May 2015 - Bens Viewfinder

May 31st, 2015 - Hanamaulu Sunset

The advantage of living in such a gorgeous place is that the simplest of tasks can turn into photography opportunities. This is Hanamaulu Bay and I have taken a couple shots here before and shared them with you. On top of being gorgeous it is conveniently located right next to the airport. Which in my case worked out perfectly because Sara came home from being on the mainland for a week a couple nights ago and she happened to be landing right around sunset. So I showed up a little early and took a few shots of the bay while I waiter for her. Even though you don't get a clear full sunset when shooting towards mountains I kind of love the way it backlights and greatest this glow around them. There were lots of fisherman out on this evening because the surf was nice and calm and they could fish off the rock wall on the right hand side. Hopefully you all had an awesome weekend, enjoy the shot and we will do this again tomorrow!


May 30th, 2015 - Wai Koa Pond

So funny story about todays daily photo. I forgot I even took this photo. I actually have a brother who is learning different aspects of photography and asked me a question about HDR work. Usually when he does this I throw together a short You Tube video trying to help him out. When doing so this time I tripped over this shot to use as an example about haloing around the tree. I took this on the Wai Koa Trail probably eight months ago. You have to realize that I have tens of thousands of photographs in my back stock. Most of which isn't worth editing but every now and then a decent photo gets lost in the fray for a while. Either way I edited this one out after doing his video and ended up with this. I really like the pond water with the lily pads and the flowers randomly all through it. You'll notice if you look closely that the water has a ton of ripples in it, not form rain but from the massive amount of dragonflies skimming around the water. I also really love the mountain formation in the background, hoping to head back and photograph just that at some point closer up. Enjoy the shot and your Saturday my friends.


May 29th, 2015 - Wilting Beauty

So todays daily photo is kind of self explanatory. I actually took this a while ago and sat on it for a bit not sure if I liked it. I don't usually photograph dead or dining things but I found a strange beauty in this flower and the way it was wilting. It was just after it had rained and I thought it just made for cool monochrome scene. With the fact that the pedals are wilting it creates lots of interesting curves and shadows that I Thought played well for black and white. Sometimes photos are experiments and this will kind of be a feeler to see what people think. I enjoy it on a few levels and hope you do to. Let me know what you think and happy Aloha Friday!


May 28th, 2015 - Everyday Kauai

Yesterday was a super long post, today I am gonna keep nice and short. I took this quick shot while on a hike a few days ago with my awesome friend Kat. We went on one of my favorite trails on the whole island called the Kuilau Ridge Trail. When you get to the top of the trail you are greeted by huge sprawling views of thick jungle and beautiful mountains. I have a dream of someday taking a pano of the mountain ridge that is there, but as you can tell by the massive amount of clouds on the right hand side of this shot, they are not often clear and visible. I love living here and never get sick of seeing this. What i love is how accessible it all is. This view is about a 30 minute hike and not even a strenuous one at that and the trailhead is five minutes from my driveway. Kauai is good living my friends! Enjoy your Thursdays.


May 27th, 2015 - Unfinished Journey

So we are at Yosemite for one of my last few images I have from the trip there. I was only there for about one and a half days so I didn't take a ton of shots. Now this is not the greatest of photographs in the world but if the amount of effort counts towards the greatness of a photo this would probably be in my top 10 photos ever taken! Now you may have heard this story before but bare with me. I woke up at about 6:30am to get packed up and hit this trail called the Vernal Falls trail.This is about a five and a half mile round trip hike. The big deal here is that in the first two and a half miles going up you climb roughly 1,000 feet. Sounds pretty crazy on its own right? Well I had to do it while hauling around roughly sixty pounds of photography gear. So I get up to basically where the last quarter mile of this hike is and there is a gate over the trail and it says "Closed due to increased rock slide risk". Now I am sure if I would have checked the office or something before I took off I would have found this out ahead of time, but I didn't and I climbed up there and then promptly had to plow my way back down without ever seeing the falls. As you can tell by the frozen river bed though, there are a ton of huge boulders that must be crashing down from the walls above. Sad I didn't get any amazing photos from that hike but it was a good story to tell and it was fun to say I did it. Enjoy the shot and your Wednesday my friends.


May 26th, 2015 - Overgrown Hiking Trail

We visit Northern California today and Redwood National Park for a simple shot of part of the hiking trail I went on while I was there. During certain months of the year they close some trails and don't maintain them. These are sometimes my favorite trails to go on as long as they are not dangerous. Something about they weird hanging moss on this overgrown tree I thought made for a cool shot. What isn't showcased super well but was cool about being there is that I was walking out of a super thick part of the forest where it was very dark and this was kind of the point of emergence into a more open part of the trail. I only got to spend a few hours hiking in this forest but it was amazing. You truly feel like you are walking among giants. I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and are getting your short weeks off to a good start. Enjoy the shot and your evening.


