Lincoln Memorial

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So weird that it’s Wednesday, right? I feel like long holidays always throw off my sense of days. Not that I’m complaining at all. I love them. I got to spend time with family and friends and there’s nothing better than that!

Saturday we had a lot of rain. It rained all day and was super gloomy. So in my head that meant that Sunday would have a good sunrise. Even though I was still in my ‘long holiday mode’, I still managed to wake up in time to catch the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial. I was super lucky too. The sky only had a little hint of pink for a minute and then it was gone. The rest of the sunrise was cloudy and gloomy. But you know what’s funny? Around this time of year, I always see young people hanging out on the steps of the Lincoln. I can only assume that they just started collage and it’s the first time that they have complete freedom. So they stay up all night, doing who knows what, and then thinks its a great idea to watch the sunrise over the reflecting pool. They’re never rowdy or disruptive, but you can definietly tell that they’re struggling to stay awake. LOL. I’m sure I did similar things when I was in college. But hey, at least they’re taking the time to appreciate the new day 🙂 Which they’re probably going to just sleep through anyways. You can see what I mean on the bottom left, next to the column. You may not have noticed it, but there’s someone laying down there “appreciating the new day”.

My camera settings for this image was F13 at 8 seconds ISO 200 on a tripod. Luckily, this early in the morning, no one cares about about your tripod.

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As far as photography goes, summer is my favorite because of the storms. We can get some pretty serious storm rain here in the DC area but the great part about them is that they don’t last too long. Usually about 30 minutes which is perfect! The best is when they end right around sunset. Man the skies open up and all this light comes through. It’s so beautiful.

Last week was no exception. Not only did we have amazing fog, but we got a crazy down pour of rain that ended right before sunset. It was everything that I wish for. But for some reason, I could not figure out where I wanted to go shoot. I was being indecisive driving around when I finally saw the back of the Lincoln Memorial. Skrrrch. Stop right there. The light that was being casted on the columns was so pretty and warm. Luckily I found the very first parking spot open on the Arlington Memorial bridge and rushed toward the memorial. Then I got stopped in my tracks when I noticed this puddle on the sidewalk. It was a perfect reflection of the memorial as well as the light that was being casted. I’m pretty sure I got a lot of crazy looks by the cars that were driving past, but it doesn’t matter. I was so excited to capture one. And on my first try! I was so surprised how well everything lined up.

My camera settings for this image was F/4.0 at 5 seconds ISO 160 handheld. The only reason I shot this handheld was because I couldn’t get low enough on my tripod to get the majority of the reflection. Plus with my really right stuff tripod bracket, it made it easy to hold it up without my camera getting wet.

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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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Ya’ll know that I don’t shoot a lot of portraits. I love looking at them but I’m just more of an exploration person where I’d rather be out walking around and looking at stuff than to be tied down to just one subject. When I was first getting into photography, I was totally against having people in my landscapes. I just wanted the scenery to speak for itself but lately I’ve been changing my mind. Sometimes I think it’s cool to have people in your shots to show scale. Other times I think people make for some happy accidents and they really add to the image. In this particular case, I couldn’t help but capture this image. That’s my friend, Zack. While we were waiting for lightning (which never came), he made it appoint to show us the cool lighting that the Lincoln Memorial has to illuminate it at night. I’ve noticed it before, but never really ‘looked’ at it either. Then, in the middle of the rain, Zack jumped down to show us that it’s even cooler than what I thought it was. He’s crazy though. He stood there for a good 5 minutes while Dave and I shot him. My favorite part is the light coming from his jacket and the shadow casting onto the ground. You can tell it was a longer exposure by the car trails on the top passing by. By the end he was soaking wet. He’s crazy though because he could of at least put up the hood on his jacket. Of course, that wouldn’t of made for as cool of a shot as it is. He looks like a rain god. LOL

The camera settings for this image was F7.1 at 2 seconds with ISO 320. Thanks so much for standing so still while shooting this, Zack! I still think you’re crazy 🙂

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During cherry blossom season, I was obsessed with finding puddles. I made it a mission to find whatever reflection I could get and try to make it work. So I figured after Monday’s rain that there would be tons of puddles. Wrong! There were hardly any. Even the ones that I knew that had to be here, were not even there. It was so strange. It was almost like it didn’t even rain. Oh well. So I was happy when I saw this one itty bitty little piece of reflection.

At one point while I was shooting other potential reflections, this couple from Panama came up to me. They told me that they owned a camera store and were desperately trying to get their kids in to photography. I must of looked like I had the biggest question mark on my face because I think they were trying to ask me for advice. I dunno? Give them a kick-ass camera and tell them to go play? That’d definietly motivate me to get more into photography. They were also super impressed by the fact that I’d get down low for my shot. So I showed them some of my images on my camera and for some reason I felt like they were really happy for me. The kind of look that only parents give. They were so sweet. I think it’s awesome that they were pushing their kids toward the creative side. At the end of the conversation they invited me to go Panama to eat sea food with them and visit their camera store. I have no idea what their names were or even where they live in Panama but it was so kind of them to stop and say such nice things. It really made my night that much better.

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I’m really hoping this marks the beginning of storms here in DC. Summer is my favorite just because we can get some really dramatic skies and this past Monday was no exception. It was super hot over the weekend and finally a cold front came in bringing this storm that created the most amazing skies right at sunset. The storm itself was a little disappointing. We were expecting lightning and only saw a few really far away. But the clouds, the rainbow, the light soooo made up for it.

I met up with my friends Dave and Zack at the Lincoln Memorial. We figured that while it was raining, it’d be a great spot to take cover and still take pics at the same time. It was so fun running back and forth on the outer perimeter of the memorial. At first we were in the front capturing the dramatic skies. All of the sudden I turned around and saw this amazing glow coming from the back of the Lincoln. We ran back there to check it out and take pics. Then we get a message from Zack saying there was a rainbow at the monument. We ran over and started shooting that. It was so fun and exciting. I know we weren’t the only ones doing going back and forth. So many tourists were running along with us. LOL.

My camera settings for this image was F14 at 5 seconds and ISO 50. I chose to shoot this as a long exposure so I could blur out some of the people in the foreground. *What were they all doing there standing in the rain anyways? This was definietly shot on a tripod but somehow I left my remote at home 🙁 Oh well. There better be more storms in next few months.