national park

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One of my favorite things to do after taking sunrise pictures is to just sit and enjoy the early morning light. Sometimes you can forget to enjoy the moment. Maybe you woke up late and you’re in a hurry to get to your location or you’re trying to find the perfect composition at the time the light is hitting you subject just right. There can be a number of things that cause you to stress so early in the morning which kinda sounds odd because photography is suppose to be a fun activity. But once all of that madness is done and you’re just left with the early morning light, it can be so peaceful to just sit and enjoy. Even for 10 minutes. It is the most relaxing and beautiful way to spend the morning. I love it. I just feel so happy and calm. Its a great way to just slow down. Rarely will I even have my cell phone out.

This was taken at Otter Cliff in Acadia National Park, Maine. Just looking at this image brings back those feelings of relaxation and peace. I remember sitting on those rocks after I captured this image and watching the sun for a good 20 minutes before doing anything else. That buoy in the distance was ringing a bell every time a wave rocked it over.  Sue and I were the only ones there and barely even said a word to each other. Is it weird to say that thinking about this image and what it took to capture it makes me look forward to waking up for my next sunrise? Yes. The answer is yes.

PS Where the otters at?

The camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/13th of a second with ISO 100 on my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Reflections day 4. Man, this is gettin’ easy.
Check out day 1, 2, and 3

I took this image earlier this summer at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It was an early morning hike around Bear Lake and the water was so still. It was literally like a mirror when I saw it and immediately knew exactly how I wanted to capture it. I knew that I wanted it to look as if it were printed on a piece of paper and you folded it in half, you would see the exact same thing on either side. Kinda of like what you used to do with paint and paper as a little kid but with nothing else seen especially in the corners. I don’t know why but I was paying particular attention to the corners when I was capturing this. I didn’t want to give it any kind of location context.

A majority of the time, I’d probably want something in the foreground or something to divide it up, but not for this particular image. I wanted it to keep it as simple as possible and just enjoy the beauty of nature. Man, can you imagine what this place looks like now? It’d be so cool if the leaves changed color with this reflection. Praise hands emoji!

After I photographed this image, we ended up hiking around to this side of the lake but it was so difficult. The water levels were really high, there was still some snow on the ground (which you can see little bits of), and it was super muddy. Let’s just say the hike didn’t last too much longer after that. I’m really hoping to go back to Colorado in 2018. I seriously fell in love.

The camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/250th of a second ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Sometimes I’ll get into these zones and edit a whole bunches of images all at the same time, store them onto my desktop folder called “haven’t blogged yet” and then totally forget about them. This is the case with this image. I took it last week when it was crazy foggy at Shenandoah National Park and didn’t even bother posting it on instagram or anywhere else. Umm whoops?

In order to get into these zones, I’ll put on my ear phones and not even think about anything else other than the music I’m listening to and the image in front of me. It’s so fun. Although if you were looking through my window I’d look like a weirdo because I’ll be bopping my head and flinging my pointer finger around to the beat of the music. HAHA

To be honest, I’m probably done with Shenandoah National Park for the season. I’m going to try to concentrate on photographing more local areas to me like Great Falls Park and DC for the rest of the fall time. It’s not that I don’t love going, it’s just exhausting waking up so early in the morning, spending a couple hours there and then driving back. I usually won’t be home until the afternoon and it feels like most of the day has gone. But who knows? Maybe there will be a sunset shoot or night time shoot in my future? We’ll see!

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/40th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and my 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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You know what’s really cool about waking up for sunrise? The windy air. LOL!

Sorry, bad joke. But for real, waking up for sunrise and then driving to the top of a mountain can get real chilly and Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park was no exception. I was wearing 2 pairs of pants, about 5 layers including a jacket on the top half of my body and gloves while waiting for the sun in the beginning of October. It’s totally worth it though. I love being first place and when you’re on top of Cadillac Mountain, you see the sunrise first before anyone else in the United States. YESSSSS.

But usually I’m hoping for a cloudy sunrise. The colors of the sun fill the clouds and that is my favorite time to take pictures. If it’s cloudy enough, it can make the whole sky turn a variety of colors. But it didn’t happen this day. The day that we designated to shoot sunrise from Cadillac Mountain was super clear. Not a single cloud in the sky. In this instance, I think it works though. All the rocks and textures on the bottom half of the image bring the interest in this photograph and the simplicity in the sky above just work well together. I love how there is a slight gradient but otherwise, I’m staring at that guy walking across the frame. Him being there really reminds me of what it was like being on top of the mountain. Pretty chilly but totally worth waking up early and capturing a great landscape image.

And as I was putting my camera back into my backpack, my tripod blew over and almost hit someone. Again. *face palm*

The settings for this image is 1/250th of a second at F/5.6 ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm zoom.

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So after yesterday’s update at Shenandoah National Park, I figured I’d give an update at Great Falls Park. I used to come to this park a lot. When I was first getting started with photography in high school AND after I graduated from college (I sort of dropped off while I was in college), I’d come to this park a lot to practice. Since then I think I just got distracted with Washington DC images that I haven’t been back in a long time. It was probably last October since I’ve been back and it felt so good to hear the roar of the water again.

But I may have seen one or two trees that have already changed colors, other than that the park was mostly green. I find this to be good news though because it gives me more reasons to go back in the near future. If you’re looking for some great fall foliage shots, the falls and the Billy Goat trail are awesome to shoot.

Another reason why I sort of stopped going to Great Falls Park was that it started to close it’s gates at night. That meant I couldn’t get in for sunrise. Luckily, sunrise is around 7:20a now and I was at the gate for about 5 minutes before someone showed up to open the gate up at 7a. Pretty perfect timing if you asked me. The parking lot is pretty close to the first overlook which is where I shot this particular image. I had plenty of time to set up for this shot.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 2 seconds ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and my 16-35mm wide angle lens. I also used my neutral density filter to slow down the image and create those awesome water lines on the bottom middle.

 

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So excited to see that fall has FINALLY arrived in Shenandoah National Park. I’ve been waiting for all of October for the leave to change. Except the visibility was very low while we were there.

Yesterday my friend, Larry and I met really early in the morning to head to the Thorton Gap entrance at Shenandoah National Park. As I was pulling out of my neighborhood I could see that it was already a little foggy  where we live but the more west we went, the foggier it got. It was so exciting. Y’all know how much I love shooting in the fog. It’s my favorite weather to shoot in! But once we got there, it was SUPER foggy. Like whiteout. Sunrise is around 7:20 but we couldn’t really see any kind of daylight until 7:25a. The visibility was probably less than 100ft. At some points it looked like cars were coming out of no where because you couldn’t even see their headlights until they were really close by. It was kinda nuts but totally awesome. I’m pretty sure we said “wow, crazy” about 200 times each as we were driving through the park.

The best part was that it smelled like fog. You know that smell? Yea, the smell of happiness.

Luckily, Larry is a sony man as well and just recently purchased the 100-400mm lens. He was kind enough to let me use it for a little while, even after knowing my tripod story. I was shooting it handheld. It was a little bit heavier than I am used to, but it was still very easy to capture sharp images. I felt like a sports photographer the entire time. LOL.

My camera settings for this image is 1/60th of a second at F5.6 at ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and Larry’s 100-400mm. The focal length of this is at 282mm.