June 2015 - Bens Viewfinder

June 30th, 2015 - Dark vs Light

We visit The Great Sand Dunes today and a simple and kind of abstract shot of the dunes. My big reason for taking this shot was the massive amounts of light levels going on. Obviously the sand is all the same color, but due to the afternoon low light and the different shapes and heights of the dunes you get just an amazing amount of darks and lights. Add in the textures of the sand and the nice lines that sand dunes are of course amazing at and you have what I think is a pretty cool photo. What do you guys think? I will keep it short today after so many long posts as of late. Have a great Tuesday my friends.


June 29th, 2015 - Pikes Peak

Thought we could get away from some of the desert stuff today and share something with a little water in it! This my friends is a reservoir which sits at the base of Pikes Peak and provides drinking water for much of the surrounding area. I have always been a huge fan of watching the Pikes Peak hill climb races and when I knew we were going to be in the area it was a huge deal for me to get to drive up the mountain. So as you look out on this photo, know that about 45 minutes later I was parked on top of that highest peak at over 14,000 feet. The drive was absolutely amazing and terrifying. On top of the normal huge drop offs and super winding roads, you also get the lovely aroma of other peoples cars slowly giving up on life. You smell anti freeze and over heated brakes and hear people struggling to keep the cars in lower gears to get around. The view is worth all the trouble though my friends. I have some shots from on top of the mountain for you soon. Today, just enjoy this beautiful scene looking up at it. Have a great start to your weeks everyone!


June 28th, 2015 - Delicate Arch

Well today is a day I have been looking forward to. I am super hopeful that a lot of you get to see this one. Participation and viewing as of late has been way down. But todays shot is of a place called Delicate Arch. Now this is one of the most famous rock formations on the planet and is super popular among tourists. So I got up at 5 a.m. and hiked up there so there would be very few people, which afforded me the ability to take this with no one in the shot. I will admit I had planned to hike up earlier, but I overslept a little. So on its own I think this is a pretty cool photograph and I think you really get a feeling of what it is like to be there. What you may not notice right away is that this is the largest photo I have ever taken. This is actually 24 frames stacked and merged to create this one photo. I shot 12 on top and 12 on the bottom . This is a tough thing to pull off on a normal day, to pull it off while the light is drastically changing like it was on this morning made for a little extra challenge. This actually measures up to 245 megapixels of photograph. Considering your average phone is 8, you start getting an idea. Now this is image is actually so big that I can't fit the full resolution on my website due to my web host limited file sizes. You can see a significantly larger resolution on my site though if you really want to get in and look around. Check back in an hour or so and I am going to show you this image again with a snippet cut out and blown up to give you an idea why I shot this image this way. Thanks guys and keep leaving me feedback and sharing my work, I truly appreciate it.


June 27th, 2015 - Garden of the Gods

Today I get to share with you another bucket list item of things I wanted to see in this world. I will say sadly though that this would be the first of the bucket list items that didn't quite live up to my grand hopes. As you can tell by the shot it is an absolutely gorgeous place. The disappointment isn't in the actual subject matter. My problem mostly lied in the way the park was laid out and how stressful it was to see anything. In my experience most national parks have a main kind of parking area and then smaller parking areas spread throughout a byway that runs through the park at different trail heads to help with congestion. The problem here is that there is no central parking hub, everyone is in a mad scramble to find the few parking spots at each trail head and there are almost no turn offs on the small byway that runs through the park. I basically skipped half of this park because the parking was so terrible I just didn't want to fight with it. Now thats not to say I didn't get a few cool photos and that I didn't love the beautiful rock structures, because I love this shot. I managed to get it just at a moment of the sun peaking through the clouds and bathing the rocks in a warm glow. It blows my mind how nature manages to come up with these little surprises in odd places. If you drive through this area you would not think this little park belonged. Well enjoy the shot my friends and your Saturday.


