can give it a go right?


June 15th, 2014 - Horseshoe Bend

We venture into Arizona for the first time today with a shot of the iconic Horseshoe Bend outside of Page. As amazing as photographs of this place are, they do not due it justice. The awe you feel when you stand on the edge of this 300 foot cliff and look down at this thing is just unexplainable. I have wanted to photograph and see this place for as many years as I have been interested in photography. As much as seeing the Colosseum in person, this was just as important on my bucket list. I have two versions of the bend I shot, one shortly after the sunset that I will publish at a later date. For now I hope you enjoy this one because I love it, and I love that it is different then most shots I have seen of it. Comment and share and let me know if you think it was worth the trip!


June 14th, 2014 - A Tiny Frog On A Stump

Well today I should be home or soon to be getting home and on our animal Saturday I bring you a toad! The funny story with this guy is that it was a complete accident I found him. I actually went out to my back yard to try and photograph a beautiful butterfly who was camped out on some dog poo and when I basically failed I was walking back to the house and nearly stepped on this little guy. He is super super small, like the size of a nickle or so and he was jumpy. I finally coerced him onto this tree stump and then very slowly laid down and inched my way in with the macro to get the shot. It's awesome how you can see all the bumps and texture in his skin. Enjoy, comment and as always make sure you are sharing!


June 13th, 2014 - A Little Repeating Abstract

We have visited Italy a lot this week, simply because I have a ton of shots from my trip there and today we venture back to Venice and again to St. Marks Square. Sometimes when I travel to areas or even to a specific thing I want to shoot, I have to wait for the light to present how I am wanting. During my down time waiting I sometimes get a bit artsy and look for some odd ways to photograph things. I just loved the repeating lines, the sense of depth and the lamp bulbs as they fall off into the distance. Do you guys dig my attempt to be artsy fartsy?


June 12th, 2014 - The Calm Before The Storm

I have been saving this shot and mulling it over in my head a lot. I put it away and come back a couple days later and see if I am still happy, then repeat. This is obviously the Colosseum and as I mentioned before when photographing something that has been photographed so many times before it is hard to find unique ways to present it. This day we went it was gloomy and cloudy so I embraced it and really tried to give the dramatic feeling that you may have felt on a rainy day when tensions were building before a big gladiator fight. Did I succeed? I am also a sucker for the occasional over processed shot.


June 11th, 2014 - A Hump Day Canal

HUMP DAAAYYYY! Yep I just did that. Today I bring you a photo from Venice and one of the mind blowingly beautiful canals that it features. I actually have some friends that ordered this in a large canvas and they seem very happy with it. Which makes me very happy. Nothing makes me happier then knowing that someone enjoyed my work enough to hang it in their home. I most likely went and shot Lower Antelope Canyon today if things are going as planned and knowing me I will have a shot for you soon.


June 10th, 2014 - A Gaggle of Flowers

So today is a little different as far as daily photos go. This is a macro shot, but instead of trying to get as close as I could, I tried to create a composition using multiple objects. Now when shooting macro your focal plane is very narrow so I shot this image I think 5 times focusing on each flower individually and then using Photoshop to make the entire frame of flowers in focus without losing the wonderful detail of doing a single macro. Hopefully that wasn't to much techno jargon. Either way I loved how it came out and if you look at it on a large screen or zoom in the details are very nice in the pods in the middle of the flower. If all has been going to plan I should have spent the day photographing Upper Antelope Canyon and I am probably smiling ear to ear!


June 9th, 2014 - A River Remembered

Hopefully I am in route to Arizona as this kicks off the auto posts for the week while I am gone. I should have internet in the hotel in case something goes wrong. A couple weeks ago I showed you an old shot of Memphis that I re processed because I wasn't satisfied with it. Today I bring you another one and hope you don't mind seeing an image a second time. This was a photo I took in Gunner Pool, Arkansas and I loved the shot, the original processing was just slightly painterly and had a bit of a yellow cast to it, so I used exposure fusion instead of regular HDR and rocked out this version. What do you guys think? Approve?


