Full moon, big dipper and lightning.

August 21st, 2011

The weather in Utah for the summer of 2011 has been unusual. It has been cooler, wetter, stormier. People are still skiing in mid-August on a few select north-facing slopes. What this all adds up to is more flora with vivid colors. I decided to go shoot the entrance of Prince of Whales mine. At the entrance there is an Ames Iron Works 40-hp steam boiler and winch. It sits at 10,000 feet, has been there since 1875 and is in excellent shape. These photos are from 3 consecutive nights with  3 different results.

Night one.

This photo is from night one. I like everything about it but the composition. I felt there was too much blank space on the left side. This can be a good thing if you are doing gallery wrap canvas print, but I wanted to get the shot better.

So here is night two.

On this shot, the colors are remarkable. The sky with the red gel on the boiler is a perfect match. I also like the foreground with parts of the winch shown. The only thing missing was the big dipper. I had to move the boiler candles to a different area because they were blowing out. That is whole other story …

Night three, two different shots.

On night three it was breezy with a full moon behind me and a lightning storm in front. I shot this photo as soon as I got to the site. I knew the storm was coming and wanted to capture the big dipper before it was gone.

I knew the lightning was firing on the left side of the boiler so I left some room for  it. After about 15 shots I captured a bolt and a lightning-lit sky. I kept on shooting until I felt it was unsafe. Lots of cloud lightning but another bolt never materialized. When I got home that night I knew I got the shot when I saw this image in its raw form on the screen. I feel now that all three nights produced excellent shots each with a different personality.

“Beauty of Decay,” a slideshow of my dark side.

July 24th, 2011

So much work went into these photos. 100s of hours were spent looking and shooting these locations. In abandoned mine photography, it is super hard to find open mines, and finding equipment left in them is like hitting the lottery. When I do find something I want to shoot, it is crucial to look around what you are shooting. I always check for back/foreground, unwanted litter, footprints, etc. This is usually very hard because it is pitch-black, so I take the extra time and really look. I do all my lighting during the shoot. My lighting techniques can vary from LED/incandescent light, flashes with or without gels, a Coleman lantern or a combination of any. I try to not use photoshop except for some minor cropping and maybe clone out that unwanted piece of litter I missed. Ha.

Prison Sex gap

May 2nd, 2011

Through the years I have shot many gaps. Each year they’re getting harder and harder to find. I’m constantly searching year-round for places to shoot. I drive the backroads, hike and just go out and explore. A lot of things have to come together for a jump, such as a good in-run, landing and does the place get enough snow.  Here are some photos of  the gap we did a month ago.

Early morning light.

April 23rd, 2011

The night before this shoot, Caroline Gleich and I decided that we wanted to get some Stand Up Paddle shots on the Great Salt Lake. The next morning I woke at 5:20am and looked at the skies. The skies didn’t look too promising, but we decided to go for it anyways.  We arrived at the lake at 6:00am, and here are the results.

This photo was taken 15 minutes after the sunrise. The sky was very moody and gave us great contrast. Notice the mountains in the background aren’t lit.



Composition is always hard when you are working with an animal, but Stoli hit the spot on this one. Throwing rocks for him to chase helps :)

The morning light giving Caroline’s face a nice warm tone.

The Great Salt Lake is Utah’s unloved ocean. On this early spring morning it smelled great and there were no brine flies. I’ve been in Utah for 20 years and finally got to appreciate its beauty.

An older blog on my photos of Chad’s Gap on ESPN.

April 12th, 2011

Who knew that a couple mine tailing piles could be so fun?


A nice gallery of mine at Powdermag.com.

April 10th, 2011

I would like to thank  Powdermag.com for the write up and gallery on me.

About Brent Benson: Photographer Brent Benson was one of the catalysts behind the monster gap craze that swept Utah in the late 90s, early 00s, launching the careers of pro skiers such as Sage Cattabriga-alosa, the Collins Brothers, and Jamie Pierre, and putting otherwise underground local Jedis such as Chad Zurinskas, Rick Roblewski and Chris Minneci in the skiing limelight. As such, he and Kris Ostness were often the only ones on scene to document the first time many of these behemoths were hit. In those days, the kicker was often destroyed as soon as the session ended to eliminate copy cats. We asked Brent to send us some of his best moments in monster gap history… And we’re happy that he kindly obliged. Enjoy.

A slideshow of my earlier work.

April 10th, 2011

All these photos were scanned from slides.  Enjoy!