clouds

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Every morning I have a routine. After I have settled into my desk and take care of the little things that need to be done, I will begin my day with processing an image. It relaxes me, it makes me happy and I feel accomplished once it’s done. I’m one of those photographers who enjoys the process of editing an image and I really believe that it’s at that time in front of the computer that your image really comes to life. Your emotions and vision become whole.

After I’m done, I’ll save it to a folder on my desktop called “haven’t blogged yet” and then uploaded the image to instagram. I usually come up with some little phrase or caption that suites the image but as soon as it’s up, I’ll mostly likely forget about the image. It’s kinda of those one and done things and then I’m on to working on the main focus for the day. However it doesn’t always make it on to instagram. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the social media network. Most of the time, I love it. But there have been a few instances where the image just doesn’t look good. Whether it’s the instagram cropping, the resolution quality or even if it doesn’t fit well with the ‘grid’ view of my other images, there will be images that won’t even make it to my instagram. Is that being called being too picky?

On the flip side, people who follow me on instagram are the ones who are the first to see most of my images.

I have quite a few images in the “haven’t blogged yet” folder that have not seen the light of day on any social media. I still really enjoy them but sometimes, it just doesn’t fit well. They would only look good on my blog, facebook, and other social medias where you can see the whole entire piece. This is one of those images.

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So I stayed around a little longer to check out the sunset. I figured it was going to be good one after all the rain we got. Plus that epic double rainbow still had my shutter-clicking finger itchin’ for some more.

It was an interesting night. The west was fully covered with clouds. No chance of any light or color peaking through. The only color we got was coming from the east and it was so beautiful. This soft pastel-y kinda of pink invaded the lingering storm clouds. But I think my favorite part of this image is the US Capitol’s dome reflection. For the same exact reasons that I liked this one of the Washington Monument. The ducks swimming past just made it that much more interesting. Luckily these particular ducks just kept on swimming back and forth in front of my camera for some reason so I had plenty of opportunity to catch them at the right time. And the whole time I was trying to capture these ducks, there was an elementary school girl next to me taking a time lapse on her iPhone. Her friend kept on asking her to take instagram pictures of her but she explained that she couldn’t. She couldn’t stop taking the time lapse of the ducks and sunset because it was so “aesthetically pleasing”. She kept on repeating that phrase over and over again because she was just so proud of her time lapse. So the whole time I was taking this picture, I was definietly making a conscious effort to make sure my images were ‘aesthetically pleasing’ as well.

The settings for this image is F/8 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 1250. The light was dark and the ducks were going by fast. I had to make sure I got a clear image for the shot I had envisioned in my head.

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This summer has been so good so far. I’ve been to more new-to-me places in the United States these past few weeks then I ever have in my whole entire life. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! So grateful.

And our trip to Colorado seemed like it was so long ago but it really wasn’t. It was just the jump off to so many amazing adventures. I had a blast just driving around and checking out the sites. Beautiful mountain ranges at every turn. I remember purposely staying awake in the car so that I could see more of Colorado and once we hit Utah, I was out like a light bulb. LOL.

So this image was taken at one of our many pull over stops. I have no clue where it was but I just really enjoyed the cloud formations and the way the light was hitting the mountains. Can you imagine seeing this on your daily commute? That’d be bananas. I feel like after this trip, I am much more in awe of snow capped mountains than I am of any beach or anything like that.

I really don’t know what it’s like in the winter time but if it weren’t too bad, I’d definietly consider living in Colorado for a little while. That’s how much I liked it. So if you’re reading this and you have experienced the winter in Colorado, let me know! Is the snow just ridiculous? Would I have to get a SUV? What do you do in the winter time besides ski? These are the questions I need answered before I move.  The weather while we were there in the beginning of June was absolutely perfect! The air was so crisp and clean. Perfect weather to walk around or enjoy a meal outside.

 

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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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And we’re in the home stretch. Today we’ll be arriving in San Diego which is our final destination for our great American road trip and we’ll be spending the rest of the weekend here. I’m not going to lie, this has been the time of my life but it has also been exhausting. Driving across country is something that I never thought I’d do but I’ve learned so much from it. Next time I do this, I want to drive through the northern part of the country like South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming. Theres so much more to the country that I haven’t seen. Seeing it from the road is a great way to appreciate it all. Hopefully Andrew and Frankie will be able to join. That would be sooo much fun.

This image was taken on top of the parking garage at Union Station. Pro tip- Union Station itself is amazing to photograph. Interior, exterior, beautiful views it has it all. Then after you’re all done, you can go down to the restaurants and get an adult beverage. But seriously, this an amazing spot for sunset with an unique view of the Capitol. There aren’t many places where you can go on a rooftop or shoot from a very tall point of view in Washington DC. Especially now since the Washington Monument is closed for who knows how long. So for a great birds eye view of things, Union Station is one of the best places to go to.

My settings for this image was F6.3 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 160. I did not have my tripod with me at this time but I should of. The wall of the parking garage is pretty tall. Taller than what I’m used to, so shooting for me was a little difficult. The whole time I was standing on my tipy-toes but like Tim Gunn says, ‘I made it work‘ 🙂