February 2015 - Bens Viewfinder

February 28th, 2015 - Yosemite River Trail

I love happy accidents and after coming down from a long hike in Yosemite up a mountain trail that ended up being closed off I had crossed a road and came upon this river. This river kind of runs parallel to a road that runs around the valley and is easy to access if you ever visit the park and as you can tell has some gorgeous sites. I loved the way the sun filtered through the trees and the water looked awesome. I had a great meeting yesterday with a business advisor here on the island and am looking into possibly opening a physical island here on the island. Still a lot of steps to go before something like that happens. I'm excited about the possibilities though. Have a great evening!


February 27th, 2015 - Nawiliwili Lighthouse

Today I share with you a pretty cool place. This is Nawiliwili lighthouse in Lihue here on the island of Kauai. As you can tell by the jet flying over head it is very close to the airport. I had actually gone there to whale watch and photograph a sunset over the harbor, but I could resist the opportunity to try and capture this. What is kind of cool is that if you blow this up and zoom in on the jet it is a Hawaiian Arilines jet, which I think is a cool coincidence. It was a pretty good day all around to be there. The whales were breaching and the sunset was pretty sweet and the sailboats were out in the harbor and per the usual the weather was great. I love that I got some nice clouds in this shot too which kind of brings it all together. Happy Friday to you guys, I hope you all have awesome weekends.


February 26th, 2015 - Stormy Oregon Sunset

So after a couple days of normal black and white photos I figured we would add some excitement to the mix today with a sunset off the pacific coast of Oregon. I took this after driving all day in very rainy stormy weather and had noticed about fifteen minutes prior to this that the sun was peaking out a little bit from the clouds and with some help from the wife on the phone navigating me I found a place to stop and take this photo. Oregon's coast is impressibly gorgeous and if you get the chance make sure to drive the coastal highway and look at some of the amazing rock formations that line the shore. I am sad the weather was so bad the day I drove most of it, but it made for a pretty dramatic sunset. I am hopefully out enjoying some warm weather today ahead of my very cold trip to the midwest. Have a great Thursday guys.


February 25th, 2015 - New Friends

Yesterday I shared a shot of Lilikoi the pig, today I share a shot I took of her parents. Sara and I have found nothing but incredibly nice people since moving to Hawaii and these are our newest of friends. As I mentioned yesterday I kind of shot this on the fly and I didn't set any of the shots up. I kind of just took shots as I felt the need as we hung out. Now this is by far not the greatest portrait technically I have ever taken, but I love when I take a photograph and feel like I really captured a moment. Nothing is better than when you can get true expressions instead of half faked smiles. I love that we are finding people to connect with and really making this our home. I miss our friends back on the mainland all the time, but it makes it a little easier to handle when you have good company here too!


February 24th, 2015 - Lilikoi the Great

Now for something different. Yes this is a pig and yes I took photographs of it. Some people wait their entire lives to plateau in their careers, me it happened at 31 years old. This is Lilikoi and she is way way cuter then you would ever think a pig could be. What is great about Lilikoi is that her pet humans are pretty alright people as well. My wife and I have actually made pretty good friends with them and when they asked if I would photograph their pig I was both honored and slightly baffled at the thought of how to photograph a pig. So we all met up at the beach and really just made more of a social lifestyle type of shoot out of it and I kind of just took on the fly shots of them. It went pretty well considering it was my first time photographing this way. I also got some pretty delicious garlic butter chicken and rice afterwards which made for a pretty awesome day. Enjoy this incredibly cute animal and have a great Tuesday.


February 23rd, 2015 - Grandest Overlook

How about we overlook the beautiful Grand Canyon today? I have been missing Arizona a lot these last couple of days. I had another photographer ask about one place to visit in the United States if he had to pick to come photograph and I picked this area. I would never want to live in a desert, but man this whole area is like one screen saver after another. I am sad I didn't get to actually hike down into the canyon, but I suppose I have a lot of years left to revisit some of these sites and capture the things I didn't get to on the first go around. I am off to Michigan soon and hope to do a little photographing while I am there and then I start planning for my Colorado trip after that. I am going to photograph something completely new tomorrow so hopefully I will have a shot for you in the next couple days, I think its going to be a blast!


