April 2015 - Bens Viewfinder

April 30th, 2015 - Stroll Through Central Park

Another black and white shot today. I know I have been doing a lot of them as of late. This is Central Park in New York City and I really just kind of enjoyed the multiple layered scene. I love the people silhouetted under the bridge walking their dogs and I really love the texture of the bridge. I also liked how the path just splits here giving you a choice of which way you would like to walk, gives you a sense of wonder. The last big thing that drew me into this shot is the lamp post on the left. I like the little details some places use on their lamps, makes for interesting viewing. Well I am going to keep it short today, hopefully you all had a good Thursday and we will see you guys again tomorrow.


April 29th, 2015 - Russian Fort Sunset

Well today you get a sunset photo. You also get a small story. I took this photo at a place called Russian Fort Elizabeth, which is located on the south west shore here on Kauai. I won't give you the whole history because it is really quite complicated, but very interesting and if you like go give it a read on wikipedia. Basically in the very early 1800's this Russian guy got in good with one of the chiefs of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The chief allowed them to build a fort on the island with a certain understanding. It turned out that their intentions were not the same and one thing lead to another and in the late 1800's they were basically asked to leave. Following all that the fort was basically dismantled and now lies in ruins. Now obviously this sunset photo wasn't of those ruins, this is the beach behind all of that. What is funny is how super rainy and cloudy it has been on the island where I live and I went down to photograph this sunset and there was barely a cloud in the sky. We did however have some nice vog. Yes vog, not fog. Vog is like fog but occurs due to volcanic ash and dust. Either way I hope you enjoy the shot, sorry for the super long post today.


April 28th, 2015 - Mischevious Eyes

How about an incredibly cute photo of a Long Tail Macaque Monkey today? Just a simple fun photo but I really liked the pose and the way it's eyes look. Now I can't actually tell you when I took this photograph. I know it was more than three years ago based on the camera I used but I didn't really organize my work very well back then so who knows. I went out yesterday and took a couple shots that I am working on so you will have some brand new work coming up. Weather here on the island has been less than spectacular as of late so here is hoping our spring sets in soon. I will keep this short today. Enjoy the monkey and your Tuesday my friends.


April 27th, 2015 - Michigan Fall Forest

We revisit a photo again today. I hope you don't mind. I just don't want you to think that I am short handing you on new photos. I promise I will keep those coming too. I am simply  in the process of opening a physical gallery here on Kauai and part of that process is really fine tuning my past work. Photos like this one I really enjoy the scene but my taste for how I present my work has changed quite a bit since I shot some of these. Now that is not to say I am abandoning HDR work because I still do plenty of that, I am just processing them in a much more natural matter is all. So hopefully you enjoy the work as I bring it back out. If you are not familiar with this shot or some of my older work then this will all be just fine to you! So I hope you enjoy this shot of a forest in Michigan during last fall. I really enjoyed the leaves on the ground and the many different colors going on in the trees. I wouldn't trade living in Hawaii for a second, but you have to love the beautiful changing of seasons Michigan has. Enjoy the shot and please let me know what you think as I release these new versions. I am really trying to filter out what I want to present in the gallery once I get to that point. Thanks friends!


April 26th, 2015 - Whiskeytown Lake

We visit northern California today with a shot of a beautiful place called Whiskeytown Lake. I actually didn't have any clue this place even existed. I just happened to run into it as I was leaving Redding and heading up to Eureka and it was just one of my happy surprises from the trip. After leaving from this lake the drive to Eureka is both amazing and quite scary at times. You do some pretty extreme mountain driving. I really enjoy scenes where you get a nice sense of depth and you definitely have that here. As with almost my entire time I had in California, there wasn't barely a cloud in the sky. The weather here in Kauai has been super rainy as of late, but I am hoping to get out and do some shooting this week. I hope you all and a great weekend and we will see you tomorrow!


