pink

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It’s hard to say which was my favorite spot on the road trip, but White Sands National Monument is definietly up there in the rankings. A strong #1 or #2 for sure. Before leaving for the trip, it was the place I was most excited to visit and it definietly did not disappoint. The initial drive into the park was like we drove on to another planet. I had never seen anything like it. We were surrounded by white sand dunes and I could not have been happier. My favorite part are the lines that the wind creates in the sand. I thought I’d have to search long and hard to find a dune that was untouched but it’s crazy because they were everywhere! The sand was really soft like beach sand but not hot like it. We left our shoes in the car because it was just so much easier walking around barefoot.

I planned on having a little photoshoot here so I purposely packed a flowy dress for the occasion. We may or may not have changed in the welcome center’s bathroom. LOL. What I didn’t expect was a rain storm right at sunset when we arrived! It was like the most exciting photoshoot everrrrr! So the sand dunes are not huge but it can get tiring if you’re running up and down the thing several times. At one point Sue asked if I was ok because I was kneeling down with my tripod and camera breathing so heavily. The only thing I could say was “yes, I’m just so excited” and kept on shooting and shooting.

I’d highly recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in or near New Mexico. The whole park is just incredibly beautiful.

The settings for this image was f/6.3 at 1/10th of a second ISO 200.

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Flying┬áhome today from our crazy road trip adventure. Everyday was jammed packed with excitement, food and sight seeing. I can’t wait to tell you all more about it. Over 2,600 miles under our belts, I can definietly say that it was a trip that’d be hard to forget. But I’m so glad we’re not driving back. Faster, airplane, faster! ­čÖé

I’ll definietly have a youtube video for you as soon as possible.

For now, heres an image I took earlier this year at the National Cherry Blossom festival in DC. I specifically remember thinking that I wanted that guy to get out of my shot but I figured that after 10 minutes of waiting, he wasn’t moving. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m taking pictures of something, that way people will think that they are in my shot and will want to move. Nope. Didn’t work for him. He was far more interested in what was down there than what I was doing. Oh well. At least I was able to line him up with the sun burst.

But even though I had the time of my life on this road trip, it feels good to be going back home. Looking at this image makes me think about how much I love living where I live and I’m super grateful. Theres no where else in the world like Washington DC. For the good and the bad. It’s always exciting.

My camera settings for this image was F/20 at 1/40th of a second at ISO 500. My aperture was super small so I was able to get the sun burst even bigger and sharper but the ISO was pumped up a little bit so I could shoot it fast. I also love that it smoothed out the water. Just don’t drop your tripod in there ­čśë

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I’m really hoping this marks the beginning of storms here in DC. Summer is my favorite just because we can get some really dramatic skies and this past Monday was no exception. It was super hot over the weekend and finally a cold front came in bringing this storm┬áthat created the most amazing skies right at sunset. The storm itself was a little disappointing. We were expecting lightning┬áand only saw a few really far away. But the clouds, the rainbow, the light soooo made up for it.

I met up with my friends Dave and Zack at the Lincoln Memorial. We figured that while it was raining, it’d be a great spot to take cover and still take pics at the same time. It was so fun running back and forth on the outer perimeter of┬áthe memorial. At first we were in the front capturing the dramatic skies. All of the sudden I turned around and saw this amazing glow coming from the back of the Lincoln. We ran back there to check it out and take pics. Then we get a message from Zack saying there was a rainbow at the monument. We ran over and started shooting that. It was so fun and exciting. I know we weren’t the only ones doing going back and forth. So many tourists were running along with us. LOL.

My camera settings for this image was F14 at 5 seconds and ISO 50. I chose to shoot this as a┬álong exposure so I could blur out some of the people in the foreground. *What were they all doing there standing in the rain anyways? This was definietly shot on a tripod but somehow I left my remote at home ­čÖü Oh well. There better be more storms in next few months.

