Lehman Images: Blog https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog en-us All media (C) Ryan Benjamin Lehman/Lehman Images Ltd. --- All rights reserved. ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:39:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:39:00 GMT https://www.lehmanimages.com/img/s/v-12/u613093571-o1064321691-50.jpg Lehman Images: Blog https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog 120 118 Fifth Degree Burn https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2019/11/fifth-degree-burn *Scroll down to view slideshow*

A few months have passed to allow for some decompression and reflection about this past summer's Burning Man.

The theme this year was Metamorphoses, and I did feel a strongly different sense of myself navigating the experience this time versus the previous four Burns I've attended. There was a calmness, a deeper trusting of the magical fabric of energy connecting the undersurface of the world we perceive. It was easier than ever before to simply BE in the moment and thoroughly enjoy it no matter what I was experiencing - waiting for an unknown amount of time - comically looking for a place to pee - meeting new people - making photographs - feeling alone - feeling connected - etc etc etc. A highlight was to lead a "Photo Jedi Training" out on the playa, teaching a few participants the basics of composition and lighting - just enough to be able to vastly improve the way they approach the act of making a photograph. Although one may have a "point and shoot" camera, things get much more fun when we can move beyond that bleak simplicity and I look forward to teaching more at future Burns.

Our camp, Infinite Love, was an especially potent container within which the members were able to cultivate a deep and profound affection for and connection to one another - to co-create experiences daily that sparked transcendence. That fortified energy of oneness and love certainly soaked into my soul and continues to radiate from my field 12 or so weeks later - I notice it in the phenomenon of seeing "angel numbers" as well as innumerable instances of serendipity, coincidence, uncanny manifestation, and more. The most unlikely events happen with unbelievable frequency, and that's sort of become the norm. Not that I take any of it for granted ... every sprinkle of that magic that lands on me hits with a splash of gratitude and leaves me swooning with appreciation. The psychology of pattern recognition is fascinating, but I'll tell you, there are some experiences that can't be quantified...

In the end, I believe that all art is an act of love, and it is a joy and a privilege to have the opportunity to create art at events like these and share them with others who may never get the chance. 

Please enjoy the 2019 additions to my Burning Man / Black Rock City gallery, and I encourage you to share with any of your Burner friends who may appreciate seeing things from another artist's perspective. #INFINITELOVE to you all ;) - Ben Lehman aka Bobcat, Photon Jedi

*Click the Play arrow to watch the slideshow with an energetic soundtrack!*

Not a fan of slideshows? Here's a direct link to the gallery.

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) black rock city black rock desert burner burning man festival Infinite Love metamorphoses Nevada photography https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2019/11/fifth-degree-burn Tue, 26 Nov 2019 02:22:01 GMT
Family and Friends https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2019/11/family-and-friends Zuri and FamilyZuri and Family

 

The last several days have been a real blessing, as I'm on a wonderful road trip out west to connect with friends old and new on the West coast! One of my oldest friendships is with my former housemate and college troublemaker, Donny. Over the years he found love, married an amazing woman, and now has two beautiful children. Visiting them when I'm in Los Angeles is always a treat. This time around I was honored to be asked to capture some images of my friends in their backyard and the results were delightful! 
In show business they say never have kids or animals on stage if you want to keep things manageable ... we were working with both! A photography rule of thumb is to avoid shooting where there's high contrast, especially with portraits. We defied that rule as well - the lawn was blasted harshly by the sun. Still, with some deliberate composition and delicate work in the digital darkroom, we are all happy with the results and it appears I have maintained my dear friendship in the process. Bonus!

Are you considering investing in some gorgeous wall art that gets noticed every time you enter the room? I'd love to co-create that with you this winter :) Call, email, or message me on Facebook for a consultation (free of course)
 

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) 5dsr angeles california canon children dog family los photography portrait portraits https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2019/11/family-and-friends Tue, 05 Nov 2019 02:49:09 GMT
Pegmatite Perch https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2017/3/pegmatite-perch Pegmatite PerchPegmatite PerchA crystalline pegmatite band snakes up the cliffs in Black Canyon Of the Gunnison National Park

A crystalline pegmatite band snakes up the cliffs in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

 

During a visit to Black Canyon National Park this past Friday, my lenses bore witness to a game of shadows between the nearly vertical cliffs of the singularly unique canyon and the creeping light of late afternoon. Before all of the sun's warmth abandoned the cliffs of the northern edge, this pegmatite band with its "wiggle" holding a hardy high desert tree caught my eye. I stayed there on the south edge transfixed until the entire canyon was shrouded in shadow and only the distant roar of the Gunnison River's south fork remained. 

