So unbelievably thrilled the fireworks show still went on last night. I had the amazing opportunity to go behind the fence and shoot at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It’s not even opened! My friend Jim, who’s the photographer at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History got access and invited me to go along with him.

What’s crazy is that this shot may never come again. This year we were allowed to go behind the fence but next year it will be open to the public. That means there would be people all crowded around in this shot. Its still so cool to think that this could be the only one like this!! *mind blown*

I’ll be posting more similar to these, so be on the look out 🙂 Thanks again, Jim. You rock!

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Independence day is right around the corner and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about where to shoot. So here it is, the best places to shoot the fireworks in Washington DC with views of the monuments:

Of course the National Mall is the top pick. This was taken on the Washington Monument lawn facing the Lincoln Memorial. The earlier you get there the better, but you don’t have to wait all day. I got there 3-4 hours before the fireworks started and there was still plenty of room for everyone. Count on the metro to be super crowded. And of course, the bathrooms are an extraaa long wait.

Fireworks on the National Mall

Fireworks on the National Mall

Here’s a quick little video to watch them in action:

Another good place to go is Roosevelt Island off of the GW Parkway. You get a killer view of the Lincoln and Washington Monument all lined up. You could pack a picnic and go early for this one but again, its not completely necessary. There are so many places along the trail that offer great views of the fireworks. However, the traffic on the parkway can get pretty nuts. Especially once the fireworks get going, many cars stop to watch. If anything, plan on walking to Rosslyn metro station to get home.

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A 10 minute walk from Roosevelt Island

Last but not least, Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington VA. This is the ONLY one where I recommend you get there as early as possible. Like pack a lunch and dinner because I’ve seen some people wait there starting morning time. The only area available to sit and watch is the little grassy area by the apartments so go early if you want a good line up of the Iwo Jima memorial with the DC monuments. Did I mention you should go early?

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Fireworks at the Iwo Jima Memorial

Skip to 3:50 to see what it’s actually like.

And if you need a few tips on how to photograph the fireworks, here’s a little video I made a couple of years ago on how to do it. This is the exact way I shot all these fireworks images in this guide.

Hope you enjoy and Happy Independence Day!

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It’s official! It’s been one year since I became a master at the Arcanum and started inviting friends into my cohort. There have been many things that have been said about the Arcanum like, “it’s changed my life” or “it’s such a great community” but the thing about it, is that it’s all totally true.

Last year, on July 7th I was really nervous. I really didn’t really know what I getting myself into but most of all, I was worried about my ability to lead and mentor 20 photographers. I mean, what do I really have to offer that they couldn’t learn anywhere else?

So I pushed my fears aside and slowly built up my cohort with 20 AMAZING landscape and nature photographers. And through this experience I’ve learned so much! I even feel a little guilty because my cohort has taught me sooo much about photography and friendship that it doesn’t even feel like a mentor/mentee relationship anymore. It really just feels like friends with common interests hanging out.

If you’ve been a long time follower of my blog, you may have noticed my photography style has changed a bit in the past year. In the very beginning of the blog I used to shoot and process exclusively HDR. Now with the Arcanum and specifically my cohort, I’ve pushed out of my own comfort zone to try new things in shooting, processing, and just the whole way I look at photography. And for that I’m extremely grateful for my cohort, Angelaville because I’m so much prouder of my work as of recent.

But it’s not just interacting with the members of Angelaville, it’s hanging out with the other masters and members of the Arcanum that makes this whole experience soooo much cooler. I’ve met some pretty awesome people and I’m confident that wherever I go in the world, I’ll have a friend to meet up with through the Arcanum.

So to say that the Arcanum is life changing is totally an understatement. It’s only been a year and I can’t even remember what I used to do before it came about. It’s totally rocked my photo world I can’t wait to see what the next year holds 🙂