February 22nd, 2015 - Infamous Half Dome

Today we revisit Yosemite and its most famous attraction, the "Half Dome". As it may be obvious by looking, they call it that due to the shape the mountain takes. It is much more pronounced from a more side angle. I spend about an hour and a half hiking to this location to see this because I had seen photographs from the famous Mirror Lake of area before and wanted to get my own version of the shot. I had read that in the winter the lake was smaller due to the lack of water in this part of the valley in the winter. I honestly was not prepared for how dried up it was. You can literally walk across this little pond of water you are looking at. There is also an entire dried up lake bed on the other side of those rocks. I think my shot is still pretty beautiful and I like the fact that most of the shots you see are during the summer so mine is a little bit more unique. I very much plan to revisit Yosemite during the summer and really look forward to comparing sites like these after being there in the winter. Enjoy your Sundays and hopefully this shot my friends.


February 21st, 2015 - Snowcap Mountain

How about a semi pano shot for today? I know these are not usually a favorite on Facebook due to them not presenting incredibly well on portable devices. But I honestly love this photo and if you have a keen eye you will recognize the snow capped mountain from a "selfie" photo I took and shared while I was on my west coast trip. I took this photo about an hour outside of Redding, California at a simple seeing overview pull off on a highway. I always love these good overlooks because not only do I ge to see something amazing, but man do they make for easy great photographs. I love the perspective of this shot and the fact that you can literally just see for so many miles. The light snow on the mountain and the few clouds that strewn the sky make for a pretty awesome and complete shot. Redding was very good to me and I hope to go back to the area and explore more sometime. It is an insanely gorgeous part of the state. Enjoy this beautiful shot and I hope your weekends are going well.


February 20th, 2015 - An Afternoon Row

It has been a while since we have visited New York City and Central Park. I imagine this place is probably froze over with snow all over it right now. I think it looks pretty great like this. As you can tell there are boats you can rent and row out into this lake in the middle of this massive city. I didn't take part in such activities, but I think it is a pretty awesome idea. I love the huge tree overlooking the bridge and the peak a boo buildings in the background on the left. Usually I love a good reflection but I actually like the way the water looks in this shot, the ripples add a cool texture to it. Enjoy the shot and your Friday.


February 19th, 2015 - Low Flying Flock

We visit the California coast today with a short but sweet photo. Per usual with many of the things I photograph, I know very little about what kind of birds these are. If you are viewing this on a phone you may have a hard time making these guys out. What was interesting to me was that these guys were on the beach and would run up and down the beach as the water went in and out. I am guessing they are looking for some sort of food, but I have no clue. I just thought it looked awesome. As I approached to try and take a photo, I spooked them and off they flew. I did grab this as they did so at least and I love how the waves are crashing in behind them as they fly away. Have a great Thursday all!


February 18th, 2015 - Return to Redwood

Today we revisit the great giants of the Redwood National forest and I get to express how looking at a photo of these things does them zero justice in showcasing their size. To help you understand a little though, this is not one image. I actually had to do a vertical panoramic to get this shot. It is only two photographs but as great as my wide angle is, it simply could not capture what you see here. One of my favorite parts about hiking in the forest when I did is that I nearly had it to myself. I did run across a nice couple from Idaho who was down their on vacation, but most of my day was spent wandering alone and listening to the amazing sounds of the forest. It is times like these when I a really have time to reflect on how great my job is and how lucky I am to do it. I will admit I don't quite love this photograph as much as my other one I have published, but I do love the shadows vs light in this shot and the depth you get to feel both vertical and the way the path wraps around the trees you are seeing. Top tip for you today. If you go to see these wonderful trees, get as close to the ocean as possible. Huge trees need huge amounts of water to survive and these grow their largest nearer to the coast. Enjoy my friends.


February 17th, 2015 - You Dub

We are going to visit something different today and head to the campus of University of Washington. My brother Dylan will hopefully be very excited. The main reason I finished my west coast trip in Washington is because I have a brother who lives outside of Seattle and he happens to be an alumni of this fine institution. On my one full day in the state my brother took me to the campus and gave me an awesome tour. Honestly it was really fun hearing him talk about going to school here and listening to how proud he was of his school and how excited he was to show it off. It is really a gorgeous campus and I feel bad for not taking more gear and a tripod and really capturing more of it. I did take a few shots but honestly sometimes I really just like to try and enjoy the sites myself and not always be behind a camera trying to capture it. This shot of one of the many beautiful halls the university showcases some of the future brain childs of the world. I like the way they designed the building and how they found a way to utilize the natural daylight from the ceiling. I have a couple more shots still in the vault of "you dub" I will share with you sometime soon. Have a great day friends.