June 26th, 2015 - Stary Night Drive

So we visit the stars again today with a shot I took somewhere in Utah on my drive between Salt Lake City and Breckinridge during my trip last week. It was such an awesomely clear night out and you could see the Milky Way really nicely. So I was looking for a good foreground to capture it with and when we came upon this quarry area I thought it was perfect. Problem was that it had gotten too late in the night and the Milky Way was too far above me to fit in the frame and as you can tell by the horizon light was starting to bleed through from the approaching sunrise. But even with none of my initial plan working out I think this turned out to be a pretty awesome shot. I love the sense of distance in the mountains and how you can follow the car lights as they zoom off into the distant mountain curves. I also dig the gradient of subtle brighter light over the right hand side ridge and the very tiny amounts of clouds creeping in. Very little light pollution out in that area and with so many beautiful wide open spaces it is a star gazers dream. Well enjoy the photo and have a great Aloha Friday my friends, I hope you all have awesome weekends.


June 25th, 2015 - Sand Dune Arch

We visit Arches National Park today with a shot of what is called Sand Dune Arch. Title explaining, it is because you have to hike up a small sand dune between a couple of rock formations to get to it. Now due to this arch being nestled back in this little space I found it tough to really find an angle to showcase how cool and interesting this little arch was. Obviously this is the angle I really landed on but there was one small problem with shooting this. If you notice those rather large size rocks laying on the ground to my left, those had just broken off and fallen earlier in that week and it was nicely suggested by a sign that you don't really do what I did and go sit under it to take a photo. Unfortunately for the sign, I was on my last day in the area and I was going to take my chances to get the shot I wanted. What was funny to me was that there were plenty of people just climbing all over the arch with not a care in the world over the whole thing so I guess I was pretty good in comparison. Had to show a little patience actually and wait for folks to clear out before I could get a clean shot. In the end I think you get a sense of the beautiful rock texture and amazing formation that nature has managed to create hidden away in this rock formation. Enjoy.


June 24th, 2015 - Hoosier Pass

We head to the Breckinridge, Colorado area today with a shot I took on my first full day in the area. What is funny about this is that they always say if you are not used to the elevation you should really take the first day or so easy, so we went to this trail thinking that it wouldn't be too tough. Turns out we decided to take a very tough last half mile and climb to over 12,000 feet to the top of one of the peaks. I don't know that I have ever been so short of breath in my life. We were literally climbing up five feet and having to take a break, then another five feet and so on. The scary but fun because we got out story about it all is that when we finally got to the top, I snapped a few shots and then a big thunderstorm just exploded over the mountain next to us and we had to fly back down the mountain to get away from it. Probably five minutes after we got off the mountain lightning was dropping less than a mile from where we were at. It was all so worth it though, it is an amazing feeling to be on top of the little bit of world you are in. Hopefully you enjoy the first photo from this hike. Have a great day friends.


June 23rd, 2015 - Winding Road

We head back to Canyonlands today with a shot of what I can only describe as an awesomely fun looking road. This shot is 100% owed to my wife who decided to look around while I was setting up to photograph a sunset overlooking a different canyon behind us. All I could think of when she called me over to see this was my brother in law Tyler and I barreling down this road in a WRX STi trying not to die! I'll be honest and say I didn't take my rental Ford Edge down this insane road. I actually am not quite sure how you get to the road. Sure looks like fun though. I am back home now and got to sleep in my own bed last night! I am going to spend a lot of this week just trying to get caught up on editing and recovering a little bit. I definitely pushed my body to its limit last week, but it was all so worth it. What an amazing trip it was. Enjoy the shot and let me know what you want to drive down this lovely road. Have a great Tuesday my friends.


June 22nd, 2015 - Mokolea Pools

So it is 6am here in Salt Lake City, UT and I am getting ready to head to the airport to head home. I love traveling so very much but by the end of my trips nothing sounds better than the comforts of home. So I figure to celebrate the occasion I would return us to Kauai with the daily photo also. Now I briefly almost didn't publish this photo because I am planning to come back to this location and shoot it again at sunrise. I decided though that the shots would look different enough that they would stand on their own as photos.I shared a couple photos from this beach line over the last couple weeks. I am excited to try and get my sunrise here but nervous as well. IF you are ever on Kauai and try to head to this place, make sure you know the tide schedule because there is no easy escape and you could get caught in some serious surf and end up in a bad way. For now though, just enjoy Mokolea Pools and I will hopefully be enjoying nearly being home. Cheers!


