national mall

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I don’t even remember the last time I’ve visited the US Botanic Garden. I know it has to have been at least a couple years and the last couple times I was there, it was purely for the orchid exhibit. I did not go anywhere else or really explore the grounds.

Well last week I had a former photography student and now friend come visit from Sweden. He planned a trip to go to NYC and in the middle of his trip, decided to come down to Washington to see me and another friend he has living in this area, Andrés. It was so great to catch up with Patriq. We talked about everything from photography, American food to Ikea. PS in case you were wondering, swedish fish aren’t really from Sweden.

We met up around the US Capitol and then decided to poke our heads into the US Botanic Garden. For some reason, I had never been in this room and it seems like it’s the main room you go in as soon as you walk into the building. It’s breathtaking with all the plants and vegetation. My favorite part was the ability to walk up the stairs and get a high level view of the room. I found this spot but knew there had to be someone in it to make it complete. I just love the play in perspective with the huge leaf in the foreground and the little Patriq in the background. We were only in the garden for a little bit before we went to our next stop but I can’t wait to go back again. This place has so many great photo opportunities just waiting to happen!

The camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/80th of a second and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Still basking in the glow of the photowalk this past Saturday. It was so much better than expected. To be honest, I was only expecting about 25 people to show up. But about 10 minutes before the photowalk was scheduled to happen, people were were just pouring in. It was so awesome and exciting! I may have counted at least 70 people in total. I still can’t believe it. Thanks again for everyone who woke up so early to walk around the Mall with me. I had such a great time meeting and talking to you all!

Even the weather was better than expected. The days leading up to the event called for some really cloudy skies. Meaning a really dark, probably uneventful sunrise due to rain we were expecting later in the day. Luckily, the weather gods were with us and the clouds parted a bit to bring in these cotton candy, puffy clouds. It was so beautiful, especially at that pre-dawn blue hour.

This image was taken at about 4:55a. I arrived to the Lincoln Memorial early just in case and met up with my friend, Larry for a quick little photoshoot at the Reflecting Pool. He always early to everything so I knew he would have been there even before I arrived. My favorite part of this image is the fog that you can see on either side of the reflecting pool. Those trees are actually along side a path way. The pathway has trees on both sides of it so if you’re lucky enough to see fog, sometimes it gets trapped in there and creates this amazing atmosphere. I just wish I had more time to photograph it.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 10 seconds and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Focus on the Story International Photo Festival for an AMAZING festival. I felt so inspired and grateful the entire weekend. I got to see so many amazing images, watched so many great presentations and best of all hugged so many wonderful photographers. I could not be more thrilled.

Obviously my favorite part of the entire weekend was the photowalk. I am still shocked and so honored that about 70 people showed up on a Saturday morning at 5am to walk around the National Mall. Thank you so much to everyone who came out. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

And I can’t help but smile while I scroll through the #FOTSwalk18 hashtag on instagram. The weather called for partly cloudy skies and we even got a little bit of fog rolling through, it was perfect! There were so many great images and I wish I could post them all! But here are a few:

Special shout out to @chantale1 for the group shot at the beginning of our walk.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjzsHXAA13Z/?tagged=fotswalk18

Lovely long exposure, @rodb_pics

Bennett stole the show, @eugeneksoh! Great portrait, @wvugee

I loveeee this! Thank you so much for capturing this action shot, @geoffliving

Beautiful image of @julwriter, @metroamir. I love the reflection!

Keeping watch. #FOTSwalk18 #nofilterneeded

A post shared by Crystal Borde (@cborde) on

Love the mood you captured here, @cborde

I love me me some bird shots too #herons #FOTSwalk18

A post shared by Marlise Soria (@bellasoria) on

Another photowalk, Another blue heron. I’m noticing a pattern. Thanks so much for these amazing captures, @bellasoria.