April 25th, 2015 - Afternoon in Venice

So I have been doing a lot of black and white editing lately. I guess I kind of just go in phases where I like to edit in certain styles. I don't ever force a photo to be black and white. Usually when I am taking them I know ahead of time if I am going to be using it as color or black and white. This shot of Venice, Italy was mostly just a scene shot, not a specific subject in mind. I did really enjoy the texture of the brick and the contrast of the darker objects to the bright white of some of the buildings. I was also in love with those lamps and they had them all over the city. It is kind of hard to take ugly photos in Venice. Hopefully you are all having a good Saturday. I am super sore from stand up paddle boarding yesterday. That is way more of a work out than I was expecting. Until tomorrow!


April 24th, 2015 - Sleepy Kitty

We head all the way to Memphis, TN today to visit their lovely zoo and see this gorgeous leopard. I wouldn't exactly say this is the most exciting photograph ever taken, but I enjoy the subtlety of it. How when you are photographing animals in these types of situations there is one major problem almost all the time. You can't avoid photographing their enclosures. No one wants to see a huge chain link fence in their shot. Well my friends, this is what photoshop was created for! What is funny is that I take photos a lot of the time when I am out and usually knowing on the spot if something in the shot is going to need taken out later. Most of the time though it is power lines or something like that. I don't like to alter photographs to look natural or take away from what a scene really looks like. I would never over size a moon or add extra trees or something weird like that. But removing natural distracting objects like the fence in this I think adds to the photo. It allows you to enjoy it for what it is. Enjoy my friends and happy Aloha Friday!


April 23rd, 2015 - Vineyard Mountain Range

I haven't shared a panoramic shot lately so here ya go. This shot of a gorgeous vineyard in Napa, California was taking while standing on top of a picnic table. There was a lady walking her dog who I think thought I had lost my mind. I just liked how this vineyard was at the foothills of these mountains and I love how the moon made an appearance on the right hand side. I just love shooting panoramics in the right situations. They allow you to really get to see a whole scene instead of just a slice of it. This was a pretty simple three shot panoramic. I know they are not great for cell phone viewing, but I promise they look super awesome in a nice large print. Enjoy the shot an your Thursdays.


April 22nd, 2015 - Standing Guard

We are keeping it simple today with a shot from the Napali Coast. I know this isn't the fanciest scene you have seen before, but something about this photo I really like. I am a video gamer and one of my favorite series is some games called Final Fantasy. These view reminds me very much of an important cut scene from the seventh installment of that series where there are these sentinel mech protecting the coast of the city. So to me it is almost like the coast line is standing guard for Kauai. Now that I am done nerding out I will cut this post short and let you enjoy your Wednesday. Thanks guys!


April 21st, 2015 - Breaking the Trend

So I have noticed the last few days a lack of excitement with the daily photos. So I thought maybe we could break up that cycle today and go with something a little more out of the box. Now usually I tell you what it is and where it is located. Today though I am going to have a little fun with it and for those on social media feel free to take a guess. I can tell you that what this started out as looked nothing like what you are seeing. The original photo really wasn't horribly interested to me, but I loved the lines and shapes and wanted to see if I could turn it into something worth looking at. I think I succeeded. I really enjoy this and think it is an awesome show of contrast. So leave your guess at what you think it is below, super bonus points to anyone who can tell me exactly where this thing is located. My wife is not allowed to play though, she already knows hehe. Have a great Tuesday friends.


April 20th, 2015 - Back Alley Rome

We visit Rome, Italy today. I know, it's been a while. I haven't been doing much shooting lately so I am going back through my older unworked stuff and bringing some of them up for you. This shot is one of those interesting shots with no real subject. If you think about most scenes there is usually one thing that is the main purpose and you just try to set a scene around it. To me this scene was just what was interesting. This is a back alley in Rome and something about it just seemed interesting to me. The wet pavement and the bright little side shop just set up well in my eyes. Enjoy the scene and hopefully your week is off to a good start.


