Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

Snow in the Hills

Posted by Ben on November 7, 2011

After spending most of Saturday working inside due to the rain, I decided to go for a drive through the mountains Sunday afternoon.  Somewhat surprisingly, I ran through a snow shower up in the higher parts of the Cascades, plus some giant trees:


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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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Changing Plans

Posted by Ben on June 18, 2010

Well…bad weather up in Glacier necessitated a change in plans for the last part of my trip.  Wednesday, I headed south out of West Yellowstone into Idaho.  I went by the Craters of the Moon National Monument, but because of the rain I couldn’t really see much there.  I ended up in Boise that night.  Thursday, I drove north-west to Yakima, Washington.  I don’t have any pictures from these two days; the weather was too bad on Wednesday, and there wasn’t much to see on Thursday.

Today, I headed west from Yakima through Mount Rainier National Park.  It was beautiful.  The picture above was taken near the entrance of the park.  The neutral-density filter came in handy here to get a really nice blur effect on the water.  There were a bunch of waterfalls along the sides of the roads, that were all beautiful.  There was also a lot more snow than I was expecting for this time of year, and the roads in the higher elevations had piles up to about ten feet on either side.

The top of the mountain was covered in clouds, but it was still an awe-inspiring sight.

I stopped for the night in Olympia.  My plan for tomorrow is to, weather permitting, explore Olympic National Park and then spend the night with some friends in Redmond.


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Going Up

Posted by Ben on June 15, 2010

So, after spending the last couple of days driving across the middle of the country, I finally made it to the Rocky Mountains.  My first view came after driving west from Fort Morgan for about an hour.  From there, I followed highway 287 north alongside the mountains.  Right before the Wyoming state line, there was a rest stop with a big natural area beside it.  I walked around a little to stretch my legs, and as I was getting back into the car, I noticed a chipmunk behind one of the tables.  The 20x zoom on the Powershot let me get a pretty good picture without having to get too close.  I also got pictures of a few prairie dogs that were in the same field.

Once I got into Wyoming, I got on I-80, heading west again through the mountains.  It was a very windy stretch of road, and the scenery was great.  From one of the rest stops along the highway, I had an awesome view of Elk Mountain, though the top of the mountain was covered in clouds

After a while, I turned back on highway 287, heading northwest across Wyoming.  There were some more snow-covered peaks along the way, but for the most part, it was a flat, straight road that took me all the way to Lander, Wy.

Tomorrow I head up through Yellowstone, so hopefully the weather will be nice.


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Winter Wonderland

Posted by Ben on March 3, 2010

I’ll admit, this post is more to give me a space to ramble for a bit than for the pictures, but here are two pretty decent shots from earlier today:

We ended up getting another round of snow today, which to me at least, was completely unexpected.  Luckily I wasn’t trying to travel anywhere this week, so I didn’t have to worry about it affecting my plans.  Anyway, today’s snow was unlike the other ones that we’ve had recently in that it was mostly larger, damper snowflakes.  It made it pretty miserable to walk to class through, but the upside was we got a really nice covering on all of the trees around campus.  This shot was taken out by the duckpond earlier today.  I’ve always liked the natural arch of branches here, and thought it looked pretty good with the snow in the trees.

This one was just a little experiment.  Normally I’d shoot with the foreground in focus and the background blurry, but I thought I’d try it this way and see how it came out.  I think the limbs in the foreground are recognizable enough that you can tell what they are.

I also wanted to share this passage that I found in one of my books today:

“He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.”

This comes from the Author’s Warning before The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams.  I’m only about half way through the book, but it’s very good so far.

Anyway, I really liked this quote the first time I read it, and it has crossed my mind a few times in the last few days.  It is certainly a sentiment that I agree with.  It is very easy to convince yourself that certain situations can only turn out in one way.  And once you’ve done that, oftentimes it becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you know it can only end one way, why should you try to fight it and obtain a different outcome.

I am definitely guilty of doing this, probably much more often than I realize.  I think it’s also somewhat of a defense mechanism.  If we can convince ourselves that something can’t possibly work out in our favor, why even bother trying in the first place.  It seems perfectly logical, but can we ever really be certain of the outcome of something?  I mean, sure, if you plug 2+2 into your calculator, you are guaranteed to get 4.  But especially in situations involving our own actions and those of others, we can’t really ever be certain.

We are all capable of extraordinary feats in certain circumstances, able to accomplish things we never thought we would be able to do.  But if failure is a foregone conclusion, we never find ourselves in these situations to begin with, and we never learn what we can truly accomplish.  I also think it is a huge mistake to think that we can ever really know what someone else is going to do, or how they are going to react to something.   I’ll admit, I’m horrible at reading people and what they are thinking.  I’ve tried my hand at it, putting myself into sometimes awkward positions and anticipating that someone would react in a certain way, only to have it blow up in my face.

I guess what I’m getting at here is something I’ve talked about a couple of times before.  We have to be willing to take chances, on ourselves and on those we care about.  There is certainly risk involved, but without that risk, what can we really gain?  We have to be willing to go into these situations with an open mind and be willing to adapt to whatever comes our way.  Without that, we cannot really discover anything new about ourselves, others, or even the world around us.  In my mind at least, the uncertainty is worth the disappointments it sometimes brings for those magical moments when we do get a glimpse of the “heart of wonder.”


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