Beautifully framed #fotswalk18

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GORGEOUS frame, @bellasoria. Wow

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj0YblWHrkR/?tagged=fotswalk18

Love all repetition in this one, @heatheronthego

Thanks again to everyone who came out. I’m so grateful to have so many talented photographer friends. Be sure to check out the #FOTSwalk18 hashtag to see more images from the walk. And thanks again to Focus on the Story for putting on such an amazing photo festival! I can’t wait for the next one 🙂

 

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Just a little reminder that I’ll be hosting another photowalk tomorrow morning at 5:20a. We’re meeting at the Lincoln Memorial as a part of the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival. We’ll walk around the National Mall, talk photography and cameras, and have a great time! Did I mention there will be donuts?

If you’ve never been to a photowalk before, it’s super casual and super fun. Please come with your smily face on because there’s nothings better than to meet people who have the same interests as you. People who know exactly what you’re talking about and share the same enthusiasm as you. And let’s be honest here. If you’re meeting someone new at 5:20a, you know they’ve got to have the same enthusiasm as you! So set your alarms and I hope to see you tomorrow! If you do come tomorrow, use the hashtag #FOTSwalk18 so everyone can look at each other pics. Just like last time, I’ll share some of my favs on my blog on Monday 🙂

This image was taken earlier this year in the winter before sunrise. I knew I arrived a bit early but it was ok because the blue hour was looking gorgeous. I parked my car and made my way over to the Lincoln Memorial. We got a little bit of snow the day before so the puddles were looking great. I noticed how cool the street lights looked in this particular puddle so I spent sometime with the reflections. My favorite part of the image are the clouds though. It gives that much needed texture in the sky and in the water.

So hope to see you tomorrow! If not, have a great weekend and hope you’re doing something you love to do.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.3 seconds at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm handheld.

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Whether it is sunrise or sunset, I have a group of places I usually default to depending on the time of day. The Martin Luther King Jr memorial is not my usual sunset spot. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever taken a photograph here at any other time of day besides sunrise. The only reason being is that I know it gets packed with tour buses as the day goes on and I try my best to avoid that.

So a few weeks ago I got commissioned to take some pictures of the memorial. I was waiting for a cloudy day because I knew the sky would take up most of the image. The previous days had been too cloudy though. So cloudy to the point where it almost looked like a cloudless sky because there were no details in the clouds at all. Just straight up grey. Until finally I was driving around, running some errands when the sky started to open up. I knew that sunset would probably be my only chance of getting the image I wanted, so I took my chances and headed straight to the Tidal Basin.

I was correct in the fact that there were bus loads of people all around the memorial. But I was also correct in the fact that the sky was going to be amazing that day! This was not the image I was commissioned for, but to be honest, I think this one is better! I love the way the way the colors in the sky are casted in the clouds. Maybe I should add the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial to my sunset list instead of sunrise. LOL, what do you think?

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/200th of a second at ISO 800 (handheld) with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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On Monday night before I went to bed, I checked the weather like I always do. It called for fog in the morning so I set my alarm to wake up for sunrise. I didn’t have any real plans of where I was going to go, I just knew I wanted to go somewhere near water. So I figured the reflecting pool would be cool.

I walked around and nothing really was catching my attention so I made my way over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I figured with all the Memorial day festivities that it may be cool. I was wrong. It was freakin’ amazinggggg. I don’t know why I’ve never done it before.

There were so many flowers, notes, and just little tokens of appreciation to our veterans. I even saw cans of beer. It was one of the most touching displays of affection that I have seen in a very long time. I took the time out to read some of the notes that were left there and I just can’t even imagine what friends and family had to go through during this period of time. I can’t even imagine what the men and women who severed our country had to go through during this time either. I am so grateful for all of their sacrifices. If not for you, I would not have the beautiful life I have today. I have so much respect and gratitude to you, veterans. Veterans of then and veterans now. Thank you.

At the end of the wall were just a whole bunch of American flags. I loved the repetition and how they were reflecting in the memorial. I think the fog really helped to capture the mood too.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/200th of a second and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.