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Not to call anyone out, but are you a senior citizen? If so, you should definietly know about the new changes to the National Park passes. Starting August 28th, the National Park service is increasing the price of the pass from $10 to $80. So you have exactly 2 weeks to get one if you are old enough. The best part is that you get free admission to any National Park for the rest of your life. That’s a freakin’ deal if you ask me!

Right before our trip to Colorado and Utah, Andrew and I purchased a regular National Park pass. It was $80 and it’s only good for a year. With that trip alone, it paid for itself. A lot of the parks that we went to were $20-$25 admission and the amount of parks we visited paid for the pass within 5 days of our trip. So awesome and convienet. There were even some state parks that accepted the pass too. It’s totally worth it.

So if you’re interested, click on this link from the National Park Service page for more information. Share it with your family and friends too! They will thank you.

This image was taken in Rocky Mountain National Park on our last sunrise of the trip. The sunrise itself wasn’t that great but as soon as the sun came up above the horizon, it turned everything around Bear Lake pink! And that rock in the middle of the water was so beautiful. I knew it would make a great piece for foreground. The perfect way to end our trip even though I really didn’t want it to end. I really enjoyed my time in Rocky Mountain National Park and I look forward to visiting again soon. And any other National Park I visit if a senior citizen wanted to take me. LOL JK.

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Last week, I published the video from our road trip. Did you see it? I’m super happy with the way that it turned out. If you haven’t already, click here to watch.

The most surprising comments and questions that I got was in response to the waterfalls in the very beginning of the video. It was surprising to me because it seemed like not a lot of people knew about it. To be honest, I didn’t know about either until I started researching the for the cross country road trip. There was tons of information about it on tripadvisor.com. I’m so glad we stopped here. It was the perfect rest stop for lunch and to stretch out our legs a bit from the drive.

So this waterfall is calling Falling Springs. It’s 80ft tall, so it’s pretty massive. My favorite part about it is that you can walk behind the waterfall and get some cool perspectives. We didn’t do it this time because I was afraid to get wet and then have to sit in the car all the way to Nashville, TN in wet clothes. I’ll be more prepared next time I visit. Second favorite part was the area above the waterfall. As you could see in the video, the water was super blue. Almost like we were in Puerto Rico or something but super surprising since we were only in Virginia. Next time I visit, you better believe I’ll be the first person on that rope swing!

I also go a few questions about trespassing. Apparently, people aren’t allowed to go near the waterfall and you could actually get tickets for jumping the gate. I did see a sign for trespassing while we were there, but it was kinda hidden behind branches and leaves. But the funny part was that the sign was right near the entrance to the waterfall and it was wide open. We didn’t really think much of it and just went right on through. There were plenty of other people enjoying the water too, so I don’t know…

If you plan on visiting, I’m sure you’d love it. But if you get in trouble for it, you don’t know me 🙂

 

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The last night in New Mexico and we tried to visit Taos Pueblo. I say ‘tried’ because there was road construction and we weren’t actually able to make it in to the vicinity! So 2 hours of driving basically went down the drain. It’s all good though. I always try to make the best of the situation and luckily the town outside of the Pueblo had some amazing Tex  Mex. So we stopped for a little bit to stretch out legs and got some food. And I’m talking about cheese on top of cheese with a little bit of cheese sprinkled on top plus some of the best bites of elote corn I’ve ever had. YUMMMM.

With our bellies full we made the drive back to Santa Fe. We stopped at a few scenic overlooks which were all very beautiful but it wasn’t until about 30 minutes before sunset did the sky really start changing. A storm was about to come through and I had no idea where we could stop to take pics. I was totally prepared to take sunset pictures at the Taos but didn’t know where I could do it along the road. Soon enough we drove right by this huge intersection and I quickly pulled into the parking lot of a Ohkay Casino. It was probably the most random place to pull over considering there bus loads of people and cars there but it didn’t matter, I was there for the backdrop of the casino. I mean how amazing is this backyard? Absolutely nuts. The mountain range seemed like it was out of a movie but we had no idea who or what was inside the shack. We kept our distance and I decided to just use it as a foreground.

Moral of the story: everything will be ok as long as cheese is involved.

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Happy  Independence day! Hope you all have a great 4th of July full of fun, family and fireworks 🙂

This image was taken last year before the National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened. It was amazing! My friend, Jim (who I used to intern for at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) and I were the only ones inside the fence taking pictures. So I’m pretty sure that means we’ll be the only two people EVER with an image like this. With no one in the shot with 4th of July fireworks with the museum and Washington Monument standing side-by-side. Pretty awesome, huh? But I do remember how gloomy and cloudy the day was. The whole day called for rain and we got little pockets here and there. I remember thinking that they may totally call off the fireworks since the clouds were so dark and heavy. Luckily, they went off as planned. But unfortunately again, we weren’t able to see the ones that went really high in the sky. We could only hear them. The clouds were so dark that you couldn’t even see the color in them from the firecrackers. We could only see some of the lower hanging ones. Oh well. I still think this turned out pretty amazingly. But a cool effect that happened from all that rain that I didn’t expect were the reflections in the walkways. I purposely got down lower so I could really highlight the reflectiveness of the ground.

I’ll be out taking fireworks images again this year at the National Mall. I’m really looking forward to it. Its like 20 minutes of pure excitement. So if you need any tips on how to shoot fireworks, check out this video I created 4 years ago. All the rules still apply:

Happy shooting and be safe!

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Devils Garden in Arches National Park at sunrise. The best part about this entire trail was that we were pretty much by ourselves. Hardly anyone was out there so early in the morning. I felt like I had the whole park to ourselves. But we did run into a few chipmunks, deer, etc. They were cool.

If you’re interested in doing the hike, it’s pretty easy. For the most part the land is flat and the trail itself is well marked. The rock formations were great because they provided some shade underneath that hot sun. However, had I known earlier we would of been able to see so much more than we did. There was kind of a split in the middle of the road around this huge rock. Andrew and I didn’t know which way to go so we kinda decided to just walk back to the car and try out some other trails.

Which leads me to the question, how much research do you guys do before you leave for a trip? I have an idea of the things that I want to see when I visit a new place. I’ll mark them on a map and figure out which is better, sunrise, sunset, or during the day. But I’m not sure if I do enough research like how to get there or how long it will take. I kinda leave to when we arrive at our destination to figure that kinda stuff out. Partly out of laziness but partly because I know things always change. Road closures, construction, etc. Sometimes those things can be hard to predict. For the most part it works, but had I known the Devils Garden trail went a lot further out, I would of been able to see some more really cool arches. Oh well. You live and you learn.