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I know I’ve been talking about New Mexico a lot but I just loved it. It was my first time ever in the state, we spent most of our time on our road trip in New Mexico and overall, it’s just awesome. And top of that list was definietly, 100% White Sands National Monument.

It was a lot smaller of a park and a lot quieter of a place in general. I never felt like it was too crowded or impossible to take images without anybody in it. It was just so chill. I love this image in particular because it’s just so simple and what it’s really like being there. It reminds me of just walking along the sand – never too hot and relaxing in between your toes.  The best was being able to walk around the entire park without any shoes on.  I feel like every national park should be like that (or is that the asian side of me wanting to take my shoes off everywhere?). It was very much like walking along a beach with no ocean.

Besides the natural beauty of it, my favorite part of the park was the sledding! When we were first coming in to the park, there were these other two girls who were walking out. They offered us their snow sleds and without hesistation, we took them. Sliding down these dunes was so much fun. A lot better than I thought it would be. I felt like I was in elementary school again and it was our first snow day of the year. You can actually get a pretty good speed on these dunes if you find the right one.

This image was taken bright and early in the morning, right when the park opened. Don’t try to come for sunrise, you will be disappointed.

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So grateful that yesterday’s Independence Day fireworks were so awesome! The forecast had called for 40% rain showers but you would have never known it. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot that it was unbearable to stand outside and sitting under a tree made for a nice breeze. Luckily the clouds weren’t so heavy and dark this time that the fireworks were really able to shine.

My friends Jim and Rosa joined Andrew and I in capturing the fireworks. We ended up at the US Capitol which I had never thought of shooting from before. It turned out awesome because they were having their own concert there and John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) was the host! I was singing and dancing up until the big show. Then while the fireworks were going off, they had even more performances going on. It was a little distracting because I didn’t know what to look at, the performance or the fireworks, but overall it was a blast!

At first I was a little disappointed with how many people were in front of us for the pictures. But taking a moment to really think about what I wanted the end product to look like, I think it worked to my favor. It’s a totally different view of the fireworks than I’ve ever captured before and I think it’s an accurate depiction of what it’s like shooting on July 4th in DC. Crowds of people, a big production, and everyone having a good time. I really like how you can see the fireworks in 4 different places in this image. Can you spot them all?

But lesson learned. If I ever shoot at the US Capitol again, go early. Same goes for all the Lincoln Memorial which I might try to go to next year. The angle from that memorial looks beautiful!

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Ya’ll know that I don’t shoot a lot of portraits. I love looking at them but I’m just more of an exploration person where I’d rather be out walking around and looking at stuff than to be tied down to just one subject. When I was first getting into photography, I was totally against having people in my landscapes. I just wanted the scenery to speak for itself but lately I’ve been changing my mind. Sometimes I think it’s cool to have people in your shots to show scale. Other times I think people make for some happy accidents and they really add to the image. In this particular case, I couldn’t help but capture this image. That’s my friend, Zack. While we were waiting for lightning (which never came), he made it appoint to show us the cool lighting that the Lincoln Memorial has to illuminate it at night. I’ve noticed it before, but never really ‘looked’ at it either. Then, in the middle of the rain, Zack jumped down to show us that it’s even cooler than what I thought it was. He’s crazy though. He stood there for a good 5 minutes while Dave and I shot him. My favorite part is the light coming from his jacket and the shadow casting onto the ground. You can tell it was a longer exposure by the car trails on the top passing by. By the end he was soaking wet. He’s crazy though because he could of at least put up the hood on his jacket. Of course, that wouldn’t of made for as cool of a shot as it is. He looks like a rain god. LOL

The camera settings for this image was F7.1 at 2 seconds with ISO 320. Thanks so much for standing so still while shooting this, Zack! I still think you’re crazy 🙂

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This one was fun to shoot. My intention was to photograph the Washington Monument and cherry blossoms through the puddle and get a really cool reflection shot out of it.  I didn’t use my tripod because it doesn’t go as low as I’d want and  I couldn’t get the right angle. So I bent down to get low. I figured out the composition using the live view function on my LCD screen.  The lens was hovering right over the puddle.

While I was getting all of that sorted, I didn’t realize I was holding up people behind me. They were being nice and was  trying to avoid getting in my shot by waiting but I figured I’d let them pass because it’d be faster that way. As they were passing and without even thinking, I pressed the shutter. There was no real plan for people to walk through this shot or anything like that but I’m so glad they did. It turned out way better than anticipated.

I then posted this image Saturday night on instagram and almost immediately got a message from the girl in this image! She was saying how after they walked passed the puddle, her and her husband were talking about how cool of a shot that would of been. It’s so funny how all of these things come full circle. I love that they found themselves and I’m even more happy that they like this image.

I’d say my favorite part is the sun burst on the guy’s leg. My eyes keep on drifting to that part of the image and am super grateful how everything lined up so nicely. It looks like I had my own little cherry blossom parade but without all the balloons and streamers. Just some beautiful cherry blossoms and very nice people.

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When visiting a new country, I always try to learn as much as I can about the food, people and language. It’s the best way to totally immerse yourself into your new surroundings. In Iceland, it was a little difficult to learn the language. First off, everyone speaks english. Really good english too! So being able to listen to the Icelandic language was really limited to just locals in a restaurant or people talking quietly amongst themselves. But I did manage to learn a few words. “Foss” means waterfall. So if you notice all the waterfalls in Iceland end with the term “Foss”. This image was taken at Skógafoss which is in a small town called Skógar. You add foss to the end of it, you have the Skógafoss! Pretty cool huh? Another important word to know is “Kaka” which means cake! Who doesn’t love cake right? So if you wanted to say chocolate cake, you would say “súkkulaðikaka”.

Now that we’re talking about food, the food was great. Expensive but the overall delicious. I don’t think we had one bad meal. I ate a lot of smoked salmon, at least once a day. There aren’t very many vegetable dishes. It’s all very meat/seafood oriented and to our surprise, a lot of pizza. I’m not sure if that was just a tourist thing but almost every restaurant we went to had a lot of pizza options. We noted one day that the pepperoni pizza was cheaper than the vegetarian pizza.

The people are very nice as well. Super helpful when you have a million and one questions about travel. Even when they knew you were a tourist, they didn’t look at you funny or treat you differently which was much appreciated. However, I did notice that a lot of them weren’t originally from Iceland. Many were from different parts of Europe that just fell in love with the country. I can totally see why minus all the cold temperatures.

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Last week I met up with a few friends to shoot the sunset. I was so glad they were down for anything because it started to pour! Like every inch of my body was wet from the rain. And of course, I didn’t bring an umbrella or any kind of protective gear. But it was still a blast! We spent half the time taking shelter in the Lincoln Memorial and with a quick break in the rain, I was able to capture this crazy sky.