June 21st, 2015 - Mesa Arch

Well today is a day that I hope you all love something as much as I do. We decided yesterday to leave Breckinridge a day early and head to Utah and try and see a little bit of Canyonlands before sunset. This my friends is called Mesa Arch and as you can tell it is awe inspiringly beautiful. I have been using this method a bit this week but as I mentioned with the mountain shot a few days back this is actually 8 photos. Four along the bottom and four on top to make this shot. I was able to capture the whole thing with a wide angle if I backed up, but this retained so much more of the details in the distance with the canyon floor and the beautiful shadows being cast. I got to shoot Delicate Arch this morning and will have that for you sometime later this week but for now please enjoy this and if you get a chance share it with a few friends! I am super proud of this shot. I am flying home tomorrow so this crazy week is just about over. Thanks for following along with me on my journey!


June 20th, 2015 - Pushing Yourself

So I got to do one of the most awesome and one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life yesterday. I traveled to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado and hiked up to almost the top of them. Yes almost, I had some serious issues with my feet that kept me from quite making it all the way to the top of the 700 foot plus dune. I did probably make it about 600 feet which if you haven't climbed up a serious dune before I can't tell you how insanely difficult it is. With hauling photography gear it took me almost 2 hours to ascend those 600 feet and I am not in the greatest shape. But as you can tell from our first photo from the visit, it was so very well worth it. I love the texture of the sand and I was lucky enough to hang around later in the day and got some of the awesome harsh shadows cast by the dunes. I was also super lucky because we had just enough clouds to make the sky really interesting without getting rained on. Well enjoy the shot and if you ever get the chance to go see this amazing site, take lots of water and a TON of energy. Worth all the effort though. Thanks guys.


June 19th, 2015 - Walking in Paradise

I thought maybe today we would take a break from trip photos and revisit my beautiful home of Kauai. I took this while waiting on the sunset photo I shared last week of Ke'e beach and I really love the way the trees line this very vague path. The wind was blowing nicely on this day and you could just hear the leafs rustling and the creek of the tree trunks as they swayed back and forth. I have experienced quite a few different environments in the last couple weeks. I ended up taking yesterday as a recovery day so I am off to the Great Sand Dunes today to do some shooting. I am super excited to see them in person and hope I can knock out a few worthy shots showcasing how awesome they are. Happy Aloha Friday to all of you and thanks for following along!


June 18th, 2015 - Reaching Up

I got to spend part of my day yesterday at the amazing Garden of the Gods here in Colorado. It was super amazing to me that this place was located where it was. I figured a place like this would be out in the middle of nowhere and extremely hard to get to. Turns out this park is surrounded by suburbia and if you climb up any sort of elevation there are towns and houses all around. You can actually drive through this park in probably 20 minutes if you don't stop. It is very obvious that the popularity of the park way exceeds its ability to cater to it. There are a lot of very small parking lots littered around the park and finding a parking spot is a struggle. I will say that it is worth all the effort though. In between the chaos is some of the coolest rock formations you have ever seen, such as this one. I honestly don't know what this rock is called but I thought it reminded me of a hand reaching out of the ground and maybe pointing at the sky. If you look further back in the shot you see a nice snow capped mountain. That is Pikes Peak and don't worry I drove all the way to the top of that beast too and will have shots for you soon. For now enjoy this shot and have a great Thursday.


June 17th, 2015 - Colorado Living

We visit Colorado for the first time today with what I think is a pretty awesome photo. I took this photo near a place called Vale and seriously it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. Now this shot is kind of a panoramic shot and I hope you are ready for a lot of those. I have shot a significant amount of panoramic work already. Now this shot however is slightly different and is shot in a very new way for me. What you are looking at is actually six images. Three across the bottom and three across the top photo merged together to give you the one frame. Just like panoramic shooting this allows me to present a scene with extremely fine detail, which is what I absolutely love. I know most of you experience my work probably on a mobile phone and don't get this experience. But if you see these shots in large format on a large screen or pint it allows for you to really work through the scene and gather all the small bits of awesome lying about. While you are reading this I am in a place called the Garden of the Gods shooting and hopefully I will have something from there for you soon. Enjoy the shot and let me know what you think!