Do you have any memories of the Black Canyon you'd like to share? Feel free to leave one in the comments ; )

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Black Canyon of the Gunnison Colorado Cliff Geology Juniper National Park Rock Stone Tree Western Slope Winter https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2017/3/pegmatite-perch Sun, 05 Mar 2017 23:03:56 GMT
LOVIN IT ... T-minus 52 days https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2017/2/t-minus-52-days If you've been watching the progress of Lehman Images, you'll know that one of my photographs from an amazing expedition I joined and documented in the Grand Canyon in 2013 won the Grand Prize in a contest put on by the trip's outfitter, Hatch River Expeditions. The winner received a free river trip of their choice in 2017. Well, my choice was a 12 day full canyon hiking-focused trip in April, timed to coincide with the canyon's optimal wildflower expression. It's apparently a magnificent twice-in-a-lifetime experience that I feel so privileged and proud to look forward to! Now, what to do for the next 52 days?

Here's the winning image that was entered into the "Fun" category: (My entry into the "Action" category also garnered more votes than the other action finalists ... see that below as well. 2017 is going to be awesome.

Redwall Cavern and FriendsRedwall Cavern and Friends

 

Tearing it UpTearing it UpA young kayaker from Patagonia, Chile makes short work of the rapids on the muddy Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Action Adventure Canyon Colorado Grand Kayak Prize River Western Winner https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2017/2/t-minus-52-days Tue, 14 Feb 2017 21:15:00 GMT
Love is ... https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/9/love-is Love is... a many-splendored thing, wings for the heart, a soul's recognition of its counterpart in another...

There are countless ways that people have tried to explain love. For me, it's best described as a fond and understanding connection - to another person, place, thing, idea, vista, song, life itself. 

I had the pleasure of photographing my longtime friend Kyle's wedding in southern Utah at the end of July and the magic that he and his longtime fiancée beamed with on that day beneath the sandstone cliffs of Zion represent an energy that truly makes the struggles of the world worth the trouble. Despite wind and rain and two far-from-home Louisiana dogs having their own ideas about how the wedding should go, I was thrilled with the images that resulted from the weekend and am proud to share a few here.

What does love mean to YOU? How has it shown up in your life? How do you share it with the world?

If you have a person, a place, a pet, a business, or anything that moves you to a state of love in one way or another, it would be an honor to create imagery with you that can preserve and honor that feeling now and into the future. Let me know your thoughts!

Thank you Kyle and Leslie for the opportunity to preserve your special weekend forever : ) - Ben

The Narrows-0098Kyle and Leslie enjoy a rest deep in The Narrows of Zion National Park

_MG_8778Tying the knot! True love's kiss

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Utah Western destination marriage photography wedding https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/9/love-is Sun, 25 Sep 2016 01:12:52 GMT
It's not what you know... https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/7/its-not-what-you-know ...It's who you know!

For much of my photographic journey I was intrinsically drawn to connecting with and documenting the "more than human" world, aka "nature." There are patterns, forms, colors, textures, and unimaginable details in the wider world that many of us simply don't get the chance to witness often in the workaday computer screen routines of modern life. However, whenever I journeyed into a forest, onto a lofty stone crag, or among the extended company of wildflowers and wildlife, there was a certain flavor of peaceful connection that washed over me, and I strived to bring some of that peace back and share it with others whenever I could. The challenge of adventure, of physical exertion, and of facing the unknown will always appeal to the wildness in me but there is an equally nuanced and indescribably rewarding side of photography that I had not given as much attention to until more recently in my career.... my fellow Earthlings, specifically humans.  To know others is to know oneself, simple as that, and it is a joy to do both in service of the community and the tribe at large. I hope you'll enjoy some recent images made in such service and think of me when you're in need of looking your best/funniest/most persuasive!

I Know Something...I Know Something...

It's not what you know, but who you know - and I'd love to get to know YOU!

 


 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Faces Family Headshot Humanity Humans People Smile https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/7/its-not-what-you-know Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:19:40 GMT
The Nesting Instinct https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/4/the-nesting-instinct The winter on Colorado's western slope was a long and cold one, with plenty of indoor time to reflect on the introspective side of life and anticipate the inevitable blossoming and regenerative powers of springtime. Now, as the flowers and new buds dance to the sound of enthusiastic birdsong, it's time to once again celebrate the miracle of constant renewal in our lives! A recent work project allowed me to capture some details at a local farm retreat run with a mindset of sustainability, sanctuary, healing, and low impact living. Perfect work for my values and sensibilities ; )

The opportunities afforded me continue to expand and move into new avenues, and it's gratifying to be able to help responsible businesses near and far with enhancing their public image - taking what may otherwise seem an unremarkable door and transforming it through dramatic perspective into a portal of mystery worthy of Alice in Wonderland, for example.

