Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Posts Tagged ‘Flowers’

Prickly

Posted by Ben on June 21, 2010

I haven’t had a whole lot of time for photography since arriving here in Corvallis, so here’s another one of my favorite photos from my recent road trip.  This one was taken on a ridge overlooking the Cedar Bluff Reservoir in Kansas.

The photo was shot using the super macro feature on my camera, which automatically fixes the focal length and zoom for the shot.  Because of that, I sometimes have a hard time getting the correct part of the picture the right distance from the camera and properly in focus.  This one turned out really well though.  The flower and the stem both seem to be nicely in focus.  Shooting in this manner also results in the nice blurred background.  I like that you are still able to make out a few of the other shapes really nicely though, especially the flower to the immediate right of the stem of the main one and the partial bloom on the upper right side.  I also like that I was able to get part of the horizon and the lake in the shot as well.  It’s hard to tell that the shot was taken on a ridge probably 150 above the surface of the lake, but the dark blue color adds nicely to the shot I think.

The first day of the REU went really well.  We had an introductory meeting this morning, followed by a brief campus tour.  In the afternoon, we had our first lecture from one of the professors leading a research group for the summer.

-Ben

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Sunset Garden

Posted by Ben on April 13, 2010

What can I say?  I really enjoy going to the Horticulture gardens on campus, especially when the sun is going down.  The flowers are beautiful this time of year, and the late day sun makes for some excellent light.  I think the coolest thing about this shot is that the light on the gazebo is not direct sunlight, rather it is reflected off of a building at least a quarter mile away.  The sun is actually behind the tree you can see in the top right corner.  As I was walking through the gardens, I noticed my shadow being cast on the columns, and didn’t think too much of it until I also realized that the sun was actually on the other side of the gazebo and couldn’t possibly be the light source on this side of the structure.  It’s a shame that the top corners of the image got blown out, but I wasn’t able to get a good shot that got the orange color of the sky as well as all of the colors of the foreground.  I guess I could have tried the ND filter, but I wouldn’t have been able to steady the camera for the longer exposures without a tripod.

As I said last weekend, I have been working hard on my math research project for the semester.  I ended up creating a new blog page to post some of my research write-ups.  Click the “Research” button on the navigation bar above for a quick overview, which will be expanded as I find the time to work on it, and one of my more recent pieces.

-Ben

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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 🙂

-Ben

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A Place of Refuge

Posted by Ben on February 25, 2010

This photo comes from the central courtyard of the Museo Civico in Como, Italy.  Like the one in the last post, it was one of my favorites from my trip this past summer.  I’m not entirely sure why, but I really like having the column in the foreground on the right side of the image.  I apologize for it not being quite straight, but I’m working from the road again and don’t have any good photo software available to me on the laptop.

The past week has been another busy one.  I was in Dallas last week for an interview with Lockheed Martin for a summer internship and made it back to Blacksburg late Wednesday night.  Thursday and Friday were mostly full of work, catching up for what I had missed.

Saturday was a great day.  In the afternoon, I headed out to Radford to meet one of my best friends from high school who happened to be in town.  Saturday night, I took a friend to the “Second Chance Valentine’s Dance” hosted by the swing dancing club.  Being a semi-formal event, it was the first time in a long time that I’d had an excuse to get dressed up for a dance.  I had an amazing time, and the live band that performed was excellent.

The real world caught back up to me Sunday, and I spent most of the day working on homework and my research project.  Since then, the last few days have flown by, and I’ve been working hard to get all of my work done early for the week in order to prepare for my latest adventure.  This afternoon, I flew to Baltimore where I’ll be spending the next two days interviewing with the NSA for a summer internship.

I mentioned in my post last week that I had been a little overwhelmed by a sense of anxiety and stress while going through the airport, especially the one in Charlotte.  Well…I happened to find myself there again today and got the same feeling.  Luckily, I had plenty of time to make my connection there, and didn’t have to rush from one end of the airport to the other.

It did make me think about some of the different ways that people have to deal with stress in their lives.  I am certainly no stranger to being stressed, and have had to find ways to get rid of it.  One of the ways that I have developed, and I’m sure it’s a pretty common one, is to remove yourself, mentally if not physically, from the stressful situation.  Finding a place to go where you can just sit and relax, sorting through your thoughts if necessary, is a great stress reliever.  I am lucky enough to have discovered several such places around campus that I can go when I feel overworked or on edge.  However, the visualization of a calm, peaceful place, or one that you associate with a feeling of serenity can do a world of good as well.  The scene in the image above is one of those places for me.  While we certainly had work to do while we were visiting the site, I still find the image of the courtyard to be awfully peaceful and calming.  Another scene I turn to is that of the lake near my aunt’s cabin up in the mountains on a clear night.  You can look up and see all of the stars, then look down and see their reflection on the surface of the lake.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a physical picture of that place, just a mental image that is still relatively fresh from my visit there this past summer.

Well…I should probably get some rest before my interview tomorrow.  There may be another post tomorrow afternoon or evening depending on how much free time I end up having.

-Ben

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Spotted

Posted by Ben on November 12, 2009

IMG_1832

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.

-Ben

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