February 16th, 2015 - Gathering to Honor

We will keep it short today with a photo of the presentation area at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. This is a simple photo of sorts but I love the lines and more importantly the meaning and the importance of this place. Man presidents have stood in this place and honored the amazing men and women who serve this country and to me it is important to share the world with you not just because of its visual beauty, but because of its intangible beauty as well. Not to take away from he pretty nice architecture and of course my favorite, contrast in this shot. Something about the black and white in this shot made it seem much more interesting to me. Enjoy and give thanks my friends.


February 15th, 2015 - Stormy Shipwreck

If you remember some weeks back now I shared with you one of my favorite black and white images I have ever taken and it was of this shipwreck. Being that I am not a man to put all my eggs in one basket I obviously shot it from a few different angles. If you didn't catch my black and white of this shipwreck make sure to go check it out on the website, it is one of the few photographs I have taken that I really find to be special. If you are one of those who didn't catch this, this is the wreck of the Peter Iredale and is located in the very northwest corner of Oregon. I posted a bit about the story of how the wreck happened in the other post. What I love about this shot on its own though is that from this angle you can see the wreck of the ship that trails off behind it. Those kind of post looking things sticking out of the sand are where the masts of the ship were located. This gives you an idea of how large the vessel originally was. I also loved the very stormy feel to the shot. Now in a very rare occurrence, actually one of the first I know of, I purposely shot this with the wrong white balance to really give it the feel this has. The actual scene was a obviously a bit more gray. The shipwreck was definitely one of the highlights of my trip and hopefully you enjoy it too. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and be ready for some new video blogs this week!


February 14th, 2015 - A River To Follow

We revisit beautiful Yosemite today with a shot of one of the gorgeous rivers I got to see while there. I followed this river for about an hour and a half on a hike to a place called Mirror Lake, which turned out to kind of be a pond this time of year. I still have a pretty cool photo of that to show you soon. But this is a great example of showing you that even while in route to the beautiful landmarks you just get unbelievable sites all along the way. The feeling I had in this place was pretty magical. I have been lucky enough in the past handful of years to do a lot of traveling and see a lot of amazing things but it is extremely rare I get the feeling of pure amazement. I truly felt sad when I had to leave this place to continue my road trip and vow to return with a considerable amount of time just dedicated to capturing so much more of this place. This is definitely a shot that plays to my favorite of light vs dark in a photograph. I also love the textures of water and rock and trees all coming together and in a weird way the vacant sky adds a nice break for the eyes. Enjoy the shot and your Saturday my friends.


February 13th, 2015 - Light vs Dark

We run a little experiment today. I have done this rarely with you guys and I look to you today again for your call. I shot this photograph in Waterholes Canyon in Arizona and as you can tell it was shot almost directly looking into the sun, which in turn made for a very dark foreground. I can lighten the foreground via photoshop, but am worried that the image starts looking a bit flat and natural. I am also worried though that if I leave it more like how it was shot, like this, it is too dark and maybe not print worthy. So leave me some feedback today and let me know what you think. Your opinions do matter with me and if it doesn't get the love it will get reprocessed and or discarded all together. I hope you are all having an awesome Friday and have great plans for the weekend. I'll see you tomorrow!


February 12th, 2015 - Unbelievable Kauai

Yesterday my wife and I went on a hike with a couple new friends and we hiked up Sleeping Giant. I have shared some photographs from the hike before, but I definitely did not get this sky when I got to the overlook. If this doesn't show you how absolutely beautiful Kauai is, I'm not sure what can. The light shafts coming through were just massive and you feel like you can just see forever. It is funny that seeing these kind of sights, even every day, really just doesn't get old. I love that I get to be active year around here too. Planning to do a little snorkeling tomorrow. I really need to get an underwater housing for my gear so I can starting sharing some of the awesome ocean with you guys. Enjoy the beautiful view of Kauai my friends.


February 11th, 2015 - Zion River

We are going to keep it short and sweet today with a photo of a river that runs through the heart of Zion National Park. It was kind of fun shooting this because I waded waist deep into this river with my camera and tripod to shoot this. It was probably about 105 degrees out and the river was running nice and cool so it was a great. I got to shoot very little of Zion but you best believe it is high on my list of things to revisit when I get a chance. Happy hump day to all of you!


