January 2015 - Bens Viewfinder

January 31st, 2015 - The California Coast

We visit the California coast today and one of the very few shots I ended up getting along the coast. I had grand plans of driving a large chunk of the pacific coast highway and seeing all these amazing sites and it turned out I only got about four good hours of coast driving that didn't involve terrible weather. One of the most amazing things to see not he pacific coastline is the amazing rock formations that line the shores. Some of the most amazing ones I saw were actually in Oregon but the weather was really bad and I couldn't photograph them. If you are ever on the west coast you usually have the option of taking a large interstate to get north and south along the coast, but heading over to the coastal highway makes for just some really awesome driving. Enjoy the shot and hopefully your weekend is going awesome, we will revisit Seattle tomorrow for Super Bowl Sunday!


January 30th, 2015 - Vietnam Memorial

So todays daily photo hits a little close to home for me and I originally was on the fence about sharing this daily photo because I wasn't sure if it would really resonate with people. This is a slightly artsy photograph of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and bias aside it is one of my favorite war memorials I have seen, which is a surprising amount, because it honors so many individual soldiers who made up such a massive sacrifice. Now my father died some years back due both directly and indirectly from serving in Vietnam. I didn't know my father well, nor did I connect with him on many levels. But the one thing I have always held in such high regard of him is the fact that he fought for the freedoms I have today. Funny fact about me, I wanted to join the military when I was younger, I actually tried. They simply denied me due to my color blindness. I still to this day would have gladly served my country, but I am very glad at the way life worked itself out and love what I get to do now. Vietnam is not a war that is brought up often now a days but I think it is one of the most important wars to reflect on when learning how we should handle foreign conflicts and how we get involved for the future. I hope you enjoy this simple but beautiful photograph and I hope you all have a great Friday!


January 29th, 2015 - North Shore River

We go from an ice cold ancient forest rocky river bed yesterday, to a balmy and tropical rainforest rocky river bed today. Similar, but completely different. I kind of slightly did it on purpose to show that sometimes photographing the same subject can mean completely different things. Now for this shot I risked a bit of camera gear walking out on some slippery rocks to stand in the middle of the river to get the shot, but I think it was worth it. I have recently learned about these shoes I can buy that have these kids of felt bottoms to them that are made for walking in rivers and such with slippery rocks and such in them. I took this on the north shore here on the island of Kauai and even though it is warm and tropical here the water that was in this river was pretty cold. As you can tell it was also pretty fast slowing. I loved how the sun was starting to bask over part of the forest a little ways out here, gives a nice contrast to the forest right where I am standing. I am hopefully off spending some time with the wife today and enjoying life, I hope you are too, cheers!


January 28th, 2015 - A Bridge to Beauty

We are back in Yosemite today with the photo that launched my one long day in the park. I had woken up at about six thirty in the morning and got my day planned out. I had parked at a trail head and walked across the bridge you see in this shot to start my journey up a small mountain to a fall I never got to see due to the end of the trail being closed. I did however get to see this awesome river I took this photo from. I just loved how this bridge looked and the way they constructed it to look not necessarily natural but at least not completely out of place in the park. It helps that there are so many rocks lining the river bed. The mixture of awesome trees and the bit of mountain in the background added put to what I think is a pretty awesome photograph. I can't express how much I want to go back to Yosemite during another time of year and spend at least a week if not two there really getting to see the amazing beauty it holds. Until then I will have to enjoy the few shots I got and hopefully you will too.


January 27th, 2015 - Tree Orchard

While driving through central California there were tons of farms. Farms of all kinds as far as I could tell. But there were a ton of of these endless tree farms that my best guess were apple trees, feel free to correct me if someone knows for sure what they are. I just enjoyed the cemetery of the ways the orchards are planted. When I took this photo my main thought was curiosity as to how this orchard would look in the summer all lush and full. There is something awesome about the bare shape of trees I really enjoy though. I have always had a fondness of trees because I enjoy things that are unique and although trees in general look similar they are never exactly the same and I love that. I hope all your weeks have started well, I have a couple really cool shots for you this week so make sure to tune in.