Whether we find our sanctuary in the wild woods, our lover's arms, or a comfortable spot along the traveler's road, the human experience sometimes calls for a period of nesting-settling-resting and retreat. That's what I aimed to capture for this client and the results look as cushy and comfortable as curling up in a sunny spot with a good book.

wooden french door with intricate metal hanglesThe Doorway to MysteryAn enigmatic doorway behind which unknown delights reside - the joys of bed and breakfasts!

"Environment is everything," and I intend to create for myself and promote for others healthy environments for people and the wider world to which we are all connected. On that note, I look forward to connecting with you, so send me a note and let me know how I can serve you in your endeavors! - Ben

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Colorado Western commercial farm interiors lodging nesting photography promotion retreat https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/4/the-nesting-instinct Mon, 18 Apr 2016 23:39:30 GMT
The Man Burns in 179 days! https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/3/the-man-burns-in-179-days As the World Falls DownAs the World Falls Down

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”  – Leonardo DaVinci

Yesterday I managed to nab tickets to Burning Man 2016: Davinci's Workshop. This is good juju, for that esoteric event in the empty expanses of northern Nevada desert spurred your humble photographer into a new stage in life that has led him directly to typing these words right now. Dreams can and do become manifest - this I learned without a doubt. They require the fuel of one's inner drive to do so, however. The eye-opening experiences made possible by the enigmatic Burning Man culture reminded me of my own innate fire, the gifts that I most enjoy sharing with the world. I was reminded that only I can share my specific gifts and no one else can force me to do so. It had to come from within. Hence the new work space. Hence meeting client after client in my wonderful Colorado community. Hence crafting top quality images that create wonder and value for their audience. Hence the gratitude I feel as I share this. Are YOU putting something in your life off for the "right time," or the "ideal opportunity?" I encourage you to make time ... create the opportunity by breaking one old habit and getting started on one new habit. Perhaps believing that it's actually possible is a good start. See you on the playa? - Ben

PS Want to learn more about Burning Man? Get started here: http://burningman.org/

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Black Rock City Black Rock Desert Burning Man Caravansary Embrace NV Nevada Western https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/3/the-man-burns-in-179-days Fri, 11 Mar 2016 00:14:16 GMT
Reflecting on time and space https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/2/reflecting-on-time-and-space Late 2015 and early 2016 have been exciting and busy times for me here at Lehman Images. I've enjoyed working for several new clients in and around the North Fork Valley here in Western Colorado. My work was shown for months in a gallery exhibit at The Hive Paonia and several pieces were sold to happy customers.  It was a privilege to work on the TEDxPaonia planning team and help market the overwhelmingly successful event (sold out!) I also served as the event photographer and I invite you to enjoy some of the images from the inspiring day at http://tedxpaonia.fopt.org/gallery/ The full set of maximum resolution images free to share the world over can be viewed here at our TEDxPaonia Flickr page.

My partner Claire and I spent Thanksgiving feeling gratitude for the beauty of our home on the edge of the Colorado Plateau with a backcountry trip to Canyonlands National Park. The image below was made along a stretch of the White Rim Trail where we'd mountain biked from camp. Later in the day an early winter front came through and we found ourselves biking back in a beautiful swirl of snow, mysterious and white against the burnt orange of the sandstone cliffs above and below us. The peace one can access when accepting and embracing the wildness of our inner and outer landscapes is immeasurable ... and certainly worth expressing gratitude for : )

2016 is a year that has me off to a great start! A 3,800 mile road trip to Vancouver, BC included hot springs, snowshoeing on the "moon," Christmas watching Star Wars after a snowy hike beneath the mighty Tetons in Wyoming, and many more surprises and adventures. I am committed to serving the wider community with my visual art, whether beautifying spaces for living and working or creating images for clients that show off their products, services, and essence in the absolute best light. The small business where I live create so much value and contribute to a fantastic quality of life - I am excited to continue helping those businesses here and beyond with their imaging needs while continually foraging out into the wilds to experience and capture the beauty of the more than human world as well. 

All this is wonderful, and I haven't even mentioned my new lenses and other equipment! Two super telephotos + a teleconverter, an L-series wide angle, and more. Tools of the trade and boy are they fun to work with ; )  This truly is going to be a fantastic year... thank you for sharing the journey with me. If there is something I can help you and your business with, simply contact me and we can get to work manifesting your vision.

Sincerely, R. Ben Lehman

 

Washer Woman's PotholeWasher Woman's PotholeLooking up to Washer Woman from Canyonlands National Park's White Rim Trail

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Canyonlands Cliffs Colorado Desert Landscape National Park Plateau Reflection Sandstone Utah Western https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2016/2/reflecting-on-time-and-space Mon, 22 Feb 2016 03:11:03 GMT
Realm of Icy Diamonds https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2015/12/realm-of-icy-diamonds Realm of Icy DiamondsRealm of Icy Diamonds

The north slope of Grand Mesa shimmers in morning winter light.

