reflection

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I’ve been uploading so many travel photos lately that I’ve been missing DC pics. No matter what, I always love shooting this city. Some people can say they get sick of shooting the same place over and over again but I don’t. It’s always looks and feels so different anytime you go. I don’t think I could ever really get tired of it.

This was taken while walking around the Tidal Basin. It was early morning, probably an hour after the sun had risen and the light was hitting these leaves perfectly. I think my favorite part of the image is the reflection of the Washington Monument in the Tidal Basin. It makes it look so long and exaggerated. Funny story is, this was actually influenced by a picture I saw at my doctors office.

I was just going in for a physical when they brought me into a little room to get my weight and my blood pressure. There was a photograph of a similar scene but taken during cherry blossom season and there was a lot more going around on top and around the monument. But I couldn’t stop staring at the reflection of the Washington Monument. I thought it was the coolest part of the image when I’m usually all crazy about cherry blossoms. I guess seeing another person’s work made me see the Washington Monument in a totally different way. It was exciting. I immediately went home to see if I had I something similar to the reflection that i saw in my doctor’s office. and I did! I took this one last year around this time. I never noticed the reflection until that doctors visit. LOL. I totally would have dismissed this picture before but i really like it. It feels like home to me <3

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Happy  Independence day! Hope you all have a great 4th of July full of fun, family and fireworks 🙂

This image was taken last year before the National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened. It was amazing! My friend, Jim (who I used to intern for at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) and I were the only ones inside the fence taking pictures. So I’m pretty sure that means we’ll be the only two people EVER with an image like this. With no one in the shot with 4th of July fireworks with the museum and Washington Monument standing side-by-side. Pretty awesome, huh? But I do remember how gloomy and cloudy the day was. The whole day called for rain and we got little pockets here and there. I remember thinking that they may totally call off the fireworks since the clouds were so dark and heavy. Luckily, they went off as planned. But unfortunately again, we weren’t able to see the ones that went really high in the sky. We could only hear them. The clouds were so dark that you couldn’t even see the color in them from the firecrackers. We could only see some of the lower hanging ones. Oh well. I still think this turned out pretty amazingly. But a cool effect that happened from all that rain that I didn’t expect were the reflections in the walkways. I purposely got down lower so I could really highlight the reflectiveness of the ground.

I’ll be out taking fireworks images again this year at the National Mall. I’m really looking forward to it. Its like 20 minutes of pure excitement. So if you need any tips on how to shoot fireworks, check out this video I created 4 years ago. All the rules still apply:

Happy shooting and be safe!

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You wouldn’t be able to tell from this image, but there were tons of people out. All these school field trips, buses of tourists, and just people who wanted to see the sights at the Tidal Basin. So it was difficult for me to find my own little corner to shoot, but I did it! The secret is to figure out where all these people were coming in and exiting from. Its usually the same area, so I just walked on the opposite side of the memorial and BOOM. Clicky-click city.

This was during sunset but the weather had been calling for on and off showers all day. Music to my ears! So I went out, not really expecting much but the clouds were so dramatic that it was so easy and fun to shoot. I love how the steps of the Jefferson Memorial create a leading line to the Washington Monument. Also the tree on the right creates the perfect compliment for framing to the columns. But my absolute favorite part of the image is the distorted reflection of the Monument on the steps. So cool and interesting to look at. Who knew the marble was THAT reflective.

My camera settings on this image were f/5.6 at 10 seconds. I used my ND filter to slow down the exposure which is really showcased in the movement of the clouds. Good thing it didn’t rain for the rest of the night. I was having a ball with this sky. Also shooting at a long exposure can really blur out some of the people in the image. I think I’ll try for a slightly shorter exposure next time and experiment with the people. Kinda similar to this image I took in New York City at Grand Central Terminal a couple of weeks ago. Yea… that might be kind of interesting.

 

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I took this right before I left for my trip to Colorado and Utah. Its of the Jefferson Memorial and a big puddle I found on the street right behind it. I distinctly remember trying to walk a different way than I usually do to the Memorial on this day but that meant weaving through a whole bunch of buses and school field trip children to get to it. I know I must of looked crazy because I got so many weird looks. Like why was I kneeling down in the middle of the road? Middle school kids can be so judgey. LOL JK not really. Whatever. I got a cool shot, right?

