Raymond Bennett Photography: Blog https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog en-us (C) Raymond Bennett Photography [email protected] (Raymond Bennett Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:33:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:33:00 GMT https://www.rbphotostudio.net/img/s/v-12/u732768488-o1068302317-50.jpg Raymond Bennett Photography: Blog https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog 120 90 Anyday fishing https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2014/10/anyday-fishing The river flowed the color of honey - sourwood and unfiltered. Dark enough to barely see the rough outline of a few rocks under the surface, yet fast enough to easily make out the few slabs sparsely covered by the current. It was slightly little higher than normal, but with July thunderstorms rolling through the area for the last few days it made perfect sense. The river should be up.

River Rocks IIRiver Rocks II
A path meandered alongside recently mowed fields with trees covering the old gravel lane. The quiet walk grew to a relaxing traipse pocked with sightings of Gemmed Satyrs, Petaltails, Darners & Cruisers, keeping the time occupied nicely enough while the humid breeze more than reminded me that July seldom falters in telling the story of Summertime. The sounds of cicadas, warblers, and flowing water filled my ears as I dodged leftover mud puddles for some inane reason.

It is totally out of character for me not to trod through mud puddles.

Arrival at the riverside always stretches my thought process in a futile effort to know where to begin. An effort because of the abiding nature of the river; futile since the transmogrification constantly progresses. The presence of a gorgeous Ardea herodias (Great Blue Heron) loitering aimlessly on a crag upstream eased the decision. Where reside birds of prey, there reside fish. Time to get wet.

Inundation cools the woolen sock-clad feet shod by felt-soled boots. The refreshing feeling admonished me for the long dereliction of neglecting this part of life. Too far away and too long apart live the times where my feet walk upon the bottom of any river. Part of me always longs to dive right in leaving the rod and vest on the bank while the demoralizing smudges of everyday life heave away with the current. And then a fish jumps, reminding me of my purpose for this afternoon.

I am, once again, smitten by a childhood love - or at least something akin to the lust of a teenager. Modern reality shows and flashy advertising videos place life in complete juxtaposition with living. No fancy glasses, clothes, or gleaming method of transportation to trek to some remote exotic locale. No high-dollar fly boxes or fishing gear. Just me, a rod, a line, and a little friend-tied fly at the end of a leader - attempting to fool the most wonderfully elusive and wily little Salvelinus fontinalus. Few things quiet the heart, cajole the mind, or discipline the body like fishing.

The initial span of time passed observing a specimen cavorting up and across the current. The piscine acrobatics mesmerized me while a minutiae of intellect formed a strategy, observed and mimicked the entomological processes transpiring below the dingy facade, while I ambled into casting position.

Elusive really doesn't do the species justice. Illusory more aptly characterizes them most days. The little magician appeared in various contortions in the same general region every twenty or so seconds, only to fade into the murk and reprise the show at odd intervals. Disheartened after what seemed an interminable duration, numerous patterns, drifts, and exasperating attempts it proved time to move upstream, leaving the aerialist to continue the show awaiting the audience of the next heron to flutter into that section of the river.

Brook TroutBrook Trout
His brethren farther upstream would prove less baffling, more willing to be attentive to the offerings presented, and as boisterous in their acrobatics as they were entertaining to me.

Time in the river brings melodies to my heart. As I gallivanted back toward civilization words came to my mind of a song dear enough and, as the fishing, not often visited:

'Cause I know the river is deep
I found out that the currents are tricky
And I know that the river is wide
And oh, the currents are strong
And I could lose every dream
I dreamt that I could carry with me
Oh, but I will reach the other side
Please don't let me have to wait too long

- "The River" by Rich Mullins

If time apart makes the heart grow fonder, my love for rivers has and will continue to deepen immeasurably for some time to come.

Now, if only I could find some boiled peanuts on the ride home . . .

[email protected] (Raymond Bennett Photography) flyfishing river trout https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2014/10/anyday-fishing Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:56:27 GMT
Ecuador June 2013 https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2013/8/ecuador-june-2013 This was my week from June 8th until June 14th, more or less.

ATL - first leg

L-R:  Greg, Mark, Erica, Joshua, Jim, Cindy, Tom, Me, Chris

We were supposed to depart Atlanta at 1725 but experienced some "mechanical difficulty" prior to departure which resulted in unloading the entire plane and waiting nearly three hours for another one. 


They did get all our baggage moved from the original plane to the replacement, thankfully.