Winter has truly descended in Paonia. It's a time of deep reflection and introspection, as well as a season for maintaining the heart fire - that core flame that drive us to keep bright during the darker months. We are surrounded by spectacular beauty at all times, if we are only willing to tune into it! 

Tonight is my gallery opening reception - I am pleased to be presenting a selection of prints on exhibit at The Hive in Paonia thru the first part of February 2016. The experience of creating larger format prints, matting, and framing them was a real treat and I look forward to brightening the homes of some folks this holiday season. What are your hopes for the new year coming up? Please share in the comments : ) - Ben

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) CO Colorado Frost Grand Mesa Ice Rockies Silhouette Snow Trees Western Winter https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2015/12/realm-of-icy-diamonds Thu, 17 Dec 2015 22:59:04 GMT
Fall to Winter 2015 https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2015/11/fall-to-winter-2015 Near and Far on FireNear and Far on Fire

We're already in the month of Thanksgiving and sooner than we can imagine, 2015 will be moving on. Word is that because of El Niño, this winter should be a great one for snow. (What qualifies as "great" depends on where you live and your proclivity for snow sports I suppose.) I'd like to share these two images from my collection to remind us to remember what we're grateful for in this time of bounty and hold onto that gratitude in the cold and harsh months ahead of us. Thank you for visiting and I am excited to continue sharing the beauty and peace of this world we call home. - Ben Realm of Icy DiamondsRealm of Icy Diamonds

 

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Autumn Cold Colorado Fall Ice Landscape Seasons Snow Trees Winter https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2015/11/fall-to-winter-2015 Sun, 15 Nov 2015 21:46:31 GMT
Bonneville Cloud Parade https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/6/bonneville-cloud-parade

The light of sunrise illuminates mountains and clouds above a watery mirror.

Despite my feelings on the profligate burning of fossil fuels, I do still enjoy a good cross-country road trip every now and then. One of my favorite stretches of highway is west of Salt Lake City, Utah where Interstate 80 crosses the southern edge of the famed Bonneville Salt Flats. One morning I awoke long before sunrise to document the transformation from starry night to brilliant day and was rewarded with a scene of indescribable and profound beauty. In addition to this and other photographs, I was able to capture some of the loveliest time-lapse footage I've ever had the privilege to bear witness to. Whenever I make a journey to be in a natural setting, unmarred by man (well, except for the Interstate Highway in this case), I always return moved and revitalized. Where do you find solace and tranquil beauty in your world? Leave a message here or shoot a line over on Facebook : ) - Ben

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Utah Bonneville Salt Flats Clouds Mountains Desert Salt Flats Reflection UT Sunrise Sky https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/6/bonneville-cloud-parade Thu, 05 Jun 2014 05:19:00 GMT
Zion's Stone Reptile https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/3/zions-stone-reptile

A dragon-like head in the random forms of stone, water, and light.

In October I traveled to Las Vegas for a friend's wedding. In early November, after the extensive festivities, I returned to Colorado via Utah. Certainly Zion National Park is known for its towering red sandstone cliffs, excellent hiking, and the grandeur of its main canyon. Those features are without a doubt beautiful, and I was fortunate to witness them accented by the gold of the cottonwoods' autumn foliage, but there was something else waiting to be discovered in that canyon. I wandered in the early morning, hunting for some hidden gem, an obscure spot that only wanted to present itself to me. This was that spot. I see a serpent's head, or maybe a strange turtle or salamander's. What do you see in this reflection? What are the stones of Zion whispering to you?

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Zion Western Water Boulder Emerald Lakes National Park Stone Utah Reflection Lake Fall https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/3/zions-stone-reptile Sun, 09 Mar 2014 05:23:48 GMT
Winter Wonders https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/2/winter-wonders Winter Wonder-LandWinter Wonder-LandIcicles and liquid jewelry.

 

Icicles and liquid jewelry.

 

Winters in the Rocky Mountains. This is my first, and I'm certain it won't be my last. Even as the state of California remains parched to a record-breaking degree, there hasn't been any lack of precipitation here. This winter water, always a miraculous dancer with infinite faces, has accomplished in its ice crystallization a shapeshifting feat that brings grinning and wide open wonder to the human mind. What poetry that a person whose body is destroyed by the formation of ice crystals within it can still experience such powerful, gratifying beauty in pondering that very same force. Behold. Where do you expereince beauty? What makes it beautiful?- RBL

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) CO Colorado Frozen Hanging Lake Ice Icicles Vertical Western Slope Winter https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/2/winter-wonders Wed, 05 Feb 2014 08:37:59 GMT
585,000,000 Miles https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/1/585-000-000-miles The distance that our planet covers during one trip around the sun is very roughly estimated to be about 585 million miles. You and I have traveled the universe at least that much in the past year. So have all of the trees and flowers, ants and whales, scorpions and snakes on Earth. (Assuming they're at least one year old)

Before we find ourselves too deeply entrenched in 2014, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite images from 2013. At first I thought I'd included too many, but when you think about all there is to see on a 585,000,000 mile journey, this is a decidedly narrow selection!