May 25th, 2015 - Greatest Sacrifice

Photos can do a lot of things a lot of justice, but when considering the massive sacrifice that has been made over the years by soldiers I don't think a photo can quite do it. So on this memorial day I share a photo and just simply say thank you to all those who gave everything so that I could have something. I have a long standing family history of people who have served and still today have many friends who still serve and even though this is a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice I can't help but also give thanks to those who are still fighting. I don't always agree with the way or reasons wars happen but I always appreciate the dedication and bravery our soldiers show when they are called upon. I am truly lucky to live in a place like the United States and am in constant thanks when I see the horrible things that go on in certain parts of the world that I live in a place where people have fought and died so I don't have to live in fear. So I leave it with a simple thank you. Thank you to those who have given it all and to those still fighting for us all.


May 24th, 2015 - Contrasting Antelope

We revisit one of my favorite places every today at Upper Antelope Canyon. I kind of shelved this shot for a long time not quite sure how to present it. Due to the massive light shaft coming through the shot it made for very unbalanced shot. Cameras simply can't capture that many light levels between how dark it is in a cave and how bright direct sunlight is. As I have mentioned many times though the battle of light vs dark i this is great and I love the bits of sand rolling off the rocks. I didn't present many of my shots from Antelope in black and white, but here I really thought the black and white brought the focus on the contrast and the dark vs light battle. This place produced so many great photos for my collection, I can't wait to go back some day and shoot some of the other canyons in the area. So you guys will have to let me know if you think this shot works. Leave me some feedback and let me know. I was a bit worried the darks were a bit too dark. I hope you are all having an awesome extended weekend. Cheers!


May 23rd, 2015 - Waist Deep in Zion

I don't usually wade out in the middle of a river with my expensive camera and tripod to take a photo, but when I do. It is in a hot freaking desert and the water is nice and cool! We visit Zion National Park today in Utah with a fun but simple shot of a river that flows along the main byway that goes through the park. I unfortunately did not get to see much of the park due to having a very very l limited amount of time there. It is very high on my list of things to return an see more seriously though. Zion is breath taking. I was looking through the very few shots I took while i was there last night and realized how very little I actually saw. I basically just shot through the scenic bypass from one end to the other and that was it. Some absoluty gorgeous rock formations and the big mountain range that runs through the park is just awesome. Well I hope your holiday weekends are going well and your Saturday is treating you good. I am off to watch some hockey, go Blackhawks!


May 22nd, 2015 - St Louis Arch

Going to keep it simple and short today. I am cheating a bit and giving you another re-edit of a photo. The original of this photo was pretty bad looking back on it but I think this version looks much more true to form and personally I think it is more interesting too. I figure you guys don't mind seeing old work again sometimes. I think it is important for artists to be able to evolve and improve. I won't throw a lot of the re-edits at you, just a few as I go through and redo some of my back work. I am rocking solo all week long with my wife on the mainland visiting so I am going to try to hunker down and focus on work. I hope you all have a great aloha Friday!


May 21st, 2015 - California Beachin

We visit Nothern California today and just a random beach along the coastal highway. There were these awesome rock formations all the way up the coast and I loved stopping and walking on the beaches and looking at them. This shot I took mostly because I loved the way the sand on the beach looked and I thought it showcased the style of the coast well. Sad to hear today that the west coast suffered an oil spill, I sure hope these beautiful beaches are not effected. Shooting directly towards the sun is always a challenge, but I thought this one came out ok. I am going to keep it short today, so enjoy your Thursday and the shot friends.


May 20th, 2015 - Cloudy Ridge

So todays daily photo goes kind of hand in hand with a couple other shots you have seen before. So if you follow along you will know where this is. The huge super panoramic I did of the whole Napali Coast a while back had a huge bowl shaped canyon on its left hand side and I also shot a pano of that valley called the Kaulau Valley. When I shared the one of the valley I explained that it was the site where weather loves to roll onto the island and into Waimea Canyon. Well all that leads to this photo showing you the actual cloud bank rolling over the top of the ridge between the Kaulau Valley and into Waimea Canyon. This ridge is quite a tough hike but a fun one with some absolutely amazing views. It is amazing how drastic the weather here can be. I have stood here when it was 70 when it was 45 when it was rather clear day and when you couldn't see five feet in front of you. It literally just takes minutes for it to shift here. Standing on the rim of the valley and looking down is one of the coolest sites you can see though, so I highly recommend it if you are ever on Kauai. Have a great Wednesday all!


