Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Posts Tagged ‘buildings’

Into the Night

Posted by Ben on September 10, 2010

Wow, the last few weeks have really flown by.  I’ve been pretty busy, and unfortunately haven’t had a whole lot of time for photography or blogging.  Classes have been going well, though I’ve got a lot of work in most of them already.  My colloquium this semester is on photography.  Each week we’ll have a sort of prompt to go out and photograph.  This is the one I took for this week’s class, whose prompt was “architecture.”  This is a photo of Burruss Hall on campus.  I went out Monday night after the disappointing end to the football game.  I set up my tripod in front of the building and set the exposure to about 13 seconds.  There was a little bit of editing to this shot, straightening it and darkening it a bit.  I really like the way the lights ended up in this shot, and the way the building seems to fade into the darkness at the top.


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The Flat Lands

Posted by Ben on June 13, 2010

Today’s drive started off pretty wet, but after driving west for about half an hour, I finally got out of the rain.  The day really cleared up for a while, and I decided to take a little detour since today’s drive was a little shorter than the last few.  I saw a sign on the highway for the Cedar Bluff Reservoir and State Park so I turned off.

The little two-lane country highway was great.  There was absolutely no traffic, a pleasant change from I-70, and it was much more scenic.  After about 15 miles, I made it to the reservoir and drove around it for a little while, taking a couple of pictures (a few of which may turn up here eventually).  On the way back to the highway, I stopped at a little stone church on the side of the road.  The inscription on the front of the church is below

After getting a couple of pictures of the church, I walked out into the road and took the picture at the top of the post.

From there, I returned to the highway and headed west once again.  Before I left Kansas, I turned north to take a slightly different route to my destination.  I spent the next hour and a half driving through the rain in the northwestern part of Kansas.  I then passed into Nebraska, and left about 5 minutes later, heading into Colorado.  After another thirty minutes or so, the rain finally ended.  The skies over the plains of this part of the state were pretty cool.  There was a patchy covering of really low, dark clouds.  Through the cracks between these clouds you could see some bright white, wispy clouds much higher up and the beautiful blue sky.

Tomorrow I drive northwest into Wyoming.


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On the Road

Posted by Ben on June 12, 2010

The three pictures above are from my current roadtrip, and all were taken today in Kansas.

The top one is an effect I’ve used before, taking a picture of the sky reflected in the roof of my car.  The colors came out nicely, and I like the way the slight curve to the roof of the car alters the picture.

The second shot is of a small cabin in a field that was visible from one of the rest stops along I-70 in Kansas.  I had originally stopped to take a picture of a few of the wind turbines that could be seen from the road, but they couldn’t be seen very well from the rest stop.

The third is from this evening, where I spent about half an hour trying to take pictures of the lightning in a distant storm.  This was probably my best shot from the night, but unfortunately, the storm was very far away, so most of the flashes were very small.  In addition, I had to shoot towards the highway, which resulted in the blob and streaks of light along the ground (this was a 64 second exposure shot through the ND filter).

The trip has been going really well so far.  I spent Wednesday night in Blacksburg and was able to go salsa dancing with some friends.  There was a group of about seven of us who all went out for dinner beforehand as well.  It was good to see a lot of familiar faces at the dance and around town.

On Thursday, I drove through West Virginia and Kentucky, spending the night with a couple of friends in Louisville.  They were kind enough to cook a really nice dinner and put me up in one of their guest rooms for the night.  We also had a chance to catch up and to play a couple of board games as well.

Friday was pretty uneventful.  I drove from Louisville through southern Indiana and Illinois, and eventually into Missouri.  I spent the night in Columbia, but I was too tired when I got there to really do anything.

I got up pretty early this morning and set out to the west along I-70.  I drove through the rest of Missouri and about half of Kansas, stopping for the night in Russell.

Tomorrow, I head out for Fort Morgan, Colorado, where hopefully the landscape will be a little more interesting.


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Looking West

Posted by Ben on May 24, 2010

This is another picture from my adventures on the academic side of campus before leaving this past semester.  The shot is of the setting sun seen through one of the glass pyramids in the courtyard behind Burruss.  This is another shot I was lucky to notice as I was walking past.  All I noticed at first was a slightly discolored shadow against the back of the building behind me, so I turned around and knelt down in order to get this shot.  I played around with the exposure a good amount before finding the setting I really liked.  This one got a good amount of color in the illuminated glass, but didn’t blow out the sky or the clouds.  I also really like the solid dark silhouettes of the buildings around the edges of the picture, especially the one in the top right corner.

I’ve spent a good portion of the last few days planning my trip out to Oregon for next month.  I was able to work in stopping to see a couple of friends along the way, and also to give myself some time to sight see once I make it further west.  I’ll be spending a night in Yellowstone and two nights in Glacier, which I’m really looking forward to.  I’m hoping that all of the roads and trails in Glacier are cleared by the time I make it there.  Here’s a link to my current travel plans, which are subject to change as we get closer to my departure date:


I’m also very excited about the research program I’ll be attending.  As I said before, I really enjoyed the research I’ve done this past semester, and it will be nice to experience it in a slightly different branch of mathematics and at a different university.