A sincere thank you to all who have enjoyed the Lehman Images site in its very first year of existence. I look forward to continuing to share my viewpoint of our amazing world and I hope you'll join me in celebrating the beauty in every moment and every place. Please let me know what you like, what you dislike, and how I can improve this site as we move forward. I'm glad you're here!

To a wonderful 2014 and beyond!

-R. Ben Lehman

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) 2013 Colorado Desert Las Vegas LehmanImages Park Trees adventure art favorites fine images landscape nature photography https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2014/1/585-000-000-miles Sat, 04 Jan 2014 18:28:41 GMT
Dancing above the Desert https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/12/dancing-on-the-edge-of-the-world Strip for MeStrip for MeSin City hums its seductive song.

A friend and former housemate of mine mentioned that his favorite place in Las Vegas was the nightclub atop the Rio Hotel and Casino. When I had the chance to check it out for myself, I was a little bit dazzled. Whether you think of Las Vegas as a glittering jewel of human achievement in the desert or a transitory scrap of tinsel waiting to be buried under the sands of time, it certainly is a proper spectacle.

My time there was filled with joy and laughter (weddings are good for that), but also thoughts of the massive burden such a place saddles onto the environment. Look beyond the obvious factors like profligate consumption of electricity and water. Think of the fuel needed not only to transport and assemble the materials for hundreds of enormous buildings in the parched middle of nowhere, but the fuel consumed by millions upon millions of people flying and driving there. Imagine the resources necessary to catch, process, preserve, transport, store, and then prepare just the seafood people thoughtlessly gobble in the Nevada desert... 

Vegas and its vivacious vulgarity doesn't show any signs of slowing down, so I accept it with conscious awareness as it is for the present: A glitzy, gaudy, twinkling oasis of opulence best taken a sip at a time. OK, maybe a gulp every now and then ; )

 

Below: Vegas' surroundings hint at what Sin City used to look like.

Las Vegas, Minus Las VegasLas Vegas, Minus Las VegasThe Nevada desert just north of Las Vegas, viewed from below Mount Charleston.

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) City Desert Landscape Las Vegas NV Nevada Night USA Western https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/12/dancing-on-the-edge-of-the-world Sun, 29 Dec 2013 19:17:03 GMT
Happy Holidays from Lehman Images https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/12/happy-holidays-from-lehman-images  

I threw on my snowshoes and headed for the hills last night - the sky was pristine and I knew the moon would creep up as the night wore on. Clouds came and went, picking up the faint orange glow from my region's coal mines and their illuminated conveyor systems. Throw in a bottle of the local hard apple cider and I had myself a halfway decent party! (Until I tripped on the tripod, pitching my camera face first into the snow while simultaneously dropping the bottle of cider just perfectly so that it hit the metal of my snowshoe and shattered the neck, pouring 3/4 of the precious liquid onto the ground and guarding the remainder behind a jagged edge of fresh-cut glass!) All in all, 9:45pm December 23 to 4:00am December 24  was a great romp in the high country and produced a number of great shots. One you'll find below. To see more, check out the Colorado gallery. I hope you enjoy your December 25, whatever this time of the year means to you.

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Clouds Colorado Holiday Landscape Night Paonia Sky Stars Trees https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/12/happy-holidays-from-lehman-images Wed, 25 Dec 2013 06:10:08 GMT
Winter Snow, Golden Glow https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/12/winter-snow-golden-glow My father recently rode back to Colorado from Louisiana with me. We made gumbo for friends using local ingredients, soaked in some nearby hot springs even as the air temperature was 20 below freezing, and had the requisite Thanksgiving arguments about politics and philosophy... all very enjoyable. When it was time for him to return home, the scheme involved taking the train from Grand Junction to Denver and then catching a flight. "Excellent," I thought - "We can check out the National Monument above Grand Junction."

Neither of us was prepared for the sublime beauty that we encountered that morning, and I know that what my camera captured was but a pale approximation of the grandeur on display by mother nature.

The Grand Valley was filled with a cold mist that all but obscured the goings on of the city below. Grand Mesa, the largest flat-topped mountain on Earth, rose distantly in icy blue majesty. What what really struck me however was the brilliance of the sandstone cliffs bathed in morning sunshine that, along with their natural steepness, rendered them immune to the cover of snow which buried everything else. 