January 26th, 2015 - Ocean Power

So a few days ago I went back to the north shore and chased some big waves and for the most part failed miserably. Turns out the huge surf either wasn't hitting Kauai or was somewhere I wasn't. I did see footage off of Oahu of 35 to 40 foot face waves and it was awesome. I am excited to get to see them in person someday. This shot was from the last time I went and chased waves though and got to watch some pretty awesome surfers riding some pretty powerful waves. When you are standing there watching these waves crash in what gets you is the incredible sound. The noise of the insane power and weight of the water crashing over itself just seems incredibly daunting and it gives you a whole new level of appreciation for the guys who dare to purposely drop into these things over and over again to master their craft. I will keep it short today so enjoy this awesome surfer and we will see you tomorrow.


January 25th, 2015 - The Worst Kept Secret

So as you can tell we are shaking things up a bit today from the run of nature based photographs to the city today. I will preface this post by saying it is going to be a little lengthy. So as you know one week from today is the Super Bowl and one of the teams is the Seattle Seahawks. So this week and next Sunday I will have the only two photographs I took of Seattle for you guys to see. Now this shot was kind of a fun expedition. My awesome cousin who lives in the area actually showed me a shot from this location that another photographer had taken and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to give it a spin for myself. When traveling to locations you haven't been before it is sometimes best to see the ways that some of the better work has been done and start from there. Now I didn't have a lengthy conversation with my cousin about it but my rough feeling was that this location was not well known and that the guy who took the shot was kind of a pioneer of sorts as far as the location was considered. Turns out his secret is not so well kept. If he was the first to capture a great shot from this location, he will not be the last. When I took this photograph I was in a line of roughly a dozen or so tripods set up ready to capture the sunset as it fell over Seattle. The thing is, as with a few photographs I have taken (Horseshoe Bend being most prominent example), I don't much care that I was one of the million to do this. I really enjoyed the composition and wanted to give it a go for myself and see how it came out. If you are curious the mountain in the background is actually there and is Mt Rainier, one of the most famous mountains in the United States. The fact I got this photograph was actually a complete happy ending to a really horrid day of weather. I had left Portland, Oregon that morning with just tons of fog for the entire drive. Even after getting to Seattle, most of the city was draped in a ton of fog. It really just lifted and ran off for long enough in the afternoon that I was able to get this shot and my panoramic of the skyline I will show you next Sunday. I suppose sometimes things are just meant to work out. I took a few sets of shots as the sun went down on the city and this was my favorite of the light set up. The combination of city lights coming on and the sun setting just seemed to make a nice combination. Seattle was a pretty awesome city for the little bit I got to experience, as with a lot of locations on the trip, I look forward to going back and giving it some deserved time with my camera. If you have stuck around this long I thank you and I hope you enjoy this shot that took a few hours of patience in the cold to capture, but in the end I feel it was worth it.


January 24th, 2015 - Endless Redwoods

We continue our string of west coast trip photos today with a shot of the great redwood trees. It was quite the adventure trying to find ways to capture the majesty of these giants. I definitely had to use some crazy angles. Walking through the forest is a humbling experience. You definitely get the feeling of being a very small part of a very big world. Seeing the redwoods was kind of bucket list item for me. I don't know that I did the best job capturing them as I would have liked but the few shots I got I enjoy. Now I just need to go see some giant sequoias. Also I really don't have much of a clue of how tall these trees are, but I am guessing between 150 and 200 feet. The tallest redwoods exceed 350 feet. Enjoy the beautiful trees and we will have a much different but pretty awesome shot tomorrow.


January 23rd, 2015 - Beautiful Country

I have come to learn that sometimes a simple image is a great image. You don't always need a the most amazing sky or life altering foreground. I think that this photograph of a California sunset is beautiful. I took this while driving north towards Redding. I just loved the gradient of the cool sky above me to the fiery sky on the horizon and that it is all falling over a beautiful rolling hills country side. The very little bit of clouds add a nice breakup for the eyes in the sky. You probably can't see them if you are viewing this on a small screen but there are a few cows wandering about on the hills too. I love finding beauty in the most unsuspecting places. Enjoy the shot and enjoy your weekends!