May 19th, 2015 - Tybee Pier

We visit Tybee Island outside of Savannah, GA today with a rather simple photo but one I like a lot. The battle of dark vs light in a photo is probably my favorite thing about photography and when shooting it is usually one of the biggest things I look for when shooting something. I tend to enjoy balance also but there are reasons to break every rule in photography. In this case I really wanted to showcase the brightness of the beach and sky outside of the pier to the darkness under it. I also really enjoyed the small reflection at the base of the pier in the foreground. I absolutely loved Savannah and Tybee, such a beautiful place. If you ever want a great vacation other than coming and visiting gorgeous Hawaii, head over there! Enjoy the shot and your Tuesday friends.


May 18th, 2015 - Strolling Through DC

So the JFK memorial from Arlington wasn't a big hit the other day but I figured I would take another swing from the area today and share a shot from Washington D.C. This is the Washington Monument and I just felt like being creative and trying to take it from a not so normal angle. I liked the layering effect going on here with he trees framing the photo and the walkway in the front, followed by the pond with the ducks and then you see the walk way winding off to the distance and the monument in the background. I just thought it made for a more interesting photo than just a shot of the monument itself. I will keep it short today and just wish you all a great start to you week. Enjoy the shot.


May 17th, 2015 - Venice Sunset

So we are going to go with two sunsets in a row this weekend. Although I doubt we can top yesterdays popularity I figure we would give it a shot. Now if you remember a few weeks back I shared a crazy solarized photo of a kind of blade shaped turbine looking thing. Well as you found out then and probably already figured out by now this is said bridge. From a slightly different angle. There are three main ways into Venice, the obvious one is boat, the second is by train which is how we came into Venice from Rome, and then there is of course via road. Now there are no driving roads in the main part of Venice, but to the left of that bridge you are seeing there is a large pull up parking area where people can come to the edge of the city. This is where we caught a cab back to the airport when we left. I took this shot on my final evening in Italy and thought it was a nice send off. Enjoy the shot and hopefully you all had awesome weekends!


May 16th, 2015 - Living Aloha

We visit a location I took a couple photos at some months back called Wailua State Park which happens to just be down the hill from where I live. Just recently my wife, my friend Kat and I all went paddle boarding up this river and it is quite beautiful. I am hoping to try kayaking it next week. Now what is funny is that if you follow along on my actual website you see that I always put little titles on each post. I wouldn't say they are titles for the photos, more just like titles for the daily post. Todays says "Living Aloha", and thats what I think this photo really is. Kauai is a magical place that just makes you feel better and washes away worries helps you truly appreciate the beauty this world has to offer. Here you have a mix of beautiful palm trees with the ocean breeze blowing through them as we sit on the bank of a beautiful river that is being fed down by some of the most gorgeous mountains and waterfalls on the planet. What else could a guy ask for ehh? I love Hawaii, you all need to come see it for yourselves if you haven't yet. Have a great Saturday!


May 15th, 2015 - JFK Eternal Flame

We visit Arlington National Cemetery and give you a view of the eternal flame that stands at the site of John F Kennedy's grave site. Now I grew up with politicians all my life and have always had a deep respect for those who fight to serve their people and country. Unfortunately my opinion on politicians has almost completely soured now a days, I don't find many to be honest and the separations of parties and ideals creates way too much hate for my liking. Now this isn't meant to be an op ed just leading to the point that it is rare that I have ever heard the memory of JFK recounted in bad taste. My understanding is he was extremely beloved and he has my vote as one of my favorite presidents because of his take on exploration and pushing ourselves as a country. Sorry the photo doesn't really showcase the lame super well due to it being a bright sunny day but you get the idea. Hopefully you all have a great Aloha Friday, cheers friends!


May 14th, 2015 - Il Messaggero Roma

We haven't visited Rome lately so I thought we could change that today. i am in a bit of a photography rut as of late and sometimes seeing work from different areas helps break me out of it. This pretty cool building called the "il Messaggero" is actually a big time Italian newspaper. I didn't go inside, but with the sun kind of backlighting a cloud right behind the building I thought it made for a cool scene. I also kind of dig the little tunnel leading to who knows where on the right hand side. I thankfully have a big trip coming up to Colorado I am in the planning stages on and really looking forward to getting some serious time with my camera. Even better is that I will have my wife with me this time which makes life so much easier. She is way better at planning and navigating while on the road. I kind of just randomly wander around until I find something interesting to photograph haha. Well enjoy the shot of Rome, I hope you like it and the rest of your Thursday.


