camera settings

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It seems a little early, but I’m already thinking about pictures this year for fall foliage. Like I mentioned in my blog post last week, our trip to Acadia National Park is already booked.  I’m really looking forward to that adventure, but I want to  find more local places to take pictures. Great Falls Park has always been one of my favorite for this reason. The trees are beautiful and I love seeing the bright colors in contrast with the gigantic waterfall. I also really like it when you can see leaves falling on to the rocks. One of my favorite images from the past couple of years was one at sunset with the evening glow lighting up the Maryland side. Click here to see what I’m talking about. It’s not photoshopped. It was really that bright orange.

On a side note, I have also created this guide if you wanted to check out Great Falls Park yourself. You’ll love it. The guide and the park 🙂  If you’ve never been, the Virginia side is my personal favorite. The Maryland side doesn’t seem to have as many great viewpoints.

In more technical preparations for the fall color, I’ve invested in my first set of circular polarizers for my wide angle and zoom lenses. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try them out before our trip. But I’ll let you know how I like them when I get back. Here’s a really informative blog post by Digital Photography School that pushed me to actually get them.

The camera settings for this image is 0.4 seconds at F/14 at ISO 100. Shot with no filters on a tripod. My favorite part of this image is being able to see the color of the sky in the water. I think I could stare at that one little section for hours.

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Cherry Blossoms! On one hand I wish they would stick around longer than a week at a time. On the other, I think it’s what makes me appreciate them even more. They’re so delicate and beautiful. My favorite is when they look like kernels of popcorn jumping off the branch.

My trick with cherry blossoms is to photograph them off the tripod. That’s right, no tripod at all. Unless you’re shooting the sky at sunrise or sunset, I feel like the tripod can be restricting. Especially when you’re trying for new angles and points of view. I tend to put my camera as close as I can get to them and start composing from there. They make for great foreground elements as well a good way to frame and using the branches for line. I particularly like this image because the cherry blossoms are coming at you from every which way. Some may say the ones in the very front should be in focus, but I like the out of focus ones the most. It adds an extra element of depth that you wouldn’t get if they were in sharp.

This was shot early morning, right after sunrise. So my camera settings for this image was F/8 at 1/1000th of a second ISO 1000. Not sure why my ISO was so high. That must have been a mistake. If I were to do it again, it’d probably be in the 100 to 200 range. Results would be the same but I’m sure during post processing I had to denoise it to get rid of the small specks.

Here’s hoping we get a normal winter this year and the snow stops falling in February instead of March like it did this year! A lot of these suckers didn’t’ get to full term this year 🙁

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Flowers are my favorite. They make me so happy. Especially when you see a whole bunch of them growing like these sunflowers in southern Maryland. This image was taken last year and I’ve heard the ones this year are just couple weeks away from blooming. Can’t wait!

So if you’re in the DC metro area and interested in shooting these sunflowers, google or click this link for McKee Beshers. It’s hard to give an exact location to where they are but on their website, they’ll have a map of where the sunflowers are blooming. That will be your best bet.

If I can offer you any tips on shooting these sunflowers, it would be BRING BUG SPRAY. Not even joking. I’ve never had so many bug bites in my life. Two years ago, I went with my friend Ryan to go shooting and at one point we decided there were way too many mosquitos and we started running back to the car. Tell me how I swallowed 2 of them!!! It’s absolutely nuts how they just swarm you. I’ll never wear shorts out there. I rather be hot in long pants and a shirt before I even think about going there with too much exposed skin. If you haven’t noticed yet, these bugs are for real. Definietly take precautions. The mosquitos and I are not friends.

Other than that, sunset is probably your best time to go too. I’ve tried sunrise a few times but where these fields are located, sunset is definietly the time with the best light. I’ve seen people bring ladders and that’s probably a cool point of view as well. If you have any other questions about these sunflowers, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂 I know a lot of people were asking me about them on instagram so I think that answers the majority of them.

My settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/13th of a second ISO 125 shot at sunset while a storm was approaching.