Colorado National Monument apparently enjoyed fewer than 500,000 visitors in 2012 while the Grand Canyon played host to 4.4 million. Perhaps if more folks made the pilgrimage up Rimrock Drive in December, this other gem of the Colorado Plateau would develop a greater following.

-RB Lehman

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Cliffs Colorado Colorado National Monument Desert Grand Junction Grand Mesa Landscape NPS Nature Orange Park Snow Stone https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/12/winter-snow-golden-glow Fri, 20 Dec 2013 22:43:14 GMT
Autumn Fencerow https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/10/autumn-fencerow Autumn FencerowAutumn FencerowAre the trees more colorful on the other side?

Are the trees more colorful on the other side?

 

I have been waiting patiently for these trees to change since first arriving in May, and I was finally rewarded after work Friday! The road up and over Kebler Pass on the western slope is unpaved and after our recent snow and rain, parts of it were covered in several inches of wonderfully gloppy mud. That's what Jeeps are built for, and so another fellow and I piled in, turned up the radio, and headed for the hills to catch some evening light. What is normally a lovely drive became absolutely stunning as we gained altitude and the temperature dropped. Oak and evergreens gave way to the Aspens that Colorado is famous for, pouring over the contours of the slopes and contrasting with the new white snow. What a backyard! 

 

I've been processing these images in Adobe Lightroom 5 and have been very pleased with the ease of use combined with the formidable power of the application for both editing and managing/organizing. I rarely ever need to open another image editing program unless I'm adding some text or doing something that doesn't look natural. (Since my favorite subjects are natural, that doesn't happen often!) 

 

The leaves are changing, as are the times. We all march forward together!

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Aspens Colorado Autumn Rocky Fall Forest Kebler Pass Marcelina Mountain Rockies Trees Snow Western Slope Fence Mountains https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/10/autumn-fencerow Mon, 14 Oct 2013 04:35:35 GMT
Half Dome, half a continent away. https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/9/half-dome-half-a-continent-away Half Dome VertigoHalf Dome VertigoThe eroding ancient magma dome may cause dizziness to those unaccustomed to such natural grandeur.

The eroding ancient magma dome may cause dizziness to those unaccustomed to such natural grandeur.

 

I used to live here.

Yosemite National Park holds a very very special place in my heart. I was fortunate enough to live and work there as an outdoor educator and National Park Service volunteer a couple of years ago and can personally attest that it is an absolute playground for photographers of every stripe. From the leaves to the lichens, the granite and the gorges, Half Dome to Hetch Hetchy, waterfalls and wildlife - every day was an adventure. My thoughts turned to the Sierra Nevada recently as the legendary Rim Fire

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rim_Fire ) raged through my beloved former haunt. Friends and coworkers flooded Facebook with tales of flame and ash, yet I was in a whole different mountain range. It felt strangely similar to the summer of 2005 when my hometown of New Orleans was drowning in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina while I squirmed in my seat watching the events unfold via the news media from my desk at National Geographic's Explorers Hall. The Crescent City has made wonderful headway in recovering from the disaster and the Gulf Coast has learned much about how to handle the storms that are sure to come. I hope that the stewards of the Sierra learn similar lessons in how to cope with a rapidly changing climate ... the Rim Fire had many causes, but one contributor to its intensity was the California drought which dried the already abundant undergrowth. 

The musical group Semisonic circa 1998 may have put it best: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." There will be new growth in the forest, but will these events spark new growth in our culture - growth that leads us to a place of being a more responsible participant in the web of life?

One goal I strive towards with my work is to inspire wonder and a personal connection to the natural world. A sense of kinship with the non-human can kindle a sense of responsibility for the non-human. I believe that the Earth does not belong to us, rather that we belong to the Earth. I encourage viewers not to be content with enjoying natural beauty solely via the lens and vision of another, but to nourish your own relationship with the non-human. The lessons to be learned via observation and contemplation are staggering!

 

Half Dome is exceptional for sure, but it is still one tiny speck of a vast and beautifully complex planet, itself a mere speck in the Milky Way Galaxy, in turn a speck in the vastness of something much larger yet ...

Where do you go when you want to regain perspective? I'd love to hear your thoughts on place and relationship. - Ben

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) California National Park Artisitic Fire New Orleans Katrina National Geographic Portrait Yosemite Zoom Blur Half Dome Vertigo https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/9/half-dome-half-a-continent-away Sun, 29 Sep 2013 00:43:37 GMT
Going Grand or Going Home https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/8/going-grand-or-going-home When it rains, it pours!

