Night

De-icing

Two laps of de-icing. #alaskatravel #snowinghardhere #canwegoyet

Two laps of de-icing. #alaskatravel #snowinghardhere #canwegoyet


Starlight, Starbright

My friend Herbert Law of Minute Sixteen is in town, and invariably, we have insanely mis-matched schedules. The other night he invited me out to join him and a couple others to photograph the  Perseid Meteor Shower which came “flying through” (haha) this month. And while I had such great intentions to connect before the night was through, it turned out that another dear friend, Stacy LaMascus was going to leave town for a year at school… In this case, the mini going-away party trumped the meteor outing… But as we hung out and the ladies took a dip in the hot tub, I put my gear to use in the back yard to capture a few starlight photos.

Take a look.

The first image here has a shooting star. I also like the framing of the house and surrounding trees. It feels like we’ve got a portal to another world!

This one is (I believe) a satellite moving through the night sky. The milky way really stands out in here.

I noticed that the yard, lit by a light from inside the garage, had some interesting features contrasted against the starry sky. Fun!

See these images at the 2012 Fine Art Gallery.


March Aurora

Last night, after crawling into bed with Heather to watch a sitcom, my phone buzzed. It’s not often that folks call me in the late hours, so after the show was over, I hopped out of bed to find a message from my friend Shea excitedly telling me about the Aurora. He hasn’t let me down with reports of northern lights in the past, but just to be sure, I headed to Facebook to see what the crowdsourced space-weather report looked like: tons of people were chatting up the lights.

Not wanting to miss out on epic action, we bundled up and walked to the end of the street, seeing the sky aglow with the wisps of light. While the lights were certainly present, they were a bit bland to the naked eye – the truly amazing show had been earlier when the message was left. Not wanting to miss out on a return event, we went back home, tucked Heather into bed, and I headed out to make some photos.

Shea and others had been texting through the night encouraging and tipping each other off to aurora awesomeness in the case that we were not keeping eyes peeled to the sky… (Sometimes driving to a new location means that you miss the most amazing display ever.) It was nice to know that someone else was out in the cold and enjoying the sights. In a strange way, it’s kind of like that song in Fievel Goes West. Anyhow, back to last night.

After standing in the Mendenhall River for around an hour and thirty minutes, I was able to capture a variety of shots, and eventually headed back to the road where Shea had showed up. We stood and talked for the next hour or so making a few frames, and also gathering images for a time lapse video. Eventually I made it home, offloaded images, and was able to slip under the covers at just shy of 4am. Today has been a day of caffeine!

Take a look at what I came back with – shown in chronological order:

And lastly, the time lapse video. This was at ~2am for an hour. 400 frames, each at ~8sec/ea. Playing at 15fps.

Take a look at the larger versions by clicking on an image or heading to my 2012 Fine Art gallery.


Another

I thought I’d throw up another one from my outing last weekend – I would venture to say that I like this one better for the additional ‘interesting’ things in the frame, though it’s not strictly a photo of the aurora.

What do you think? Do you have a preference?


Sleepless Nights

Most people accuse me of not needing much sleep. I’m not so sure I agree, but I am certainly aware that I have strange sleep patterns. Take tonight for instance: I went to bed at a ‘reasonable’ hour (I think it was around 9:30 or 10pm), and then I awoke at 12:15am without much explanation. I even tried to go back to bed, and after laying there for 45 minutes waiting to fall asleep, I decided it was time to just get up and go read or otherwise keep myself entertained.

I’m glad I did.

Facebook did me well tonight. A fellow photographer who has a knack for aurora images had posted an image showing proof that the aurora’s were out, albeit faintly. That was enough. I went out and spent almost 2 hours collecting images. The one below which “made the cut” is one that was approximately a 33minute exposure (f6.3, ISO 400, @14mm).

I finally decided it was time to go home when I couldn’t feel the tips of my fingers. I’d blame it on the lack of gloves, but mostly I think it was my half-hearted efforts to create a time lapse that had my hands out of my pockets every 10 seconds.

Enjoy!

Also, I’ve put this up on my Fine Art page where prints and other artwork are available for purchase.


3rd Annual Calendar

For the past couple of years, I have taken on the task of creating a photo calendar featuring some of my work from the past year. It’s a fun project for me to look back and find 12 of my favorite images, and of course my mom loves it because she can now brag about the artist, but still get’s her annual calendar from her son!  🙂

In reflection of my 2011 images, I didn’t think I had a strong enough collection in one particular vein to have strictly a Macro, Wildlife, Scenic, or other theme. But with Heather’s help, we were able to get it done. You can call this particular grouping, “photos that made the cut”! Ha!

For printing this year, I decided to go with one of our partners, Kodak Gallery. In the past I had used iPhoto, chosen for their fairly simple process to get a large, quality calendar. So many places offer calendars but at some minuscule size (like 8.5×11) which, to me, communicates mass-market cheapness. I’m a big fan of quality over price.

