Scenic

Another Dose

Another dose of Spokane! #bigsky #morereflection #nordstrombound #travelpics

Another dose of Spokane! #bigsky #morereflection #nordstrombound #travelpics


Long Day

Something caught my attention here. Maybe it's the beauty in spite of the telephone poles & cell towers & sirens & abandoned vehicles? #feelingcontemplative #leavingwork #longday

Something caught my attention here. Maybe it's the beauty in spite of the telephone poles & cell towers & sirens & abandoned vehicles? #feelingcontemplative #leavingwork #longday


Cool Clouds

Cool clouds rolling by. #outmyofficewindow #cloudsoncampus #brr

Cool clouds rolling by. #outmyofficewindow #cloudsoncampus #brr


Another Jump

Another jump. #milkrun #anothersunset #headedhome #whatelsecanisay

Another jump. #milkrun #anothersunset #headedhome #whatelsecanisay


Pink At Night

Pink at night, sailors delight! #campussky #wintersunset #whatelsecanisay?

Pink at night, sailors delight! #campussky #wintersunset #whatelsecanisay?


Sunny Days

I like sunny days. #sunshine #brr #anotherwednesday #mcginnis

I like sunny days. #sunshine #brr #anotherwednesday #mcginnis


Love me some sunrise

Love me some sunrise. #alaskastyle #anotherwednesday #destinationeaglecrest

Love me some sunrise. #alaskastyle #anotherwednesday #destinationeaglecrest


More beautiful sky

More beautiful sky. #solsticedoesntsuck #alaskastyle #sunset

More beautiful sky. #solsticedoesntsuck #alaskastyle #sunset


That’s a lotta sky!

That's a lotta sky! #brr #sunshine #alaskastyle

That's a lotta sky! #brr #sunshine #alaskastyle


Douglas Morning

I’m slowly catching up.

Heather’s mom is back in Nevada. Weddings have slowed a bit (though I have another this weekend!) Travel has subsided, and Juneau weather has been poor. The perfect storm of catching up with my personal photo backlog!

These are from an early-morning outing to North Douglas. I think I was out the door at around 4:15, so the first few shots of the deer were still a bit on the dusky side of things (thank goodness for high ISO options). It was a good morning for variety. I don’t think I’ve ever captured bunnies/rabbits/hares/whatever-they’re-called before…

I heard one story of a photographer’s wife receiving a phone call early in the morning because a police officer had found her car parked in the median of the highway with the driver nowhere to be seen. It turned out he had gone for a walk when he saw the perfect light, and eventually returned to find police company. Go figure. Maybe we’re a bit absent minded when it comes to those sort of details?

I call this “A Photographer’s Car”… For obvious reasons… 🙂

As I’m driving around and see something I like to photograph, I often park the car and hop out. This photo was me realizing that I left it running, door open, in the middle of the road for nearly 20 minutes while I wandered down an unmarked path.

And my favorite shot from the day? It was one of the first ones I captured… I had gone out in search for some deer, and whatdya know, there they were:


Learning the Ropes

Technology is amazing. I’ve been playing with my new D4 for the past week and have been really excited about the potential it holds.

To start with, here are a few portraits at the office (cause I couldn’t wait to get home with it). I’ve run them through a bit of light post-processing. A couple black and white conversions, some noise reduction, and a smidgen of clarity and contrast adjustments.

Joel. ISO 12800, 200mm f5

This is Joel. And he’s strongly recommending that you attend his art show in July. See Harbors2012.com for more info!

My lovely wife. ISO 100, 85mm, f1.4

And of course, this is Heather. She is amazing. Nuf’ said!

Me! ISO 100, 85mm, f1.4

And me, in the comfy environs of my office. (Thanks Joel for capturing this image!)

And then, on my way to the car en route to an appointment I had to stop to notice the wildlife in the parking lot:

 

And lastly, I took it out for a morning with the birds, and found it to be quite the performer for it’s 11 frames per second… I joked with Heather earlier that it’s more likely that I’ll lose interest in the subject before the camera runs out of buffer to shoot! Here’s a (fairly rough) composite that I worked on this evening. 16 frames into one:

Needless to say, I’m excited about the camera and it’s potential in future weddings and other outings.

I’ve put up lots more from the bird and bug explorations. Take a look: http://photos.codyjbennett.com/fine-art/2012/

Stay tuned for more!

-cb


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.


Early Morning Outing

A couple weeks back I had planned to get up early in order to catch the deep cobalt blue of the sunrise on a lovely Saturday morning. I had looked at my favorite photography app (LightTrac) and determined a best-case-scenario for some excellent sunrise with substance photos.

Anyhow, I arrived at the Fisherman’s Bend dock in Auke Bay hopeful of the specific hue of blue I had been dreaming about, but alas it was too late in the morning to have the darkness I needed. Maybe these things are meant for sunsets alone?

Anyhow, not to be outdone by mother nature, I took a few shots in hopes that maybe I would come up with an HDR image of the sunrise that I as proud of… Not so much. But, the good news is that I enjoyed my quiet (and cold) morning out, and maybe next time I’ll be better prepared to get up earlier!