June 16th, 2015 - Milky Way Mountain

We visit the middle of nowhere Utah today with my first photo from this trip for you. The last couple days have been super crazy traveling and very very little sleeping. Luckily I am all settled in at my hotel and looking forward to this trip so very much. I purposely flew into Salt Lake City, UT and drove to Breckinridge, CO overnight in hopes of catching some interesting night skies and getting a sunrise along the way. I got super lucky with an extremely clear dark sky for part of the drive and managed to get this fish eye shot of the entire Milky Way band running across the sky. Not very often I purposely use a fish eye but I think for this one it worked out pretty awesome. So far I can tell you that this part of our country is just unexplainably beautiful. I hope you enjoy our little trip to the stars today and I have a lot more work coming for you guys this week. Also want to say thanks for the jump in people sharing my work on their pages lately, it means a lot that you guys are enjoying my work enough to share it. Hopefully there will be a lot more of that upcoming. Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday.


June 15th, 2015 - Napali Cliffs

We continue our run of Hawaii photos today with another shot of the Napali Coast that I took a couple months back. I remember getting super soaked while trying to take these photos because as the boat got closer to this rock shelf the waves really started rocking the boat back and forth and the wind was pretty well screaming that day. It was worth it to catch some cool perspectives like this one really giving you an idea of the massive cliffs that spawn this side of the island. I also obviously dig the water run off on the rock shelf in front of me. Nice transition of dark water to white wash to shady rock to bright highlights too. As you read this I am most likely driving somewhere in Colorado itching to get to my hotel and get some real sleep. Got a big week coming up and I look forward to sharing it with you guys. Have a good rest of your Monday.


June 14th, 2015 - Sunset Over Ke'e

We visit the very end of the road today and the sunset photo I promised you yesterday. This my friends is Ke'e Beach. Super gorgeous and pretty dangerous if you venture outside of the lines for lack of a better word. There are some pretty serious rip currents along this part of the coast. As you can see though it is an absolutely gorgeous place. I was a bit nervous when we first got to this beach the other day. Usually sunsets and sunrises require a pretty interesting sky to make the scene. We had gotten to the beach early in the afternoon and the skies were pretty clear so I wasn't quite sure how I was going to set it up. About a half hour or so before sunset I set up and took a few test shots and spent about 25 minutes fine tuning it to make the scene as interesting as possible without needing a blockbuster sky. In the end I think this turned out pretty great. I love the graduation of dark to the lightened the tones came out super smooth. I also wanted to capture the details in the water but still give a sense of movement so I shot just a long enough exposure to drag just the smallest amount. Well as you read this I am most likely somewhere over the Pacific Ocean on my way to Salt Lake City. It is going to be a crazy week but I am super excited for this trip. Enjoy this sunset and if a shot or two is a bit late this week forgive me. Thanks guys.


June 13th, 2015 - Amazing Beauty

You have seen a lot of this place this week, but look at it! I couldn't point my camera in a bad direction here. Todays view of the Rock Quarry Beach area is a little further north than the other shots you saw this week. It also involves some danger due to having to hike onto these rock shelves that I took this photo on. These are almost completely underwater at high tide and standing on these rocks when waves are crashing in is extremely treacherous. I have some future plans for this location, but it will involve some prep work and timing. As you can tell by the huge wall on my right there is no fast escape when you are down here, if the tide starts coming in fast you have to hike back up this coastline and climb out. Well today is my last full day at home, I leave early in the morning for Salt Lake City and then drive into Colorado tomorrow evening. Have a great rest of your Saturday and make sure to tune in tomorrow for a pretty nice sunset from the other side of the island!


