Novemeber 2014 - Bens Viewfinder

November 30th, 2014 - Kuilau Trail Overlook

I am excited today because I actually got out of the house a bit yesterday and went on a hike. I am still in a bit of pain from the recent shingles but I am doing a bit better every day. So this trail is called the Kuilau trail and it is only about two miles from my house. The trail itself, from the part I got to see, is actually not a difficult or dangerous trail. I didn't get to do all of the trail due to lack of light and my physical short comings at the moment. In the few hours I had though I got a few nice shots. One of those is this shot that we got on our way back down. The sun was setting over the mountains on the far side and due to the inner mountainous part of Kauai almost always being covered in clouds made for some awesome sun light shafts getting cast across the valley we were overlooking. I just love all the layers to this scene and the clouds wrapping around the tops of the mountains in the distance. Enjoy the shot and remember to please keep sharing my work with your friends and family and inviting them to follow along with us every day. I haven't been getting a lot of participation lately, so lets change that. Thank you all for your support.


November 29th, 2014 - Just Another Hallway

Once again today I bring you back to the Vatican Museum and the insanity and beauty that is this place. I have been showing you different rooms and massive paintings that are just amazing. What is crazy about this one though is that it isn't even a room. It is a hallway. A very long hallway. As you can tell by the photograph the entire thing is just covered with beautiful art and extremely intricate brass work. (I think it's brass). There is so much going on that you honestly can't take the time to really take it all in while you are there. You almost need to take photographs so you can go back and really look through it an enjoy it later. I really enjoy the depth of this shot, gives you an idea of how large and how much there is to see. I hope you are all having a great holiday weekend and are getting some relaxing time in. Amazing to think we are just a couple days away form December!


November 28th, 2014 - Welcome to Glass Beach

We visit something pretty awesome and just a little bit sad today. This is a photo of a bit of Glass Beach, a small hidden beach on the south shore of Kauai. There are not any signs to this beach, nor is it a park. It is really beautiful to see and with the sun shinning you get some awesome reflections from the glass. The slightly sad part is that this glass actually occurs due to pollution. This glass is mostly broken up glass bottles and windshields from cars that have been tumbled around in the ocean and beaches over the years and worn down to create this beautiful smooth pebbles of glass to enjoy but not take them. 


November 27th, 2014 - Happy Thanksgiving!

On this beautiful Thanksgiving Day I share a shot from my trip to New York City and Central Park. If you visit the website often you know I have different categories for my photography two of which are "Landscape" and "City and Architecture". Even though this was shot in a huge city this feels very much like a landscape shot to me. I really loved this scene, it has lots of interesting subject matter. Obviously the lake and water are pretty and the beautiful sky and the nice fluffy clouds are great. Add in the bits of reflection and the cool buildings peaking out above the trees on the left and I think it comes together and makes a nice shot. I am getting ready to head out the door to meet some new friends. The wife had one of her new co-workers invite us over. People her in Kauai are very friendly and giving. I hope you are all having an awesome holiday. I give thanks for you all today for following along and taking part in this. I appreciate you more than you know.


November 26th, 2014 - A Beautiful Family

Today I am sharing with you some shots from my second photo shoot in three days. I know, lots of portrait work lately. I had the privilege of getting to photograph this brother and sister named Cody and Jada. Cody is a senior in high school and Jada is a fourth grader who's favorite subject is math. I like to ask questions while I photograph people, for some reason I think it helps the process along and eases the mood a bit. Sometimes a big camera and lighting equipment can be intimidating to people, so I try to relax them by carrying some conversation as we shoot. These two were extremely nice and were very easy to photograph. I have been very lucky this week with that. I normally hope to get 15 to 20 good photographs out of a one hour shoot and I got 43 out of Sunday's and 47 out of yesterdays. I hope you enjoy a look at these wonderful folks and leave me some feedback on the portrait work, I don't do a ton of it so I am always curious how I am doing. Thanks!


November 25th, 2014 - Big City Baltimore

We revisit Baltimore today with a shot of the beautiful skyline. I shot this the first morning I was there while down at the inner harbor. There is something pretty awesome about the bright lights vs the night dark when it comes to shooting night skyline photos. That was the thought when I decided to process this shot in black and white. The other thing I thought this photo showcased well is the vast range of tonalities of in the darks and lights in the water. Baltimore was a fun city and I really do look forward to heading back to the east coast sometime soon. The wife will kill me if we don't check out Boston next time though. I am going to go get prepped and am heading off to a photo shoot here in a couple hours. I will hopefully have some shots for you tomorrow. Cheers!