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H O M E!

Arrived into Dulles airport real late last night and went straight to bed. Today I plan on catching up on a lot of emails, laundry and image editing. Any image or place you want to see in particular? I’m taking requests. LOL. Can’t wait to start diving in to these photos. Only problem is that I took so many pictures that it’s hard to figure out where to start! Its a good problem I guess 🙂 More stories about our road trip as the blog posts start rolling out and there will be a youtube video!

But it feels so good to be home.

In general, many people ask me for my secret shooting location or favorite spot to shoot in DC. It’s hard to say. But what’s easy to say is my favorite parking spot. It’s 100% the paddle boat parking lot at the Tidal Basin, as seen on this map. It is by far the most centrally located parking space to all the monuments, but for some reason hardly anyone parks here. Theres always plenty of parking whenever I go. Plus it’s freeeee! The only down side to this parking lot is that it’s closed during Cherry Blossom season. 2 weeks out of the year? No big deal. I’ll take it!

Even if you’re feeling a bit lazy and don’t want to leave the parking lot, you get some beautiful views like this one. I love these new swan paddle boats. They make things so much more interesting.

I shot this with my fav, Ice Neutral Density Filter 10stop to get that silky smoother water. My camera settings for this image was F7.1 at 25 seconds at ISO 500 on a tripod on a super cloudy but beautiful evening.

Starting tomorrow will be images from our trip! Can’t wait to share with you! EEEKKKKKKKK.

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Flying home today from our crazy road trip adventure. Everyday was jammed packed with excitement, food and sight seeing. I can’t wait to tell you all more about it. Over 2,600 miles under our belts, I can definietly say that it was a trip that’d be hard to forget. But I’m so glad we’re not driving back. Faster, airplane, faster! 🙂

I’ll definietly have a youtube video for you as soon as possible.

For now, heres an image I took earlier this year at the National Cherry Blossom festival in DC. I specifically remember thinking that I wanted that guy to get out of my shot but I figured that after 10 minutes of waiting, he wasn’t moving. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m taking pictures of something, that way people will think that they are in my shot and will want to move. Nope. Didn’t work for him. He was far more interested in what was down there than what I was doing. Oh well. At least I was able to line him up with the sun burst.

But even though I had the time of my life on this road trip, it feels good to be going back home. Looking at this image makes me think about how much I love living where I live and I’m super grateful. Theres no where else in the world like Washington DC. For the good and the bad. It’s always exciting.

My camera settings for this image was F/20 at 1/40th of a second at ISO 500. My aperture was super small so I was able to get the sun burst even bigger and sharper but the ISO was pumped up a little bit so I could shoot it fast. I also love that it smoothed out the water. Just don’t drop your tripod in there 😉

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Today on our road trip we’re driving from Oklahoma City, OK to Roswell, New Mexico. Over the weekend we zipped past the east coast and most of the central time zone with only a few stops. This was intentional because Sue and I wanted to spend most of the time in the south west. The temperatures will be hot but the pictures will be too, amiright? *high five* Really looking forward to the rest of this adventure. Follow along on my instagram stories to see what we’ve been getting up to in real-time.

The image above was taken just a few weeks ago in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. I loved seeing these little cacti along the walking trails. Every time I saw one, I’d squeal. They’re just so cute. I bet if you were just walking, you wouldn’t even notice them. They aren’t very big and there weren’t very many of them but it’s little details like this that I love photographing. Things other might have passed by but if you really take your time and look around, they’re so fun to see. The sunrise lighting was perfect. Perfectly describes the mood I felt while I was there, happy and warm.

I did not have a macro lens with me on this trip, so I shot this with my 16-35mm wide angle. That was so I could make sure to get enough foreground and background in this shot. My camera settings for this image was f7.1 at 1/25th of a second at ISO 250. My favorite part is seeing the glow on all the plants in this image. Especially the tall purple flowers on the right hand side. Barely noticeable, but it’s there 🙂 And who knows who’s foot prints those are in the very front. They definietly were not mine.