January 22nd, 2015 - Amazing Mt Hood

We visit an awesome looking mountain today called Mt. Hood. This mountain is located in northern Oregon and as you can tell it is amazing. What is kind of funny about this shot is that I drove over five hours on this day to go photograph this mountain from a specific place, that photo you haven't see yet, but I actually think the mountain as a whole looks much better from this side. You see I took this shot from the north looking south and the shot I was chasing was taken from the south looking north. The amount of cool textures and the great "hood" shape really looked great from the north. It helped that the sky was a pretty awesome texture with this shot as well. I actually ended up missing the best sunset of my trip on this day because I was down in a valley chasing the shot from the south. You guys will have to be the judge and let me know which you like better when I release the other one probably next week. Until then have a great Thursday.


January 21st, 2015 - Entusiasti di Imparare

We visit Rome today and what a cool building that houses a museum. What interested me about this photo was all the kids that were heading in to learn something new and most likely awesome. Now if you are viewing this on the website and wondering what the title is, it says "Excited to Learn" in Italian. If you are only a Facebook follower I post these same photos on my website everyday and I give them little titles with the posts. I for one was never one for school but I always and still to this day thrive for knowledge. I am very much a visual and audible learner so going to places like museums are some of the greatest ways for me to soak up information. As far as why I chose to edit it the way you see is that I kind of wanted the museum to shine sort of like a beacon in a city so huge and full of great history and knowledge. Cheesy? Maybe, but I thought it gave the image that little extra pop. Enjoy the shot and I'll see you tomorrow.


January 20th, 2015 - Gateway to the Future

Today is going to be one of those interesting days to me. I sometimes take photos that really speak to me and I think are really awesome. I can tell when I look at them though that maybe not everyone will connect like I did. I honestly could not tell you where I took this photograph specifically, it was somewhere in central California. I was driving between Yosemite and Napa and saw this huge wind turbine farm and I just really wanted to try and get a decent shot of these. I took two different compositions, this one being interesting to me because of the gates. It was almost like a gateway opening to the future of energy. I took both compositions with complete intentions of having them as black and whites. The turbines themselves are huge, probably fifty feet or so tall, maybe larger. I am bad with just guessing things like that. So, you tell me. Do you think a photograph like this is interesting? I will honestly keeping shooting them because I really enjoy them either way but I am curious if a shot like this is as interesting as something like the waterfall that everyone loved so much the other day.


January 19th, 2015 - A Rainy Web

We stick with a water theme today but in a drastically different setting. Two evenings ago I was sitting on my couch in my living room when an evening rain came in. Outside of my living room there is an Orb Weaver spider web that had gotten rained on. I decided to grab my macro lens and take a few shots of the droplets on the web. Kind of reminds me of a string of diamonds being hung up in an intricate pattern. I love the sense of depth in this shot and a fun fact is that if you look at what photographers call the "bokeh", which is the out of focus areas of the photo you will notice that the fuzzy parts that show up are in a pentagonal shape. This has to do with the fact that apertures in lenses are not circular, they are layered pieces of plastic that can close over each other or be pulled away to open and close the aperture and control the amount of light coming through the lens. I just think it looks pretty cool in the photo. Enjoy the shot and have a great start to your week.


January 18th, 2015 - Elowah Falls

So we are back to photographs today and we are in the insanely beautiful state of Oregon today. This very awesome waterfalls is called Elowah Falls and is located about ten miles outside of Portland. This is actually my wives favorite photograph I took on my recent trip and I do think it came out really awesome. This also has the distinction as being one of the first photographs to be finished on my new beautiful iMac. The hike to get to this waterfall is not incredibly long but it is intense and vaguely dangerous especially in the wet. There was a slightly new problem that presented itself with this one. I got to the falls and the wind was sweeping down into the little valley I am in and just blowing the water straight at me the entire time. This makes it incredibly hard to get ap photograph without it looking terrible from water spots all over your lens. You also have to try and not ruin your gear in the process. I actually set my tripod up and put my camera on it and left my lens covered. I then set the camera settings to my best guess I could muster and then I quickly removed the lens cap and shot the frame. I then covered the lens back up and checked the shot to make my adjustments. I luckily got this frame you see on my second try. I hope you guys enjoy this shot as much as the wife does. If you haven't lately please make sure to share some work with your friends and family and invite them to follow along. Participation has been pretty stagnant as of late. Thanks guys and see you tomorrow!


January 17th, 2015 - How About a Sunset?