November 24th, 2014 - My First Hawaii Photo Shoot

Yesterday marked a great day for me here on the island. I got to do my first photo shoot for a very wonderful family. I am hoping it is the first of many shoots for the wonderful people of Kauai. I actually have another shoot on Tuesday and it is nice to be doing some portrait work. This shoot was the drawing winner I held a few weeks go. Although my passion and love for the most part is in traveling and fine art photography, but I gain a lot of satisfaction and joy out of being able to capture people and preserve some memories for them with my camera. This shoot was for a mother, daughter and son and we did it on a beach here on the south shore called Glass Beach. It is a beautiful black sand beach with awesome natural occurring glass that is sprawled out in the sand. This shoot was a bit challenging due to shooting in direct sunlight and the large heigh differences between the family members. Overall I came away with a great percentage of keepers. Make sure you show the Nunes' some love and let them know how beautiful of a family they have.


November 23rd, 2014 - An Interesting Beach Scene

I have shared a few shots with you this week from my little walk around Lydgate Park while the wife was snorkeling and today I give you another. This shot represents two very popular pass times no the island. Fishing and beach bond fires. Kauai is a small island and for the most part it shuts down pretty early in the evenings. There are not really dance clubs or night life, so folks get together on the beaches and have fires and enjoy the beautiful Hawaii air. There is never a lack of drift wood available and this awesomely shaped piece was recently used in a fire. I just loved the deep blacks and the nice textures against the soft bright beach scene. The twin fishing poles in the beach were just a very nice accent to finish off the shot. The wife is a big fan of this shot, do you guys agree with her? Hope your weekends were awesome!


November 22nd, 2014 - Say Hello to my Zeiss!

Today I bring you a shot of an absolutely gorgeous flower I get to look at every day. These grow in droves right in my front yard. My amazing wife got me an early Christmas present this year with something I have always wanted. A Zeiss lens. If you don't know who Carl Zeiss is, think of him as one of the godfathers of optics. I have shot with a few Zeiss lenses in my life but have never splurged on buying one. As you can tell by the shot, they produce some of the cleanest images you could wish for. I haven't really gotten to run it through its paces yet, this being literally the first photo I took with it. If this is any indication of what's to come I am very excited though. The only problem now is that I want so many more Zeiss lenses. So enjoy the shot and let me know what you think. You dig the new glass?


November 21st, 2014 - An Interesting Guest

Say hello to a friendly little guest we had on our lanai yesterday. This orb weaver spider is something I didn't even know existed before we moved to the islands. They are not unique to here but they are not exactly common place either. They look so incredibly alien as far as spiders are considered. If you are curious as to why the background is pitch black it is due to there being very low light so I used a flash to expose the subject and with the sky being very far away it was not illuminated. These spiders are very small and completely harmless but they look pretty freaky. If you remember a couple months back I photographed another spider like this one on my hike up Sleeping Giant. It was further away and you could see the web and it was shot in black and white. You didn't get to see the interesting details you get here. So enjoy the strange but beautiful creature that mother nature has given us and hopefully you all have a great start to your weekends.


Nobember 20th, 2014 - Time Square

Ok so today I share the first of my few photos from Time Square in NYC. I am honestly really unsure about these. I took them because I really love to share places I get to visit and show them to people who may never get the opportunity to visit them. The problem is none of the very few shots I took in Time Square really excite me. It was late in the day when we got there and physically I was pretty exhausted. Being times square it was packed and a lot of it was under construction. I am not making excuses I am just explaining why they probably don't speak to me very much. Ultimately I decided I would share one and see how it goes, if you guys seem to find it interesting I will share another soon. Seeing Time Square is pretty awe inspiring. My first thought was, "Glad I don't have to pay this electric bill". But all the lights and crazy displays and ads create a pretty cool ambiance and it is kind of just fun to stand in the middle of it and spin around looking at all the craziness. So you decide, you want more of these or is this one look enough? Hopefully everyones weeks is going well. Cheers.