I am surprised, delighted, and thoroughly honored to have been offered a chance to raft the Grand Canyon as part of a team of amazing and inspiring folks with Rios to Rivers, an Aspen-based nonprofit that is bringing students from Colorado and Chile together for the common goal of raising awareness and support for conservation of rivers, especially those threatening some of the most pristine wildernesses in Patagonian Chile. A group of high schoolers, some from Carbondale and some from Cochrane in remote Patagonia, will have a chance to experience first-hand what a large scale damming project can do to a river ecosystem and the environment upstream.

The last time I was at the Grand Canyon was 2008 when a great friend from the Peace Corps and I did a four day backpacking trip down to the Colorado and back. The word spectacular is grossly inadequate to describe the experience. This trip will be three times longer and cover nearly 300 miles from Lee's ferry all the way to Lake Mead. I'm thrilled to be a part of this amazing exchange and hope that I can use my lenses to do a sliver of justice both to the location and to the special people with whom I'll be sharing it.

See you all on the flip side! -RBL

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Adventure Arizona Canyon Chile Colorado Grand Kayaking National Nonprofit Park Rafting Students https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/8/going-grand-or-going-home Tue, 06 Aug 2013 04:52:52 GMT
Leave No Trace https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/leave-no-trace I learned it as a Boy Scout years ago. I learned it again as a Trip Leader for Georgetown's Outdoor Education Program. Again it appeared when I worked with the Park Service in Alaska and in New Zealand with the Department of Conservation.  Throughout my life I've absorbed the tenets of the Leave No Trace ethic. Last Friday I was reminded of how it applies to photography as well as exploring the natural world...

LNT Principle Number One:

Plan ahead and prepare

The author kindly sends out waves of appreciation to the first LNT principle, as the images below would have been impossible without it.

Turns out, film cameras don't work without film, and digital cameras don't work without digits digital memory. We know this. It's obvious. Not obvious enough however to prevent that stomach-dropping-out-of-your-feet feeling at 11,400ft. After planning for a week, a friend and I met up before dawn, threw the Jeep into 4 low, and bounded our way to the start of the Inter Ocean Trail that traverses Mount Lamborn in Delta County, Colorado. The goal: To summit the granite-topped crag that had been looming over my backyard for three months. I had my day pack, trekking poles, snacks, clothing for any contingencies, and of course my camera and lens and filter and all that jazz in their bag.

Three hours it took us to ascend from the trailhead to the rocky pinnacle that oversees the whole of the North Fork Valley. Aspens galore. Wildflowers tended to by a diligent air force of pollinators. Compounding views of the flowers, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Needle Rock, and Landsend Peak...all harbingers of what was to come.

Sweating, panting, and delighted to arrive, we dragged ourselves onto the highest stone block, gravity aiding in the sweet downward release of burdensome gear. I opened my pack, withdrew the camera bag, and set about attaching tripod - adjusting lens - composing the first shot.

<<NO CARD IN CAMERA>>

Somewhere my jealous and greedy iMac was chucking contentedly to itself, mouth full of SD memory. I cursed the Apple Gods, for their excellent engineering had distracted me with a gorgeous 27 inch screen while hiding the SD card slot in the back. Oh, the treachery! I had been rendered powerless!

But wait.

Hadn't I learned a thing or two from all my time in the backcountry? Was there not a chance that the camera's mojo could be restored, my dignity reinstated? Was not the first tenet of Leave No Trace to Plan Ahead and Prepare? It was. And was I not prepared, even if Apple had distracted from my planning ahead? Perhaps... I picked up the black nylon camera bag, visualizing the hidden treasure I hoped it concealed. Pocket one. Pocket two. Pocket three. Things were looking grim. Unzip pocket four. Hmm. Rip open velcro flap, poke into pocket five.

Cue triumphant hero music.

 

Yes, the view was obscured by haze. Yes, the card I found hiding in there after initial stowage three years ago was a measly 2GB no-name POS. Though it couldn't handle more than a couple of seconds of full HD video, it would take some pictures and it would record some motion, and by golly it gave this story a happy ending after all. Friends, I say this to you: Leave No Trace, Plan Ahead and Prepare, and whatever you do, PACK EXTRA MEMORY!

Happy trails to you,

Ben 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Colorado Hiking Humor LNT Lamborn Leave No Trace, Lessons Memory Mistakes SD https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/leave-no-trace Mon, 29 Jul 2013 14:41:17 GMT
Wired in Utah https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/wired-in-utah Wired in UtahWired

 

The semi-flooded flats south of I-80 lend an unusual beauty to the geometry of barbed wire and high voltage transmission lines.