May 13th, 2015 - Gunner Pool Revisited

In my recent nature of re editing some photographs from my last couple years I decided today to try this one. I don't know if you saw the original but it was very kind of glowy and not very natural looking. I love the shot though so thought I would give it another go with a bit more of a natural feel to it. This is a shot of a place called Gunner Pool, which is located in western Arkansas in an absolutely gorgeous part of the Ozarks. So you guys will have to be the judge, and if you remember the original let me know what you think of the change. Thanks for the time and opinions!


May 12th, 2015 - Distant Half Dome

We visit the drive into Yosemite today with a gorgeous distant view of the famous Half Dome. We have visited Yosemite a lot this week. I guess I just went on an editing craze when looking through them last week. When I initially took this photo I enjoyed the half dome feature and nothing else really. I shot it with the intention of really trying to showcase all of the layers of depth as they lead off into the distance. It simply just took a bit of really sitting and taking in the shot and really giving the details a chance that ended up winning me over in the end. This shot was also the first time on the drive in that I really felt like I was at Yosemite. So if you have it, take a minute and let this shot soak in and appreciate the little things. I hope you are all having a great Tuesday and we will see you guys again tomorrow.


May 11th, 2015 - Rainy Shadows

So I give you another shot of the gorgeous Napali coast today, but one I find a bit more unique. Whats cool about this shot, other than the amazing rock formations is that you have a nice party cloudy sky above the top of the mountains and relatively calm seas up front. But the reason there are such huge shadows over the mountains themselves is due to a pretty thick rain cloud that was setting in directly over us. Shortly after this it started raining and then shortly after that we saw some super awesome rainbows. I am hoping here in the next few months that I will pick up a kayak and do some more off shore photography work around the island without the need to charter a boat. I even have a crazy idea about how to mount a camera tripod type system to one. I have to get some underwater shooting housings first, but the plans are in motion friends. Thanks for turning in and I hope you all have a great week!


May 10th, 2015 - Yosemite Morning

Welcome my friends to a beautiful calm morning in Yosemite. Although I remember being extremely cold! Months ago I shared a photograph of a stone bridge going over a rocky river and this is part of that same stretch. This is about half a mile down the river though. As with a lot of my stuff from Yosemite I love the very cool tones of the shaded parts vs the warm tones of the rising sun against the hill side in the distance. This was towards the beginning of a massive day of hiking I did that day. I got some pretty cool shots but not quite what was hoped for due to some things out of my control. That is the wonderful nature of travel photography though, you have to work with what you are given. I like the bit of reflection from the sky and hill in the river here too. Well hopefully you enjoy the shot, my posts have not been reaching people lately again so if you get a chance go scroll back through my page and check out the work you may have missed. Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful Moms who are following along. I hope you all had amazing days!


May 9th, 2015 - The Whole Thing

Well this should look a little familiar. I shared with you a photograph of one of these flower about a week ago, but a bunch closer up version. I did however think that these flowers were interesting enough to also get a shot of the entire thing. This new method I am using to do macro work really seems to be working well, it is however a lot of work in post processing really fine tuning the different stacks of focusing. The results are worth the effort though. I love the way the pedals on the flower curl the way they do at the ends.Lots of cool lines around the flower leading you around. Well this upcoming week comes full course planning mode for my upcoming trip to Colorado. I am doing hopefully a day or so in a little part of Utah as well. If you are anywhere near Breckinridge and have some suggestions please feel free to leave me some tips! I will be coming towards the end of June. Thanks guys and I hope your Saturdays are going well.


May 8th, 2015 - Russian Fort

We go with back to back black and white photos today. I am going to keep it short because it is a pretty minimalistic shot. That's not to say I don't enjoy the shot. You know me and you know I love a good contrast shot. Now if the tree on the left looks familiar, that would be because it is the same tree that I did the up close color photo of last week. As I mentioned with that one, this is taken at the Russian Fort here on Kauai, or what was the Russian Fort. You can see the silhouette of one of what was a wall of the fort running from left to right in the photo. I kind of just enjoyed the open feeling to this shot. I hope you all have a  great Aloha Friday and a great weekend.


May 7th, 2015 - Yosemite Falls

I apologize about the tardiness of my daily photo today. I don't usually auto set them up, I just post them about mid day my time. My sleep schedule has been a bit off the last few days though and so I am just a tiny bit late today. You do however get a nice shot of a gorgeous waterfall in Yosemite. Obviously not running at its fullest due to it being the middle of the winter, but cool none the less. I am not quite sure how tall this waterfall is, but my guess is that it falls well over 700 feet. If you look at the base of it you can see where a lot of the water is icing over because it was very cold. Again as with a few of my shots from Yosemite, due to it being winter it was very desolate and without very many interesting color so I really favored the black and white when shooting. I will keep this shot and tell you thank you for following along, it means the world to me and I hope you have a great Thursday evening.


