Ben Greenberg is a lifelong resident of Virginia who moved to Charlottesville for the third time in 2002. He grew up in Richmond and lived most of his adult life there. His passion for photography began in 1970 when his oldest son was born and he was lent a totally manual Kodak Retina C Camera to photograph. From this beginning his fascination with and commitment to photography grew quickly and it wasn’t long before he began capturing images of his family and the world around him
He has now photographed scenic vistas in Virginia, the mid-Atlantic area and many locations in the United States for forty years, the last thirty-five as a freelance professional photographer. His carefully crafted landscape photographs have won local and national awards and competitions and have been exhibited in numerous individual and group shows. They have been featured in diverse publications and purchased for scores of private collections.
Ben's images are currently represented in three galleries and two other shops in Virginia. Ben also enjoys exhibiting his landscape photographs in selective outdoor arts and crafts shows, such as the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival in Crozet, Virginia in the Spring and Fall and Arts in the Park in Richmond in the Spring.
Ben takes great pride in creating photographic images of the highest quality in color and black and white that are true to his natural subjects. He uses the best of traditional and cutting edge technology, seeking to create and print his photographs honestly to provide the discriminating viewer with an accurate rendition portraying the natural beauty of the subject. His photographic prints and all materials used in their presentation are prepared to meet the highest archival quality standards for maximum longevity and a lifetime of enjoyment.
Ben's primary subjects are the scenic vistas of mountains, landscapes, rivers, lakes and shorelines of Virginia and the nation. These locations include the University of Virginia and surrounding areas, the James River, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tangier Island and the Eastern Shore, Southwest Virginia and the Outer Banks. He has also focused his cameras on national locations including West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, California, New York City and State, South Dakota, including the Black Hills and Badlands, Minnesota, numerous national and state parks and many of the most scenic drives in the country.
Ben Greenberg searches for locations to photograph throughout Virginia and across the nation that illustrate the unique beauty that makes the United States such a visual wonderland. Photographing these scenes requires extreme patience and diligence, often requiring numerous visits to a single location until the conditions provide an opportunity for an outstanding image.
Ben studies weather forecasts and conditions closely in order to better anticipate lighting conditions that enhance photographic possibilities. These opportunities are usually best presented very early or very late in the day with what photographers sometimes refer to as the “sweet light”. This may require awakening hours before sunrise in order to arrive at the desired locations well before the best time to “shoot”.
While Ben’s early photographs were taken with an extensive Nikon 35 mm camera system, beginning in 1982 his preferred camera system was that of a Pentax 67. The Pentax 67 system is a medium format system that produces images 2.25 inches by 2.75 inches, approximately four and one-half times the size of a 35 mm image. All photographs taken with this system involve the use of fixed focal length lenses ranging from 45 mm to 200 mm, the equivalent of 22.5 mm to 100 mm in a 35 mm system.
Since 2003 Ben has also been creating panoramic images not only with his Pentax 67 system but also with a Fuji G617 panoramic camera that creates images 2.25 inches by 6.75 inches.
The use of medium format cameras creates images of extreme sharpness and clarity, permitting huge enlargements that retain their natural beauty even in extreme sizes. Ben has personally printed his images in sizes up to seven feet long.
With the advancement and significant improvement of digital cameras and photography in recent years, Ben began shooting with the highest quality Nikon digital cameras beginning in mid-2007. He now primarily photographs with a Nikon D3x digital camera and a Nikon D700 digital camera. His images are shot primarily with three of Nikon’s newest zoom lenses, 14-24 mm, 24-70 mm and 70-300 mm.
Almost all of Ben’s photographs are taken with his cameras on a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with a Manfrotto head. He carries his equipment in the field either with an F64 backpack or a Lowepro slingbag.
Ben’s primary film has been Fuji Velvia slide film which is known for its extremely sharp detail and saturated colors. He has also used Fuji Provia 400 film when he needed higher speed film typically for faster shutter speeds to stop movement and/or smaller apertures for greater depth of field.
Ben only uses filters in a limited way. When necessary due to cloudy or shady conditions, he will use a warming filter to render images that are color-balanced for daylight. He also uses polarizing filters to cut through the effects of haze, to reduce reflections and to help clouds stand out in the sky.
The color slide photographs are scanned with a dedicated medium format film scanner, the Minolta Dimage Multi-Pro. The scanned images as well as his new digital images are then tweaked and prepared for printing (not dramatically changed) in a computer primarily with Adobe software. Archival prints are made with an Epson 7800 printer using Epson roll and sheet papers and their K3 pigmented inks known for their color quality and longevity.
Black and white prints are either produced from black and white negatives printed in a traditional darkroom by the photographer or by use of the Epson 7800 printer from the color slides that are converted to monochrome prints.
Ben’s use of software to prepare his images for reproduction is consistent with traditional photographic shooting and darkroom techniques. While tweaking images in the computer can be a more effective methodology than traditional techniques, Ben’s photographs are printed consistent with the visual image he observed when he captured the photograph and with the image that was scanned. Ben prefers to use computer-based techniques that reflect the results obtained in a traditional darkroom printing color or black and white photographs rather than creating images in the computer, a practice that has become all too common in this digital age.
All prints are double-matted using archival acid-free mat boards backed by acid-free foam core. Each image is hand titled and signed. Ben uses only quality metal frames, as metal frames are the only method of framing that is truly archival. Regular single pane picture frame glass is normally used. Plexiglass is also used for those images being shipped. Museum and UV protective glass is provided when requested by the purchaser. Non-glare glass is not used as it interferes with the clarity of the image.
Using these archival printing and display methods, Ben’s photographs are expected to retain their image quality for 75-100 years or more as long as the photographs are kept in proper conditions. Heat, sunlight and humidity are all conditions that can damage photographs and other art forms over time.