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Reflections on Another Setting Sun

Posted by Ben on May 19, 2010

It’s been a while…

I had told myself that I wouldn’t let this happen again, but things got pretty crazy at the end of the semester.  But more on that later; first the picture.

I know this is not one of my clearer pictures that I’ve posted on here, but I really liked the effect, and it kinda fit what I wanted to write about.  This is a shot of the staircase of Slusher Tower taken from across the drillfield, by the entrance to McBryde.  This is another reason that I love the zoom on my camera.  If I had had to walk across the drillfield to get closer, the angle of the shot and of the sun would have been completely ruined.  I had gone out about half an hour before the sunset and decided on a whim to go through and take some pictures on the academic side of campus for a change.  I ended up with some pretty good ones, which I’m sure will be up here in the near future.

This semester, and not just the past few weeks, has really been a doozy.  After making it through exams and coming home late last week, I’ve had a little bit of time to sit back and reflect on all that’s happened.  I think it’s safe to say, that without a doubt, this past semester has been my best one at Tech so far.

Academically, everything seemed to go my way this semester.  Though I had to drop my Real Analysis course, I think doing that allowed me to focus more on everything else.  There were some unpleasant times with a couple of group projects throughout the semester, but at this point in my life, I’m pretty much used to that, and I know how to cope with it.  Final exams really stressed me out this year, some before I took them, and some after the fact.  I spent a lot of time preparing for my history exam, and ended up doing extremely well on it.  I felt kind of blindsided by a huge essay section on one of my CS exams though, and was worried about my grade in the class until our final grades came out this weekend.  In the end, though, everything turned out fine.

My main new academic adventure this semester was my undergraduate research with the math department.  Working with one of my favorite professors from the year before, Dr. Peter Linnell, I conducted a project researching “Ultraproducts of Finite Groups.”  The culmination of this project was a final report, which I’ll put up here sometime soon, and a presentation to the Layman Prize committee.  I was really freaked out about the presentation, which had to be 20-30 minutes long, but I spent plenty of time preparing and practicing, and everything went surprisingly smoothly, unlike my experiences in public speaking a couple of semesters ago.  I guess I’m just a lot more comfortable talking about something like this that I’ve spent the whole semester working on rather than the more spur of the moment speeches in other classes.  Anyway, my project was chosen by the committee for the Layman Prize, which had a nice cash component to it as well.

Things went pretty well outside of the classroom as well.  After being introduced to swing dancing at the beginning of the semester, I came to enjoy it a lot.  Everyone at the SVSDS dances was really friendly and welcoming to newcomers, and after the first few weeks, I was feeling a lot more at home on Friday nights at the Y.  I also started going to Blues Night at the cellar every Monday with my friend Caleb.  Though I was way too scared the first couple of weeks, eventually he persuaded me to get up and dance in front of a group of complete strangers.  With live music and plenty of dancing, Monday nights became one of the things I looked forward to every week.  Now, I didn’t forget about salsa during this time.  I kept my position within the club and kept teaching lessons, which I really enjoyed doing.

One of the things I know I’ve talked about here a lot is attempting to find the right balance between work and play to keep me sane and happy.  I don’t think I’ve quite found the magic formula yet, but I’m a whole lot closer than before.  I made sure to make time this semester for the things and the people that I care about.  Despite taking 20 hours of classes, I was able to spend more time with my friends this semester.  I think I was fairly successful in reconnecting with a couple of the people that I had somewhat drifted apart from.  I also became very close with a couple of people that I had known before, but not very well.  And on top of that, I made several amazing new friends who have been there to pick me up and help keep me going when things started turning south.

It’s not to say that everything went my way this semester.  I most certainly have my fair share of regrets.  Plenty of things that I wish I had said, and a couple that I wish I hadn’t.  I let myself walk out on a limb a number of times, and while the number of times that it snapped is fairly low, I feel like the majority of the time I couldn’t really chalk it up as a win or a loss.  I could have been a little more aggressive in pursuing a number of things, but there’s no guarantee that that would have worked out any better.

In the end, though, the good far outweighs the bad.  I don’t think I burned any bridges in getting to where I am now, and the possibilities are all still in front of me.  In giving myself a few days to think before writing this, I’ve come to realize that I really can’t go back and change anything at this point, and there are more than a few things about just those last few days on campus that I would change, so there’s no real reason to keep worrying about it.  I’ve got to let them go, and make the best of the opportunities that the future holds.

And to end on a more positive note, I am really looking forward to my trip out west in a few weeks.  I’m planning on driving from N.C. to Oregon over the course of about 12 days, stopping to see a couple of friends and hopefully spending some days around Yellowstone or Glacier National Park.


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