Today I bring you a simple yet extraordinarily complicated photograph. Simply put this is a basic ten minute exposure of Ahukini Bay here on the island of Kauai. Complicatedly put, this was a nightmare of editing. I spent nearly two hours just removing something called thermal noise from this shot. Thermal noise is basically when my camera gets too hot and causes certain pixels in the image to get discolored. This is pretty common among almost all cameras if you do long enough exposures. The problem is the new camera I am using is way worse than normal. The thing is, I really liked this photo. So I spent the time removing the noise so I could share it with you. I love the sense of calm in the bay when in reality waves were crashing in on the breaker wall to my right. The contrast of gritty rocks versus smooth water and the beautiful mountains against the cloudy sky. I also enjoyed the sense of still of the water against the movement of the clouds. It is just an interesting combination to me for this overall shot. If you haven't come to notice over the last couple of months, my new home is absolutely beautiful. Enjoy the shot and happy Halloween to all of you. Be safe and don't eat too much candy!
We are back in Washington D.C. today and a site that I saw from just as far away as you are seeing this shot. Time unfortunately was short and I only got to view this from afar but it was magnificent none the less. Sometimes when you are out photographing you have these situations where you hope that what you see with your eyes will translate to your camera. You see the human eye sees much differently than a camera can and your brain can help translate what you are seeing into much more than a bit of software can. This was a situation where when I took the shot I truly didn't think it was going to translate quite well. I was surprised when for the most part it did a quite nice job. You get a sense for the sheer size of the pool that runs between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It is an absolutely gorgeous park that runs around it and the feeling of history all around you is quite intense. I was saddened that the feeling was so short but it instilled in me a desire to come back and see some more. Enjoy the shot and at some point this evening I will have the results of the drawing up for you all. Cheers!
We return to NYC today and visit something the likes of which I have never seen before. They have taken these old shipping piers that are no long in use and converted them to outdoor activities areas for the public to use for free whenever they like. They even light them up at night so if you are not a day dweller you can still go partake. This pier is a bunch of soccer fields. They had another with basketball courts and they were working on another. I just loved the view you got while you were on the fields. You get a gorgeous view of the water, the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline. I love that as a city they created something like this. I am sure it wouldn't be cost effective for smaller cities but I still really thought it was cool. It is a bit tough to capture a scene like this because there are such vast distances between the two subjects I am really wanting to show. I liked how getting really low to the ground allowed me to use the overhangs around the edge of the field to create a bit of framing in the shot. Enjoy the shot and leave me some feedback and please keep sharing. Participation has been way down this past week, people must be busy with life. Tomorrow we do the drawing for the free photo session for my Kauai friends so tune in for that!
We head north shore today and to the short trail that leads down to the coast where Queens Bath is. This waterfall, like a few on the island, is just few feet away from society. Now to a guy who before about six years ago had barely left the midwest seeing things like this doesn't get old or regular. This is not a super large fall. About 25 feet or so I would guess but as you can see it is pretty well secluded back in its little cubby. Now waterfalls have distinctive characteristics about them that separate them from others. Besides the shear size of the falls, the second most important to me is the shape. Does it come down as one massive fall such as Angel Falls in Venezuela or does it fork out and create a more intricate fall like this one you see here. While I like to think I can appreciate both, the beautiful and detailed forks of water as they come down really make for a beautiful scene. Yes I have a strange amount to say about waterfalls lol. I just truly enjoy nature and the beautfy it holds. You pass this fresh water fall on your way down to the coast as you head out to Queens Bath and it is well worth a stop and gander! Enjoy the shot and have a good evening.
So it has been a few weeks since we have visited Arizona and Antelope Canyon but I still have a shot or two left from the trip and I thought it would be a nice change of pace today to visit somewhere we haven't lately. As I look through the series of images I shot there I realize that although they are similar in nature there are some wonderful defining characteristics in each shot. In this shot I really enjoy the multiple levels of light shafts that work through the canyon as you work your way down in the photo. Then when you get to the bottom there is smooth flowing sand wishing through the ground level area. I really think this shot captures the entirety of what being in Antelope Canyon is like. If you have been missing the video blogs I have some stuff planned for later this week to get those back rolling again. Hopefully everyones week has started off great!
