night

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So this was a fail. But I thought it would be a good idea to share it with you.

It did not occur to me that while we were out camping, we would see stars. I don’t know why. It’s just something that completely slipped my mind. I think I was too worried about the actual camping part to even consider anything else.

So after the sunset on our first day in the woods, I was kicking myself for not bringing my 14mm lens. It’s so much faster and I specifically bought it to take more night images like this. *Facepalm x2* So I tried to do best with what I had.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 13 seconds and ISO 5000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm. I did not have a tripod with me so I did my best by balancing the camera on this big log we were sitting on. I think the colors are really cool in the image. I just wish it were sharper and I know I could have done that with my 14mm.

Oh well. Next time!

Which will be soon because Andrew and I will be traveling to Norway next week! I can’t wait. Neither one of us have been there before and I’m really looking forward to capturing the fjords, waterfalls and the night sky! Don’t worry though, my 14mm is the first lens I’ll be packing in my camera bag. We’ve booked places to stay that right along the water and am really looking forward to just checking out the scenery. I’ve been on pinterest like a madwoman planning out this trip and reading other people’s experiences. I couldn’t sleep the other night because I was just so excited. So if you’ve been to Norway, please let me know. I’d love for any tips or advice.

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Now that it’s almost August, I thought it would be a good time to share another firework image. HAHA.

But seriously, I think this year’s firework images have been my favorite so far. I love the way that they turned out. Not only was the weather perfect, but the show itself was amazing. This image kinda reminds me of this one that I posted earlier in the month, except this one was a little bit later in the night. Since so many fireworks had been shot off there was much more smoke but I can’t stop looking at the details in the lights. Just looking at it, I can hear the crackling noise that the fireworks make.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about shooting with my 70-200mm that night. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the right lens or if the wide angle would be best. But with the 70-200mm I was able to capture so much more details then I had expected. It brought so many unexpected point of views that it is honest my new favorite lens. I’m having so much fun with it.

As far as my next lens. I’m thinking a prime lens. I haven’t really played with one before but I love how fast they are. I’m totally in the zone for experimentation and trying new things so I think a prime lens may be the next move. If you have a Sony prime lens, let me know your favorite one and why. I’m open to suggestions.

Oh and you may have noticed that I’ve been slowly adding to my gear collection. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing an updated gear video and I can get that to you soon-ish.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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#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.

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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.

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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.

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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.