So for the first time that I can remember we are purposely not going to do a daily photo. It isn't that I don't have them to share, it is simply that this si the first serious time lapse I have spent time creating. Now this did not go off without a hitch. There is actually a persistent sensor spot that I couldn't remove from the video and the video is actually not the full frame that I thought I was shooting. My camera has the ability to shoot time lapse video on its own, but it crops out part of your frame to make it a 1920 x 1080 standard video. Overall though for my first serious attempt I thought it came out pretty awesome. This is a sunset from an awesome beach on the south shore of Kauai called Salt Pond. I honestly didn't think it was going to come out at all because the sky was pretty boring when I started it, in the end I think it turned out to be pretty aweomse. I also like the random people and boats wandering through. This sunset is almost two hours of photographs shot every five seconds and stitched together to make a forty five second video. Let me know what you think. Should I do some more of these? It was kind of fun but very time consuming. Hope your Saturdays are going awesome!


January 16th, 2015 - Strange Tree Moss

We share another shot today from my recent trip and a shot of something simple but interesting to me. This moss you see grows up the sides of the a lot of the trees in the thick forests of the pacific northwest. It is so thick and as you can tell it just blankets the surface of the tree. You don't see any part of the bark or wood. It was also one of the very few times I got to break out my macro lens on the trip. I just thought it was a kind of cool thing to share with everyone. I am going to keep it short today so have a great start to your weekends, cheers!


January 15th, 2015 - Icy Yosemite

I share what I think is my first image from Yosemite today and it was one I took very early in the morning. I stayed in Yosemite Valley for the very short time I was there and the one full day I had there I got up very early and started hiking out just after dawn. This show was taken along a river that is not hard to get to at all, runs right through the valley near all the hiking trails. What I thought was kind of cool and unique about this shot was that all the rocks in the river are covered in a thick sheet of ice due to the temps being pretty chilly. It was in the low 20s that morning. I have a lot of people ask me how I get water to look like this in photos and I use a handy little thing called a neutral density filter. It allows me to block some of the light coming into the camera and slow down my shutter speeds so I can draw that water out and give it that nice silky smooth look. I am hoping to get a lot of the shots from this trip finalized as this week goes now that I have my new desktop all set up and ready to go. Enjoy our first peak at Yosemite and the rest of your Thursday!


January 14th, 2015 - A Walk Through Savannah

It has been a while since I have shared a photo from the beautiful city of Savannah, GA. I held off on this one a bit because I took another photograph in the same park that I really like that has sort of the same feel as this. I decided though that they are enough different that I enjoy them separately. There are not a lot of places I could imagine living, especially now that I live in Hawaii. But if I had to move away from the islands Savannah would be on my short list. This was taken in Forsyth park, one of the more popular parks in the city. You can see why by looking at it. I will be starting some serious editing sessions today because I will hopefully have my new desktop set up. Going to get some shots from the recent trip finished up and will have a couple for you this weekend. Have a great day and enjoy!


January 13th, 2015 - Marking A Change

Todays photo is one I am kind of in-between on. I enjoy the dark vs light battle that happens here, as I always do. Something about contrast in an image really intrigues me. This is a shot from a hike along the south shore of the island here on Kauai. I look to your guys reaction on photos to eventually decide wether or not to keep that shot in my portfolio. Rarely shots get retired into a non public folder on the site that are used to back log photos in my daily blog that are not available for purchase. I simply do this to help keep the site from becoming completely cluttered with too many shots. I am not saying this shot is not wall hang worthy I am simply sharing some of my process. This is why your feedback is always very valued and important. I always hope you guys will love every shot I share, but I also understand no one bats a thousand. I am excited for a new computer tomorrow and what I am sure will be a large editing session that follows. Have a great Tuesday everyone!


January 12th, 2015 - Larger Than You Think

We will make up for yesterdays extremely long blog post with a pretty simple one today. This is a pretty standard shot from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Sometimes the standard shot is a great shot though because it truly showcases what needs to be seen. In this case you get a serious sense of the massive depth and distance that is the canyon. I love how you can just look at all the layers of sediment that have been compressed through the rock as you go back in time as you descend into the canyon. Even when you are standing there your brain has a really hard time comprehending all the depth and distance you can see. It sure is beautiful though. Enjoy the shot and hopefully your week is off to a good start!