Cue the 0130 arrival time in Quito, without pictures because I was far too tired to find the camera and probably could not have operated it anyway.

Then there's the bus ride from the "new airport" in "Quito" (the airport is 2 yrs old but didn't have the first commercial passenger flight until February 2013 and it sits 45 minutes outside of anything that looks remotely like Quito.  Gonna price tickets to Latacunga next time, but I digress) to Ambato/Huachi Grande - on which most of us slept/dozed.  Ecuador is dark by about 1830hrs anyway so there's not a lot to see along the Pan-American Highway.

We arrived at our hotel somewhere around 0445 Saturday morning and straggled into our rooms.  Awoke for breakfast somewhere around 0900 (I think, my alertness was very hazy at that point).


Casa Grande Hotel


First treat of the trip:


EspumillaHernan handing out espumilla treats

Espumilla - meringue, in cones.

Then it was time for a quick trip out to the church site for a planning meeting and to see how far they had gotten prior to our arrival.


footers dug
The mixer in the next picture . . . disappeared after Saturday.

Sunday was worship and communion.


Followed by a fellowship lunch with the congregation.

There is always a need to acclimate to the the environment (Montalvo is right at 9500' above sea level), culture, as well as team-building with the folks from the church with whom we plan to work.  We usually head over to Banos (yes, that is the name of the town, not just how you ask for the bathroom!!!) for the afternoon and evening.




(note the little red dot in the lower left of the next picture - that's a cable car with about 10 people on it)

the long ride down


And then Monday rolled around.  We were ready to go!


Over the course of the week we laid 12-1400 block, formed and poured about 100' of footers and 28 columns, mixing every batch of mortar and concrete with shovels and adzes.  After, of course, we screened all the sand . .


Sifting sand for mortar
and unloaded all the block by hand


unloading block - the first truckload

First course - Ecuadorians have a unique, but wonderful method of laying block.  Level is relative and we figured they would just top the whole thing with mortar and stucco it when we're done anyway . . .

There are always little surprises throughout the trip - such as the random cows-traveling-down-the-road-in-the-back-of-a-much-too-small-truck shot - and everyone from 8 yr olds to 80 yr olds rode on the bumpers everywhere.

Did I mention we mixed it all by hand?

And this.  Uh-uh, this was not going to get the job done.

I knew we had a grinder when we were down here in April of 2012 . . .

That's more like it.

And then it was time for concrete mixing

This is how they mix concrete

By Thursday, the wall was starting to take shape, and the sun peeked out a wee bit here & there.

The cloud cover teased us into thinking we might see a volcano

Alas, not to be this trip.  Tungurahua, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo all stayed socked in this time.

Friday morning the welders arrived to install the decorative panels between the columns on the front and down part of the side wall.

And this was how they ran power.

This is how they hooked up the power supply for the welder the first day . . .

But nobody got killed in the process . . .

We got what was originally planned to be 2 weeks of work accomplished in a little more than five days thanks to the men with whom we worked side-by-side all week.  Much thanks to Cesar, Eddison, Luis Miguel, Javier, and Juillo - men of Iglesia Bautista de Montalvo with whom we laughed, fussed, learned, and enjoyed a great week of work.


Now, what I haven't shared in this process is that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there were a couple of hours each day when 90+ kids descended on the building for Bible school sessions.

The first day we "organized" a photo shoot of each kid as part of a lesson about how we are made in God's image - each child had their picture taken, printed, and given to them to include in their lesson.


These kids are adorable and just so much fun to be around.  The ministry to the kids in the area is an ongoing one in Montalvo and the surrounding communities of Quero and Cevallos.  I think this was the most kids the church has seen at one time.  These kids were drawn here and ministered to in many ways, most importantly in that they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed.  Pray that the congregation would continue to nurture these kids and reach out to their families.


The second and third days there was support from Primera Iglesia Bautista de Ambato to lead songs and help tell some Bible stories.


Friday morning our team took a trip over to Primera Iglesia Bautista de Ambato and the school they operate in the building there.  PIBA operates one of two Christian schools in a town of 350,000+ people.  One of the governmental initiatives over the last few years has been to offer better education and to do it for free.  This has drastically changed the way PIBA's school functions.  It has had an impact on both enrollment and teaching staff, since the government can pay teachers a higher salary.  