 

I used to go everywhere with a tiny pocket-sized camera. Now I take my larger Canon with me. The above image is justification for this habit... After an early morning rise to beat the oppressive Utah heat with its shimmering mirages and blowing dust, I was eager to continue on my highway journey to the Rocky Mountains. Only 20 minutes down the road from the rest stop there was a composition coming together to the south. A section of barren land had filled with water as a result of recent storms. There was a smoky haze in the air, lending a soft quality to the distance between me and the mountains near Salt Lake City. So far, so good. Then the power lines appeared. They marched into the distance both above and below the water it seemed, rigid straight geometric lines contrasting with the blue organic ridges. I parked and took a stroll with the camera and tripod. The edge of the flooded area was spongy and saturated so I was soon ankle deep in gobbity muck, but the shot was out there, a feeling every photographer recognizes, rendering all normal sense of regard for footwear and other bits of clothing out of the question. Several test shots later, with a tripod sunk in gunk, the last element came together in the form of a barbed wire fence, an icon of the American west. Wavy and straight, water and sky, pointed and soft, black and blue - this image provides a richly textured playground for the wandering eye. Reflecting upon that leg of the journey, it turned out to be one of my favorites perhaps because of how close I was to turning back to the Jeep a few minutes early. 

 

The symmetry here really appeals to me, as does the juxtaposition of contrasting shapes and textures. How might you have composed this differently? Leave a comment and we can play with ideas!

-Ben

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Utah geometry reflection symmetry western https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/wired-in-utah Wed, 24 Jul 2013 05:37:36 GMT
Golden Lining https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/golden-lining Golden LiningGolden Lining

 

The easiest gold to enjoy in Las Vegas, Nevada is in the sky.

 

It's said that every cloud has a silver lining, i.e. there's an upside to everything if we just look for it. I agree. In this life it is critical to be aware of what we spend our mental energy focusing on, as we tend to see what we look for whether that be tragedy or miracle. 

On my way back to Colorado from California recently, I was grumbling to myself at the sprawling suburban waste that was once lovely American desert. Las Vegas is many things, but a peaceful sanctuary it is decidedly not ... except for when we look for a peaceful sanctuary there. In the parking lot of a shopping center I noticed some unusual light in the western sky. A wildfire over the mountains was pouring dark smoke into the sky, causing a haze to catch the shadows produced by the setting sun on billowy cumulus clouds. Wow. The capital of conspicuous overconsumption was still in the Nevada desert, and the Nevada desert is still a beautiful place, full of magic when we just keep our senses open.

I hope the folks preparing for a night out on the town got a bit of extra luck from that rare golden lining...

Are there any golden linings in your life right now? I'd like to hear about them.

-Ben

 

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) Las Vegas clouds golden lining shadow sky https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/golden-lining Sun, 14 Jul 2013 23:58:37 GMT
In the beginning, there was darkness... https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/in-the-beginning-there-was-darkness Perhaps on first view, you may not know that you're witnessing the fulfillment of a personal dream, but the very fact that you've come to Lehman Images and spent some time enjoying the works featured here - that's something to celebrate! I've been working in conservation and making photographs for years and like many people, the images sat on a hard drive or on backup disks never seeing the light of day except for the occasional screensaver appearance. They were the products of arduous hikes, frigid early mornings, meticulous planning (and spontaneous serendipity!), but very few people ever had the chance to really enjoy them. Those dark ages are over, and with this site I embark on a lifelong journey sharing art, passion, and inspiration.

I want to continue to connect with and learn from those with more experience, better equipment, and more successful photo businesses. I want my art to transport me to every continent, to each far-flung corner of the planet, and to the little unnoticed nooks and crannies that make up the balance of our beautiful world.

I've been fortunate in my life to spend a significant amount of time traveling and working for conservation and education related to the natural world and its precious wild resources. On those travels I have received innumerable gifts from the Earth, and I intend to give back with my camera...

Ultimately, I want the images I create to leave viewers breathless.

And when their breath returns I hope they say,"That ... THAT is valuable. This world is valuable - what can I do to preserve and protect it?"

Thank you for visiting. I hope you find something here that takes your breath away, and a reason to return again and again. Comments, suggestions, questions? - bring them on! Share with your friends and family. Do you know someone who's a WAY better image-maker? I want to learn from them, so please shoot me a link. In the meantime, I'll be adding to this site in a major way. New galleries, new blog posts, new links. It's going to be a wonderful ride, and the best adventures are shared, so join me by signing up for updates or bookmark the page and check back often.

Lehman Images Sun Ring around HandSun Ring

The darkness has ended. Let there be light.

-Ben

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ben@lehmanimages.com (Lehman Images) blog dreams first hand hopes inspiration introduction post ring sun https://www.lehmanimages.com/blog/2013/7/in-the-beginning-there-was-darkness Sun, 14 Jul 2013 23:43:00 GMT