landscape

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Flowers are my favorite. They make me so happy. Especially when you see a whole bunch of them growing like these sunflowers in southern Maryland. This image was taken last year and I’ve heard the ones this year are just couple weeks away from blooming. Can’t wait!

So if you’re in the DC metro area and interested in shooting these sunflowers, google or click this link for McKee Beshers. It’s hard to give an exact location to where they are but on their website, they’ll have a map of where the sunflowers are blooming. That will be your best bet.

If I can offer you any tips on shooting these sunflowers, it would be BRING BUG SPRAY. Not even joking. I’ve never had so many bug bites in my life. Two years ago, I went with my friend Ryan to go shooting and at one point we decided there were way too many mosquitos and we started running back to the car. Tell me how I swallowed 2 of them!!! It’s absolutely nuts how they just swarm you. I’ll never wear shorts out there. I rather be hot in long pants and a shirt before I even think about going there with too much exposed skin. If you haven’t noticed yet, these bugs are for real. Definietly take precautions. The mosquitos and I are not friends.

Other than that, sunset is probably your best time to go too. I’ve tried sunrise a few times but where these fields are located, sunset is definietly the time with the best light. I’ve seen people bring ladders and that’s probably a cool point of view as well. If you have any other questions about these sunflowers, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂 I know a lot of people were asking me about them on instagram so I think that answers the majority of them.

My settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/13th of a second ISO 125 shot at sunset while a storm was approaching.

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The other day, Andrew and I were talking about how crazy the past two months have been. I think all the craziness started around Memorial day and it’s just been non-stop ever since. I’m not complaining though. It definietly makes life interesting and fun. But for some reason I feel like it’s only the beginning. And no, I’m not pregnant- MOM!

Then I started thinking about the year as a whole. I’m so grateful for everything that has happened this year and it all started in Iceland. A place I’ve visited before but this time I really got to explore and enjoy this amazing country. It’s just so beautiful at every turn. Everyone you meet is so nice when you talk to them. The food was better than expected and the waterfalls are even better.

However this image was taken at a black sand beach in Höfn called Stokksnes. No waterfalls that I knew of were near by but if you ever visit Iceland this place is definietly worth the drive. Holy crap I can’t express that enough. It’s amazingly beautiful. And the sunrises lasts for so long. We were there in the winter time so I don’t know what it’d be like in the summer. But the best part was that the sunrise was at 945a! (You can’t see my face but it looks like I just ate a sour lime, but in a really expressive/happy way.) It felt like we were there for an hour and the color was still changing and exploding. Highly recommended and I’d go again and again if I had the opportunity to.

So even though more than half the year is gone, I’m optimistic and really looking forward to new adventures. Which also reminds me, how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?

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Man o Man was Arizona hot! That’s what you get when you drive through a heat wave. I think the hottest we experienced was 115 degrees fahrenheit. Luckily, we were just in Tucson. I heard the heat was so hot that it was melting mailboxes in Phoenix! That’s pretty crazy if you ask me. We pretty much arrived in Tucson, went straight for the hotel pool, got out just in time for dinner in air conditioning and sunset in Saguaro National Park. The next morning we woke up and left Arizona, ASAP.

I didn’t expect too much from the park. I like to keep my expectations low so I don’t disappoint myself but it was way better than I had imagined! These Saguaro cactuses were huge. Way taller than me. So much fun to drive through and point at. If you’re planning on visiting anytime soon, I suggest starting out on the east end of the park where they have a paved road to drive through an 8 mile loop. There are a lot of pull over points where you can just stop and enjoy the views.

From a photographer’s standpoint I had a blast in this park but found it a little difficult to shoot. First of all, there are SO MANY saguaros. To single anyone of them out was difficult. Especially since there are so many cactuses around. They all sort of blended in with their surroundings if you wanted to shoot wide angle. So the way that I did it was to use a foreground element to sort of frame a really cool looking saguaro. I think if I had more time there, I’d also try to use the evening or early morning light to try to highlight the outline of the cactuses. I think that’d be pretty cool. Oh well, next time. Hopefully it won’t be as hot that time.

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Devils Garden in Arches National Park at sunrise. The best part about this entire trail was that we were pretty much by ourselves. Hardly anyone was out there so early in the morning. I felt like I had the whole park to ourselves. But we did run into a few chipmunks, deer, etc. They were cool.

If you’re interested in doing the hike, it’s pretty easy. For the most part the land is flat and the trail itself is well marked. The rock formations were great because they provided some shade underneath that hot sun. However, had I known earlier we would of been able to see so much more than we did. There was kind of a split in the middle of the road around this huge rock. Andrew and I didn’t know which way to go so we kinda decided to just walk back to the car and try out some other trails.

Which leads me to the question, how much research do you guys do before you leave for a trip? I have an idea of the things that I want to see when I visit a new place. I’ll mark them on a map and figure out which is better, sunrise, sunset, or during the day. But I’m not sure if I do enough research like how to get there or how long it will take. I kinda leave to when we arrive at our destination to figure that kinda stuff out. Partly out of laziness but partly because I know things always change. Road closures, construction, etc. Sometimes those things can be hard to predict. For the most part it works, but had I known the Devils Garden trail went a lot further out, I would of been able to see some more really cool arches. Oh well. You live and you learn.