January 11th, 2015 - A Shell of What Was

So I will preface by saying this will be kind of a longer blog post. The reason is that the story of how this image came to be and how it almost didn't happen is interesting to me. I had left the morning this photo was taken from a little town called Coos Bay in Oregon. I was driving north along the coast that day and had planned to photograph some cool pacific coast line as I worked my way towards Portland. The problem was that it just rained and was misted and was foggy the entire day for the entire drive making photography basically useless. I did however have an end game plan of ending up at this photo you see here. The problem was it was an extra four hours of driving just to go see this one specific item. It was tough when the day had gone so poorly to convince myself to go and at least try and see this and get a shot. I finally said there is no way I drove all this way and am not going to at least give it a shot. It was very windy and stormy when I arrived and I set up and photographed this from a few angles and I am really glad I did.


So if you are curious about the actual photo itself this is a shot of the wreck of the Peter Iredale. It was a ship from Liverpool, England that was attempting to go int the channel where the Columbia river and the Pacific ocean meet. The current proved too much and beached the ship where you see it now. No lives were lost, most of the ship was cut up and scrapped but this bow was left behind. This all happened in 1906, so the it has had a chance to sit and slowly deteriorate over the last 109 years. I just loved how this shot came out and I kind of liked the fact that it was a stormy nasty day which was probably much like the day its fate was sealed. I love the textures in this shot, from the cool patterns in the sand to the swirling foam in the little bit of water in from of the bow. The subtle storm clouds as they peak through the shell of the ship just overall made for probably my favorite shot of my trip. Hopefully you all dig this as much as I do. I hope your Sundays are going well and relaxing. Leave me some feedback and let me know what you think.


January 10th, 2015 - Towering Mt Shasta

We head down the road today and look at the beautiful Mt. Shasta located just north east of Redding, CA. This mountain just towers over the area and is awesome. I actually saw this mountain the day before while driving up from probably twenty miles south of Redding. Like most things on this trip I didn't plan out my shots for this very well and this is honestly the best photograph I took of it. What my simple brain didn't comprehend is that when you get up close there are huge towering trees that block your view of the mountain. I kind of like how this shot came out though. It kind of looks like you are just going to drive into the mountain. I hope you are all having a great weekend, I am enjoying mine from home finally. Going to spend a couple days just relaxing and recovering a bit and enjoying the Hawaii weather. If you live in all that crazy cold please be careful. Tune in tomorrow for probably the crown jewel of the trips photos.


January 9th, 2015 - Alien Seed Pod

How about something completely different today. This crazy thing you are looking at is a macro shot of something. Guessing a seed pod of some sort that was on a tree around my old house in Arkansas. To me though, when I saw it, I immediately was waiting for some alien thing to jump on my face and lock in. So if anyone knows what this actually is feel free to chime in. If no one knows i will just assume it was an alien!


January 8th, 2015 - The Great Redwoods

So today I am going to share with you what is probably my favorite shot of the Redwood trees I took. Honestly I haven't really had a chance to sort through them yet though. I love the sense of size you get out of this and the little bits of highlight coming in from the sun peaking through the trees was a great touch. The experience of hiking through these is really not explainable. I will simple say it is astonishing and that even after knowing that the these trees are large it simply didn't prepare me for how large they truly were. The only issue this presented was in attempted to grasp what they were in photographs. Trees kind of just look like trees without the contrast of a person or object to compare them to. I think this one came out great? What say you? Let me know wha you think and if you enjoy it enough as I always appreciate, you can feel free to share it or any of my work with your friends and family and invite folks to join us in our journey.


January 7th, 2015 - The Fern Trail

So I am on the road to Seattle today for the final destination of my trip. I am very torn as far as this has all gone. I saw so many beautiful things and covered so much of an amazing part of the country I hadn't gotten to before. I sadly spent way more time driving and way less time photographing than I would have liked. In the end I have gotten a few really nice shots and learned some really important future lessons about trips like these. I am planning on sharing what is so far my best shot with you on Sunday so make sure to tune in for that. Today however I share a simple and kind of artistic style photo from one of the beautiful trails on Kauai. Almost all of the trails on the island are through some dense forests and after seeing a lot of desolate wintery forests it is nice to see some lush plant life. Hopefully you enjoy this little shot!