Cindy Troyer has been spending time with parents, teachers and some of the students with particular "disabilities" over the previous 7-8 years sharing resources related to traumatic brain injury, autism, developmental delays, and other needs for which there are precious few resources in Ambato.  She had the opportunity to do so on Tuesday to continue that ministry.  The school functions as a ministry of the church and many of the kids attend on scholarship due to financial need and the generosity of many people involved in the ministry in Ambato.  Our group had the pleasure of presenting the school with donations from several sources that helps support this ministry while they determine the best method to continue growing.

We had the chance to see some of the elementary & middle school classes perform projects on which they work throughout the year.  They study world cultures including dress, customs, music, dance, etc. 



We went back and finished the last long day's work and had a great time of fellowship with members of the congregation.




Saturday was our long last day of the trip and we wanted to spend it processing our experiences, relaxing and preparing for a red eye flight back to the States.  We had a couple of folks with illnesses who weren't up to doing a whole lot, but a few of us took a walk around a local park and taking in some shopping and scenery.




Tuston Familia

The Tuston Family


I look forward to the future and seeing what is in store for the congregations in both Ambato and Montalvo, know God is at work in His people in Ecuador.



[email protected] (Raymond Bennett Photography) Ambato Ecuador mission trip missions https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2013/8/ecuador-june-2013 Tue, 06 Aug 2013 15:59:13 GMT
Frustrations and Happy Accidents https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2013/3/frustrations-and-happy-accidents Every now and then I find myself alone in places I love to explore.  Recently, that place was Charleston. 


I had an evening mostly to myself, after dinner with some friends, and knew I wanted to explore a great spot I had mapped out for what I hoped would be a great view of an historic landmark.  The camera gear was ready.  The tripod was stowed in the trunk.  I even had on multiple layers to combat the cold and the inevitable windy conditions.


Alas, no access after dark.  Which really frustrates me, but gives me a good reason to get there earlier next time.


So, I did what I usually do - I improvised.  And found another location.  Which, in a city with a harbor mingling with the confluence of two rivers, makes successful photographic improvisation somewhat of a challenge.


There are, from what I can gather, two excellent vantage points to capture the shot I want to get.  So, I settled.  But, I got a nice surprise when I turned around and looked the other direction.  I like happy accidents like that one and I've learned enough over the years that sometimes when the shot you want and can't make is so very close but just not there that it behooves you to simply look around for a different perspective or background or, at times, subject.


And, I am quite pleased with the second subject.


I have plans to make a series and one of the shots I've dreamed of since I first saw the design was a little different from any others I've seen to date.  So, without further ado . . .

Ravenel Bridge I

Ravenel Bridge IRavenel Bridge I


The Happy Accident



And then there's this one:


Ravenel Bridge II


Ravenel Bridge IIRavenel Bridge II

[email protected] (Raymond Bennett Photography) B&W Charleston Ravenel Bridge https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2013/3/frustrations-and-happy-accidents Sat, 02 Mar 2013 01:21:18 GMT
The Family https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2012/4/the-family I was asked a few weeks ago if I was going to leave my family to go to Ecuador for this trip.

It was a great question, and I would not have even considered doing so 10 years ago.  Probably not even 5 years ago.

Today, my boys are young men - capable of caring for their Mom & sister; capable of fixing almost everything around the house that breaks; wise enough to call others for help when they need it; strong enough to protect what God has entrusted all of us with; and tender-hearted enough to do all of the above with love and compassion.

I trust that God has equipped my family with the resources, and most importantly, the grace, to be cared for in my absence.

The young men pictured here are not so young.

They have grown into Godly men.

Who still don't like for me to take their picture:



[email protected] (Raymond Bennett Photography) https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2012/4/the-family Thu, 12 Apr 2012 03:49:35 GMT
Ecuador - April 14th - 21st https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2012/4/ecuador---april-14th---21st I'm headed to Ecuador for a construction based mission trip in just a few days.  Our trip will include upgrading the building where Iglesia Bautista de Montalvo meets; working with the members of that local body; praying with those members to reach the surrounding communities of Cevallos and Quero; and working side-by-side with men with whom I work daily in my FT profession.

If we have internet access, I will be updating with pictures on a daily basis, beginning Saturday, April 14th. 

I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and overall support.



[email protected] (Raymond Bennett Photography) Ambato Ecuador mission trip missions https://www.rbphotostudio.net/blog/2012/4/ecuador---april-14th---21st Tue, 10 Apr 2012 02:57:29 GMT