April 19th, 2015 - Yosemite Valley

We visit Yosemite today with my first real shot I took once I got into the valley area of the park where I stayed. It is hard sometimes to really relay the amazing scenes I get to see and honestly the feeling I had when I was standing there just can't be shown in a photograph. There are just some things you see in this world that will just make you understand that nature is so much more awesome than you ever thought was possible. A couple cool things to point out here is the amazing half dome mountain on your right hand side and even though it isn't super prominent the moon in the top right of the photo makes for a cool cherry on top .I also love the huge shadow line going across the valley from the sun setting back to my right. Enjoy the shot and I hope your weekends went well my friends.


April 18th, 2015 - Missing Waterfalls

We are back on the Napali Coast today with a shot of some of the beautiful coastline that runs along our western shore. Now I love how beautiful this shot is and the awesome darker shadows the clouds are casting over the higher parts of the cliff make for a beautiful contrast. Now the other beautiful but slightly sad thing you will see is a lot of darker lines that run all over the cliff from top to bottom. These all used to be waterfalls and they now no longer run. There are actually tons of these all along the Napali Coast where you see the scares of what used to be waterfalls that are dried up. The only problem is why they are dried up. It didn't happen naturally, the farming industry here on Kauai diverted all the water that used to run through these cliffs into the ocean and pushed it inland to the farming areas of the island. Now I completely understand why they did it and the need for people here to make a living and survive, it breaks my heart though that this was the best answer we could come up with. I would love to travel back in time a hundred years and see what Kauai looked like then. Enjoy the shot and your Saturday friends.


April 17th, 2015 - The Wasp

So I know you guys are not normally fans of creepy crawly stuff, but come on look at this shot! I am kind of in love with this. I was actually out laying in my hammock on my lanai yesterday and under the railing to the right of where I was laying, this little lady was building this nest. Most peoples first thought would be to squash it, mine was to go get my camera. What was great about this was that it gave me a chance to test out a new macro shooting method I have been working on that helps me capture things on the fly without having to set up a tripod and go through a whole process. I think it came out pretty awesome. I just love how she is looking directly back at me and you can see the details in her eyes and nest really well. This whole set up you are looking at here is only about an inch and a half wide. I don't really kill things so I scared her off her nest and cleared the nest out after I was done taking the photo. Hopefully she finds somewhere further away from my hammock to build her next one. Enjoy the shot and leave me some feedback! I haven't been hearing from you guys much lately. Happy Aloha Friday!


April 16th, 2015 - Sunset Over Red Rock

So if you are a keen observer of my work, todays daily photo will look familiar. I have shared a version of this shot before. Most likely well over a year ago. I mentioned a while back that I would be sharing some of my larger re-edits of photos as I go through and update them to more suite the style of standards I have shifted to over the last couple of years. I won't be sharing a ton of re-edits, but a few of the ones I like I will. If you don't recognize or haven't seen this before, this is a shot of Red Rock Canyon and the Rainbow Mountains as the sun was setting to my right. I just loved the long shadows being cast by the mountains and the great sense of depth you get in this shot. I honestly at the time had no idea such beautiful wilderness surrounded Las Vegas. Hopefully you enjoy the new version of this and we will return to some new work tomorrow.


April 15th, 2015 - Nihau Sunset

We visit the open ocean today and a simple but I think beautiful sunset over the Pacific. I took this while on my way back from the Napali Coast last week on the boat and came to the realization that I am way better at taking photos with a tripod and a non moving surface! I do however really enjoy a couple of things about this shot. The gorgeous fiery bit of clouds on the horizon and with there not being a ton of clouds you really get a nice gradient into the open blue sky as you move away from the sun. I also like that if you look closely you can see that the sun is splitting the islands of Nihau on the left and very faintly Lehua just to the right. I tried to ask nicely but the whales said they didn't want to randomly jump out of the water while I took this in the foreground. Either way, just another beautiful Kauai sunset for you to enjoy.