After receiving the calendars last week, I can say that I like the product. The size is more than adequate –14.25″x10.9″– (larger than the iPhoto calendar –13″x10.4″– that I’ve had previously), and the print quality gets a 7/10 ranking because while the quality of the print & paper was mostly amazing (9-10/10), the downside was that their printer obviously had some issues as there were color bands across many of the images (5/10). I haven’t decided if I’m going to chase down their quality control offices and demand a refund (reprinting is too late in the game for Christmas Gifting.) They may be expensive to make, but it’s fun to share, and most people can actually use it throughout the year!

If you don’t get one from me by new years and you REALLY, REALLY have to have one, let me know. I’m happy to order more, but you’ll cover the costs. 🙂

Here are the images (in order of how they appear in the calendar). Click for a larger view.

           


Ariel & Eli: Married!

Eli is my best friend and has been for years and years and years. Since elementary school, in fact. He was my best man a couple years back (thanks Eli!) and as we all know, one good turn deserves another. A few months ago Eli asked if I would be his Best Man. Honored, I accepted!

Now, an interesting wrinkle would present itself… I consider myself a bit of a photographer, too.

As details were flying about, it was determined that I would be the guy to coordinate wedding photos for the big day too.  Hmm.

Fortunately, as time drew closer, we devised a master plan. I would be the “consultant” and I would have my equipment in the hands of my lovely wife who has helped me in numbers of other weddings. And, to increase the number of images to have for the Bride & Groom afterwards, I asked another close friend who is similarly passionate about photography: Pat Grieser. Originally, I had expected to be the brains while Heather & Pat fulfilled the brawn… It didn’t quite work out that way.

As the Wedding Eve arrived, I realized that in order to be the best Best Man I could be, I couldn’t pay any mind to the cameras in the room – I just needed to serve and be the friend. Fortunately, Pat & Heather came through incredibly well for the pressures of a wedding. We were all excellent about playing our roles and the resulting images are awesome.  I’m not sure if I’ve broken Pat of the interest in ever going into wedding photography, but the wedding itself was a blast.

It was a simple and fairly small endeavor at the Beaver Creek Lodge, just a few miles down the road from Leavenworth, WA.

I did get to put on my photographer hat on Sunday afternoon when Ariel, Eli, Heather & myself went out for some beautiful portraiture with rustic backdrops and even throughout downtown Leavenworth.

And, without further adieu, I should show you a few more pictures…

http://photos.codyjbennett.com/event/Ariel-and-Eli-Wedding

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And, I should leave you with a bigger version of a few favorites… Enjoy!


Windfall Hike

Last night, after work, I took off as quickly as possible to catch up with Paul and a few students from UAS Housing. As a “Residence Life Coordinator” he pulls together random activities which always seem like a blast, though I can’t often make. This time I was finally able to join in the fun. There were 10-15 students who were going to spend the night at the Windfall Lake Cabin, and then hike out the next day. I planned to hike back that same night, which worked out well because Bob decided to head back early so I was able to make a new friend on the return hike!

It was lots of fun, and of course, I brought a camera. Here are a few shots…


Garbage Bears

I love wildlife and I love people.

I hate it when one side of that duo become so familiar with its surroundings that it creates dangerous situation for the other.

Lately, on the UAS campus, there has been a bear who shows up to peruse the Mourant Building area looking for morsels. It’s a real bummer because now that the bear has visited on multiple occasions this week, the next step will likely be some intervention by some agency. (I presume darting or live capturing the bear to take it to some far-away area.) The bear is simply looking for a food source, and fortunately he didn’t find any on this trip, even after knocking over the bear-proof garbage can and getting up into the box recycling. The bear ambled away without much human interaction (save for my photo-taking)

This isn’t particularly a striking set of photography, but I believe that it is important to share when these things happen so that people can be more aware of the impact of their actions…

And I just noticed that this is a tagged bear (the top image, he has a blue mark near his ear). I don’t think that bodes well for our furry friend… 🙁

 


Auke Bay Harbor

Last night was another late night. I went to bed at a normal hour, however, I’ve been battling a sore throat for a few days and it finally was bold enough to wake me up just a couple hours into my slumber. So I got up. And I stayed up. And I looked at the Aurora forecast and realized that if my super-science friend, Matt, was correct, there might be a chance. I grabbed my tripod (still with camera strapped to it) and headed out.

Naturally, with my Northern Light Luck™, there was high cloud cover, and the stars were nowhere to be seen. Go figure.

Fortunately, the evening was uncharacteristically warm (my car claimed 63˚), so I opted to head out anyways. I found myself at the Auke Bay harbor and looking for some cool images. As it was completely comfortable to hang out in the warm night, I decided to try to take some shots with my intervalometer. Below you’ll see one of my first time lapse videos of the moving clouds. It’s kind of fun, but I’ll need to work on it more before I consider it awesome. 🙂


See these and more in my 2011 Fine Art Gallery.

Auke Bay Clouds from Cody Bennett on Vimeo.