Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Archive for March, 2010


Posted by Ben on March 20, 2010

This is another picture I shot Thursday while the weather was so nice.  There were a lot of people out fishing at the duck pond, and this person just happened to be in the right spot to have the sun behind her as it set that night.  I really like the silhouette effect here with the light reflected off of the water rather than just using the sky like I normally would.

The beautiful weather continues here in Blacksburg, at least through today.  I’m planning on taking a drive through the country later, maybe I’ll end up with some good pictures.  I went out to the SVSDS dance last night and ended up staying for almost five hours.  It was a lot of fun, and I had a really great time.  It was also really nice when we all got back; the sky was perfectly clear and you could see a ton of stars.  I went with a friend to one of my favorite spots to go to on clear dark nights like this one, and we just stared up at the sky for a while.  As always, it was very soothing, and it was nice to have someone else there to share it with.



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The Return of Spring

Posted by Ben on March 18, 2010

The weather in Blacksburg seems to have finally changed for the better.  Today was beautiful, clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s.  After finishing one of my big assignments for this week, I decided to head out and take some pictures.  On the way out to the duckpond, I noticed a few flowers beginning to bloom along the side of the road.  I then changed my destination to the Hahn Horticulture Gardens to see if there was anything blooming there as well.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much, but what there was was a welcome sight after almost two months of snow on the ground.

I’m not sure what kind of flowers these are, but I really like the way this picture came out.  Shot in super macro mode leaning across a bed of flowers that had not yet bloomed, I was worried that these would turn out too shaky, but I guess the image stabilization in the camera did its job.  I love the colors in this shot, the green, the orange, and all the different shades of purple from the sun shining through some of the petals.

It is refreshing on a large number of levels to see things blooming again.  It means an end to the dreary, gray days of winter, and a return to the warmer, more colorful days of spring and summer.  It means an opportunity to spend more time outside rather than huddled in the warm buildings.

Unfortunately, the coming of spring also means that the semester is quickly coming to a close.  I will report that I made a decision about my summer plans, and will be attending the mathematics REU at Oregon State.  Though I won’t be making that much over the summer, I think this is the best choice for me in the long run, and that it will give me a better indication of what I want to do once I graduate.

Anyway, I look forward to being able to post more pictures like this once more of the flowers start blooming 🙂


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Posted by Ben on March 13, 2010

This picture was taken out on the drillfield almost two months ago, before the month or so that it was completely covered in snow.  I was playing around with my neutral density filter that afternoon, so this picture was actually taken with a shutter speed of .6 seconds, which would normally blow almost all of the image out.  I think it was a windy day and I was trying to get a little blur in the clouds, which didn’t end up working too well.  However, I think the colors came out a little better in this shot than in the ones without the ND filter.  I really like the nice gradient of blue in the sky.  I also used my mini tripod to get closer to the ground, which gave me a really nice foreground for the shot.

I realized a couple of days ago that I was reaching an important milestone for this blog.  Today marks one year since I started posting pictures here.  Coincidentally, this is also the 100th post.  In that time, I have put up 261 pictures, and have had a total of 4,478 visits to this site.

I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better at this whole photography thing since I started this site.  It has given me a place to both showcase and critique my own work, helping me discover things that work well and things that don’t work quite so well.  I think it has definitely helped me develop a better “eye” for shots while I’m out taking pictures; I even think about it when I’m not carrying my camera around.

Though it wasn’t one of my original reasons for creating this blog, I have enjoyed using it as a place to talk about other things going on in my life as well.  And while I have a pretty good idea of the people who read these posts on a regular basis, I find myself willing to express myself a little more freely here than I normally would.

Thanks for sticking with me through this first year, hopefully there will be plenty of new pictures in the coming one as well!


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Posted by Ben on March 11, 2010

Another zoo shot.  This one is a tiny little hummingbird from the Sonora desert exhibit.  I had the camera shooting continuously for a good thirty seconds hoping to get it in flight, but no luck there.  I love the bright pink colors around its neck in this shot.

I spoke briefly last time about the unknowns in my life at the moment.  Well…I’ve got another one to toss onto that pile for a few days: my plans for the summer.  I was ecstatic last week to find out that I had been accepted to mathematics summer internship with the National Security Agency.  I mean, I thought the interviews had gone well, but I didn’t think my chances of getting into a program that only takes twelve students each summer were very good.  At that point I thought I was set for the summer.  I wasn’t really excited about the Lockheed internship I interviewed for (which is good since I didn’t end up getting that one).  However, I found out earlier tonight that I was accepted to the mathematics REU at Oregon State University for this summer.  I knew going into this that that was a highly competitive and selective program.  In fact, I had pretty much been waiting for the last few weeks for an email from them politely informing me that I had not been selected.

So, now I find myself forced to choose between two very attractive programs.  On the one hand is the NSA.  First, I would be making considerably more money through this program.  I would also be much closer to home (Baltimore, Maryland vs Corvallis, Oregon).  It would also give me a glimpse into what a mathematics major might actually do in the real world.  On the other hand, the REU program would give me a better glimpse into what math grad school would be like.  I would basically be working on a research project for the majority of the summer there.  From what I’ve heard, it is also a very nice thing to be able to include on a grad school application.  This program is also a month shorter than the NSA one, giving me a little bit of a summer break to enjoy.  It is also located in what seems like a beautiful part of the country (though I’ve never actually been there before).  A downside to this is that I’d be on the other side of the country from most of my friends.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot to think about for this one…


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Posted by Ben on March 9, 2010

This is another picture from our day at the zoo this past weekend.  I think this is definitely one of the best animal shots that I ended up with.  I was really surprised to see how clear this one turned out when I got home and transferred all of the pictures back to the computer.  This picture was taken through a fairly thick glass wall that went around the front of the bobcat exhibit.  You can see a little bit of reflection in the top right corner, but it’s not that noticeable unless you are specifically looking for it.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything…

Spring break is going well so far.  It has been very relaxing to be home and away from most of the school work that I normally have to deal with.  There are always things and people that I miss while I’m home, and they always seem to change each time I come back.  Sometimes it doesn’t set in until a few weeks into the break, but this time it only took a few days.  I guess maybe it has to do with how the semester has been going for me.  Looking back at this one, things have been going well for the most part.  There are very few things that I can complain about, and most of them are my own fault anyway.  There are still a good number of unknowns in my life at the moment, weighing down my mind late at night, but I’m hoping to clear some of those up once I get back next week, and for once I have a feeling that things might go my way.


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