June 12th, 2015 - Exiting Central Park

We have shared a lot of coloring tropical photos this week from Hawaii, so I figured we would change it up for today and head back to New York City and Central Park. Don't worry the rest of the weekend is shots form the island. I have been sitting on this photo for a while deciding if I enjoyed it enough to publish it. This is one of the very rare cases where I shot something with full intent on it being a color photo and in the end decided that black and white was the better treatment. I really enjoy the contrast of dark tree trunks and bright leafs. This little part of Central Park is right on the border of the part of the city that heeds into Times Square. New York is a crazy crazy place, but a fun and beautiful place as well. Looking forward to going back and actually staying in the area. Enjoy the photo and let me know if you dig it. Have a great Aloha Friday friends!


June 11th, 2015 - Rock Quarry Beach

We visit the view of the actual beach part of Rock Quarry Beach that I mentioned yesterday with the rocky coast shot. As I mentioned then, this is not an easy beach to get to at all. But if you can get there, it is very secluded and not crowded at all. So you have some grade a Kauai ocean front almost to yourself! A friend of mine was telling me that there is also some pretty sweet surfing on parts of this beach. This is also a local fish spot because there is a large river that feeds into this cove. There are just so many amazing things to discover on this small island. I will keep it short today. I hope you enjoy the shot and I hope your weeks are coming along well. Almost back to the weekend my friends!


June 10th, 2015 - Rock Quarry Coast

Yesterday I got to hang out at one very cool place. I don't actually know the names of some of it, but I think this is near what is called Rock Quarry Beach. This place is pretty insanely tough to get to. You basically take this super tiny back paved road and then randomly the pavement ends and there is a huge warning sign telling you the road is dangerous. I just put on the 4 x 4 on the Jeep and plowed on. The road did get insanely crazy an just when I was getting to the point I didn't know if the jeep would make it, I saw a tiny little Nissan Sentra up in front of me haha. I should have taken a photo of the road, it completely blows my mind that the little car made that. But if you make it past this crazy road you pop out at a gorgeous beach that has very few people at it and this gorgeous coastline with these huge boulders everywhere. I had climbed up on top of some and looked down into this awesome cove where the water was crashing into. I love how the water was crashing up just high enough to get kissed by the sun. It was a beautiful day and hopefully you agree that it's a beautiful hot. Enjoy friends.


June 9th, 2015 - Looking Skyward

We are back in the same forest we were in yesterday this time looking at a slightly different angle. I'm not super sure why, but I really enjoy this photo. I really love the layers of light as you travel further away from the camera. You get an idea of how insanely thick the forest is here. I also love a good photo showing some depth and I think this has it covered. It is tough to photograph at such extreme angles and maintain a useable shot. I think the trick with these is balancing out the frame and giving a persons eye a good chance to travel around the scene without having to adjust their perception too fast. Going to keep it short today so enjoy the shot and remember guys I love participation so if you see a photo you do really enjoy, leave a comment or share it with your friends. I always want to find new people to share my work with. Thanks for your support!


June 8th, 2015 - Hanging Vines

So yesterday my wife and I decided to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather we have been having as of late. We decided to head up to a beach we hadn't really been to yet on the island to try and catch a sunset. If you take the main highway that leads around the island along the east shore north and just keep following it around it eventually dead ends at the trail head for the Kalalau Trail and also a beach called Ke'e Beach. I have a sunset photo from the beach for you later this week. We had gotten there a few hours before the sunset though so I wandered into the jungly part behind the beach and snapped a few shots. Lots of mosquitos but absolutely gorgeous forest. This shot I was trying to showcase the cool hanging vines. I just love how the sun is filtering through the forest also. There weren't very many clouds in the sky so it is pretty direct sunlight. Well enjoy the shot and hopefully you all had a good start to your weeks, see you tomorrow!


June 7th, 2015 - Coconut Coast

Last Sunday I shared a photo of a sunset at this same location, I actually took this shot at the same time. You should recognize the rock wall from the other. I just really loved the clouds that are over the coast in this so I took this one also. The town those clouds are hanging over is where I live. It's called Kapaa and this coast is referred to as the Coconut Coast. I am only six days from flying out to Utah and Colorado and some planning is really starting to come together. I think you guys are really going to like some of the locations. I am going to keep it short today but I hope you all had a great weekend. Thanks guys.


