purple

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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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You know, sometimes waking up for sunrise can be really tiring. Am I right?

Somehow I forgot about how little sleep I get, especially after the spring equinox, and I just keep going and going. It’s hard for me to remember to slow down sometimes. Well, I definietly felt the effects of that last week. I had woken up for sunrise 3 days in a row. I think out of all the days, 1 of them was really worth it. The day that I took this image at the Reflecting Pool right in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I was super excited to see that little bit of purple pop out of the deep blue sky. But by the end of the third day, I was EXHAUSTED. So, I’m really proud to say that on Saturday, April 22nd I slept in until 10a!!! That’s crazy! I don’t think I’ve slept that much in 10 years. I don’t know what got into me but it felt soooo good.

Ever since I got real serious about photography and ever since I’ve been waking up for sunrise, my natural body clock will wake me up about an hour after sunrise. That’s usually about 7 or 8a depending on what season we’re talking about. The most annoying part is that once I am up, I can’t fall back to sleep. If you had known me when I was in college, I would of thought that was the craziest, most ridiculous thing ever and it would never happen to me.  I purposely made it so I had all afternoon/night classes and I’d sleep in for as long as I’d want. Usually that mean waking up at 11a or 12p. To think about how much I used to sleep in really makes me jealous, but its all good. It’s all a part of growing up right? Becoming a real adult? or something like that.

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The only way to get an image like this is to wake up super early. Way earlier than you actually want to. Way earlier than your body wants to. But it’s worth it. Theres no other time where you’ll get that amazing purple glow or find the stillness in the water or sidewalks. Nobody’s there rushing by you or getting in your way because there’s hardly anyone else there. Ive said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s such a beautiful way to start your day.

And don’t get me started with that fog. That fog just made the morning so much more enjoyable. It really fills the air with warmth like you’re walking through a  big puffy cloud. Its  hard to say, but I really do think my favorite weather to shoot in is dense fog. It just simplifies everything and your limited to what’s right in front of you. There are so many more ways to see things when you’re limited by the fog. I don’t know, did that make sense? I mean that everything is just so simplified that you have no other option but to see and think of objects you see everyday differently.

This image was shot at F/8 2.5 seconds ISO 160 with my 16-35mm on my tripod. My intention was to get the water silky smooth so you can really see the reflections of the cherry blossom trees and to get more color saturation from the fog. It was shot looking onto the the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial while standing close to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. What do you think of it? Do you like the lights from the memorial shining through the cherry blossom trees or no? I’m still on the fence but I think the colors made for a cool, slightly noticeable contrast.

 

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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.  This 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 but this one is a brand new one. I did not process it until now. The first time I processed the 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? Here’s the link again to the first one. 

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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I know I’ve been posting a lot of the Tidal Basin recently, but thats where I’ve been going lately. Every time I go, I am hoping to see some cherry blossoms. More like wishing and praying. There are a few here and there that have bloomed but this particular morning that I went out the main attraction was definietly the cloudy sunrise. There was this amazing glow that was coming from the horizon that you just couldn’t ignore. However my favorite part of this image is being able to see the Jefferson statue right in the middle of the columns. I also really like the elongated reflection in the water.

Days like this one make me so happy to be a photographer living in the DC metro area. I feel really fortunate to be able to visit these monuments on a regular basis and to see the beauty in them in almost any kind of light. Not a lot of people have the same opportunities so I’m really grateful for mine. Even with all the early morning wake up calls and late nights, when I see a sunrise like this, it makes it completely worth it. But it’d be hard to pick which monument is my favorite monument to photograph. It’s like choosing which puppy is the cutest. They’re all so great and you love them all in such different ways. You can’t actually pick just one. (Was that a weird analogy? Comparing monuments to puppies?)

If you’re interested in knowing my settings on this image they were: f5.6 at 1/5 sec. I shot it on my Sony a7ii with my 16-35mm wide angle lens. If you’d like to know my settings for future images, just let me know in the comments below. If I remember, I’ll try to put them in my blog posts for you.