Washington DC

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Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the Artechouse‘s preview event for their latest installation called “Sakura Yume | Cherry Blossom Dream”. It definietly hyped me up for the real Cherry Blossoms blooming later this month!

One of my favorite things about visiting the Artechouse is the peaceful atmosphere it creates. The room is very dark, they have beautiful, calming music playing and everyone just seems to relax and enjoy the installation. This one in particular was very cool because 1. I love cherry blossoms and 2. it seemed like there were little surprises at every corner. For example in the main room, if you stood there and watched the wall for a while you’ll see a koi fish swim past or some Japanese lettering floating around. It was definietly a very cool experience.

However my favorite part was in the room where they are going to have their immersive food experience. It looks so cool. Basically everyone sits down on a cushion on the floor and you can ‘play’ with the table and watch all these colors and shapes appear right before you.

Here’s an image of what it looks like.

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I took this pic with my iphone. Between the tables are columns of these cherry blossom branches. It seemed like the perfect place to have a little photoshoot.

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So if you haven’t seen any of their other installations or if you’re a cherry blossom fan like me, definietly go and check it out. It’s probably one of my favorites that they’ve had there. If you’re interested, here’s are a few images from past visits.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/100th of a second at ISO 5000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. Like I said before, this room is super dark and no tripods. I love this camera in low light situations!

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So it’s been one week since I decided to delete instagram off my phone. To be honest, I never expected all the kind comments and emails. I appreciate it sooo so much. You have no idea. Everyone has been extra supportive but I have decided that Ill download Instagram again for the Cherry Blossoms at the latest. Don’t get me wrong though out of the 7 sunrises that have happened since my instabreak, I’ve gone out to shoot 4 times. So even though I’m not documenting it all on social media, I’m still at it as much as I can.

What have I learned from the break? I spend entirely too much time staring at my phone! I don’t need to catch up with my friends by seeing what they’re doing on the internet. I can simply call them or text them and find out what’s been going on straight from the horse’s mouth and its so much better that way. I’ve also learned to be more present. At times I’ll be walking around and think to myself, what should my next instastory be? or this would be great for an instastory. This past weekend while I was walking around I thought, wow that tree is beautiful, I’m just going to take a picture of it because I like it. No one else has to see it, but me.

Now I’m not sure if this has any correlation or not, but I’m also taking the time to learn more too. I’ve been consuming so many youtube videos, listening to audiobooks and just reading in general. I’ve been learning a lot about mindset, wealth and photoshop tutorials. It’s been great!

Overall, I am so grateful for the break. It was definietly a recharge and I feel more inspired than ever. I do miss instagram and I’ll be honest, I have checked it out once or twice on my desktop computer which I justified by saying, it’s not really the same LOL. So this is just a thank you so much for all your support. I’ll be back soon and probably by the end of the week! As of now, I’m not in a rush. Instagram will always be there 🙂

PS that tree I was talking about was a cherry blossom tree in Alexandria, VA. They’re starting to pop up in different places and I’m so excited!

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/8th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle len handheld.

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Taken back in December, somehow I missed the rising of the supermoon. I’m not sure how it happened since I marked in on my calendar but I wasn’t able to capture it. In my opinion, catching the moon rise is always better than the moon set. I think the moon appears to be much bigger or maybe that just depends where you are standing, but it’s always exciting to watch it come above the horizon. And if you miss the moon rise, the next best thing is moon set, right?

So I woke up super early in the morning. 3:30a to be exact. I met up with my friend, Larry, who seems to have no trouble waking up at that time since he does it on a regular basis. Not always to shoot, but I swear, this guy does not sleep. We wanted to try to capture the moon setting over the Lincoln Memorial but when you’re up that early, it’s still going to be a while. We decided to walk around the National Mall and find some cool compositions in the mean time.

I really like the way this one turned out. Although the warm red color is caused by light pollution, it’s a really cool effect that showcases the color transitions that I’m always talking about. You may not have noticed this but there are some cherry blossoms growing on those trees too! It’s weird because some of them actually start blooming in the beginning of winter. They die off pretty quick but you know me, if there are cherry blossoms, I will shoot them.

Speaking of which, they’re supposed to be peaking in two weeks! Can’t waittttttttt. First comes the magnolias which is like the pre-party. Then the main event! Holllllaaaaaaa

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 6 seconds at ISO 80 on my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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I deleted Instagram off my phone on Tuesday night.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it was. I’m going to be open and honest here because I just got done talking about this with my friend, Alejandra and I felt inspired to share the story…

I woke up Tuesday morning at 6a. Not an unusual time for me to wake up if I’m not shooting the sunrise. Usually I’d wake up around 4:30-5 if I were. So 6am is kinda like I’m sleeping in. Just like everyone else, one of the first things I do when I’m fully awake is go on my phone and check out what’s been going on social media. One of the first things I see is that there was this amazingly beautiful sunrise, pinks, purples, the whole 9 that morning. I took a look out my bedroom window (which is facing west) and noticed that the sky was so pink. From my experience I know that if the sky facing west is pink then it had to be an amazing sunrise. I immediately felt upset. I missed out on an opportunity to capture one of my favorite things in the whole world, a colorful sky.