April 14th, 2015 - Frozen Mt. Hood

I figure we can visit a shot from m west coast trip two days in a row. This shot of gorgeous Mt Hood in Oregon was definitely not what I had planned. I had done some research leading on this trip and found this lake that normally has a beautiful reflective view of Mt Hood. As you can tell it was very frozen over. Now I knew it was winter time and this would be a possibility, but for almost my whole trip it was rarely below freezing so I thought my odds were going to be good. It also turned out that the road to get to take this shot closes during the winter season. So I had to hike two and a half miles each direction with all my gear to take these shots in deep snow. I didn't quite get the amazing shots I had in my brain, but I still think I ended up with a couple of cool shots. I like the contrast of the dark gloomy winter sky against the sun struck mountain. I also dig the few people who are out on the lake giving you a sense of scale of it all. Enjoy my friends and have a great Tuesday.


April 13th, 2015 - Filtered Light

We are back in California today and visiting a place I have shared with you before. This is taken at Burney Falls outside of Redding. I had already gone down and taken the shot of the falls I wanted and as I was walking back out I noticed the sun filtering through the trees casting these really cool shadows, so I gave it a go. I wasn't sure how the shot would come out and I don't think the light shafts show up quite as well as I had hoped, but I think that the shot overall is kind of cool. I like the little peak a boo the falls is doing behind the trees. I really love the contrast of light to darks with the huge cast shadows from the trees across the walking path too. It is kind of funny how sometimes you go to take a photo of one thing and something completely different presents itself along the way. Just glad that sometimes I am able to see those situations and try and capitalize on it. Enjoy my friends.


April 12th, 2015 - Cathedral Waterfall

Back on the Napali Coast today with a shot of what I like to call the Cathedral. This is one of the most popular places on Kauai for photographs because the rock formations are so awesome. What I was really trying to showcase here was the size of it all. That waterfall you see on the right hand side looks small, but in reality just the bottom part of the falls is over 100 feet tall. The reason the rock faces are so sheared is due to the winter swells that just pound the western shores of the island with regular 30 to 40 foot faces. These parts of the island are completely uninhabited other than the few campers who have permits to stay a couple nights if they can make the hike out. The beauty of the Napali Coast is just amazing and I hope you enjoy it. Have a great Sunday friends.


April 11th, 2015 - Oregon Sunrise

We visit Oregon today and one of the few shots I got to take while there. Unfortunately the weather was was than stellar the day I drove through most of Oregon but the very early morning I got up while staying in Coos Bay I took this photo. As you can tell it wasn't the most beautiful sunrise ever, but I kind of like the off tones and slightly desolate feel of the area. I have never seen so much drift wood in my life as what lined these shores. I am guessing due to the massive amount of logging that takes place in the area. Kind of made for an interesting foreground though. I am hoping to get some new video blogs done this upcoming week for those interested in that and I have started prep work on my trip to Utah / Colorado that I have coming up. Enjoy the shot and your Saturdays.


April 10th, 2015 - Baby Humpback Playing

Today's daily photo is more about the cool subject than the greatness of the photo. This photo actually won't be going up on my website for sale due to me having to crop it in so far that it isn't really a printable size. This is however a pretty cool moment we got to experience yesterday while out on the Napali Coast. We are at the very end of whale season here so it was awesome to still see some humpbacks out playing. We actually also got to see a pod of dolphins and a huge manta ray which are both pretty rare sites. I unfortunately do not own a serious telephoto lens so photographing things like whales breaching is a tough gig. Boats can't get close to the whales for protection for the whales and if you do it is like a $50,000 fine if you do it knowingly. I am hoping at the height of next years whale season I will have a more serious telephoto or I will rent one and hire someone to take me out to just chase shots of these guys for a day. Until then, this will have to do. I thought it made for a cool moment and for the few people looking the right direction on that rib boat, I bet it was super special for them, enjoy.


