night

All photos available for print and licensing >

#TBT to last week on the National Mall and how I snuck my way to the best spot to capture the Washington DC firework show

To be honest, I’ve didn’t envision this. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a fireworks image like this at the National Mall but it’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever taken. Luckily, I was so close to the reflecting pool that I was able to get this view point. It also helped that I was shooting with my 70-200mm and that this was taken at the very beginning of the show so there was no smoke or anything else to cloud the view of the Washington Monument. Just a very clean sky and an amazingly still day. It was kind of crazy though because I was so close to the reflecting pool that pieces of the firework shrapnel was falling on me. I didn’t even bother looking down to clean myself off because I was so focused on capturing light that there was no time.

This was my first time shooting the fireworks from here. So within that 30 minute window I had time to try different angles. Meaning I was standing up and sitting down throughout the entire show. I found out that sitting down was probably my best bet. I got some cool images of just the tip of the Monument but I think the advantage of being so close to the reflecting pool is the reflection. In the beginning I thought the fencing would get in the way, but I actually kind of like it now. It adds an extra element of line and reflection that isn’t usually seen unless it’s the 4th.

My camera settings for this image is 5.6 at 1/10th of a second ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Happy Independence Day, America! Hope everyone has a happy and safe evening tonight. I look forward to capturing some more firework images somewhere in the National Mall. Not sure where yet but either way it will be a good time. I always find photographing the fireworks super exciting. I feel like it’s similar to photographing lightning. You never really know what you are getting until you pop your memory card into your computer. Most of the time its way better than you imagined 🙂

If you have plans for photographing the fireworks, check out this youtube video I created a few years ago. Even though the video is a little older, the information is still valid. It’s all my tips, tricks and camera settings in order to capture the bursts. Hope you’re able to capture some great ones!

This image was taken 3 years ago close to the Memorial Bridge in Arlington, VA. It is definietly one of my favorite views of the monuments and Andrew and I have sort of figured out a system for photographing the fireworks from here. It’s a long story but Andrew’s least favorite holiday of the year is the 4th because in the years past I made him sit outside with me, in the heat and humidity while we wait for the fireworks. He misses out on all the bbqs and other things so when the 4th comes around he kind of rolls his eyes at the whole thing. So we figured out that he could just drop me off at wherever I want to go shoot from, close to the time when the fireworks are suppose to go off and he will just drive home to the air conditioning while I just metro my way home. It’s works out for both of us! LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1 second ISO 160 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

I found the biggest difference between photographing the US Capitol and the other memorials like Lincoln Memorial or Jefferson Memorial during lightning was the fact that there was no real place to hide from the rain. At least when you visit the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, you are able to hide under a bit of shelter and still be able to create images. At the US Capitol there is nothing like that so you’re basically out in the open, hoping your camera gear doesn’t get soaked.

That was the case for this image. I actually had a huge rain droplet in the middle of my lens and didn’t even notice until a couple of frames after this image. Its ok though because I cropped the image to the most interesting part of the image anyways. I’m just glad I caught it when I did. Every time the lighting would strike, it turned the skies crazy purple. I love how the relationship between the lightning and the US Capitol dome. The lighting bolt is twisting and turning in all kinds of ways when the US Capitol is so straight and architectural. I think my favorite part of the image is the fact that the lights are still on in the dome. It some how gives it even more life.

I’m really looking forward to photographing more lightning this summer, especially since sunrise is so early now, I’ve noticed that I’ve been shooting a lot more sunsets and night images than sunrises. LOL. I woke up yesterday to capture the sunrise and it was totally washed out with rain. I should have just stayed in bed…

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/15th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Man oh Man what a week. A freakin’ awesome week to be more specific! At one point in time Snap DC was #1 on the charts for best selling travel book in the Mid atlantic region! Does that make me a best selling author? AHHH!!!! So crazy. But I believe it’s still number one in new releases in the same category. I seriously can’t say thank you enough! I’m so excited!

This image was taken last Saturday evening after the photowalk. My friend, Zack and I stuck around the Tidal Basin for a little while to see what blue hour would look like and it did not disappoint! At one point in time the sky was doing this thing where you were able to see the shadow of the Washington Monument in the clouds! It was awesome. And in turn you were able to see all of that reflecting in the water.

But the CRAZIEST part about it all was that there were bats flying above us the entire time. WHO KNEW THERE WERE BATS IN WASHINGTON DC? Definietly not me. That was the first time I’d ever seen any. At one point in time I swear there were like 6 flying above us. It was absolutely nuts. I could not stop staring. It was like I was shooting the Washington Monument and holding my camera steady with my hand but my eyes were in the sky following the bats (making sure they weren’t coming close to us). It’s seriously something new everyday at the National Mall. I swear!

Anyways, hope you all have a wonderful Memorial day weekend! Thanks again for all the support with Snap DC. If you have received your copy already, hope you can get out there and take some awesome pictures.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/4th of a second and ISO 1600 handheld with my A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

So after my lightning practice last week at the Jefferson Memorial aiming at the Washington Monument, I had another opportunity to shoot lightning the very next day. This time I was at the Artechouse, which you should definietly go visit. Their latest exhibit is probably my favorite so far. It’s a celebration of lights that really can not be missed. Anyways, I was about to leave the exhibit when I got an alert on my phone saying that lightning struck 3 miles away from my current location. So you know what that means right? Leave asap so you can go storm chasing!

I figured that the US Capitol was the closest, cool looking building to me. Luckily it hadn’t started raining yet and I always have my tripod in my car so I parked as close as I could to the Capitol and made my way over. I had a blast! The wind was blowing and the lightning strikes were crazy big. While I was at the Jefferson Memorial, I had to wait some time between each strike maybe a 2-3 minutes but this time they were coming every 15-20 seconds. It was AWESOMEEEE. I was out there for only 30 minutes or so before the real big rain hit but I’m super happy with the way that this turned out.

Every time the lighting struck it would light up the sky to this amazing blue/purple color. It was such a beautiful show. There were even people who were leaving the Capitol that couldn’t help but to stop and take selfies. Such an exiting night to say the least. I ran back to the car as soon as the rain really started to pick up and it was all good in the neighborhood.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/13th of a second ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.

All photos available for print and licensing >

The cherry blossoms haven’t bloomed this year. I’m hoping they’ll be out at this time next week.

So this is an image I took last year around this same time. I have tried working on this image several times in the past year but I could never get it right. It’s really different from other images I create because of the lighting. I don’t have much practice with artificial lighting, especially outdoors like that. So whenever I edited it, the colors would look funny and didn’t like it. I’m so happy with the way this one turned out. It’s exactly what I had envisioned from the very beginning. Finally.

It was that same super foggy day that I took this image and this one. This just happens to be the very first image I took that whole morning. The fog had not fully settle in yet so you can see how it’s covering half of the Washington Monument. Little did I know that later on in the morning the entire monument would be covered. So cool!

And little did I know, I would drop my tripod in the Tidal Basin that day too. *face palm* #neverforget.

Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend. I am about to send out my monthly newsletter on Sunday the 1st so if you aren’t subscribed, please do so here. You won’t want to miss out on free calendar downloads, an updated cherry blossom guide and so much more! And if you do use the free wallpapers, screen shot them and send them to me! I would love to see it!

The settings for this image is F8 at 2.5 seconds and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.