We venture back into the very thick forests of Kauai today with a shot I took almost a month ago. I shot this while heading up Sleeping Giant mountain and much like another image I shared a couple weeks ago, I really wanted to express the truly lush and wild nature that the forests here seem to take. It was funny because the week before I hiked a different trail and had the same thought, you are never far away from society even though you feel completely lost in the wild. The island simply isn't large enough to get too completely away from everything. That is not to understate the danger here, people die on a very regular basis hiking our beautiful trails and mountains. I think the trick to safe hiking and adventuring here is to have mutual respect for what the wild and what mother nature can hold. Obviously as a photographer I want the best shot I can get, but if I am dead I don't even get to see it! So I take risks as far as I can without just being stupid. Hopefully you will al come out and visit and see some of this beautiful island. I promise it won't disappoint! Enjoy the shot and your last few hours of the weekend!
How about a very interesting round about in downtown Baltimore. This is near a couple of big clubs and resort hotels right down near the inner harbor. My wife happened to be having a conference at one of the hotels so while she went in and registered I took photos off of the parking garage. I thought this sculpture was very interested and I liked how they incorporated it into a round about. I like the multiple senses of distance in this shot. Depth down the side streets and hight with the buildings in front of me and even the distance down from where I was standing. Hope your weekends are going well, I am looking forward to next week and some time with the wife. I'll see you tomorrow to wrap up the weekend and I'll try and bring something interesting to the party. Cheers!
Today I bring you one of my favorite black and white images I have taken as of late. With it being my birthday I thought I would share something special. I am a strapping 29.2 years old. (Really I'm 31, but I decided I was done having birthdays at 29). The one thing with birthdays is it gives me a chance to reflect on what has happened in the past year of my life. I can say with complete certainty that this has been the best year of my life and you all have some part of making that happen, so thank you. Now back to she matter at hand and this shot. If you saw the panoramic shot I shared of New York City last week the left hand side of the skyline should look familiar. I took the pano about a 1/2 mile further down the river walk but these pillars coming out of the water make for an amazing foreground. The balance in the photo is very pleasing to me and I hope it is to you too. Let me know what you think and as I always love and ask, keep sharing and inviting others to come follow along!
So let me preface this photo by saying that the day I went to Washington D.C. was not nearly how I imagined. I had hopes of photographing all these different sites and doing them during times of the day etc etc. The reality is I woke up way too late and we ended up having to leave really early to head to a dinner. This resulted in having roughly four hours to explore the area. Now I love the people I had dinner with and I don't regret having to head back early one bit, I am just realizing that work trips needs to be strictly work trips instead of trying to make it a two for one. Basically I spent the four hours I had doing three things. Visiting Arlington National Cemetery, trying to find parking and visiting the Lincoln Memorial. Obviously Washington has a ton of things to visit, yet I only visited one actual site in the city and this was it. The importance of who and what Abraham Lincoln was and did can not be put into words. As awesome as this memorial is, it doesn't do justice to the man it represents. Photographing this was tough. As in most tourist destinations there was a million people there. On top of that just like everyone else, I have seen a million photographs of it. Trying to find a unique way to showcase it was a challenge on the fly. In the end I got a shot that I am pretty happy with. Enjoy the shot and tomorrow we will have something special for a day I don't like to talk about!
So believe it or not it has been in excess of two weeks since I have shared a macro shot with you guys. I actually haven't been doing much of late other than some flowers I shot in the yard a couple weeks ago but I haven't processed them. This very weird looking bug was actually back in Arkansas and I really am not sure what kind of bug it is. I just thought it looked very interesting and the texture of its body almost reminded me of stone. I really liked how it was just perched up on this leaf and it held nice and still for me while I took the shot. The small hint of background color from the forest adds a nice finishing touch to it. These type of shots are not usually crowd favorites but I really enjoy doing all types of photography and to me this stuff is just as interesting to shoot as some of the landscapes, cities and portraits. If you happen to know what this is feel free to let everyone know in the comments.
