national mall

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Flashback Friday to spring time in Washington DC. It is my favorite time to be in the city. The whole place just sparkles.

But to be honest, I’m not sure which one I like better, the Chinese saucer magnolias or the Japanese cherry blossoms. Both are beautiful in their own way and pop up everywhere around the city. The magnolias are just bigger and easier to see. They also fall like leaves when they’re ready and it makes for the most beautiful dusting of pink. But then there are the cherry blossoms… I’m gonna have to say that flowers in general make me so happy.

Now keeping them alive when they’re in my home… that’s a different story.

I captured this scene while exploring the Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall. I was walking out of the Moongate Garden and felt such an overwhelming amount of flowers and branches surrounding me. I knew I had to capture it with that early morning light. At first I was trying this composition out with no one in it. It was cool, but it needed to be better. Then a bus most have let people off or a metro just arrived because all of the sudden there were quite a few people walking past. Luckily, I had my camera ready and waiting for the perfect person to enter my frame. I really enjoy the way that this turned out. I showed it to my dad once and he said it looks like it was taken in Japan rather than Washington DC. I thought that was pretty cool for him to say that.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/1000 of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens shot handheld.

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Most of the time when I wake up for sunrise, I have no real plans of what I’m going to photograph. Especially now with daylight savings, I’ve been waking up earlier than my alarm and can’t fall back asleep. Theres really nothing else to do that early in the morning but to get ready and go take sunrise pictures.  I just figure out where I want to park my car and let my eyes be the guide. Most of the time that results in some of the best pics.

I took this image early last week. I spent most of the morning walking around Constitution Gardens. I always find myself going back there in the fall. I love the trees and reflections you can get from the water, but this day was a little rough. The sunrise wasn’t much to look at because it was so cloudy. The trees weren’t very colorful yet so I didn’t get much from the pond. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you loose some. I don’t get upset. It just happens.

So I decided to keep walking and I ended up by the Washington Monument. Luckily, there were some beautiful yellow trees along Constitution Ave. that I didn’t notice while I was driving. It was like the branches were reaching toward me screaming, “take my picture, take my picture”. I found a couple that perfectly framed the Washington Monument and played around with the composition. I think my favorite part of the image is seeing the branches themselves. I think it’s really interesting to follow each twist and turn and see where they end up.

What about you? I’d love to know what you like about the image.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Last but not least, my personal favorite time to see reflections is during cherry blossom season in Washington DC.

I know it’s a little unfair since the Tidal Basin itself can be super reflective, but this was a special day. This was a super, super foggy day out where hardly anything was visible except for these amazing cherry trees. I remember capturing this around 9am. The tide was really high so the water was overflowing onto the sidewalks. Luckily, I was wearing my rain boots and was able to walk around in the puddles. This gave me a perspective that no one else was able to capture or if they did, they were not able to stay in the water for that long. If you look on the bottom right hand corner of the image, you can see a slight color variation on the cherry blossom branch in the reflection. That was the line divide of the sidewalk and the water itself. CRAZY right? Definietly the best day of cherry blossom photography ever in history of all the world.

The camera settings for this image was F6.3 at 1/40th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm. I remember purposely not using my wide angle for this image because I felt like it would have added way too much to the image. Either too many trees on the left or too much white space on the right. This was captured at 28mm and it worked out perfectly.

Let me know what you thought of this week’s reflection images. Did you like the series? Should I do more of them in the future with other themes?
In case you missed the past couple of days, here’s what you missed: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Day 3 of reflections. Check out day 1 and day 2.

Obviously an image of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool had to be a part of the week long series of reflections. I took this one a couple weeks ago with my friend, Chris. We met up for sunrise and it was forecasted to be a clear day but the predawn colors in the sky were amazing. Usually I hope for clouds for any sunrise image but I feel like the orange color was so vibrant all on their own that it didn’t even need them.

And as I arrived at the reflecting pool I was excited to see that I had got there early enough for them to still have the US Capitol lights on. About 10 minutes later, they were all turned off and it was a lot harder to see it back there. Anyone know what the light schedule to the monuments are like? Next time I’d like to plan for it instead of guessing.

But this same composition has a special place in my heart. It always reminds me of when I first started waking up for sunrise to take pictures. I would make Andrew go with me at first just because I didn’t know what the situation was going to be like. Being a female with expensive camera equipment could be a potentially dangerous situation. But as time went on, I decided that I didn’t need him to go with me anymore. I got comfortable waking up and doing what I needed to do all by myself. So the first time I went by myself to DC, I shot this same exact image and felt super proud of myself.

Now look at me. Sometimes I’ll even wake up before I need to just because I’m so excited to go out to shoot.

The settings for this image is F5.6 for 10 seconds at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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Reflections from yesterday. Reflections for today. I bet I could go on all week with just reflection images. I think I’ll try. They’re one of my favorite things to shoot. It’s just so exciting when you see a nice one, especially in a puddle or something like that where it’s unexpected.

But even the Tidal Basin can be unexpected sometimes. The water can get kinda choppy and the reflection won’t be as visible. I’m pretty sure I got lucky this day. With an awesome sunrise, great colors and a great reflection. While post processing this image, I intentionally edited it so the colors went from cool to warm. Love the way that it looks and sort of completes the story of the sunrise. That way you know which direction the sun is coming from and where it’s about to hit. At times like this, you can also see the Washington Monument glow orange from the sun light. It didn’t happen this day, but it’s my absolute favorite when it does happen.

The settings for this image is F/14 at 1/8th of a second and ISO 90 with my Sony A7ii and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

By the way, I received the 2018 Dynamic DC Calendars over the weekend and AHHHHH they look sooo good! I always get so nervous about the final product, but I’m pretty sure that this year’s calendar is my favorite out of all the years that I’ve been doing this. I’m going to start shipping them out later this week so if you ordered one, be on the look out and let me know what you think. If you love it, take a selfie with it. I’d love to see where you hang them and your beautiful face.

If you haven’t gotten yours yet, make sure to get it now. There aren’t much left.

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Somehow I’m lucky enough to live right in the middle of two awesome airports, Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  But for some reason, I’m always flying out of Dulles. So when the rare opportunity comes up to fly out of Reagan, I take FULL ADVANTAGE! I do my research and try to figure out where I can sit on the plane to make sure I get the birds eye view of the National Mall. If you want to do the same, read on…

I know you can see the monuments if you’re flying north of DC and about 50% sure you can see them when you’re flying west of the city. You definietly won’t see them if you’re flying south. So if you’re flying north, try to sit on the right hand side of the plane. Obviously, when you’re flying back to DC, sit on the left hand side. If you aren’t able reserve those seats, you’ll still be able to get pretty cool views of the Pentagon and Air Force Memorial on the opposite side so be on the look out for those. Either way, window seats are key! And have your camera ready right at take off or when you are descending. It’s  surprising how fast the memorials will pop into your window. You’ll see them as you’re climbing your way up to the clouds or when you’re right about to touch down.

In order to take this image, I was sitting in the window seat, but I had to lean into the middle seat to capture it. My intention was to capture the light coming from the window and use it to frame the monuments. I really like this image, but I also wish I went a little closer to capture only the monuments. Oh well! There’s always next time:

My settings for this image is 1/3200 of a second at F/8 ISO 1000 with my 16-35mm wide angle lens and Sony A7II.