April 9th, 2015 - Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge

So believe it or not it has been well over two weeks since I have shared a black and white photograph. Pretty strange for me, I love black and white photography. Guess I just haven't been doing a ton of it lately. Well we rectify that today with a shot of the Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge which lies in western Oregon. A lot of the time when I was on my west coast trip I simply would spend my evenings once I settled down with an atlas and my laptop picking out my route for the next day and trying to find a thing or two along the way that looks interesting to stop and photograph. I had decided to go try and shoot this bridge but didn't have a great idea of what to expect. When I got there it was extremely industrious and finding a good location to photograph from wasn't easy. So instead of just trying to fill my frame with the bridge I tried to make it more of a scene. I am out on the Napali Coast today so wish me some good luck, the whales are mostly gone for the season but we are hoping to see one or two for our friend who is visiting. See you guys tomorrow.


April 8th, 2015 - Singing Partners

We visit a super exotic secret location today, otherwise known as the side of my house for a shot of a couple birds. I spend a lot of time out laying in my hammock with my laptop editing photos while enjoying the nice weather and the birds singing. We have these large bushes that line our property that the birds love to gather in and so I thought I would grab a little shot of a couple the other day. Not the most exciting photo in the world and honestly I don't have any clue what kinds of birds these are, but I think it is a pretty cool photograph. We have a friend visiting again this week so I am planning on getting out and doing some shooting, I am on the Napali Coast tomorrow afternoon and evening so maybe I will come away with something again. Enjoy your Wednesday my friends.


April 7th, 2015 - Fractured Earth

So we have been visiting Waimea Canyon a lot lately and while a lot of people call it the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", there is definitely no substitute for the original. Not to say one is more beautiful than the other, but they are definitely different. I just love how crazy the different layers of earth look as you go further down into the canyon here. I also love how it looks like the whole thing got struck by lightning and fractured open the ground. The sense when you are standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon is hard to explain. Your mind literally has a really hard time calculating the immense size of it all. It almost comes off as two dimensional if that makes sense. I used a slightly different way of editing this shot and I think it came out pretty good. Enjoy the shot and your Tuesday.


April 6th, 2015 - Chasing Gold

So yesterdays daily photo was super long, today I'll keep it nice and short. The people on that boat didn't share a nickel of the gold I am sure they found at the end of this rainbow! I feel a bit cheated and it will take me a long time to heal over this great tragedy, hehe. In all seriousness I just thought this photograph was cool, simple but cool. The rainbows the day we were on the Napali Coast were insane. We saw two regular rainbows and one double rainbow. Pretty fun stuff. I am actually going back out on the Napali Coast this week again, I am not planning on doing as much photography, but I hope to get a few. Have a great start to your week all.


April 5th, 2015 - The Great Napali Coast

Let me start off by saying Happy Easter to those who are celebrating. Second I will let you know this blog post may be a bit wordy for lack of a better phrase. Now, today we visit the one and only Napali Coast. This incredible part of our island is uninhabited other than the few hikers who take an extremely dangerous and long hike to venture to a very secluded beach you can see in this photo. To me, this is the best photograph I have ever taken of Kauai. I have never really felt like I captured the real feeling of the island until this shot. Now there are some things you should know about this shot and how it was done. First of all it is a 200 megapixel super panoramic shot. So you could print this to the size of a house and be fine. Second is that I managed to take it while on a boat rocking back and forth with no tripod. The last is that I then had to spend six hours adding a small chunk of sky and water to the top and bottom of the photo in order to make it have the 1 to 4 layout ratio for printing. The result all told is one I am kind of in awe of. It isn't often that I take a photograph and afterwards go "WOW!" but this is one of the few times I think I really nailed it. Now some things you may or may not have noticed and some details on what you are looking at. On the far left there was a rainbow, actually a very pronounced one that was gorgeous I didn't get a great capture of it while doing the pano. Second is that bowl looking area to the right of the rainbow is called the Kalalau Valley and you can actually drive to the inside rim of the inside of that bowl shape and hike down and lookout over that valley, when it isn't completely clouded in. To the right of that you will see what is lovingly called The Cathedral, which are just about some of the coolest rock formations I have ever seen. Now small and down by the waterline on the right hand side of The Cathedral there is actually a waterfall. This matters for one important thing, scale. If you are able to zoom in and see it, that waterfall is roughly 100 feet tall, it kind of gives you a sense of the scale of everything else. An interesting fact is that the largest peak in The Cathedral is actually two stories taller than the Empire State Building in New York City. Now you can't see it in the picture but as you wrap around the island to the right of The Cathedra you would find interesting sea caves and a few more waterfalls and a super forbidden beach, which is always fun. Well I have kept you fine people long enough, but I truly wanted to share why I thought this shot was so awesome. I truly live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I think this photo surely proves it. Enjoy the shot and let me know what you think and I wish you and your families well on this Easter.