Today we take a different tone in our daily photo because while I was having a very fun week last week I did get to experience one of the most incredible and most humbling experiences of my life. In my extremely short trip to Washington D.C. I spent the bulk of that time at Arlington National Cemetery just over the bridge. It is an extremely sobering feeling as you walk through road after road of these monuments to the people who have given literally everything for what I get to do on a daily basis today. My family has a bit of history in the military. My father was a Vietnam War veteran, his father was a World War II veteran and I myself wanted to join the military when I was younger. I actually tried, but when I went and did the testing they refused me due to my color blindness. I think fate worked out for the best and now I am able to do what I truly love. It is not lost on me for one moment that a lot of what I do and my freedoms to be able to do it are in large part due to the people resting in this site. If you have never been there you can not imagine the scope of how large and beautiful this place is. After leaving I was processing through how it all felt and the only other time I can compare it with is when I visited the National Civil Rights museum with my brother, sister in law and their kids last year. Enjoy the shot and take a moment to give thanks to the people who gave you this wonderful country (if you live in the United States), if not I am sure you can appreciate it in your own way.
We have been doing lots of city stuff lately so thought I would bring you back to the island with me since I am home. Not only am I home, but I now have internet access in my house! You don't realize how much you miss having it until it is gone. This shot was one I did a couple weeks back at a place called Ahukini Landing. If you saw the night shot I posted with the airplane light trails going through it, this was taken the same night. This is the shot of the breaker wall that is used to protect the bay to left, very popular spot for fishing. The town you see off in the distance is the town I live in called Kapaa. This is along the eastern shore line of Kauai. I love doing night time photography and this has a lot of really nice elements to it. The nice smooth water from drawing my exposure out to 10 minutes along with the star trails above a nice cloud bank that is reflecting the city lights from Kapaa. You also get a little bit of mountains on the horizon. It is just gorgeous no matter which way you look here. Enjoy the shot and hopefully your weeks are getting off to a good start.
October 19th, 2014 - Welcome to New York City!
So hopefully we have lots of people checking in today because we have one of my bucket list photos to share today. Yes I have a photographers bucket list. Basically these are shots that have been taken plenty of times before but I have always wanted to take them myself and see how I would do it. This insane panoramic I shot from Brooklyn looking over the river back at New York City. The tall bright tower you see on the left hand side is the One World Trade Center building, the bridge you see towards the right hand side is the Brooklyn Bridge and the bright tower on the far far right is the Empire State Building. Honestly this week has not been a super productive week of photography, I did a very bad job of planning out my trip due to no internet access at home and with other things besides working going on for this trip I just didn't have a ton of time to do all the things I wanted to. The great news is though that I did get a few great shots of the few very important things I wanted to. So besides being an awesome photo what is pretty awesome about this shot is the resolution. Using my new D810 and shooting four frames to do this equals my largest resolution photo to date. This 115.5 megapixel beast can be printed at full resolution at over 6 1/2 feet long. This is not super useful for the every day person viewing this on the internet, but if you loved NYC and wanted a beautiful centerpiece for your wall decorations this would be it! For fun check back in an hour and I will give you a visual demonstration about what all of this is. I hope you enjoy the shot and your weekends went well, please keep sharing the work and inviting others to come follow along. I have noticed lately a few new people really taking time to participate with the page and sharing the work and you don't go unnoticed!
So how about we visit the huge, crazy, and beautiful New York City today? Since I am in Baltimore for the week I thought I would try and hit a couple of near by places I haven' thad the chance to do. So I drove up and shot NYC for the day and today I am in Washington D.C. photographing. Although skies look extremely clear and no very interested so we will see how it'll go. I really like how this shot came out, my big goal while going through NYC was to see Central Park. The idea that this huge park was in the middle of this absolutely massive city seemed so awesome to me. I shot this shortly after arriving in Central Park. We were on the southern edge right near the edge of that part of the city where these are all of these rock formations that people like to climb up on and sit and have lunch or hang out. Luckily it had been raining a whole ton the last couple days before I came and it had created this really nice water pool on top of one of the rocks. So I used it to mix in a partial reflection of the skyline into the scene. I hope you guys enjoy it and tomorrow I will have some super awesome for you from New York.
This was one of those for fun shots that I just happen to really like. Not everything planning out in photography works out and sometimes the least planned shots turn out to be the big hitters. I really enjoyed the two palm trees and how they were reaching up and out and I thought it made a great frame of a photo of sorts. It just happened that while I was there shooting a local family was doing some crab fishing, quite successfully from what I was seeing. This guy in the kayak was going and checking traps he had set around the river. I just lucked out that he rowed right between these trees in the sunlight and created this beautiful silhouette. I am enjoying my time on the east coast but I can't wait to get back to this!