June 8th, 2014 - The Halls of St. Peters

Happy Sunday everyone! Yes I am in a good mood. Tomorrow I leave for Arizona and am excited to finally get to photograph an area I have wanted to shoot for a very long time. Today however we go back to the Vatican and St. Peters Basilica. This shot is looking back towards the entrance from a little ways into the main hall. The amount of detail that goes into every inch of that building is astounding. It is amazing the things that people can create. I loved the light pouring through the window at the top and if you read Italian and zoom in you can read all the plaques on the wall. Tomorrow starts auto posts so lets hope those go as planned. I'll give you an update once I get settled. Cheers!


June 7th, 2014 - Backlit Butterfly

So keeping with the recent tradition of some sort of animal on Saturday I bring you a butterfly. The most patient butterfly I have ever met. Little guy just hung out there with his wings open and let me take a whole bunch of pictures of him. Was trying to get nice and close up with the macro, but this proves a challenge when your subject is up in a tree and you have to hold up a 15 pound camera and hold it stead to take the shot! This however was awesome because the sun came out right behind him creating this awesome back light which made his wings just glow. I think this shot came out quite well, what do you think?


June 6th, 2014 - Water Droplets

So the advantage to no power and a boat load of storms and rain is that it makes me want to go out and take pictures and it awards me the opportunity of everything having water on it. This just happens to make for some cool macro and another chance for me to play with my newest lens. I feel like I am slowly grasping some of the inner workings on macro photography and think it is awesome. Photographing macro is kind of like bringing something to your attention you probably almost never notice, such as these droplets on this plant petal. It is like a whole foreign world that I hadn't really noticed much until now. I absolutely love it though and I hope you do too. Give me some feedback and remember to keep sharing with my website in the share for entries for the 24 x 36. Have a great weekend guys!


June 5th, 2014 - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

(Sorry for the late update, power was out all day) Back to Rome today and if the quality is bad I apologize. I have no power due to a bad storm that was awesome but very destructive. This is however a shot of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and it is awesome. I photographed it during the day and it was just not quite as interesting. There is also an awesome cathedral inside and you can even get on top of it and see some of the skyline. Enjoy and hopefully we return to normal tomorrow.


June 4th, 2014 - Soon to be Home

Today we venture to this awful, awful place that I will soon be forced to call home. The sacrifices I make, I tell ya! This happens to be the north shore of the island of Kauai at a place called Hanalei Bay. This is also the location where I took the shot of the young man doing the back flip off of the pier. This side of the island gets some huge waves I hear during the trade wind months, so definitely gonna check that out this year. I love the backdrop of the mountains in this and the small waterfalls coming down randomly throughout. The big puffy clouds were nice too. Looking forward to this being my every day!


June 3rd, 2014 - Awesome Flower Macro

So it was about 94 degrees and sunny as can be today. So I figured, why not lug 40 pounds of photography gear into the wilderness and take some photographs? It was worth it, I am really trying to learn the macro stuff and I love how this shot came out. I am learning that shooting stationary objects is considerably easier then shooting little bugs and stuff. Either way, I have a ton of fun doing it and this flower is nearly straight off of my camera other then the focus stacking to make the whole flower in focus. Those colors are not Photoshopped! Enjoy and let me know if you are digging the macro work.


June 2nd, 2014 - Welcome Back Tulsa

A random change in pace today as we revisit a location I haven't pulled from in a while. This is a shot of downtown Tulsa, OK that I did last year and just never processed. I try not to always process every shot I take right after I get back sot hat later I can go back with fresh eyes and a few new tricks and give them a go. It was really dingy and not very colorful while I was there so I decided to do this in black and white, which has been my choice of medium as of late for some reason. The reflections of the buildings in the glass are what made this shot for me. I hope you enjoy it too. Cheers!


June 1st, 2014 - Sun Sets Over the Grand Canal

We travel back to Italy today and to the beautiful city of Venice. The last evening we were in Venice my wife went out and went photo hunting with me and I was hoping to find a good way to shoot a sunset in the city. This is tough due to not being able to see horizons barely anywhere. I did however get this shot which shows the transfer of colors across the sky and the nice hard highlights of the warm sun kissing the top of the buildings as it sets off to my left. Enjoy the shot, and make sure to leave me some feedback and share!


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