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It finally happened! The cherry blossoms peaked! And they are so much better than expected. They actually look like what they’re supposed to. Fluffy white/pink clouds on trees. It’s what I’ve been waiting for all year long. Previous weather reports said that only 50% would blossom. I’d disagree and say there’s at least 75% going strong. Obviously there are some trees here and there that didn’t quite make it through the spring-winter, but the ones that actually did are so worth it.

Yesterday morning I woke up, pulled out of my drive way and the first thing I saw was the fog. For some reason my first reaction was a malicious laugh. I was so excited to check out how the fog affected the Tidal Basin. The water levels were high, the fog was amazing and I had a blast walking around all morning. I felt like the more the day went on, the better it got. Eventually the fog was was dense that you couldn’t even see the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial. It was nuts. (But so perfect at the same time). I shot this image right before the Jefferson got totally covered.

I shot this at F9 1/20th of a second ISO 200 with my 28-70mm. If your camera has live preview, I’d highly recommend shooting with that feature. I feel like I can compose my images so much better when I’m in live preview as opposed to using the eye piece. I think it’s because you can see EVERYTHING plus its just an easier perspective to see. I don’t think I would of been able to see this image without live preview.

The end of the morning was a bit crazy however. I was taking some final images when I ran into my friend, Alana. I said “hi” to her and my tripod fell into the the Tidal Basin!!! How CRAZY IS THAT?! I still can’t believe it. I think I’m going to have to make a youtube video to tell you the whole story.

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On my quest to take more cherry blossom images this year, I thought I’d leave this one for you for the weekend. This image was taken in 2012. ┬áThis is what the cherry blossoms should look like. Beautiful puffy white clouds along these delicate, windy branches. A glorious morning only shared by those who didn’t mind waking up before the sun. Ripples along the water created by a bird, a duck or slight gust of wind.

LOL I can’t keep a straight face anymore. I tried to be poetic. I’ll stop now.

Yea… So I took this in 2012, I have another version of this here┬ábut this one is a brand new one. I did not process it until now. The first time I processed┬áthe original image it was in HDR. For some reason it created all these unnecessary lines and colors along the branches called chromatic aberration. Trust me it is a pain in the B-U-T-T to get rid of. Man. I think it took me almost 3 days of fixing before I could get it just right for a client to print. So this version is vertical and it’s a little bit of a different point of view. The colors are definietly not as saturated but I much prefer this version. What about you? Which one do you prefer?┬áHere’s the link again to the first one.┬á

If you’re wondering, I stopped processing my images using HDR a while ago. I just realized I was spending all this unnecessary time processing and editing that I didn’t have to be. I am really enjoying my workflow now which is only photoshop. Nothing else. If you’re interested in learning more about it, check out my video here.

Have a great weekend everyone. May the flowers be dancing above your head like the cherry blossoms in 2012 were. LOL.

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Now that the snow has fallen, it’s crazy cold outside and it’s official that the cherry blossoms will not peak this year, it made me think about our trip to Japan around this time last year. Unfortunately while we were on our trip, I missed the peak bloom of blossoms in DC. Double unfortunate that we also missed the peak in Tokyo. We did see some cherry blossoms, but if we really wanted to see it, we should of stayed for a week longer. Oh well. I still loved our visit and was still able to see some beautiful flowers including this one. Do any of you guys know what this┬áone is called? I have no clue and would not even know where to beginning to find out.

I took it in Shinjuku Gyoen┬áNational Garden. The perfect place to go if you want to catch any kind of blooms. When you walk through the park, you almost forget you are in a major city. You don’t hear any honking horns or busy streets. You’re in your own little world, walking down paths of diverse garden areas and scenic views. If I had the opportunity, I would of loved to spend sunrise walking around by myself like I do in DC. The best part is that people come here not just to walk around and enjoy the flowers, but they will bring a blanket with a┬ápicnic baskets and hangout for a couple of hours. Kinda like what they do at the tidal basin┬áfor the cherry blossoms but it’s definietly not as crowded. I feel like when you can sit down and relax like that, you’ll get the full experience of the beautiful sakuras and these unnamed flower I photographed ­čÖé

By the way, if you missed it, I made a Tokyo guide. Click here if you’d like to see it.