I thought maybe we would change it up a bit today and head back to Rome for a shot. I always hold on to a few shots from each location to publish later. This is a shot of the cathedral at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We didn't actually know it was there and basically walked into it on accident. It is not at all marked. It sure is a beautiful place though. It is amazing how even the smallest and most hidden cathedrals are so intricately put together. It is almost like visiting an art museum with every one you go to. Hopefully as you are getting this I am somewhere in or near New York City taking some photos. Very excited to see some of the sites there, I have never been. Enjoy and cheers!
So I am working fast on location today due to some bad weather. I was originally supposed to be in Washington D.C. today. I am delaying it until either tomorrow or Friday in hopes of better weather. I bring you your first shot of beautiful Baltimore and a shot of the inner harbor that I took at about 6 a.m. this morning. As you can tell it is very cloudy here. I am hoping the weather clears up later this afternoon. I have been to a few bigger cities and finding good places to shoot skylines from is not always an easy task, it was very nice of Baltimore to lay it right out for you. Hoping to head up on Federal Hill at some point this week and get a wide overlooking expansive sunset. Hope you enjoy your first visit from Baltimore, loving the city so far. Very friendly people.
Hello from Baltimore my friends! We just barely made in time to get this up close to on time. I bring you an insanely gorgeous panoramic view from atop Sleeping Giant today. This is just one of many beautiful overlook views you get while on this hike. You really get a sense of the diversity of landscape in this with some deep thick forests, some wide open spaces and some beautiful ocean. I believe I took this shot shortly before nearly being accosted by a boar. We never actually saw him but we heard him loud and clear and he was very close in some thick brush where we were hiking. They are not animals to be trifled with. I hope your weeks are starting off well and you enjoy this beautiful view, I will be hopefully doing a ton of shooting this week and have lots of new content and new locations for you soon. Cheers!
Today we visit the Wailua River from a bit of a different angle. A couple days ago I posted a photo from way up in the mountains shooting down shooting a bend in the river, today we are down near the coast shooting up it at a beautiful sunset over the mountains. What I love about living here is this is about a seven minute drive from my home down the mountain and you don't even have to go hiking to find this. Like a lot of the beauty on this island it is very accessible. I actually took this last night with my wife down at a little state park. She has been ramping up her interest as of late in photography herself and shot some beautiful views of this too. I leave today for Baltimore so expect some city shots to be incoming before long, I am sure you don't mind photos of paradise but it is fun to change it up sometimes. Enjoy the photo, remember to keep sharing, commenting and inviting people to come follow along. Mahalo!
We venture back to the north shore and to the Queens Bath area today. If you saw the shot of Queens Bath a couple weeks ago, I took this shot the same evening. We had hiked down to the pool area and it was awesome. I had set up my sunset shot and I really was excited as it was working its way out. Slowly though my shot fell apart. You see this is a HUGE attraction on Kauai. We actually had to wait for a parking spot for nearly 20 minutes. I didn't mind some people in the shot, between photoshop and my ability to compose out some of the folks it wasn't going to be too bad. That is until right before sunset when a huge family showed up and stood directly in the middle of my shot. I am not a complainer and I understand I need to share this beauty with everyone so I simply recomposed my shot and set up again. At which point a woman who I literally helped get safely down to the pool area due to it being slightly dangerous walked up and stood directly in front of my camera after I had set up my second time and started taking photos of her own. Still I didn't say a word and again I recomposed and I shot this. At first when I started editing it out of shear spite I was not fond of this shot just simply due to how much trouble I had to go through to get to here. In the end though I think it came out pretty good and as a whole it is a great shot of a beautiful coast. I just have to learn to adjust to living on a small island that I have to share with lots of visitors to these beautiful sites. I am just glad I get to see them at all, and I hope you are too. Enjoy and I hope your Sunday has been great!
So my first thought about this is that it reminded me of Horseshoe Bend. Which is awesome right? I don't think I feel quite as confident about this shot as I did my actual Horseshoe Bend shots. I am kind of going through a little bit of a photography funk at the moment. A lot of my shots I have taken lately I have not been satisfied with. Maybe my standards are getting too high. Hoping the change up this week with the trip will get me back on track. I took this shot though a few days ago and while it looks like something you would have to spend hours hiking up a mountain and nearly kill yourself to go see, you actually just pull over on the side of a road and get out of your car. Now I believe the river you are seeing here is the Wailua river but don't quote me on that. I still don't have internet and I don't know my geography here well enough yet to give you a certain answer. I was concerned with the editing on this photo so I would love some feedback on what you guys think. The sun was behind a mountain to my right a bit so the valley was a little darker. I hope your guys' weekends are going awesome!
I figured we could return to Hawaii today, but from a slightly different angle. I took this shot almost two months ago when I first got on the island down at Waimea Pier, I published a couple other photos from that evening but I was unsure about this one. I did a big no no by shooting directly into the sun, but I kind of did it on purpose here to purposely create the flare in my lens. I loved how strong the shadow being cast was from the pier and just thought the Michael Bay like sun flare added to it. Short post today, got a lot going on but hopefully you enjoy this little trip down artsy lane. Got some big plans for my trip next week in Baltimore.
Today we go old school! We recently celebrated our one year anniversary here at Bens Viewfinder and I couldn't be happier. What you might not know though is I have been a photography enthusiast for much much longer. I took this shot on August 3rd, 2002, just over 12 years ago. This also just happens to be my dream old school car. If you are not a car nut this is a 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Cobra. One of the greatest noises and thrilling things I have ever driven. I took this when I was 18 and it was also with my first serious investment in digital cameras. It is amazing how at the time I thought that I would never need another camera with how awesome this one was! I bought it while working at a camera shop in Battle Creek, Michigan. Probably won't break any like or popularity records with this shot but I thought it was a fun trip down memory lane. When you move you start organizing and looking through old stuff. Enjoy this beautiful piece of machinery and we will return to normal programming tomorrow!
So because you probably haven't seen nearly enough lunar eclipse photographs I figured I would add to the pile. It is kind of funny actually because it has been extremely rainy and cloudy here on Kauai the last few days and I had zero expectations of being able to even see it. Turns out I couldn't have gotten a clearer night if I controlled the weather myself. Now unfortunately my super telephoto lens broke last year so I had to shoot these with my 180mm macro lens with a 2x teleconverter on it. Which is why I chose to do a composite of the process instead of trying to do one large detailed image. I have seen a lunar eclipse before but this was my first time of actually sitting through it. It is a pretty cool experience. So far I am loving my D810. Going to have to get used to the smaller battery life and I actually have to send it off to get the sensor adjusted after Baltimore due to a thermal noise issue, but considering it was half the cost of my D3x it does insanely awesome work. I hope you enjoy and leave me some feedback because I am curious if my hours of work paid off. You can be honest!
Crazy enough I have photos from Antelope Canyon left as well. Like I mentioned the other day with the Italy photo I like to keep a few shots in my stock pile so I can share them later. I think I have come to the conclusion that Antelope Canyon has the highest return rate of photos taken to photos worth publishing ever. I honestly think that 80% of the shots I took there are going to end up published. The sense of height in this one really is what I enjoy. You get a good contrast of the darks close to you working towards the light the furthest away. As with all the canyon shots the texture is awesome in this. It almost seems like the ceiling of the canyon should be collapsing on me. I am resisting the urge not to drive back to the area in the spring when I am going to be in Colorado. Hope you guys are diggin the change up from Hawaii a bit. The website views have been down this month so always remember if you are interested in seeing the full resolution versions to head over to bensviewfinder.com. As usual they are always available for print. Keeping sharing and giving me feedback, I love it!
