photographer

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If you missed it, yesterday I announced the completion of Snap DC, Your Guide to Taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond… Thank you all so much for your positive feedback and basically good vibes all around. It was like I was floating on a cloud all day. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the blog post. But more importantly, here’s the page where you can sign up to get all the info, extras and even a preview of the first chapter of the book.

Within the first couple pages of the book you’ll see that I’ve dedicated the book to my grandma, Nai Nai. She passed away earlier this year but I know she would have been super proud of me for creating this book. I know I haven’t talked about it much but we found out she wasn’t doing well around Thanksgiving 2017. I spent a lot of days with her in the hospital and I would always bring my computer with me. I would work on Snap DC while she was resting. Remember that story I shared earlier this year about my love for flowers and my grandma saying “pretty”? We were in the hospital at that time looking through pages of the book. At that time they were just google drive pages on my phone but she is one of the first people to ever see it.

This image is not a part of the book. However it’s the image that I was working on when I found out the news of her passing. I find it symbolic to have been working on an image with the fog passing through the bridge as if it is her spirt was passing to her next life. This is exactly how I left it when I found out the news.

So Snap DC is dedicated to Nai Nai. I wish she could have seen the final product.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/1250th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

 

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If you’ve signed up for my newsletter then you already know, but I have a super exciting announcement to make. I am this year’s Ball for the Mall’s official photographer! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I am so thrilled and so grateful. If you don’t know what the Ball for the Mall is, it’s a fundraising event that the Trust for the National Mall puts on every year to raise money for the National Mall. This year the tent is going up right in front of the Smithsonian museums. Being the official photographer does not mean I’m photographing the event. It just means that the Trust for the National Mall is featuring my images on all their materials for the event like the invitation, save the dates, etc. I’m honored to be helping with such a beautiful cause that’s so close to my heart. I’ve spent so much time at the Mall and it’s given me so much. I’m grateful to be able to give back. Plus I heard there’s going to be some super cool people like Wolf Blitzer emceeing the event. I am going to try to take a selfie!

I’ve never been before and I’m really looking forward to attending the event with Andrew later on this month. Now, to go ball gown shopping. AHHH!!!! 🙂 I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m so excited.

This image was taken on morning on a super cold winter morning at the National Mall (obviously). I love it because the sky reminds of tie-dye. I mean when you see a scene like this, how could you not fall in love with our national parks?

The settings for this image is F9 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 200 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 17-40mm wide angle lens. You know this is an older image when the Canon 5DmII is mentioned.

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I’m happy to report that the Magnolia trees have been saved! The snow that we had last week didn’t seem to phase them much. I captured this image Friday morning behind the Smithsonian Castle at the Enid A Haupt Garden. I arrived a little bit after sunrise so I could get that beautiful early morning glow happening on the flowers. It was like walking in paradise. The birds were chirping, the wind was soft but nothing beats that early morning light.

In order to capture this image, I had to be patient. For some reason there were not a lot of people walking by or in the gardens. I stood there for a good 10 minutes before I even saw anyone else but I already had this vision in my head so I had to wait. There I was, standing in the trees looking like a flower monkey. LOL. Standing with my camera close to my face. I left my ear phones at home so I was blasting music by Drake from my phone in my pocket. This guy must have liked Drake too because he crept up behind me and scared the living sh*t out of me. I turned around and gave him a half smile and half ‘what are you doing?’ face. He just smiled back and went on his way shooting.

Obviously I had to stare him down for a little bit. LOL. And then I saw him walking to the the spot that I was waiting for someone to walk past. So I took advantage of the opportunity and finally captured the image I was looking for. Thank you fellow photographer so being so still.

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/125th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.

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So it’s been one week since I decided to delete instagram off my phone. To be honest, I never expected all the kind comments and emails. I appreciate it sooo so much. You have no idea. Everyone has been extra supportive but I have decided that Ill download Instagram again for the Cherry Blossoms at the latest. Don’t get me wrong though out of the 7 sunrises that have happened since my instabreak, I’ve gone out to shoot 4 times. So even though I’m not documenting it all on social media, I’m still at it as much as I can.

What have I learned from the break? I spend entirely too much time staring at my phone! I don’t need to catch up with my friends by seeing what they’re doing on the internet. I can simply call them or text them and find out what’s been going on straight from the horse’s mouth and its so much better that way. I’ve also learned to be more present. At times I’ll be walking around and think to myself, what should my next instastory be? or this would be great for an instastory. This past weekend while I was walking around I thought, wow that tree is beautiful, I’m just going to take a picture of it because I like it. No one else has to see it, but me.

Now I’m not sure if this has any correlation or not, but I’m also taking the time to learn more too. I’ve been consuming so many youtube videos, listening to audiobooks and just reading in general. I’ve been learning a lot about mindset, wealth and photoshop tutorials. It’s been great!

Overall, I am so grateful for the break. It was definietly a recharge and I feel more inspired than ever. I do miss instagram and I’ll be honest, I have checked it out once or twice on my desktop computer which I justified by saying, it’s not really the same LOL. So this is just a thank you so much for all your support. I’ll be back soon and probably by the end of the week! As of now, I’m not in a rush. Instagram will always be there 🙂

PS that tree I was talking about was a cherry blossom tree in Alexandria, VA. They’re starting to pop up in different places and I’m so excited!

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/8th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle len handheld.

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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.