purple

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So after my lightning practice last week at the Jefferson Memorial aiming at the Washington Monument, I had another opportunity to shoot lightning the very next day. This time I was at the Artechouse, which you should definietly go visit. Their latest exhibit is probably my favorite so far. It’s a celebration of lights that really can not be missed. Anyways, I was about to leave the exhibit when I got an alert on my phone saying that lightning struck 3 miles away from my current location. So you know what that means right? Leave asap so you can go storm chasing!

I figured that the US Capitol was the closest, cool looking building to me. Luckily it hadn’t started raining yet and I always have my tripod in my car so I parked as close as I could to the Capitol and made my way over. I had a blast! The wind was blowing and the lightning strikes were crazy big. While I was at the Jefferson Memorial, I had to wait some time between each strike maybe a 2-3 minutes but this time they were coming every 15-20 seconds. It was AWESOMEEEE. I was out there for only 30 minutes or so before the real big rain hit but I’m super happy with the way that this turned out.

Every time the lighting struck it would light up the sky to this amazing blue/purple color. It was such a beautiful show. There were even people who were leaving the Capitol that couldn’t help but to stop and take selfies. Such an exiting night to say the least. I ran back to the car as soon as the rain really started to pick up and it was all good in the neighborhood.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/13th of a second ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.

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While I was busy storm chasing the other day, I didn’t even notice the sunset that was happening. I figured with so much rain, cloudiness and overall darkness going on that we weren’t even going to get a sunset. I was totally wrong. It was this incredibly glowing pink, orange, purple color. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything like it and was completely shocked when I did. Man at least I saw it for the last 5 minutes because I would have been real upset if I missed it.

I was standing in between the columns when I noticed the glow out of the corner of my left eye. I scrambled inside the memorial because I knew the only way to shoot with a cool foreground and not stand in the rain was to shoot the Jefferson statue. I am so glad there are little openings all the way around the memorial because I love the way this image turned out. The reflection on the marble floor is super nice too. I consciously made an effort to include that in the image while I was shooting.

The sunset lasted about 5 minutes (for me at least) and then I went right back to my spot in between the columns to shoot the lightning. Overall it was a great night for photography and I am so glad I was able to go out.

Funny though, the first song that I heard on the radio when I got back into my car was Lightning Crashes by Live. That song brings back so many childhood memories for me. LOL. Mostly of me sneaking into my brothers room and listening to his cd collection.

The settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.4 seconds at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm and a tripod.

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Special Announcement! I’m hosting my very first photowalk and I’m so excited!!!

It’s happening on Saturday June 9th at 5:20a meeting at the Lincoln Memorial. Mark yo calendars. Super early, I know, but it will be so fun. I’m teaming up with the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival for a super cool Saturday morning. Don’t quote me on this but I heard they’re bringing Krispe Kremes too. So what could be better than the National Mall, sunrise, donuts and ME?! LOL.

Click here to sign up for the free event. And while you’re at it, check out some of the other events that will be going on that weekend. I’ve signed up for a couple myself and really looking forward to learning from other photographers.

This image was taken in August 2016 but I still remember the details of taking it. It was a super humid summer evening and we were expecting thunderstorms that night. So with weather conditions like that, I thought the sunset would be super colorful. It was, but only along the bottom of the sky, right above the horizon. So I decided to crop the top part and focus more on the water ripples. I don’t know if this image would have been as successful as it is without the water because I think the best part of it was catching the color reflection. It makes it seem a lot more colorful and dramatic than it really was. The most interesting part to me is that little line that flows down the center left hand side of the reflecting pool. I love the way that it bounces from one side to another so subtly.

So that’s our meeting spot! The Lincoln Memorial! Don’t forget to register for the sunrise photowalk and see ya there!

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Another one from this past weekend’s fog. I took this one around 6:15a while walking to the Lincoln Memorial. It was about 30-ish minutes before the sun was supposed to rise and I purposely parked my car in a spot that I usually don’t. The only reason why I did that was so I could walk to the memorial in a different direction that I usually do. I was sure I was going to see some different, interesting composition and I did! I love the way this one turned out. In order to capture it, I was standing in the middle of the road on a median but that early in the morning it didn’t really matter. There were no cars anywhere in sight. I probably stood there for a good 20 minutes waiting for some light trails or something but none showed up. I mean, it was Saturday morning at 6:15a. Where did everyone go?! LOL

I love how the fog plays with the street lights in this image. At first I was trying to shoot it at F22 so I could get some interesting starbursts coming out of them but it wasn’t really working out. I think the fog was spreading the light out too much in order to get anything. Maybe if you look at the center most one on the left hand side you can see it a little bit going on over there, but otherwise, they’re pretty much little balls of light.

Note to self: shoot this same spot on a really good sunset day and try to get some light trails in it too. That’d look so awesome. Hopefully there will be more cars at that time 🙂

The camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 2 seconds with ISO 200 and my Sony A7II with my 16-35mm wide angle lens shot on a tripod 🙂

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Being a photographer, I’ve learned a lot of really random things. For example, did you know that the Washington Monument in Washington DC was built to sway with the wind? Yea, that’s just in case we get a really windy day and the tallest structure in our Nation’s Capitol won’t snap in half. Isn’t that crazy?

Well, staying in San Diego for two weeks was no different. I learned so much about the environment I was in. For example, tides. Living in Virginia, I’ve never had to be concerned with how high or low the water is but in California, this information is so crucial. After the first one or two sunsets, I found myself looking at tide charts and figuring out how all of this stuff works. To generalize, I found that low tide occurs around sunset. I don’t know if that’s true all year around, but it was true in January. So I planned all my photo ops knowing that if I wanted to capture full strength waves, it had to be at sunrise.

This image was captured right at sunset. The tide was low but there was still a whole bunch of water still on the beach from earlier in the day. It made for the perfect beach reflections. My favorite part of this image is the tallest palm tree on the right hand side. The top of the tree looks like it’s standing on a toothpick. It’s crazy because when I came here the next day at sunrise, the water was all the way up to the wall. There would have been no way I could have walked on the beach unless I had plans of getting wet in the water.

My settings for this image is F11 at 0.3 seconds at ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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And probably the most epic travel experience of 2017 was our cross country road trip from Northern Virginia all the way to Southern California. It was intense, but soooooo much fun. I can’t even express how fortunate I am to have been able to do something like that. Everyday was a brand new adventure with driving times averaging 9-10 hours everyday. That doesn’t include all our pitstops. Some were as long as touring Elvis’ Graceland to as short as visiting Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas for 10 minutes. Either way, it was a trip that I’ll never forget.

My favorite, favorite destination without a doubt was White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It has been a place that I’ve been wanting to go for the longest time and when the opportunity presented itself, I knew that was a place where we were spending the night. No pit stops, no messing around, we’re taking as many pictures as we can of this place! So that meant sunset and sunrise. Unfortunately the park wasn’t open at sunrise but we were still able to take some early morning shots which was cool, but not as cool as sunrise. LOL.

Fortunately when we arrived at sunset, a huge rain storm was about to arrive as well. It turned the skies all these crazy colors of orange and purple, I literally thought I was in a dream. Running up and down these sand dunes is no joke either. I was going crazy trying to find different perspectives with the skies. By the end, I was super out of breath. Note to self, forget your shoes and bring a bottle of water next time you shoot sand dunes.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/20th of a second ISO 160 with my Sony A7II 28-70mm.