Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Archive for November, 2009

The Home Stretch

Posted by Ben on November 29, 2009

This picture comes from the football game last weekend against N.C. State in Lane Stadium.  The game started around 3:30, so we were all still in the stands as the sun set to the West.  There were a bunch of clouds along the horizon which made for some really cool colors as the sun sank lower and lower.  At the bottom of the picture is the top corner of the south endzone, shot from our group section in the east stands.  I happened to look up during a break in the action and was captivated by the two contrails.  As a piece of random trivia, this is photo #2222 that I’ve taken since I got my new camera this summer.

The first thing that really catches my eye in this shot is the transition in color of the two contrails.  They fade from a bright orangish-white at the bottom to a much darker gray at the top of the image.  I’m not entirely sure why the ends closest to the top are so much darker than the bottoms, but it makes for a really cool effect.  Even the middle sections of the trails are neat, with a mixture of dark and light.  The regular clouds in the picture are also colored nicely, with pretty much the same pattern.  The ones closest to the top are much darker, and the ones at the bottom, behind the stadium, are a deep, vibrant orange color.  Those clouds at the bottom give the whole picture a kind of moody feel, which is definitely enhanced by the silhouette of the stadium.  The black of the stands and the flag seem to bring out the dark orange color in the clouds surrounding them.  I also like that there were a few people standing up along the back row of the stands to break up the line of the top of the stadium.  The waving flag also helps.

I returned to Blacksburg today after a thanksgiving break that was, for the most part, very relaxing.  Sure, I had a lot of work to do while I was home, but at least I was at home.  I didn’t have to go to class every day, and I got to see my family again, which is always a plus.  There’s only a week and a half left of the semester before exams, but I feel like it’s going to be a very busy time for me.  I already know about two projects and a test that I’ll have during that time.  Then there’s exams, one Friday morning, one Monday morning (on my birthday 😦 ), and one Thursday afternoon.  At least they’re all spread out.  But at least there are a couple of things to look forward to.  There’s always salsa, and I get to teach my first intermediate lesson tomorrow night, which is exciting.  We also usually have a few community events like the Mentor toast at the end of the semester which are fun.  Anyway, I look forward to getting back in touch with people after being away for a week.

As an interesting aside, I went running this afternoon in order to stretch my legs after the 4.5 hour ride.  As I turned past the cross country course, a hawk swooped down and across the road right in front of me and landed in a tree about 15 feet away on my left.  It perched on the highest branch in the tree, stretched and flapped its wings three times and then turned around and looked straight at me.  I stopped and stared back for a few seconds before it flew away again.  Too bad I didn’t have a camera with me.


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Posted by Ben on November 28, 2009

I apologize in advance for this being such a long post with lots of pictures.

It’s that time of year again.  A time to take a good hard look at what, and more importantly, who, is important in your life.  I always enjoy Thanksgiving because I know that I’ll be able to spend time with all different parts of my family, and despite everyone’s little quirks, I always enjoy it.  I love my family deeply, and I hope they all know that, but I wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks to another group.  My friends at Tech have been like family to me for the past few years.

We’ve explored…


parted ways…

and come back together again.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of pictures from freshman year.  But it was definitely a time of change for me.  Looking back, I feel like I spent way to much time stuck up in my room, playing video games or doing homework.  I didn’t spend nearly enough time getting to know all of the wonderful people around me.  I’m very thankful for the people that helped bring me out of my shell.  It was a transition, and I was on my way to becoming more open and outgoing.  I’m also thankful that someone dragged me along with her to salsa lessons one Monday night, even though I was sure I was going to hate it.

And along the way, we’ve cheered…


and performed.

We’ve built empires…

and plotted their destruction.

I feel like I really started to open up a lot more fall semester of Sophomore year.  I know for a fact that I had a lot of fun that semester, and got involved a lot more in things going on around the dorm.  I’m thankful for all of those people who really showed me what I had been missing from the whole “college” experience.  I made a lot of great new friends and pretty much had an awesome time.

And I know I’ve said it before, but that spring was pretty rough.  So I’m very thankful for the people who were always there for me, the ones who always seemed to be able to put a smile on my face, no matter how down I got.  There were definitely some good times in there too…

And there were a lot of people I was sad to see leave at the end of the year.

And this semester has definitely had its ups and downs.  But you guys have made it hard to stay down for long, and I am very thankful for that.

So, thanks again to everyone.  And I know there are a bunch of people who weren’t in any of these pictures that I owe a lot to as well (we just need to hang out more often 🙂 ).  I appreciate everything you guys have done to help me get through the last 2+ years, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next three semesters.


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Posted by Ben on November 17, 2009

In case you didn’t know, last night was supposedly the peak of the Leonid meteor shower for this year in North America.  Together with a group of about fifteen people from the dorm, we decided to go out into the cornfields by the cross country track last night around 1:30 to try to get a little farther away from the lights on campus and hopefully catch some cool looking meteors.  Unfortunately, when we got there, there were a lot of clouds out in the sky, with only a few patches of black sky peeking through.  After about twenty minutes, a couple of people gave up hope and headed back to campus.  Thankfully though, the sky did end up clearing a little bit and we were able to see a decent number of meteors.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it was definitely worth the time and those of us who stuck around all had a good time.

I’ve never really had a chance to try out any astro-photography before last night.  Unfortunately, I didn’t end up catching any meteors, but this one turned out pretty neatly and has some recognizable shapes in it.  Orion is pretty clear on the far left.  The “V” in the middle of the picture is the horns of Taurus, and the smaller cluster of stars just to the left of the “V” is the Pleiades.  The stars are a little blurry because I forgot to set the delay on the camera so that it wouldn’t start taking the exposure until after I had let go of it.  I guess I didn’t have the most stable of surfaces to mount my tripod on either, and I ended up wrapping it around the top of a narrow pole.

I know it’s been a while since my last post here, but I’ve been pretty busy over the last week (and for the rest of this week too).  This past weekend our salsa club took a trip down to Durham, N.C.   We danced into the wee hours of the morning both Friday and Saturday night, in addition to taking some really awesome lessons and watching some amazing performances on Saturday.  It was definitely the most fun I’ve had dancing in a long while, and I ended up meeting some really cool people.  Unfortunately, I’m having to play catch up on a couple of assignments that I wasn’t able to work on this weekend, but I’m definitely glad I went.

I’m still pretty stressed out about a lot of the work I’ve got looming over me, especially for my Systems class, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be letting up significantly before the end of the semester.  But there’s not much I can do but just deal with it the best that I can.  Winter break isn’t too far away now, and it will definitely be a welcome respite.  Even with all of this work though, I feel like over the past few days I’ve managed to turn a couple of pretty significant (metaphorical) corners in my life, and things are starting to look up again for the first time in a good while. 🙂


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Posted by Ben on November 12, 2009


Not really in the right mood to write much tonight, but wanted to put up another picture anyway.  Pretty cool macro shot from my last trip through the gardens.  I always like the blurry background like this one that you get with macro photos.


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Posted by Ben on November 9, 2009


This was taken last night out by the duck pond.  I really liked the way the wispy clouds looked and tried to compose a good shot with them in it.  It turned out pretty nicely.  There’s a good amount of symmetry along the line of clouds, with the clouds on each side of the center seeming to point out to the upper corners of the picture.  I tried to put the tall tree in the middle of the cloud bank to line up with the bulge at the center.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the tree to appear any higher, since if I had taken another couple of steps forward I would have been in the water and if I had lowered the camera any more, there would have been too many plants in the foreground, though I do like that I managed to include the tops of them in the shot.  The colors are nice, and the reflection turned out pretty good as well.


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