purple

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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.

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One of my favorite things to do after taking sunrise pictures is to just sit and enjoy the early morning light. Sometimes you can forget to enjoy the moment. Maybe you woke up late and you’re in a hurry to get to your location or you’re trying to find the perfect composition at the time the light is hitting you subject just right. There can be a number of things that cause you to stress so early in the morning which kinda sounds odd because photography is suppose to be a fun activity. But once all of that madness is done and you’re just left with the early morning light, it can be so peaceful to just sit and enjoy. Even for 10 minutes. It is the most relaxing and beautiful way to spend the morning. I love it. I just feel so happy and calm. Its a great way to just slow down. Rarely will I even have my cell phone out.

This was taken at Otter Cliff in Acadia National Park, Maine. Just looking at this image brings back those feelings of relaxation and peace. I remember sitting on those rocks after I captured this image and watching the sun for a good 20 minutes before doing anything else. That buoy in the distance was ringing a bell every time a wave rocked it over.  Sue and I were the only ones there and barely even said a word to each other. Is it weird to say that thinking about this image and what it took to capture it makes me look forward to waking up for my next sunrise? Yes. The answer is yes.

PS Where the otters at?

The camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/13th of a second with ISO 100 on my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Usually before I go to bed, I will check my phone for the weather. That pretty much determines if I’m going to wake up for sunrise or not. So last week I was in bed, messing around on my phone when I saw a fog advisory popped up. Music to my ears! I don’t know about where you live, but we don’t get many foggy days in the summer time. Our foggy days usually happen in the winter. So I was so excited to go to sleep so I could wake up to my favorite weather to shoot in.

I was up extra early, got ready and drove down to the tidal basin. I had a hard time even locating the Washington Monument while I was driving into the city. That’s how you know it’s going to be a fantastic day! When I got to my destination, I couldn’t help but smile. The way that the fog was playing with the Washington Monument lights was so cool. I’m glad I got there when I did because soon after I captured this, the color in the sky went away and it slowly got brighter out so the lights weren’t as visible. I posted this image up on my instagram the same day and a friend commented, “U captured an angel in your shot”. OMG it made me see this image in a whole new way. I love it.

What also makes me so happy is that I got emails, texts and messages asking if I saw the fog in the morning. Thank you for all of you who did that. I love that when you see fog you think of me – a thick cloud over the city. HAHA! I love it!

This image was shot at F4.1 at 1.3 seconds at ISO 320.

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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.