February 10th, 2015 - A Curling Flower

I shared with you a photograph of a spider the other day and today I share a flower I shot about five minutes after the spider. I don't actually know if this flower is suppose to look like this or not, I figured maybe the pedals were curling because it was maybe getting ready to die, but unfortunately like a lot of things I photograph, I know very little about it. I do however think it is a beautiful flower whether it was soon to be dead or not. It was kind of nice because I photographed this with my Sigma macro lens which I haven't used a lot as of late due to having my gorgeous Zeiss macro. Amazing how two lenses built to do the same thing can produce such different results though, the Zeiss is much more balanced and sharp, but this Sigma has a beautiful pop to it. You may ask why I have two macro lenses, but they are at two very drastically different focal lengths which allows me to do different types of macro work. If you happen to know something about this lovely flower and want to share with the group, feel free to leave it below. Thanks everyone!


February 9th, 2015 - Being A Kid Rules!

We are going to polarize yesterdays extremely popular daily photo with something very different yet still beautiful in its own way if you ask me. As a kid there was nothing I wanted more than to be a "grown up" and now as a grown up I look at kids like these who happened to be playing in a sort of central square in Venice, Italy and think to myself; "Man I miss being that carefree." I will say it was amazing to me how many kids I saw out and about playing in Venice. Considering they have no parks or grass it is cool that the kids don't just sit inside and veg out all day. This square was alive with people doing all sorts of activities from playing soccer to jumping rope to playing hide and seek. Sometimes it is taking pleasure in the simplest of things that matter the most. The smile on this girls face is priceless if you ask me. Enjoy the simple but awesome shot and hopefully your week got off to a good start, cheers!


February 8th, 2015 - Multnomah Falls

Welcome back my friends to Oregon and the astonishing Multnomah Falls. Now if you remember a couple weeks ago I shared another waterfall from Oregon called Elowah Falls. Believe it or not these two waterfalls are less than an hour from each other and this one is much easier to get to than Elowah. You literally pull over on the side of a highway and walk under an overpass and you are where I am standing when I took this shot. This is actually one of the most visited tourist attractions in Oregon and as you can see it is for good reason. As with Elowah I had a serious problem with water spray when attempting to take this photo, but luckily I was able to get a good shot. Oregon was shockingly beautiful, I was honestly very ignorant to the beauty it held and I missed some of the greatest stuff it has to offer. I have been on a bit of a photography break these last couple weeks but I am planning to get out and do some shooting this week. Hopefully you all had an awesome weekend and since I can tell very few of you got to see yesterdays daily photo make sure you go back and check it out. I think it was a pretty awesome shot of Yosemite.


February 7th, 2015 - The Best Welcome Ever

Today you get to see how the amazing wonder that is Yosemite National Park welcomed me. After coming down off a mountain road from the entrance of the park the road split and I went through about a quarter mile of thick woods, when I came out the other side this was waiting to greet me. You can imagine the smile on my face when I saw this and realized how awesome this very short visit was going to be. This is a panoramic shot and if you can view it large enough there are a few cool details to notice. The first and most obvious is the large waterfall not he right hand side of the mountain, the second that I enjoy is the on the lower middle part of the photo you can see the sun kissing the top of some of the trees, which I think offers a pretty cool contrast. Actually the entire image is a pretty drastic contrast of dark shade to harsh sun highlights. It is nearly impossible to try and meter a photograph like this which is why the sky is a bit brighter than you might imagine. I love this shot and will never forget my first hour at Yosemite. Tune in tomorrow for a much more spectacular waterfall from Oregon!


February 6th, 2015 - Amazing Spider

I haven't shared a macro photo in a while, nor have I shared a creepy crawly in a while. Today we visit my back yard. While showing an incredibly nice guy named Les my yard because he may be doing some tree trimming for us I happened to see this awesomely vibrant spider camped out in the back yard. There are a lot of spiders in Hawaii, none of them harmful that I know of and they tend to be seasonal from what I hear. I believe this is called  Zipper spider, but honestly I am not sure. Per usual I love anything with some good contrast and the bright colors vs the black in the spider just made it stand out so much. I photographed it from straight on also but something about the sky as a backdrop made for a unique photo I think. I know these types of photos are never you favorites, but I love the wonders that nature holds in its awesome creatures. Happy Friday to you all and I hope your weekends are off to a great start!