April 4th, 2015 - Mountain Road

We visit a slightly different view from Waimea Canyon today. Last week while taking some family up the mountain road to the park to visit we had stopped at a pull off to look at a view of a river. As we were walking back to the car I caught a quick glimpse back down the road to make sure no traffic was coming before I walked around to my driver side of my Jeep. It was a quick look, but it was enough to catch my interest. So I made everyone sit in a hot Jeep while I wandered a couple hundred yards down the road to take this shot. Now your first thought may be that this shot is crooked. I promise you it isn not. It is kind of just an optical illusion. The horizon line where the ocean meets the sky is level. Something about this shot really grabbed my interest. Kind of a sense of being lost but having direction kind of idea. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the shot and hope you are all having a great weekend. I am off to hopefully watch my Spartans win a final four game.


April 3rd, 2015 - Sugar Cane Farm

Todays daily photo is a little different. The reason being is that it isn't intended to be a "WOW" photograph. I literally took this as a chance to share with you guys some of the history of the beautiful place I live. This is a sugar cane farm, or was I should say. It was the last one in operation here on Kauai and for the longest time it was the biggest catalyst for economic gain on the island. Roughly ten or fifteen years ago the cost of importing the sugar from Kauai to the mainland simply became too expensive and they started acquiring it from places like Mexico instead. This resulted in all of these farms closing down here. I actually have a buddy who lives down the street who was telling me one night what it was like to live here fifteen years ago and he says you wouldn't have even thought it was the same place. Kind of crazy to imagine. Well I am sad that part of the economy is gone, but I sure do love Kauai how she is now. Enjoy the simple photo and hopefully the little bit of history my friends.


April 2nd, 2015 - Cloudy Pacific

Todays daily photo is pretty simple but I think it is pretty awesome as well. I took this while on a small catamaran tour along the Napali Coast over this past weekend. I have quite a bit of work coming from that little cruise to show you in the coming weeks. What is funny about this photo is how little editing I did on it, yet it looks very surreal. The sun was setting way off to our right but we were actually passing into some pretty heavy rain clouds which cast a very dark muting effect over the scene. Made for some pretty cool warming highlights on the clouds. I never really spent time on the water when I was younger but I am growing to enjoy it more and more now that I live on an island. Something about the vast strange world of the ocean is very interesting to me. Hope you enjoy the shot friends, until tomorrow.


April 1st, 2015 - Mirror Lake

We revisit Yosemite National Park today with a shot of the gorgeous Mirror Lake area. Although not much of a lake when I got to see it, as you can tell the area was still incredibly beautiful. Photographers love reflections. Usually because it helps create a photo that people will look at longer. Your eyes are curious as to how accurately each thing is portrayed in its counterpart. Now this is kind of a grungy reflection due to it being incredibly shallow water but in a way I kind of dig the rocks and the sticks in the water breaking it up. It is sad to say I am already running out f photos I took in Yosemite. So much I didn't get to see. I am doing some more editing today and hoping to get some things finished up. I hope you all enjoy your Wednesday.


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