November 19th, 2014 - A Bit of A Curve Ball

So today I am going to throw a bit of a curve ball at you. If you have been following me for a while, which I hope you have, you know that I don't do a ton of artsy style shots. Every now and then I am walking around though and something just kind of jumps out at me. This is what brought you the image you see today. Yes it is a pretty simple image, no I won't be winning any awards for it. But the simplicity of the foreground vs the background here, the dark vs light and the focus vs out of focus. All of these battles can take place inside such a simple image. What I love about some of these more simple photos is that you don't give a viewer much to go on. So if you can get people to talk about what they think the artist had in his mind while taking the shot, you really end up with some great crowd engagement. Which is what I always love. I love hearing what goes on in your guys' brains. Enjoy the daily shot.


November 18th, 2014 - Atop Sleeping Giant

We are back atop Sleeping Giant today, looking another direction and it goes to show you the diversity of the weather on the island. If you tuned in for some of the other shots that I took on this hike you will have noticed that some are nice sunny shots and some have rain involved. This is pretty much a daily occurrence here. You get these pop up showers that dump a little rain and then disappear. You can sometimes get ten of these in a day. You rarely get non stop torrential rain though. I just loved the very defined rain shower that was passing in the distance here. The area we are looking down on is in the same general area as where my house is. I love living here, if you haven't noticed by now. I am however working on planning some work trips here before too long to capture some new stuff for you guys. Enjoy the shot and we will see you tomorrow!


November 17th, 2014 - A Walk in the Park

Today we go for a walk at Lydgate Park here on Kauai. Yesterday was the first time I have gotten to take my camera out in almost two weeks. Sara was getting a bit stir crazy stuck in the house so we went down to the park down the road and she did some snorkeling and I wandered about with my camera in the park and took a few photos. I am not allowed to swim yet due to my recent illness. The timing worked out though that as we got there the sun was just getting ready to set over the top of the mountains and it was casting super deep shadows across this field. Those hut type things you see are actually cottages at a local hotel here on the island. This is my first year living on the island through a winter and it puts a big smile on my face to be walking around in mid November in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops taking photos of beautiful sunny days. I was truly built to live in Hawaii I think. I hope you dig the photo, I think it is pretty cool. Shooting into direct sunlight can be tough sometimes but in this case I think it added a great effect.


November 16th, 2014 - NYC Pier Skyline in Color

If you recall a couple weeks ago I posted a photo very similar to this but in black and white. It wasn't quite the same composition but it was shot in the same location. As I said the other day with the luna moth, certain subjects stand out enough and deserve more than one photograph and I really loved this set up, so I decided while I was setting up the shots that I would be doing one for black and white and one for color. I am extremely happy wit how both shots came out. They really pop for different reasons. If you ever make it over to New York City head across the Brooklyn bridge and check the views out from the park over there at night. I really look forward to heading back to this city sometime and giving it the attention it deserves with my camera. I will just make sure to stay downtown next time and not try and drive in from three and a half hours away. Enjoy the shot and hopefully everyone had a great weekend.


November 15th, 2014 - The Contrast of Antelope Canyon

With our recent trends of doing something different I thought I would try and produce one of my Antelope Canyon photos in black and white. The color and natural glow of the canyon really screamed for the photos to be shown in their natural color. This shot in particular though had such beautiful and strong dark to light transitions and great cast shadows that I thought the black and white treatment would serve it well. I really think it came out really great. I know I have produced a ton of photos from this trip but I really don't get sick of them. I just think it is one of the most beautiful things I have gotten to see. I am finally starting to think I am on the mend, I am still in a lot of pain but the symptoms are starting to subside a little. I am itching to get out and do some shooting. Let me know what you guys think of this, participation has been down lately and I really love hearing your guys' thoughts. Thanks everyone!


November 14th, 2014 - The Beauty of Art

So we are going to do something I almost never do today. I am going to share a photo I have no plans of publishing. I simply want to share it to show you the beauty of some of the art inside of the Vatican Museum. It is simply a case of the photo not being that spectacular but the subject was so beautiful I wanted people to get to see it who may never get to. What is crazy about this, is that what you see here is almost in every room of the the museum. But this room particularly was painted by Raphael. I simply wish I would have been able to stop and enjoy it a bit longer but they don't really allow you to do that. I have spent quite a bit of time just staring at the photos I took in here and taking some time to appreciate the art within it. Definitely one of those experiences I would suggest everyone try and do at least once, but I don't think I will try and do it again. The chaos of it all really takes away from your ability to appreciate it. Enjoy the beauty and have a safe and fun weekend everyone. If you are in the icy cold, please be careful going out and about.