January 6th, 2015 - Sundial Bridge

So this trip has very much been about seeing beautiful nature but I was recommended by my friend Ken who lives in this area to go check this bridge out, and I did. This is called the Sundial Bridge and it is located in Redding, CA. I was pretty surprised by its size, I was expecting a huge bridge but it is actually a pretty small pedestrian bridge. Maybe takes 5 minutes to walk across. I hear they light it up pretty cool at night too. I really like the spire look to it. The sun was cast on the bridge pretty hard so I thought the contrast of light of the bright spire to the darker water made for a cool black and white setup. I am doing a loop around Mt Hood today near Portland, OR and hoping to see a couple of waterfalls. I will be heading into Seattle tomorrow and have a couple cool shots planned for the city there. Enjoy the Sundial Bridge and I will see you all tomorrow!


January 5th, 2015 - Evening Falls Over Venice

I am still most likely somewhere in Oregon getting ready to head into Washington. I thought I would share a shot from Venice today. I know you all love Hawaii as much as I do but I wanted to try and add some variety in this week with some other stuff. The clouds looked really weird in this shot and the sun was setting directly behind the big building on the right adding a weird back glow to everyone. I loved the overall effect it gave the photo though and I love the way the water looks. Have a great rest of your day and tomorrow starts the home stretch of my trip. Looking forward to seeing the beauty that is Washington. I hope you all had a great start to your week.


January 4th, 2015 - Burney Falls

Hello friends and family from northern California. I am doing a little hiking in Redwood National Park today and then heading into Oregon later this evening. I thought I would try and share my first shot of the trip today and it is one I took yesterday at a wonderful place called Burney Falls. This place is located about an hour outside of Redding, CA and is very easy to get to. Unfortunately I couldn't get all the way down below and photograph it from many angles due to an excessive amount of ice, but the couple shots I got I think came out pretty well. I am having a very fun trip, not doing nearly as much photography as I was hoping, mostly driving way more than planned. I was originally going to be heading into a place called Crater Lake in Oregon today but due to bad weather I will be staying on the coast. I am looking forward to seeing some of Oregon and Washington this week and definitely excited to get home and see my wife and my home again. Ready for some Hawaii warmth! I hope you all had a great weekend and enjoy the shot.


January 3rd, 2015 - I Think I'll Walk!

How about a trip back to Rome today? This is one of those types of photographs that I don't really plan out. I basically take it as a snapshot because I think it looks interesting in passing and later check it out and see if it was worth taking. In this case there is nothing amazingly spectacular going on but the scene of the traffic and modern cars in contrast to the super old Roman buildings in the background just seemed cool to me. I like the sense of movement you get in this shot as well. I am most likely near Mt Shasta in northern California. But I am setting these up before I have actually left for the trip so who knows where the world has taken me. I hope everyone is having as awesome of a week as I am. Until tomorrow my friends!


January 2nd, 2015 - Revisiting Some Fun

Today we go back in time a little bit. About fifteen months ago I took my camera and went to the local fair in Arkansas when I was living there. I actually walked away with a few really nice shots from that night. This was one I hadn't published yet but it kind of jumped out to me the other day because of the subtle warm glow of the sky after the sun had set and the woman in the foreground staring up at the ferris wheel. I just thought it made for an interesting shot. I am hopefully somewhere in the redwood forests today enjoy threes so big my brain is most likely going to explode. I am hoping to have some photos for you soon, if I am able to process any in the hotels on the go I will get one up soon. Thanks all for following along!


January 1, 2015 - A View of the Coast

Happy New Year my friends! I hope you are all recovering nicely and had a safe holiday. I should be somewhere in western / north - western California today photographing some coast line and mountains. Today is planned as a day to just kind of wing it and go where feels good and try to hunt down some unknown shots. I share with you a different coast line today, This was taken at the same place the bench photo you saw the other day was, on top of Sleeping Giant. This is just looking a different direction and really showcases the amazing views you get for all your hard work to get there. I am probably pretty cold not he mainland and wishing I was enjoying the sunshine of Hawaii. I am off to visit some family and friends here the next couple days but still have lots on the plans list to see. Cheers!


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