photography

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Flowers are my favorite. They make me so happy. Especially when you see a whole bunch of them growing like these sunflowers in southern Maryland. This image was taken last year and I’ve heard the ones this year are just couple weeks away from blooming. Can’t wait!

So if you’re in the DC metro area and interested in shooting these sunflowers, google or click this link for McKee Beshers. It’s hard to give an exact location to where they are but on their website, they’ll have a map of where the sunflowers are blooming. That will be your best bet.

If I can offer you any tips on shooting these sunflowers, it would be BRING BUG SPRAY. Not even joking. I’ve never had so many bug bites in my life. Two years ago, I went with my friend Ryan to go shooting and at one point we decided there were way too many mosquitos and we started running back to the car. Tell me how I swallowed 2 of them!!! It’s absolutely nuts how they just swarm you. I’ll never wear shorts out there. I rather be hot in long pants and a shirt before I even think about going there with too much exposed skin. If you haven’t noticed yet, these bugs are for real. Definietly take precautions. The mosquitos and I are not friends.

Other than that, sunset is probably your best time to go too. I’ve tried sunrise a few times but where these fields are located, sunset is definietly the time with the best light. I’ve seen people bring ladders and that’s probably a cool point of view as well. If you have any other questions about these sunflowers, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂 I know a lot of people were asking me about them on instagram so I think that answers the majority of them.

My settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/13th of a second ISO 125 shot at sunset while a storm was approaching.

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Before we left on this road trip, we had all our stops planned. But the original plan was to stay in Roswell, New Mexico because Sue’s bananas over aliens. But days before we left I was on tripadvisor.com and everyone was saying how Roswell was very disappointing it was. Skrt Skrt– change of plans.

Luckily we were able to adjust our plans to stay in Santa Fe instead. In hindsight this new plan was a 100x better. Not knocking Roswell or anything but we drove through it and the 15 minutes that we spent in the town was all we needed. It probably would have been cool at night time but for us to get the most out of the trip, Santa Fe was a much better idea.

I was so excited to be visiting. It’s one of those places that I’d heard of before but never thought I’d ever visit. My mind immediately went straight to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. One of my all time favorite artists. I just admire her paintings, creativity, and boldness so much. I could not wait to visit!

georgia okeefe museum, exhibit

Thats me looking at some images of the artist. I swear I’m wearing shorts!

We ended up staying one extra night in Santa Fe so we spent the next day in Tent Rocks National Monument. I guess I was still thinking about O’Keeffe’s flower images while walking the trail because I see some of those abstract qualities in the image above. I took the image while we were walking through the extremely narrow slot canyons. Everyone was concentrating on what was ahead on the trail, I ended up just looking up.

I can see why O’Keeffe loved New Mexico so much. It’s a such a beautiful state and I’m so glad we got to spend extra time traveling and sight seeing. I really look forward to visiting again.

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I know its wrong but whenever I travel and check the hours for a national park, I kinda just assume it’s more like a guideline as opposed to an actual rule. I think it’s because there have been so many times at so many different parks that the gates are left open and I just drive right through. Well this is definietly not the case at White Sands National Monument. They closed the gate! I was so disappointed that we woke up early just to go take some sunrise shots and it was closed.

But since we were already up, dressed and ready to take some pictures, we decided to pull over at this camp site spot near the entrance of the park. It had really pretty cactuses and a lake that maybe we could get a few shots in. I didn’t really expect much but then I saw these three birds just hanging out in the water. I knew they were going to fly away as soon as they saw me so I did my best to slowly approach them. I only had my 28-70mm so I wasn’t able to zoom super close to them like I would have wanted to. Regardless, I’m really happy that I was able to capture them taking off. My favorite part of the image is that one little water drop in the middle of the second and third bird. Such small details like that can really make an image. For me, my eye keeps on going straight to that spot and I love it!

So listen to me now. If you’re going to White Sands National Monument, definietly get your beauty sleep in so you can be ready to shoot sunset. Sunset is where it’s at at White Sands! 

Settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/200th of a second ISO 500.

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Man o Man was Arizona hot! That’s what you get when you drive through a heat wave. I think the hottest we experienced was 115 degrees fahrenheit. Luckily, we were just in Tucson. I heard the heat was so hot that it was melting mailboxes in Phoenix! That’s pretty crazy if you ask me. We pretty much arrived in Tucson, went straight for the hotel pool, got out just in time for dinner in air conditioning and sunset in Saguaro National Park. The next morning we woke up and left Arizona, ASAP.

I didn’t expect too much from the park. I like to keep my expectations low so I don’t disappoint myself but it was way better than I had imagined! These Saguaro cactuses were huge. Way taller than me. So much fun to drive through and point at. If you’re planning on visiting anytime soon, I suggest starting out on the east end of the park where they have a paved road to drive through an 8 mile loop. There are a lot of pull over points where you can just stop and enjoy the views.

From a photographer’s standpoint I had a blast in this park but found it a little difficult to shoot. First of all, there are SO MANY saguaros. To single anyone of them out was difficult. Especially since there are so many cactuses around. They all sort of blended in with their surroundings if you wanted to shoot wide angle. So the way that I did it was to use a foreground element to sort of frame a really cool looking saguaro. I think if I had more time there, I’d also try to use the evening or early morning light to try to highlight the outline of the cactuses. I think that’d be pretty cool. Oh well, next time. Hopefully it won’t be as hot that time.