November 13th, 2014 - A Moment Among Friends

Today I share a type of photo that I don't take very often. I enjoy taking photos of people but rarely do they mesh well with a landscape of cityscape style shot. While wandering through central park, we were following a path when I came out next to this lake and saw these two ladies sitting on this bench having a chat. I never actually talked to them, I just kneeled down and took the shot and moved on. I just thought it was a great moment. Usually when I photograph people I will go introduce myself and offer them a business card. In this case I didn't really capture their faces and honestly hey seemed happy and deep in conversation so I didn't want to impose. I love when a moment presents itself like this and I am actually ready with my camera to get the shot. I can't tell you how often awesome things happen and I am saying "I wish I had my camera!". Hope my friends on the mainland are surviving the first serious cold of the season.


November 12th, 2014 - Luna Moth Second Angle

We revisit an old friend today with a shot of the amazingly beautiful luna moth that came and visited me some months back in Arkansas back when I lived there. I had taken a few shots of it and just recently decided that I liked this angle enough to share it as well. If you didn't catch the first time I posted a photo of this guy, they are very rare. Only living for one week a year. I don't usually like to publish a shot of the same subject more than once but sometimes if I really feel like both the subject and the shot are interesting enough I will. In this case the angle that the photo was taken at was very unique and I think showcased very well how close I tried to get to this guy. Enjoy this beautiful creature and have a great evening.


November 11th, 2014 - Thank You Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day I share this shot of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. I know it isn't memorial day, but just as remembering those who served, remembering those who sacrificed is extremely important. I have said many times and will reiterate today that it is never lost on me that I have the life I do due to the service and sacrifice of our service men and women. If you or any of your family has served I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I remember when I was younger talking to my grandpa and hearing the stories he would tell me about World War II and they were so beyond my comprehension. But I remember it was my first time getting a real idea of what people who served our country went through. So take a moment today and appreciate what it is these brave men and women have and are doing.


November 10th, 2014 - A Window to the World

We are atop of Waimea Canyon today looking through what I kind of thought seemed like a window-esc opening in a a tree line looking down into the canyon and into a beautiful waterfall. This view was kind of a surprise. While driving along the park road along the rim there is a very small pull off that you can literally fit one car into. I actually over shot the pull over and was lucky to have no one behind me so I was able to just back up. This is yet another example of the beauty that is so easily found and accessible on the island. We have some family who have a trip planned to come visit us in the spring and the wife and I are trying to figure out what all we should show them. For such a small island there is so much beauty to see. I can't wait to share it with you all!


November 9th, 2014 - A Strange Meeting Place

How about a trip back to the beautiful city of Venice today? I unfortunately have not gotten to get out and do a lot of work lately but am itching to very badly. So hopefully this upcoming week I can get out. I also have a portrait session for my first Kauai customer this week, which is super exciting! This photo of Venice was one I really liked because it seemed very unique to me the way the canals and this bridge converged compared to the other area in the city. Obviously there are a ton of canals, but this three way bridge was not common at all. I really wanted to make the scene calm and the glass smooth so I used a tool called a variable neutral density filter to draw out my exposure to smooth it all out. Usually too much light is out during the day to get this effect without a filter. Enjoy the shot and I hope everyone had a great weekend. Cheers!


November 8th, 2014 - A Walk Through Central Park

So for those who called and texted worried about my health, thank you. I am fine. I somehow got shingles and although painful I will be perfectly fine. So lets move on to happy beautiful things and visit Central Park in New York City. I love the transition of dark to light and the sense of depth to it. A little bit of fall colors and the street lamp really just make a very nice composition. I love that in the park in spots like these you would just have no clue that a massive city lies about a 1/4 mile away. I loved walking through this park and can't wait to go back again and see all of it. If you are ever visiting New York and want a break from the craziness head here. You can even rent row boats and go out on the little lake they have in the middle! I hope everyones weekends are going great, please keep sharing, commenting and giving me feedback. Thanks everyone!


November 7th, 2014 - Walking Through Greatness

If you haven't noticed by now, I love photography. I love being a photographer and I love talking about the places I get to see and whey they were important or cool. Obviously very little explaining needs done when discussing Arlington National Cemetery. It mostly speak for itself. Now even though this isn't a photo that brings a smile to your face, it hopefully instills a sense of appreciation for the sacrifices these people made. It is the job of a photographer to hopefully evoke some level of emotional reaction to our work. Sometimes it is simple and sometimes it can be very deep. I really thought the black and white on this really brought out the subject and really instills the sense of size of the cemetery. Happy Friday everyone, have safe and fun weekends. Hopefully you enjoy the shot!


