A view to a dream by BenCoffman

Matt Newman and I did a little exploring on the southern Oregon coast this fall, and we wound up back at this well-photographed location. The skies along this section of coast are surprisingly dark, and these little coves especially are difficult to photograph–the shadows just become impenetrably thick. This one took a little more work in post-processing than many of my night shots to draw out a bit of shadow detail.

I’ve announced my 2016 workshops. If you’re interested in photographing Crater Lake under its starry skies, and you want to learn my in-field and post-processing methods, consider joining me this summer: http://ift.tt/22azSm2

Thanks for checking out the photo!

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Venus in firs by BenCoffman

*I just announced my 2016 night-sky photography workshops, where I teach all of my in-field and post-processing techniques. Check my website for details.*

Friend and fellow photographer Mitch Carlson accompanied me for this shoot several weeks back. The goal was to capture the planet Venus shining brightly in the skies over South Falls (Silver Falls State Park). Despite some patchy fog that was pretty think in places, we got lucky and made it happen.

I beg of you, plead of you, please give this one a click to view it on a dark background.

I had shot a similar composition over three years ago. I’d never quite been happy with that old photo, which was extremely dark and had some problems with the light painting techniques I’d used. This is a really challenging place to shoot for various reasons, but I feel like I made significant improvements on that old image.

Thanks for checking out the photo!

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Above the lonesome valley by BenCoffman

My six-year-old son and I both agreed that this was a “top-10 sunset.” I know that a six-year-old’s opinion doesn’t usually hold much weight, but my son’s seen a few sunsets in his day. This one exploded for nearly 45 minutes, bathing us in various shades of orange-red light.

At home, he routinely interrupts me from staring at my computer monitor so that he can excitedly drag me to our west-facing window and point out some pink-purple clouds. “Our favorite sunset colors” is a topic of conversation that has regularly come up in the past few years. Last summer we spent nearly three weeks on the road, staying up late, waking up early, checking out over half a dozen national parks, and talking a lot about photography. This summer we didn’t make it out quite so much.

Every once in a great while I feel a tinge of envy when I see posts from young, single photographers who have the opportunity to run off at a moment’s notice. While they chase sunsets, I’m often chasing kids around a playground. While they breezily travel to far-flung locales on a whim, I’m intricately planning out how I can get away for a night.

And every once in a while I find myself in the right place for a take-your-breath-away, the-sky-is-on-fire sunset. Long ago I thought it would be a good idea to carry a camera to capture those moments so that others could appreciate them, later. But it’s also nice to have a small person at my side who stops poking at the dirt with his stick to yell, without any pretense, “this is incredible,” not because he’s been coached to do such a thing, or because he feels that the exclamation is expected of him, but because he’s thrilled to be there in the moment, seeing an incredible sunset. With me.

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Veiled threats by BenCoffman

My son and I spent a couple of days at Mt Rainier earlier this week, and the vocabulary word for the trip became “lahar.” Here’s the word defined by dictionary.com.

Lahar (noun): a landslide of wet volcanic debris on the side of a volcano.

During routine browsing at one of Rainier National Park’s visitors center, our imaginations were piqued by a display that mentioned the Osceola mudflow, an event that occurred about 5,600 years ago during which a 500-foot-tall wall of ice, mud, water, rock, and other material thundered off the mountain’s northeast slope (seen here) and smashed its way through the White River valley, eventually making its way to Puget Sound. This photo gives you a pretty good idea of the affected area: The White River was about 2,000 feet below this point, so the Osceola mudflow probably filled about a quarter of the canyon.

I say that our imaginations were “piqued,” but in reality the story was pretty horrifying. Rainier’s propensity for gigantic nasty mudslides has even resulted in scientists creating a lahar warning system. And a sign outside the White River campground had a rather chilling message for someone contemplating setting up their tent in an area that could be considered a playground for lahars. All of this worked to give the mountain a rather brooding and ominous feel, which I’m hoping came across in this photo.

Prints, post-processing help, night-sky photography workshops at my website.

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