On a completely different note, tomorrow is the start to a brand new adventure! My friend, Sue and I are about to hop in a car and drive cross county to California. Final destination, San Diego! It’s going to be B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Can’t wait. Here are our stops in case you are somewhere around us or if you have any tips for things to see along the way.

Day 1: Nashville, TN
Day 2: OKC, OK
Day 3: Santa Fe, NM
Day 4: Alamogordo, NM
Day 5: Tucson, AZ
Day 6 & 7: Los Angeles, CA
Day 8,9 & 10: San Diego, CA

I’m most excited about White Sands National Monument. Every picture I’ve seen from that place is BEAUTIFUL. Same with Tucson, AZ. Seguaro National Park is definietly on the to-do list. Now that I think about it, this whole trip is going to be a brand new to me (minus the places in California). Can’t freakin’ wait! A cross country road trip has been something on my vision board for a while now and I can’t believe it’s finally happening. Be sure to check out my instagram stories to follow along on the adventure but most of it will be on my youtube channel when I get back 😉

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So here it is, the deer story! As Andrew I were walking around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park around sunset, we noticed about 3 or 4 deers drinking the water. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and from a distance, I started taking pictures. Then we noticed some other people even closer to the deer walking towards them. The deer didn’t seem to be scared or anything because they didn’t run away, so after witnessing that, I wanted to go closer, obviously.

We slowly walked closer to them and noticed that there were so many more than just 3 or 4. There were like at least 10 of them! AND there were some baby deer too. They were sooooo cute. Pretty soon there was a big group of us people surrounded by all these deer! I’ve seen deer before but not this many at one time and never this close up and calm. All of us were taking pictures but moving really slow to not scare the deer. But eventually, after standing there for about an hour observing the deer, the sun had set and it was getting dark fast.

Andrew and I decided to break away from the pact of people and continue on to the trail to walk back to the car, but the deer had another idea. As soon as one of them saw us walking past them, he started CHARGING AT US!!! OMG scariest ish EVER! So I ran towards Andrew, looked behind at the deer and he CHARGED AT US AGAIN!!!! By the third time he charged at us, Andrew and I had ran so far down the lake that we put everyone else in between us and the deer. At one point, we heard this lady scream “Stop Running!” In my head, I was like ‘lady, are you crazy?!?!’

After freaking out for 20 minutes, I confessed to Andrew that I had made eye-contact with the deer and that’s probably why he charged at us. Oh man. Never again deer! So we ended up back tracking and taking the long way back to the car.

The best part is that I got the beginning of the first charge on video! It will be up on youtube soon but I stopped recording as soon as I realized what was happening. Biggest regret- turning off my camera 🙁 Oh well, I got a little bit of it that I will share soon….

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We arrived in Estes Park, right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park around dinner time. So naturally, our first stop was to get some pizza. OMG you need to try this place called Antonio’s Real New York Pizza. The pizza was outstanding! And believe me, I’ve had a few slices in my day and I really liked this pizza. And to walk off all those calories we headed to Sprague lake right after dinner in Rocky Mountain National Park.

It’s a super easy walk around the lake thats about a mile long. It was perfect because each side of the lake provided some amazing views. Good thing I had my neutral density filter with me because the sunset wasn’t actually as vibrant as this image makes it look. The clouds were looking very nice but the longer exposure by the ND filter really brought out that extra umph of color that it really needed. It also helped that it was a very calm and peaceful evening with not a lot of wind to create ripples in the water. So if you’re a fan of reflection shots, Rocky Mountain National Park has tons of them. From all the lakes to puddles. Everything is just so reflective and beautiful. You would love it.

The settings for this image was F5/6 at 1.6 seconds at ISO 400. I used my 16-35mm wide angle lens to try to capture as much of the scene as I could. I didn’t have my tripod on this one but I managed to find a good ledge to balance this on. The key is to try to get your camera body and lens to stabilize on something to make sure theres no extra shake. If your lens isn’t leaning against something or supported somehow, it probably won’t work out as well.