So that’s how I started off my day. I spent the rest of the morning thinking about where I would have gone if I went out to take pictures, what my composition what have been like, etc etc etc. Basically just beating myself up about missing the sunrise. But I felt like there had to be underlying reason why I was upset. I was upset because I knew that my most popular images on Instagram are the ones with skies just like the one I had slept through. They are the ones with the most beautiful sunrises with a memorial or something iconic in the foreground and I had missed out. This winter has been so grey and foggy that I couldn’t believe I stayed in bed for this one! I was missing out on the likes. I was missing out on new followers. I was missing out on other people’s confirmations that they like me as an artist and in turn them liking me as a person.

How freaking crazy is that?

So obviously one thought lead to another and I ended up having a really hard mental day. Everything was getting on my nervous. I started getting really antsy and impatient about some projects that I’m working on and why it’s not all complete. Even though nothing had really changed as far as the progression, I just expect things to come sooner, better, and I could not get over it.

I realized at the end of the day I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, to create the type of images I was expected to, and to get as many ‘likes’ as I possibly could. What’s crazy is that I even have this magical number in my head that if I don’t hit it within the first hour of my posting, then it’s not a good image. I just couldn’t deal with it anymore and decided to delete instagram from my phone and take a little “instabreak”. I don’t know how long it’s going to last but I already feel like some pressure has been taken off.

As an artist, I shouldn’t be so concerned with what other people think of my work. I should be concerned if I like the work. I should worry about if the image I created is a true representation of who I am as an artist and if it conveys the thoughts or emotions that I want said.

I don’t know. Those are just my quick thoughts about being an artist on social media now. Please let me know if I’m not the only crazy and if you feel the same way as well. I’ll be back on instagram eventually. Probably within the next week because I still love it for artistic inspiration and I’ve made some amazing friends from the app. I just need to take a little bit of time for myself. I’ll still be out there taking pics even if I’m not posting on instagram… I’ll be posting them on twitter now instead. LOL. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!!! I took this one this morning at the Iwo Jima Memorial 🙂 JK I love taking pictures and sharing them with everyone. I just felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself and don’t feel the same pressure from facebook, twitter, etc…

Other thoughts that passed through my head yesterday were not being my true self on the internet vs. real life and the need for everything to be perfect in my images before posting them. If you’re interested, let me know and I can write another long ass blog post about those topics and hopefully start a discussion.

And for those who are only here for my camera settings they are F10 at 20 seconds ISO 160 on my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Not every photo shoot turns out well. Sometimes I’ll go out and not even pull out my camera and just end up walking around aimlessly. Sometimes I’ll snap a few pics but know that they won’t be my favorites. Other times the images need a little creativity in post processing and I feel like thats what happened with this image.

I went out one morning last week hoping for a colorful sunrise but ended up with some very blue, cloudy skies. The good news is that I found a new puddle and I’m really looking forward to capturing this same scene during a nice sunrise. There are a lot of puddles all around the US Capitol. So many great reflections to be found but I think what makes this one so unique is the fact that you can still see the US Capitol and some car trails to go in front of it. Very cool, if you ask me.

It was a little difficult to capture. Luckily I carry all my extra batteries and memory cards in this cheap, Forever21 makeup bag that is made of entirely plastic. I emptied the entire contents into my backpack and placed it in the middle of the puddle so that I could use it as a resting place for my camera without it getting wet. The key to this image was to get as low as possible and that was basically sitting on top of the puddle.

I liked the way that the image turned out but I thought that rotating it made it look even cool. It sort of adds an interesting element to it and reminds me of those ink blot tests. What do you see actually see in this image?

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 6 seconds with ISO 125 on my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Going through some of my older images, I found this one. Man it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the United States Air Force Memorial. I think the last time I was there was almost 2 years ago when my friend, Navin and I were out capturing some lightning images. In my opinion it’s one of the harder monuments in the Washington DC area to photograph. I think I find it is so hard to capture because there isn’t a lot of space surrounding it. It’s hard to maneuver  your camera and tripod around in order to get the entire monument in one frame. The only way to capture was to I walk outside of the memorial grounds and stand on the sidewalk at Columbia Pike to get it all in one image. Obviously you can photograph it while in the grounds but it’s very difficult without cutting anything off.

My favorite part of the image is the light that’s hitting the bare trees. I think it looks really cool and interesting, especially the one on the right. I think it looks like it is made out of metal or something, right? Don’t get me wrong though. I still think that the United States Air Force Memorial is one of the coolest places to go to photograph a big sky. I love the hill the sits right outside of it. It’s a great place to sit with your camera and see interesting views of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument and the US Capitol. The best time of day to shoot this memorial is probably sunset.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 2.5 seconds and ISO 500 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105mm. LOL that’s how you know this is an older image. I shot it with my Canon. Ahhh memories.