The one shot I did come away with follows. It is the combination of three images, processed first for noise in Nik’s Dfine, and then secondly in PhotoMatix Pro (a recent acquisition I’m pretty excited to play with!)


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.

           


World Wide Photo Walk

Each year Scott Kelby coordinates an International Photowalk where thousands of photography enthusiasts come out of the woodwork to enjoy an outing with their cameras. Because of the world wide reach of Kelby’s influence, there are also some major names who come forward to sponsor the event and each participant has the chance to submit an image for consideration of impressive prizes.

Anyhow, today we had approximately 10 folks join in the Juneau fun. It was great weather, good company, and we even had the occasion of multiple forms of local wildlife.

Sadly, I don’t get the chance to submit a photo to be in the running for the grand prize, but I’m pretty sure I get to submit an image to be in the running for the Leaders competition.

These are my 5 top images from the day – enjoy!

 

 See these and more at my 2011 Fine Arts Gallery.

 


Glacial HDR

Generally speaking, I don’t use HDR much. Most of my post-processing is done through a variety of tools within Lightroom. I lean on things like exposure, blacks/shadows, vibrance & clarity to handle my editing. It works well for me. This time, with the ice (and the extreme darks and lights) I decided to bracket my shots and then create a few HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. I think they turned out alright. What do you think?

 

 

See these and more at my 2011 Fine Arts Gallery.


West Glacier

I am ridiculously tired, but it was oh-so-worth-it. 🙂

Today I hiked out West Glacier trail to the face of the ice. After finding the first “cave” unappealing (aka boring), I decided to head farther up the ice and around the bend to find a fairly major cave. It was long enough that daylight was blocked from the entrance, and you were left with a world of blue. This is the first image that I’ll consider a finished product. It is actually several images stitched together to look down towards each end of a bend in the cave.

Enjoy!

Click here for a larger version, or to purchase a print!


Nature, Up Close

Thanks to my friend & fellow photographer Herb Law of Minute Sixteen, I’ve got a new toy on loan to play with for a couple weeks. It’s a giant piece of glass: the 200-400mm f4 VRI. Time will tell if it’s a good idea for me to play with toys like this. It could go either way – maybe I realize I don’t need it, or conversely I find I can’t live without it.

At any rate, I’m considering purchasing some “long glass” – either a similar super-telephoto, or something like a 300mm f2.8 prime lens. I love to have a long reach on the lens, and lately I’ve been “surviving” (oh, the humanity!) with a 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and a 2x teleconverter giving me effectively 140-400mm.

Carrying around the 200-400 today was beastly, with a 5+” diameter and a length of ~18″ (not including the lens hood), you could easily get a work out from just an hour of consistent shooting. 7.5 lbs of glass and metal is not for the faint of heart.

Anyhow, enough with my babbling; here are a few images from today.

See these and more at my 2011 Fine Arts Gallery.

 

 


Out Late

Saturday morning I snapped awake at 4am and suddenly realized that the northern lights might be out. I had noticed a stronger than usual chance of the aurora, so was enthusiastic to get up early to explore. I checked Facebook for the requisite comments about the lights and found several folks who had commented enthusiastically. So I set out… And found nothing but a sunrise. 🙁

Last night I opted to stay up late in order to look for the lights. A friend came along so we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier in hopes of escaping the light pollution of streetlights. After checking out the horizon and not seeing anything of note, we continued to the shore of the Mendenhall Lake. Night photography is always something I enjoy and I had hoped that I might be able to capture some of that cool blue coloration of the evening sky and maybe even the Big Dipper over the glacier itself.

I thought the evening worked out well, photographically speaking. The Auroras came out for around 1-2 minutes at nearly 2:50am, and Joel can tell you how excited I was. I seem to have a knack for getting shots of the aurora the night after a great display. It works, but one of these times I’m hoping the timing will be in my favor.

Enjoy the photos…

This is obviously modified in post production - I had noted that my camera was able to capture the detail of the mountains and nearly give a daylight feel, but with stars. I should note that it is ~2:45am, and it is in fact dark to the naked eye.

One of the techniques I learned long ago was to turn around when photographing an interesting subject. Sometimes we get so immersed in what we "should" be photographing that we miss something even more spectacular that is happening behind our backs. Try it sometime. Oh, and regarding post production here: I simply muted the tungston lights falling on some of the tree branches.

Another instance of 'Turn Around'. If you look closely along the shoreline, you can see my friend Joel engrossed in his own imagery.

Proof of the Auroras. 🙂 Oh, and note the Big Dipper

See these and more in my 2011 Fine Art Gallery.


Recent Wild Things

It’s the summertime again, and so subsequently I’ve been out in the mornings and whenever I can taking more photos of the nearby wildlife. It amazes me to think that I can sit on a rock just 10 feet away from massive American Bald Eagles and they’re as ‘common’ as the crows down the beach. Living here certainly has it’s perks. 🙂