More beautiful sky. #solsticedoesntsuck #alaskastyle #sunset
Getting a portrait of an animal in the wild isn’t the easiest thing. I’ve done it before, but basically it’s a once-a-year type experience. It’s a matter of enough light, the right path, anticipation of their path, quickness behind the camera to get the appropriate focal point & composition, and then on top of all of that, it requires the animal to cooperate with it’s expression.
But, every once in a while, you get a break and all those things come together…
This is from a few weeks ago, take a look:
See more wildlife and fine-art images from 2012 here: http://photos.codyjbennett.com/fine-art/2012/
I had a meeting tonight that fell through, and so in the next 15 minutes or so I explored the undeveloped back lot of some condos… I love to look. I love to explore. Tonight I found a Daddy Long Legs and MAN, are they UGLY! Plus, while photographing a pretty little buttercup, a fly happened to land on it for my enjoyment. It was great, except all of these are handheld and with a 200mm macro lens so I spent a lot of time trying to breathe slowly and not move a muscle (while wobbling in my crouched-to-the-ground position.) I don’t know how those sharp shooters get so well trained to slow their bodies… Maybe it’s just practice. Anyhow, take a look:
See these and more in the Fine Art Gallery.
Heather’s Mom is in town! As such, we’ll be playing tourist for the next week. Of course, I might just take my camera to play around. Here’s from earlier today…
PS – never you mind the miscellaneous odd-man-out thumbnail size. They’re s’posed to all be square, but I suddenly got to learn about RSS caching, and I haven’t caught up yet. (AKA, nevermind, hopefully I won’t screw it up again. Ha!)
PPS – woah – the latest version looks like it worked! nevermind the PS if all the thumbnails look correct!
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.
Thought I’d take a moment to post a couple images from the hike last weekend. Macro is fun. I realized after the fact that my sensor or lens was ridiculously dusted because when I cranked down my aperture to f45, every little bit comes into focus against the soft background bokeh. I was pleasantly surprised to find the starburst come through the raindrop. Next time I’ll try planning for it!
See these and more in the 2011 Fine Art gallery.
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.
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…
See these and more in my 2011 Fine Art Gallery.
Check out these images from yesterday. These two are a blast. First, some time in the woods off of West Glacier Trail, then a jaunt up (and in) Montana Creek. I think the hardest part will be trying to narrow down the keepers to just a few!
In Juneau, during the summertime, we are blessed with more than 18 hours of daylight at the June solstice. Even now in late July, we get around 17 hours of daylight. I love these summer months for the bright early morning outings to spend time with wildlife. There’s something magical about sharing a look of curiosity with a purely wild creature. And, in the early, early hours of the day, you don’t have to fret as much about the most unpredictable species: humans. I am grateful for my quiet time in the wilderness before most people would even consider being awake.
This morning was another outing for me. There were a couple bears near the glacier this morning. I sat and watched one of them for nearly two hours; here are a few keepers…
Oh, and there was a visiting eagle too. Man I love Alaska.
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. 🙂
I love macro shots because they help me to capture such great detail of something that we commonly overlook. It’s so easy to see a forest floor and recognize that it’s green in color, and might be soft to step on, but how often do you lean in close to see the individual ‘blades’ of the moss and how they catch light during a sunset?
For me? This was a first.
All too often we get busy with life. We move too quickly through the crowd, we don’t stop to smell the roses. Oftentimes, we don’t realize that we are in the midst of beauty because we don’t expect to see it. Take for instance this image… I’ve grown up in Juneau, experienced around two decades of wintertimes, and never noticed this growth before. It’s a fascinating frozen bud with white wisps of fuzz. I’m not even sure what plant it’s from, but I’m glad I stopped to notice.
[Update: I found out that this is a Willow Rose. For more information, see this posting on the University of Alaska Fairbanks website.]
I’ve known Adriana for probably over a decade and while we periodically lose touch, we’re always thrilled to see each other when our paths cross. In recent years, she’s moved back to town and found herself forging the minds of tomorrow in the Juneau School District. What’s more is that she met Lance and obviously fallen deeply in love.
I’m stoked for these two.
Lance is a Man’s Man, humble, generous, strong, and wise. He and Adriana will make a great pair. I’m excited to share in their adventure by documenting this special time.
Click on the image to head towards their gallery.
On Heather’s Birthday, the UAF Aurora Forecast showed to hit a 4/10. It doesn’t sound like much, but for those living in Juneau, it means that it’s very likely that the Northern Lights will be visible provided the sky is clear. Lately we’ve had a cold snap and with the skies clear, I was excited to get out to see some Aurora. As it turns out, I’ve seen other postings (through facebook) suggesting that my late-night session in the cold wasn’t nearly as spectacular as earlier in the night, but when your wife wants to head to bed… Well, who am I to argue? I wound up getting out of bed at around 2:45am and headed light hunting. Here’s my favorite shot from the evening: