reflecting pool

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Looks like an almighty sword glowing in the sky, doesn’t it? This is my favorite part of always watching your back. The sunset action was happening in front of me at the Lincoln Memorial but a quick glance over my shoulder to the World War II memorial and I saw this! The sun was setting just at the right angle to change the white monument into gold. You can even see a little bit of the National Museum of African American History and Culture getting a bit of the sun sparkle too 🙂 It makes me smile to see the reflection in the reflecting pool water catch some of the sun’s glow.

My camera settings for this image is f5.6 at 8 seconds ISO 200. I really wanted a long exposure to blur out the fast moving clouds but also bring out the glow colors even more. To do this, I used my neutral density Ice Filter. I think I should be sponsored by them because I’m always talking about these filters and how amazing they are. *shoutout to Ice* Shooting with neutral density filters can be a little difficult if you’ve never used it before. My biggest tip would be to set your camera on manual focus, focus on your subject, and then put on the filter. Make sure you have the composition you want because once you put the filter on, it will be very difficult to see what you’re looking at. It gets super dark. If you leave your camera on auto focus, it will just keep on trying to focus on something and won’t allow you to take the picture. So remember just to keep your camera on manual and it will be all good. The neutral density filter also helped on making the edges super dark and contrasty which also helped in making the Washington Monument really pop out.

 

 

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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 that created the most amazing skies right at sunset. The storm itself was a little disappointing. We were expecting lightning and 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 the 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 long 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 🙁 Oh well. There better be more storms in next few months.

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Recently I was asked about my favorite place east of the US Capitol. First, I had to look on a map. LOL. Then found out that there were so many places that I could list – Union Station, the Arboretum, etc but it always came back to the US Capitol. Does that count? I don’t know what it is about the Capitol, but it’s such a beautiful building. My favorite is just walking around it. From all points of view its amazing. My favorite for sunrise is this spot right here. Right in front of the reflecting pool while watching the ducks swim past.

But have you ever been inside? It’s the best part, in my opinion. The Rotunda is stunning. As soon as you walk in you are overwhelmed with beauty. And then when you look up! OMG. Breath taking. So the only way to see the Rotunda is to take the Capitol tour. They’re free and highly recommended. I really should go back again soon. Last time I went was during the restoration and most of the dome was covered up. This may have sounded like a paid advertisement for the tour, but it’s not. LOL. Just a huge fan in the interior of this building.

In reality, I captured this sunrise a while ago. I think it was during cherry blossom season. I was just so consumed by the beautiful blooms that I didn’t have time to work on this image. My favorite part is definietly the sun burst coming out of the Capitol. I think it’s what really makes this image pop. The camera settings on this one was F22 for 1/13th of a second ISO 250. If I remember correctly, this was a handheld. I think it was the day after my ‘little’ tripod incident and wasn’t about risking it again.

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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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Shout out to my friend, Zack who had been texting me to meet up for sunset on this day. Although we were on two very different sides of the national mall shooting (I was by the reflecting pool and he was at the US Capitol), I would of never have gone out on this day if it weren’t for him. It’s funny because we were texting each other pictures of what we were seeing in the sky the entire time. Once the color actually broke through the clouds, it was dead silent between the both of us until it was all over. LOL.

So I was sitting by the reflecting pool, mostly concentrating on the sky. But it was awesome because these little kids came up next to me with crackers and were feeding the ducks. *note to self, always bring crackers when taking pictures* So my attention went from the sky to getting the ducks in the foreground of the reflecting pool and Lincoln Memorial. I got some pretty cool shots which I’ll post later. Next, I’m not sure what happened but I turned around to see that the sky behind had really blown up. I mean you usually see the sunset colors behind the Lincoln Memorial, but all the action was behind the Washington Monument right at the WWII Memorial. Luckily, I had some time to set up a shot. But it didn’t last long. I’m glad I was able to capture what I did.

Camera settings for this shot was F5 with a 15 second exposure at ISO500. I was using my Ice neutral density filter for this one so I was able to capture the saturated colors and any people who were in my way were blurred out. The only people you see were the ones who were standing there for longer than 15seconds.

 

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Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. This image was shot last fall. See the other version of this same sunrise here.

I met up with my friend Sara to take this image. She told she had never been to DC for sunrise and we immediately had to change that. So the next morning we met up super early in the morning. I remember walking around the National Mall with her and we were talking about how it was so nice to be taking pictures. But one of the best parts was that you’re up so early in the morning that no one else is really awake. You have so much time to accomplish other things before even having to worry about calling anyone or making any kind of appointments. Just a nice way to start your morning by walking around and doing something creative. Growing up, I was never an early bird. But now that I’ve been waking up for sunrise images for the past 6 years that I can’t help but wake up early now. Even without an alarm.

In other news, I’ve been thinking lately that I need to make an updated youtube video. What do you think? It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my gear. I’ve uploaded quite a few videos about new gear that I’ve bought but those were mostly first impression/unboxings. Never really gave my opinion on what I think about the equipment now. Also, I’ve gotten a few things without tell you guys as well too. So would you be interested in an updated gear video? I think it’d be fun. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’ll try to add that into the video as well.

To be honest, it may be another week or two until I actually make it. I have another video in the works before that one. You’re going to LOVE it.