February 5th, 2015 - Antelope Fading

We revisit my favorite all time photography location today in Antelope Canyon with one of the very few remaining shots I have left. I am kind of sad about this fact because I seem to have this weird love with looking through my shots of Antelope Canyon every week looking for a treasure or two I may still have left. It is extremely rare, at least in my experience, to have a place as photogenic as this place. Even the photos that would normally be the "least desirable" are still disgustingly beautiful shots. I truly hope you all get the chance some day to view this in person, because as gorgeous as photos are, they do it very little justice. The one huge advantage of photos is that you get to take the time and soak it in, compared to having to kind of rush through it in person. The part of the country is currently on the top of my revisit list to photograph. Enjoy my friends and hopefully your week is going well.


February 4th, 2015 - Gunner Pool Revisted

So a small few of you who pay close attention are going to recognize this photo on some levels. It is because I have shared it with you before. About a year and a half ago. My wife always says I am my worst critic and I agree with her. I truly and honestly work very hard to be good at the things I do in this world and no one starts as Ansel Adams. Looking back on a lot of my work now that I was doing even a couple of years ago, I realize that my style and understanding has shifted dramatically on how I enjoy presenting my work. The biggest difference between this version of this photo and the old one is that it was a high dynamic range photo and this one is a single exposure photograph. I still very much love HDR and shoot almost all of my landscapes and cityscapes in a multiple exposure manner, but I am realizing that the world is pretty darn gorgeous how it sits and I don't need to help it along quite as much as I used to think. I like to think I am growing and while I am still in love with doing some crazy outlandish editing every now and then I really want to start getting in touch with showing you the natural beauty of the world I get to see and not as much my rendition of it. I won't inundate you with a million new edits for daily photos but I will be updating a lot of the photographs on my site with newer versions. I may share a few of my favorites as we though. Hopefully you enjoy this beautiful fall scene of Gunner Poole, Arkansas. Cheers!


February 3rd, 2015 - Yosemite Beauty

So I thought today we would head back to Yosemite and give you a peak into the beautiful world that is this park. I am truly saddened that I got to see such a very small amount of this amazing place. The feeling I had the first evening I drove into the valley is one I can't really put into great words. I stood on the side of the road looking up at these cathedrals of mountains that just towered over me with unspeakable beauty in every direction. The funny part is I only got to spend one real day in the park and a good chunk of the park is closed this time of year due to weather. I heard a lot of people talking about how different and crazy this place was during the summer and I can completely see why. I can't imagine how beautiful this place is all lush and full of life, as it would be during a warm summer day. I will definitely be revisiting this place with much more time available and great weather. The funny part is, one of my biggest anxiety moments for planning this trip was the worry of bad weather in Yosemite. As you can tell by the sky in this shot I had absolutely nothing to worry about. A bit chilly, but gorgeous sunshine the whole time. I so can't wait to go back!


February 2nd, 2015 - Mount Elden

Today we visit Arizona and a shot outside of Flagstaff of what I believe is Mount Elden. I will say I am a bit weary about this photograph, I know it doesn't have a ton of wow factor, but I love the shape of the mountain and the sense of the depth with the rolling hills in front of it. I also love the party cloudy sky. When I am on the fence about shots like these I really just let you guys be the jury on it. I so miss Arizona and want to go back very badly, it is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and it is a photographers paradise. There are literally photographers who have made their entire careers shooting in the southwest. So you guys tell me. Is this a photo you want to see more of or should I go for more wow factor next time?


February 1st, 2015 - Grand Seattle

I promised and now I hope to deliver. Per usual with panoramic photos, this is very much in its best when viewed on a large format screen like a desktop monitor or TV... or eight foot wide print which is easily achievable with this photograph. This panoramic shot of Seattle is an awesome surprise to me as far as I am concerned. As I mentioned with the shot of Seattle I took from Kerry Park, I had no hopes of being able to even take these shots when I got to the city. The weather was terrible and I got just a long enough break in that weather to get that shot and this one before the fog you see in this shot started setting in over the city. About ten or so minutes after I took this shot most of the skyscrapers you see here were almost completely covered in the clouds you see. Now if you were to see this panoramic how it is taken, it is actually significantly wider than the shot you are viewing. The problem is I had to cut it down to make it a printable size. My printer is only able to print a 4 to 1 aspect ratio on my panoramic photos. The reality is while I enjoy the other parts, the most important aspects of the skyline are included in this, so I am happy. I have no vested interest in the teams in the Super Bowl because I am a Steelers fan, but since I was just here I thought this photo would be fitting for today. Enjoy the shot and if you ever get the chance view a panoramic like this in large format print. These little monitors on your phones and laptops do not do it justice, I assure you.


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