I thought today we would go with something more traditional and simple. This was one of those situations where I didn't really plan to take the shot but it kind of just presented itself. I had hiked to the top of Sleeping Giant and was pretty well exhausted. We were relaxing at a picnic area at the top of the mountain when I decided to put my macro lens on and look for something interesting to shoot. This bird had landed not far away from where I was walking so I tried to grab a shot. I was pretty far away so I tried to move closer, which of course scared him off. So instead I simply crouched down near the ground and waited. This actually worked and he came over to investigate me a bit which allowed me to get extremely close. I have no clue what type of bird it is but I enjoyed having my little moment with wild nature. There is a very nice "bokeh" effect in this image. If you are not a photography nerd bokeh is the blur effect when you shoot wide apertures that occurs behind your subject due to small focal planes. I hope you enjoy the little bird. I got my desktop back up and running so I am looking forward to processing some more images this week. I am traveling next week to Baltimore, Maryland so I will have some new city shots for you soon!
I thought maybe today we would venture back to the great country of Italy and escape the norm of what I have been sharing as of late. Yes I still have some shots of Italy left to share. This one however, is a little different than the other you have seen as of yet. This is a prime example of the creative off kilter side of me trying to come out. As you notice most of my photos are pretty compositionally sound. Rule of thirds, rarely center, blah blah blah. But like I mentioned last week with the shot from Arizona, I really like to try and throw a curve ball in when I am out photographing different locations. They are not usually big hits with you guys but I enjoy them for the simple things they do. This shot in Venice is simply of where the canal meets the "ground?" where a building sits. The building itself wasn't the most interesting thing in the world but I Thought the reflection with the very light ripples in it from the water was beautiful. Being an artsy shot of course they always look better in black and white. I am never sure when I take these how they will turn out but I really like this one and I hope you do too.
So my wife and I are both exhausted from trying to get the house unpacked and we just haven't taken much time to go have some fun in the last few days. So last night we decided to go out and get a couple night photographs down at Ahukini Landing which I think used to be a fishing port right next to the airport. I just got my new camera and tripod yesterday so I was amped to get out and try them out. For those curious it is a Nikon D810. It definitely takes some beautiful photographs. This is a shot of the coastline and just by random chance an airplane took off from the airport and went right through the frame creating a pretty sweet light trail. I like that it gives a sense of movement. Add that to the movement in the clouds and the star trails and you get a pretty busy photo. This is actually a 10 minute exposure taken at about 9 o'clock at night. The only problem with the camera is the thermal noise issue which took me forever to correct in processing. This is basically where you get bright pixels randomly throughout your photo due to the sensor getting too hot and bleeding through to the photo. I hear there is an update for the D810 to help with it though. I'll have a video blog soon for you guys. Hope your weekends are going well, remember to share, comment and invite others to come follow along. Cheers.
How about a photo not from Hawaii today? This macro shot of a wasp I took while back in Arkansas and it has just been sitting in my stockpile. I really enjoy the contrast of how vibrant he is vs the grass he is standing on. Not a super easy photo to get when you consider how rarely these guys sit still. I probably have a week or so of unpacking to do at the new house but I have a new camera arriving today so I am definitely going to get out and do a little shooting. Looking forward to getting back to normal days. I hope you dig our simple shot today, cheers!
So when you think of Hawaii you think of sandy beaches and gorgeous mountains and the occasional volcano if you are on the correct island. This however is a photo showcasing the insanely thick forest you can hike through if you want to get to the good stuff! I took this on my hike up Sleeping Giant and just loved how dark it was with that stream of light coming through the canopy. This is in the middle of a bright sunny day. One of the big dangers here for hiking is the flash floods that can occur, usually you would think well don't hike if it is raining. In Kauai though it can go from sunny to rainy to sunny again in the span of 30 minutes. If you add in thick forest like this while you are out hiking I doubt you would ever see a serious storm coming. Just like most beautiful things in the world, there is a risk involved. So very worth it though when you get to stand on top of a mountain and look over the beautiful land. I hope you guys enjoy the shot and so far my cell phone signal has been good enough to allow me to tether my computer and keep things updated on time. Lets just hope my data plan doesn't fill up too quick!
Something about the way water beads up on plants is very interesting to me. Kind of seems to defy gravity a bit and also looks extremely cool when you can macro it right. I took this while on a hike here on the island and while simple I think it is beautiful. One of those everyday things you have around you that you may not notice. I hope you enjoy the it too. On a side note we are moved into our new home but apparently there is a work shortage here with the cable company so it could be up to three weeks before our internet gets hooked up, so please be patient if updates are slow some days. We are in love with our home though and glad to finally start the process of settling in. Thanks for your support and patience!