May 6th, 2015 - Hidden Valley

We head over to the Napali Coast today to a bit o fa peak a boo shot. I am sure this valley has a name but I unfortunately am not fully educated on all things Kauai yet. I just loved as we were going along in the boat you have no idea this valley is going to be there, then you just get this peak between these mountains and you can see what you can only imagine is a gorgeous untouched ecosystem. Now if you follow along and remember a photo I posted a few weeks back on the coast talking about missing waterfalls, the left hand side of this shot is a huge example of it. I can only imagine how amazing that waterfall was figuring the height of these cliffs. If you haven't been following along the government basically diverted the water that used to run to the Napali Coast to other parts of the island for farming purposes. Well I am planning on going out an shooting this afternoon, the weather doesn't look great but maybe it will be a bit better on a different part of the island. Enjoy this shot and we will see you tomorrow.


May 5th, 2015 - Yosemite Stream

We visit Yosemite National Park today with a shot I took on my way into the park. With only having a couple days in the park I didn't waste any time trying to find things to photograph. This river was right off the road I drove in on and I simply pulled over when I found a place and started hiking down it. It was an interesting contrast for the photos I took that evening because the sky was so clear and the sun so strong that it cast very harsh sunlight on everything exposed. In contrast it was very cool and everything not in the sunlight had a very cool tone to it. As you can tell by the shot, there are just all of these massive mountains that shoot up all around you in such sheer ways it is crazy. I highly recommend visiting if you ever get a chance. For now though, just enjoy this shot and your Tuesday.


May 4th, 2015 - Star Flower

We travel the immense distance to my back yard today to look at a gorgeous flower that popped up. We don't actively garden or plant anything in our yard, but being the wonderful place Kauai is, things just seem to grow all year round. My wife had actually gone out to the back yard the other day to pick some fruit off of one of our trees and she told me I had to go check this flower out. I liked it enough that I photographed it from two angles. This one you are seeing because I really liked the way the center of the flower looked. I also took one further out that features the whole flower because I also really enjoy the shape of the pedals. It was nice to use my new macro technique a little bit more and it seems to be working well. My job would be a lot easier if I didn't shake like I had twelve red bulls when trying to hold my camera still haha. I have no clue what type of flower this is, so if you do please leave a comment and let me know. IF not maybe when I share the full flower shot someone will be able to help out. Thanks guys and have a great start to your week.


May 3rd, 2015 - Sunny Tree

We revisit the Russian Fort that I shared a sunset from the other day. Obviously a bit different of a photo though. I figured after a trend of some darker black and white photos as of late, you might want a bright colorful one. I always love photographing trees and as you see when looking at my shots of them, I just think they are so unique. I had to walk around this tree a few times and move forward and back a bit to get just the right angle. I didn't wan too many of the trees on the left to distract from the big tree and of course positioning the sun where I did. It was a gorgeous day that day and I think the photo came out pretty nice. I hope you all had a great weekend. Enjoy the shot and your evenings.


May 2nd, 2015 - Dark and Cloudy

So I am curious to what people will think of todays daily photo. Firstly it was shot in Seattle, WA down by the market. Second, it was horrendous weather at the time, it was super dark and gloomy and I figured I wouldn't get to take photos all day. While hanging out with my cousin though we walked over the overlook at the bay and I just snapped this. I really liked the play on super darks to lights from the sun filter through in a couple spots. It looked super crazy. Now I showed this to a couple people and got a mixed result. Mostly people enjoyed the play of darks and lights, some just through the whole thing was too dark though. I bet part of it depends on the screen you are looking at it on. I did kind of want it to be on the darker side, that was the feeling I had when I photographed it. You should be able to make out the important things in the photo though. Let me know what you think and I hope you all have a great Saturday. I am off to watch the boxing match with some friends!


May 1st, 2015 - Country Lightning

It has been a very long time since I have shared a lightning photo. Mostly because we don't really get much lightning where I live now. This is an old shot from a storm I chased back in Arkansas a little over a year ago. I didn't have my remote shutter release so I was at the mercy of a 30 second exposure. I still thought it was kind of a cool photo and it was worth sharing. I dig how you can see the rain moving across the field from left to right and I like the different intensities of lightning that fell here. I am going to keep it short again today and let you guys get to enjoying your Aloha Fridays. I just got my D3x back from service at Nikon so I am going to get out and do some shooting this week. Have a great weekend all.


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