Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Archive for October, 2011

Streamside Colors

Posted by Ben on October 30, 2011

These were both taken on a trip along the southernmost part of the West Cascades Scenic Byway a few weekends ago.  I think the first is a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Willamette, and the second is the South Fork of the McKenzie.  The polarizer was a big help for both of these shots

Got a long week full of math coming up, so I’m going to head to bed for the night.


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Looking back

Posted by Ben on October 29, 2011

This is a shot I took for the photography colloquium last fall, and was one of my favorites at the time.  This was taken down by the duck pond at sunset.

I wrote yesterday that it had been a rough week.  It was, and it’s been a rough last few weeks.  I’ve had to make a lot of changes to the way I’m used to doing things.  I’m living on my own for the first time.  I think I’m adjusting to this fairly well, and I’m happy with my apartment, but it makes me miss everything (and everyone) from Main Campbell.  It truly was a special place.  It’s also strange for me to be living in a place where I don’t really know that many people, though I’m working on fixing that.  There’s also a lot of work to be done. I think I was (perhaps) lucky to have made it through my undergraduate career without struggling too much.  There were certainly things that challenged me, but for the most part things always went pretty smooth. That is no longer the case.  With only three classes, I have considerably more work than I ever did with five or six at Tech, plus the work that goes into preparing lectures for my class.  So, life has been hard, and I feel like I’ve spent a good amount of time complaining about it without doing much to try to change it.

Earlier this week, I took the time to go back and read almost all of the posts that I’ve made on this blog, about 135 of them or so.  They ranged from the simple “Here’s a picture I took”, to “here’s what I’ve been doing over the past week”, to some that go into technical discussions about techniques or equipment, to some fairly long posts about creativity and motivation.  I also noticed that I had a lot of posts where I  talked about the things that I wish I had done, and then made the resolution to actually go do them.  Looking back though, how many times did I actually make those changes?  How many times did I take my own advice?  The answer, I’ve realized, was almost never. Certainly, realizing what is wrong, is a step in the right direction, and coming up with a plan to fix it is another step.  But never actually following through, that negates both of those steps.

So, sitting along in my apartment late one night, I told myself that this was going change.  I was going to stop complaining, and actually do something about the things that bug me. And to my long time readers (do I have any of those?), who have been with me through the good times and the bad, I am happy to say that I’ve set off down a new road (and more than just the first two steps this time) 🙂

Here’s another picture if you made it this far down the page

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Spilling Over

Posted by Ben on October 28, 2011

Here’s a (slightly) older shot from May.  A few days before graduation, a few of us from Main Campbell went for a hike at a place called Tinker Cliffs.  It was a great hike, made more difficult by the fact that it started raining once we were about 2 miles into the hike, making several climbs up muddy hills necessary.  It was slow going for a little while, but the rain eventually tapered off by the time we got up to the cliffs, giving a a gorgeous view across the valley.  One of the coolest things was seeing the clouds “spilling over” the mountains across the valley.

We could also see some of the nearby mountains poking out of the low clouds.  Here’s a shot of the group that made the trek:

And here’s a neat shot of the fog in the woods after the rain stopped:

Anyway, it’s been kind of a rough week here, but I made it to the weekend.  Time to relax a little and go dancing in a little while 🙂


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Taking the Plunge

Posted by Ben on October 25, 2011

This shot is from Sahalie Falls up in the Cascades.  There are a lot of things about the way this shot turned out that I really like.  The first is the color of the water, the blue at the top of the falls and the sheet of white as it falls. And while the water is white, you don’t get the feeling that it’s overexposed that I frequently get.  This was because I switched from evaluative to spot metering for this shot, properly exposing the water, rather than trying (and failing) to properly expose everything in the shot. The consequences of this are a much, much faster shutter speed.  This was taken at 1/800 sec as opposed to the 1/200 sec or 1/500 sec that I normally get.  In addition to getting the exposure of the water correct, it also did a great job of “freezing” it.  To me, at least, you get a better idea of just how much water is coming over the falls, and the amount of force behind it.  Slower shutter speeds can make for very pretty and smooth images, but the trade-off is that you lose this sense of power.

I also like the faint hint of a rainbow about 2/5 of the way up the picture, and how the silhouette of the outcropping in front of the falls brings it out a little more on the right side.  The silhouette is also pretty cool, as you can see the blades of grass growing from it against the nice white of the falls.


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Posted by Ben on October 23, 2011

Last week was a long one, capped by taking my first midterm as a graduate student and giving my first as an instructor.  Both of them ended up going well, but by the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I was ready for a little bit of a break. I had been looking forward to going out salsa dancing Friday night pretty much since the end of the dance the week before. Even though I’ve only been going for about the last three weeks, I’ve already made some good friends, and met some incredibly talented dancers (I do miss everyone back in Blacksburg though).  I ended up staying until almost 1:30 dancing and talking.  I even danced a few bachata songs, without, I think, making a complete fool out of myself, and I’m definitely looking forward to going again next week 🙂

The weather here on Saturday was gorgeous, and I ended up driving out to the Cascades to a place called the Dee Wright Observatory, located at the McKenzie pass (5325 ft!).  The observatory (seen above), located in the middle of a lava flow, is basically a turret-like structure built out of the lava rocks that the surrounding fields are covered in.  It offered a breathtaking view of the nearby Three Sisters peaks:

In the other direction was a great view of the lava flow, with a few tiny pockets of trees:

Saturday afternoon, once I got back, was spent doing math, but nothing too stressful.  I ended up going dancing again, this time at a contra dance here at Eugene. They had a great live band come down from Corvallis to play at the dance, and it ended up being a lot of fun.

Sunday was not as exciting, but very productive.  I was able to finish grading my students’ exams, and got through a good portion of my homework for the week.  More importantly, though, I feel very rested, and ready to take on the coming week.


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