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

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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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! ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love shooting the fog. *but knowing me, I’ll probably tell you a 100 more times so just pretend it’s like your first time hearing it each time I tell you. You know that scene in Cinderella when all the birds and mice dress her up for the ball? It’s like a whirlwind of magic and then all of the sudden, she’s ready? That’s what it’s like shooting in the fog for me except I really hope there are no mice circling me and I pretty much look exactly the same as I did before it got all foggy. But what I mean by the Cinderella reference is that I feel like I’m being wrapped up in this warm magical cloud whenever I’m walking through the fog. It’s absolutely amazing. But what it does to the scenery is even better. Everything is so muted and reduced down to the bare minimum. If I could wake up everyday to fog, I’d be a happy photographer.

That’s why I was super excited when I saw the Jefferson Memorial like this. Just a tiny hint of reflection in the Tidal Basin water with a bit more of the top of the Jefferson Memorial and cherry blossom trees peaking through. You have just enough information to know where this is. You may think this is black and white, but it’s not. Just the way the scene presented itself. I was standing on Kutz Bridge literally in awe of it all.

This was shot on my tripod with camera settings F/9 at 1/30th of a second with ISO 200. Not much photoshop editing with this one either. The hardest part was getting rid of all those dust spots! Man am I the only one who can never keep a clean sensor?

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It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Holocaust Museum in DC. The first and only time was when I was in elementary school. It wasn’t a school trip or anything but it was an experience that was hard to forget. I remember the hall of shoes and wanting to run out of that room as fast as I could. I also remember being so relieved once we were done with the museum because it was that emotional and heart-breaking. As a young girl, I don’t think I¬†completely understood what I was looking at but even then I knew I didn’t like it.

So when the opportunity came up to visit the museum again, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I was still ready to visit all those emotions again. However this time was different. I was asked to visit for a social media architectural tour in honor of the Holocaust Remembrance day at the museum. The concentration was on the building itself however my favorite part was listening to Holocaust survivor, Margit Meissner speak. Her story of escaping the Nazis¬†were both heroic and inspiring. She wore a pin that said “What I do Matters” and I will carry that mantra with me for as long as I can.

This image is from the¬†Tower of Faces. An overwhelming three-story hallway of portraits of families, children and people devoted to the Jewish community in Eisiskes, Lithuania. Just looking into the eyes and faces of these people was so powerful. In the middle¬†of the image is my friend, Zack. I didn’t tell him to pose like that or anything. It’s was just his natural reaction to try to capture it all. I think we were both just totally blown away by this particular room because we both walked in saying “Wow”.

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Last week I said ‘goodbye’ to my friend, Navin. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that we’ll randomly meet up and shoot together. He was one of the first people I ever met in the DC photo community and it’s so crazy to think he won’t be here anymore. Our mutual friend, Joe threw him a little going away party and what do photographers do when they’re moving¬†away? Obviously¬†we get together and shoot one last sunset before heading off to get some drinks at a near by bar.

It was the perfect send off. All day we had crazy weather. I think I saw weather reports saying we had three tornados touch down in DC on that day. At some points it was even hailing. Luckily, when we met up the rain had stopped for a little bit. The clouds were racing above us and we were able to get some super moody shots. Then without any warning, it started to downpour. It wasn’t so bad because even through the downpour, there was still this amazing light that shined through the clouds that made everything illuminate and it was so¬†beautiful.

This image was shot at F7.1 at 1/200th of a second ISO 400. Again, the clouds were pretty crazy and dark this day but I was super excited to get that one little clearing above the dome. Its my favorite part of this image because it looks like a little halo over the United States Capitol Building.

Its always fun shooting with people who have the same interests in photography as you. It was just a bonus that you ended up being a cool person as well. Best of luck in the Bay Area, Navin! Come back and visit and we’ll shoot again ūüôā

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CRAZY foggy morning last week. I was so excited when I saw this.¬†I’ve NEVER seen the monument like this before.

So, a lot of people have been asking me where I was standing when I shot this. Its funny because I was just standing at the Tidal Basin. Nothing really special or unusual. So many people commented thinking that I was up in the air somewhere, flying a drone or maybe even at the old post office. Nope. Just standing on beautiful planet earth when I captured this.