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You know, I photograph Washington DC a lot. LOL. A lot of the time it’s at sunrise. And lately there hasn’t been a real sunrise that has gotten me excited to shoot, except for this day! I woke up a little earlier than usual and made my way down to the National Mall. Driving in I knew it was going to be a real good one. It’s really hard to say how, but I can just tell by looking at the clouds. Needless to say, I was super hyped.

I knew right away that it was going to be a great photo day. I wanted to make sure that my feet kept on moving as I walked through the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I try my best to experiment with different compositions at the places I go to the most. I really don’t like going home with a SD card full of the same exact images. So the only way to prevent that from happening is to keep on moving. But something was calling me back to the Reflecting Pool. I knew it was going to be THE place to capture this amazing sky.

As soon as I turned the corner from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, I stood in awe. It was AMAZING. My favorite is seeing the perfect cloud reflections in the water. In order to capture it all, I had to get real low. No tripod, just balanced my camera on the ground and hoping my winter shivers didn’t move the camera too much. It literally looked like the sky was on fire. Couldn’t have asked for a better morning!

The settings for this image is F8 at 1/20th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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I have to tell you something.

I have been working on 2018 Dynamic DC Calendar for the past few weeks and it’s going to be so awesome. I don’t know why but I’m so excited about this one. Next year’s calendar is going to be better than ever. Pre-sale announcement will be coming out soon. If you’re planning on getting one, I’d suggest to get it at that time. There is only a limited amount and they usually go pretty quickly. (Especially since my parents always order a whole bunch. Thanks mom and dad!!!) So be on the look out for that and make some space on your wall. It’s gonna be outstanding!

Unfortunately, this image is not in the calendar this year. I tried my best to get a variety of sunrise/sunset images but also colorful ones, night sky ones, etc. But maybe next year….

I love this fountain. It so beautiful and whenever I’m driving by or stopped to take pictures, there’s hardly anyone around. I have no idea why. It seems like such a cute little park with beautiful landscaping and flowers that everyone would want to hangout at. It sort of reminds me of being in France. Do you feel like that? Anyways, the sculptor who designed this is also known for designing the Statue of Liberty. Isn’t that so cool? I could definietly seem some similarities between the two. In case you were interested, the designer’s name is Fréderic Auguste Bartholdi. The fountain used to be in Philadelphia but I’m glad it found it’s way to DC’s US Botanical Garden.

The settings for this image is F/9 for 30 seconds at ISO 50. My favorite part of the image is seeing all the little swirls the water creates. It’s so interesting to follow the pattern all around the image.

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For some reason it has just occurred to me that summer is almost over. What?! Like didn’t it just start last week? I feel like I now have to pack all these summer activities in the next 3 weeks before fall comes. What about you? What are the things you have to do every summer? My idea of a good time is just being outdoors. Although this past month it seems like it’s been raining more than it has been sunny. I hope that doesn’t mean we’re going to have a real cold winter.

In effort to jam in as much as we can these last few weeks of summer, Andrew and I have booked another trip to go to New York City at the end of the month. He must have realized how fast summer was going too. HAHA. We’ll be staying for a few days which will be really different for us. We’re usually there for a weekend and we’re gone. This time, I’m really looking forward to taking my time in the city but I already know if Andrew’s involved there will definietly be massive amounts of eating amazing food. It’s usually his job to find the food. It’s my job to find the photo opportunities. So I want to go to the places that I’ve always wanted to go to visit but we were never able to cram into a weekend getaway. Like art museums or trying to find some amazing views from New York buildings like the top of the Empire State building or top of the One World Trade Center. So if you guys have any New York City recommendations, please let me know. We’ll be staying in Brooklyn this time and Frankie is coming with us too! Family filled fun <3

So the settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/200th of a second ISO 160.

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It’s pretty rare to be able to get an image like this. I think it’s only possible at sunrise. With the glow of the morning peaking through the entrance and hardly anyone there, I feel lucky to live in the DC area and be able to do things like this.

In the image is my friend, Del. I met her and her husband, Matt a couple of years ago in San Francisco. We stayed in touch through social media so it was awesome when they sent me a message letting me know that they were going to be in town. We met up at sunrise in front of the reflecting pool and spent the next hour walking around the different memorials. I knew I had to take them inside the Lincoln Memorial. What other time do you get to have time alone with a President? Any other time of the day, this memorial is PACKED.

I also love how she adds scale to President Lincoln. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed something new I’ve been doing. I’ve been intentionally trying to add people into my images. Trying to break out of my comfort zone and trying new compositions. Most of the time the people look small, sometimes I put myself in the images, but nevertheless, it’s something that I’ve been really liking lately. It adds scale but also a human element that makes you feel like you’re in the picture with that person. Don’t worry though, I will still shoot “the silent landscapes” too. It’s just so hard to compare the two.

The exposure settings for this image is f/5.0 at 0.3 seconds at ISO 320 shot on a tripod. Luckily, Del was standing still long enough so that everything in the image is sharp.

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Before the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened, the National Museum of American Indian used to be the museum in Washington DC that was rated with the best food. It is also the only reason why I’d ever been to the museum. For the food. Try the fry bread! Yummm.

But over the weekend last week, Andrew and I found ourselves in the city with some time to kill. Luckily, I’ve started to get into this habit where I’ll bring my camera wherever I go. I used to leave it home and only take it out whenever I knew I was shooting. Lately, I’ll take it out whenever I know I’ll be out of the house for a while. You never know when a photo opportunity will hit! So I had my camera in hand and we headed over to the National Mall. By luck would have it, the parking spot we found was closest to the National Museum of American Indian, so we decided to go in.

Man, was I really missing out by heading straight to the cafeteria and not looking around. The architecture inside and out is beautiful and the exhibits were interesting. We didn’t get to see it all but enough so that I’d want to come back and spend more time here. I feel like a majority of the time, I was just looking up. I was excited to go to the top floor and check out what the ceiling looked like from every level. Is that weird? It sort of reminds me so much of the New York City Oculus.

Anyways, if this was brand new to me, I’m sure there are many more interiors that I’m missing out on in DC. Looking forward to checking out more. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

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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!