June 6th, 2015 - Desolate Beach

We come back to north western Oregon today and visit the beach where I photographed the wreck of the Peter Iredale. I had trotted just north of it a bit closer to the opening of the columbia river and just kind of had this moment of feeling like I was in a desolate world. The lines in the sky and the way the water was crawling back out after the waves crashed in. It was a very unique stormy day with a super erie feeling. Sometimes photographs like these are some peoples favorites, for the post part people struggle with the lack of subject to find something to connect with in the photo. I try and tell those people to just enjoy the scene and a whole. This beach was a bright spot in a horrendous day or torrential rain and not being able to photograph. I hope you enjoy this slightly crazy scene, I know I do. Have a great Saturday friends.


June 5th, 2015 - Bird Country

We visit the middle of nowhere California today with a photo that was very spur of the moment. That's why it is taken while standing on a road. While I was driving through this wide open country I noticed what I thought was smoke off in the distance to my right, as that smoke came closer I realized it was actually a massive flock of birds. I thought it would be cool to try and get a shot of them so I found a place to pull over. Birds move super fast though and my camera was set up so completely wrong to take the shot. I made quick adjustments and fired off this one frame before they were too far gone. I still think it turned out pretty cool and I love the shadows of all the birds on the road and the rolling hills in the distance. The fact that the sky was so perfectly clear made for a cool backdrop for the birds. The sun however is just barely off the left hand side of my frame which is what caused the crazy sky gradient and the small lens flare. In the end I think its pretty cool, what do you think? Happy Aloha Friday my friends!


June 4th, 2015 - Good Morning Baltimore

We visit Baltimore today with a shot I took on a super early morning walk around the inner harbor while I was there. I had walked down to the harbor from my hotel while it was still dark and it was amazing how still and quite it was and then as sunrise approached it slowly started coming to life. I just enjoyed the way the runner lights on the walk way trail away in this shot and although it was super cloudy you get a little bit of the sunrise tones in the distance. I also love the texture of brick walkways. I am going to keep this short today so enjoy the shot and your Thursdays.


June 3rd, 2015 - Something Different

So our last coupe daily photos have not been very popular. I figure maybe we need something way different for a day to shake things up. So today I give you this crazy abstract shot I took of the inside of one of my studio lights. I just loved the way the metal looked and the way the light hit the folds in the metal. That is basically it, I simply just enjoyed the shapes and the way it looked. Photography doesn't always have to be some massively complicated scene. Hopefully you find it interesting too. This week marks my last couple weeks before my trip to Colorado. Going into full on planning mode now really working out the areas I am going to go. If you are from the Breckinridge, Colorado area or know the area well, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I plan on spending some time shooting in Utah as well near the border of Colorado. Thanks for your help guys and have a great Wednesday.


June 2nd, 2015 - Winter Wonderland

We visit Northern Oregon today and a slightly different view of the gorgeous Mount Hood. I actually took this from a very small overpass type area I found when leaving this tiny town that was just northeast of the mountain. Something about how desolate the trees looked and the gorgeous sky mixed with the of course beautiful mountain and the little bit of river you get all added up to a nice shot in my eyes. This sky ended up producing one of the coolest sunset skies I have ever seen and of course couldn't find a place to photograph because I was driving out to a super deep ravine at the time. Oregon is just so shockingly gorgeous, I really want to go back and see some of the stuff I missed. Well enjoy the shot and your Tuesdays my friends.


June 1st, 2015 - Nature's Weird

We visit a wonderful place called Waterholes Canyon in Arizona today. Mostly because I want to point out how weird mother nature can be. The strange way things work out in nature are way cooler than I could think up. These canyons are formed by monsoon waters flash flooding and rushing through and eroding the walls. I just think the way you get these weird pattern of indents is cool. I also have no idea why there is an extremely well defined line in the rocks that goes all the way around. Maybe we have a super knowledgable follower who will fill us in. It was super fun to hike through these canyons. You kind of feel a bit helpless most of the time as you can tell by the walls, not an easy way out if something bad happens. I only got to see a couple canyons in the area while I was there but there are a ton more I want to go back and see. For now enjoy this one and your Monday friends.


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