November 6th, 2014 - A Wide Open Central Park

Welcome back to Central Park in New York City. I am just going to guess and say most photographers who work in this area utilize this park a bit. It is a beautiful oasis in the chaos that is New York City. There are actually parts of it where you are just deep in some wooded area and if it wasn't for the ambient noise you would have no idea you were in the largest city in the United States. I got kind of lucky with this shot because they happened to be doing some sort of treatment on this large field so I didn't have to worry about all the people. I really loved the tree on the right hand side and how it was sort of secluded in the middle of the field. The sun was only about an hour from setting so I got a really great cast shadow. Enjoy the photo and only one more day until the weekend!


November 5th, 2014 - A Rainy Day in the Canyon

We stick with our out of the norm photos today with a shot I took up in Waimea Canyon a while back. This is a photo I enjoy but I wasn't 100% sure if it worked or not. So I am letting you decide. I like the many layers of the photo. You have the strange white trees in the foreground, the deep canyon in the mid ground and the extremely well pronounced cloud bank in the background. It is always fun taking photos of beautiful scenes and subjects but sometimes trying to capture the feeling of a scene, which isn't always sunshine and rainbows is important. What really drew me to this shot was the white trees, trying to find a way to showcase them was a bit tricky. So you be the judge, let me know if you enjoy the shot. 


November 4th, 2014 - The Most Interesting Ceiling

Doing something a bit rare today and sharing a photo that I took while looking straight upwards. Honestly though a lot of the photos I took at the Vatican and the museum had to have an upward angle due to the massive amount of people. Sometimes people help compliment a photograph but the beautiful art and architecture in Vatican City is something I really want to showcase on its own. The detail and care that went into making this just shocking work is really mind boggling. Whether you are religious or not you can find appreciation in what was created here. This like a lot of the beautiful places I am lucky enough to get to see are places I wish I could just have to myself for a day to shoot without the craziness. Yes it is selfish of me, but the beauty that could be shared in some these places with some time and planning would be so worth it. Enjoy the shot and I am loving some of the new people sharing some shots lately, it is much appreciated!


November 3rd, 2014 - Top of the World

Today we visit what I am kindly calling the "top of the world". No it isn't the highest point int he world, or even this island. But the view you have from on top of Sleeping Giant mountain is breathtaking. You can see so far and see so much it is awesome. The hike is a bit intense, especially if you take the long way like we did. But as they always say the harder you work the better the payoff. You have to have a bit of an adventurous spirit if you live on Kauai. The outdoors are surely your playground and even though it is usually extremely muddy with red dirt that will ruin most any pair of shoes you have, you see some of the most beautiful things you can imagine. The good news is I just got a new photography backpack to help carry my gear and tripod up some of these harder hikes so hopefully the next big hike will go a little better than this one did. Enjoy the shot and have a great start to your week.


November 2nd, 2014 - Baltimore Panoramic

We visit Federal Hill just on the outskirts of the city of Baltimore. Very nice little park that gives you tremendous views of a gorgeous city. This is as you can tell a panoramic shot. I think this one was four shots. You will notice a lot more bowing than usual and that is simply because of two things, one is that the road does actually bed here and two is that as with any panoramic there is some distortion simple because of the point of viewing. I very much enjoy the multiple levels of stuff going on here. The hill down below me, heading down to a busy road, that leads into a bay, and then into the harbor and finally into the city. A beautiful image to be viewed in the largest format possible. I hope you dig it, I know I do. Sad my time in Baltimore was so short, but I'll get back and really give it a real once over.


Novemeber 1st, 2014 - Tomb of the Unkown Soldier

Today we visit one of those things that is beautiful but heart breaking at the same time. I took this photo from within the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. It is sometimes hard to really focus on trying to portray the artistic sides of places like these when your emotions are being pulled on so hard. Shortly after this shot I got to walk out and see the ceremony for the changing of the guard. For this shot specifically I really enjoyed all the lines working against each other. The strong cast shadows remind me a bit of the mirrored black and white shot I did in Venice, Italy. Some really nice textures in the marble too. Enjoy the shot, hope everyone had a great and safe Halloween and are enjoying their weekend.


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