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I found the biggest difference between photographing the US Capitol and the other memorials like Lincoln Memorial or Jefferson Memorial during lightning was the fact that there was no real place to hide from the rain. At least when you visit the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, you are able to hide under a bit of shelter and still be able to create images. At the US Capitol there is nothing like that so you’re basically out in the open, hoping your camera gear doesn’t get soaked.

That was the case for this image. I actually had a huge rain droplet in the middle of my lens and didn’t even notice until a couple of frames after this image. Its ok though because I cropped the image to the most interesting part of the image anyways. I’m just glad I caught it when I did. Every time the lighting would strike, it turned the skies crazy purple. I love how the relationship between the lightning and the US Capitol dome. The lighting bolt is twisting and turning in all kinds of ways when the US Capitol is so straight and architectural. I think my favorite part of the image is the fact that the lights are still on in the dome. It some how gives it even more life.

I’m really looking forward to photographing more lightning this summer, especially since sunrise is so early now, I’ve noticed that I’ve been shooting a lot more sunsets and night images than sunrises. LOL. I woke up yesterday to capture the sunrise and it was totally washed out with rain. I should have just stayed in bed…

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/15th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.

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So after my lightning practice last week at the Jefferson Memorial aiming at the Washington Monument, I had another opportunity to shoot lightning the very next day. This time I was at theĀ Artechouse, which you should definietly go visit. Their latest exhibit is probably my favorite so far. It’s a celebration of lights that really can not be missed. Anyways, I was about to leave the exhibit when I got an alert on my phone saying that lightning struck 3 miles away from my current location. So you know what that means right? Leave asap so you can go storm chasing!

I figured that the US Capitol was the closest, cool looking building to me. Luckily it hadn’t started raining yet and I always have my tripod in my car so I parked as close as I could to the Capitol and made my way over. I had a blast! The wind was blowing and the lightning strikes were crazy big. While I was at the Jefferson Memorial, I had to wait some time between each strike maybe a 2-3 minutes but this time they were coming every 15-20 seconds. It was AWESOMEEEE. I was out there for only 30 minutes or so before the real big rain hit but I’m super happy with the way that this turned out.

Every time the lighting struck it would light up the sky to this amazing blue/purple color. It was such a beautiful show. There were even people who were leaving the Capitol that couldn’t help but to stop and take selfies. Such an exiting night to say the least. I ran back to the car as soon as the rain really started to pick up and it was all good in the neighborhood.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/13th of a second ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.

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Ok, back to more cherry blossoms images šŸ™‚

Another one of my goals this season was to capture the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial with the cherry blossoms. If I was going to be at the Tidal Basin, I wanted to try different things from what I typically do. Going back and looking at my images, I barely have any of the Jefferson Memorial and the cherry blossoms. So weird, right? Last year they were like peanut butter and jelly. This year it was like the Jefferson Memorial didn’t even show up to the party.

I also realized that I don’t have very many images of the Martin Luther King Jr memorial in general, let alone with the cherry blossoms. So anytime I was close or even from far away, I was trying out different compositions. I was determined to get something I liked.

This one was taken about 30 minute before sunrise. As you can see, another windy morning but I love the color combination of the pink flowers with the blueish looking sky. We got real lucky this year. We had almost two solid weeks of cherry blossoms, compared to last year when we didn’t even have a week. So I had time to play with compositions. I still haven’t gone through all the images yet, but this one stood out to me. I like how he still looks very powerful and determined with the cherry blossom framing him. Like nothing can distract him, not even pretty flowers. On the other hand, I’m the one who’s driving around and will break for pretty flowers growing in people’s yards and point them out to all my passengers. Ask Andrew. He’s not a fan of when I do that. LOL

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.6 seconds and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens on my gitzo tripod.

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Lately I’ve been getting more and more dm’s on instagram asking me about the camera lenses I use. To be honest, I don’t have very many. But I have plans of adding to my collection soon.

But if you’re at all interested in knowing, I have listed all my sony lenses and even my canon lens gear here. *If you didn’t know I used to shoot canon before I switched to sony about 3 or 4 years ago. So if you’re a canon shooter, check out this link. My friend, Andy asked me about my old canon wide angle lensĀ and compared them to other canon wide angle lenses. Pretty interesting how he laid it all out.

For this image, I used my 16-35mm zeiss wide angle lens. It was the only way I would have been able to capture this entire scene in just one frame. I love the way the cherry blossom tree branch is reaching towards the bench and then spikes all the way up. It’s like the craziest 90 degree angle in nature I’ve ever seen. But I also love how that first branch is just arching right above, framing the bench so nicely. I’m sure I’ve walked passed this scene a million times but I’m so glad I saw it during cherry blossom season. The fluffy pink flowers just fills the scene so much more and adds a lot of color to an otherwise dark image.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1.3 seconds at ISO 800 shot with my Sony A7II. I don’t remember if I captured this with my tripod or not but I’m assuming it’s handheld. Otherwise the ISO would not be that high but to be honest, if it was handheld, I’m surprised I was able to hold my camera steady for 1.3 seconds.

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The cherry blossoms haven’t bloomed this year. I’m hoping they’ll be out at this time next week.

So this is an image I took last year around this same time. I have tried working on this image several times in the past year but I could never get it right. It’s really different from other images I create because of the lighting. I don’t have much practice with artificial lighting, especially outdoors like that. So whenever I edited it, the colors would look funny and didn’t like it. I’m so happy with the way this one turned out. It’s exactly what I had envisioned from the very beginning. Finally.

It was that same super foggy day that I tookĀ this image and this one. This just happens to be the very first image I took that whole morning. The fog had not fully settle in yet so you can see how it’s covering half of the Washington Monument. Little did I know that later on in the morning the entire monument would be covered. So cool!

And little did I know, I would drop my tripod in the Tidal BasinĀ that day too. *face palm* #neverforget.

Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend. I am about to send out my monthly newsletter on Sunday the 1st so if you aren’t subscribed, please do so here. You won’t want to miss out on free calendar downloads, an updated cherry blossom guide and so much more! And if you do use the free wallpapers, screen shot them and send them to me! I would love to see it!

The settings for this image is F8 at 2.5 seconds and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.

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Taken around the same time as this image. I really love those moody, rainstorm clouds. I remember it had been raining on and off all day that day. This happened to be during one of those off periods. What had actually inspired me to take this image was that cartoon you see on the right hand side. In particular that one with the green background and cute little bunny screaming on it. I recognized those characters from our trip to Japan 2 years ago. I believe the cartoon is called ‘Line Town’ and I thought they were so kawaii. They even had their own store near Harajuku and I believe Andrew and I bought a couple of tshirts there for our nieces and nephews. I was so excited to see Line Town come to America that I had to take a cool reflection shot of it. Duhhh! I didn’t make it into the Times Square store but at least I’ll have more opportunities to go than I did when it was only in Japan.

So I started to set up my shot but then that guy who’s covering it saw me trying to look for my composition. I know I was taking taking my time but it may have been too long. Because when I first saw this scene, there was no one there! But that’s New York for you, there are people EVERYWHERE and at any given moment, one of them could walk right into you composition. Right when I was ready to click, there he was, in front of the green bunny. I could have waited to see if he would move but there were more people behind me on their way. Oh well. I still think it turned out pretty cool.

My settings for this image is F8 at 1/50th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. At first I was surprised that the shutter speed was so fast at ISO 400 on such a gloomy day, but then I realized it’s times square. It’s always so bright there so you really don’t need a high ISO to shoot fast. LOL.