summer

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Honesty hour…

Lately I’ve been thinking about my style of photography. I think I’m most known for sunrise at the Washington DC monuments, but I want to be more than just that. I want to become a more well rounded photographer that can photograph much more than empty, open spaces. I want expand and push my creativity. I’ve started to photograph more street, lifestyle, and portrait work but haven’t really said anything about. I haven’t really said anything about it because it’s not what I’m known for. And is it really even that good? I dunno, but I am enjoying it and when it comes down to it, that’s all that really matters, right?

So this is an example of the type of work that I’m leaning more towards. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my landscapes and sunrises but I’m expanding. This was taken memorial day weekend on the Old Rag trailhead in the Shenandoah Mountains. Typically I would have waited to bring out my camera until we got to the summit of the mountain and photographed the landscape but this time I wanted to capture the experience of what it was like to get to the top. This image is of my cousin, Mona, my sister-in-law, Audrey, Andrew and another hiker who just happened to be standing at the right spot at the right time. For me, it perfectly describes what it’s like. Cautious getting to the top while climbing over big ass boulders with amazing views along the way. My favorite part of the image is Mona’s body position and the way she’s getting around the rocks.

I have many more images that I took while on this hike. I’ve already sprinked a few here and there and theres more to come. So let me know what you think of these. I’d love to know!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/1000th of a second and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Last weekend was another adventure weekend. This time was at Lake Anna, Virginia. For the past 3 years, my family has rented a lake house and we would have tons of fun in the water. This past weekend was my first attempt at wake surfing and I had a blast! Mostly because I shocked myself and got up on my very first try. I know I had to have been standing for at least a minute. It was funny because I had spent so much time worrying about how I would get up that once I was up I had no idea what to do next. There is a video of it, but in true Andrew fashion, there’s a finger in the corner of the video!!! I mean, how does that even happen? I swear he must do it on purpose… Anyways I was able to go a few more times and I got better and better at it. Luckily there are no fingers in those videos.

This image is of my friend, Nando. He’s way better at wake surfing, snowboarding and all those kind of things than I am. It was fun to photograph this though. I never thought about the cool angles you could get from the back of the boat. It makes me want to go back again just so I can photograph more surf. This image was taken about 10 minutes before it started thunder storming. Man I wish that rain held off because it rained for the rest of our trip. I would have loved to fly the drone during these wake surfing sessions. I was able to get a little bit of fly time from land, but the boat would have been awesome. Next time, Lake Anna!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/320th of a second at ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Like I said last week, the hike up old rag was strenuous. It was hot, humid and I was sweating all over the place. In total it took us about 6 hours to complete. You know you’re on top of the mountain when you have these huge rocks you have to climb. I had no idea that it would require so much upper body strength. Shout out to my cousin, Brian who I’ve been working out with 3-4 times a week. I feel like all that working out prepared me for this hike and this hike only. LOL. I had done the trail before but always needed assistance climbing up the rocks. This time I didn’t need any! I came home with a lot of bruises, but at least I didn’t need anyone’s hand to help pull me up 🙂

We were super lucky though. Right when we were done with the rock climbing part and we were about to reach the part where you just walk down the mountain, it started pouring. Like lightning, thunder, soaking wet! I can not imagine what it was like for the people who had to rock climb in all that rain because it was intense! But for us walking down it felt so good. I feel like it relieved us of the heat, all the steaminess of our sweat and humidity went away and it just felt so refreshing. Luckily, I packed a rain sleeve for my camera so all my electronics in my backpack was safe. I didn’t even think to bring one for myself. As long as my camera was ok, I’ll be ok.

We ended up walking a good 3-4 miles in non-stop rain. It wasn’t too bad but neither one of us wanted to stop for a break so it went by super quickly.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/50th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Speaking of a lot of images, over Memorial Day weekend my cousins, Andrew and I went on a hike in the Shenandoah Mountains. It was amazing. Andrew and I had done the Old Rag hike twice already but it’s been a couple of years. I kinda forgot what it was like.

This time it was hot and super humid. *note to self, don’t wear grey shirts when going on a hike. You’ll get very visible sweat stains and it’s not cute.*

I don’t remember it being as strenuous as it was but the views are hard to beat. I took so many pictures during the hike that it’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to get through them all. I did post a few on my instagram stories a couple of days ago and this one was one of my favorites. We were on top of the mountain when there was a place where you could either climb down these huge boulders, gently and safely ORRRRR jump like this guy did. I chose the first option but while I was waiting for everyone else to cross, I saw this guy with his running start. I was able to get into position quick enough to capture his leap. I love it because it sort of looks like he’s walking on an invisible tight rope. I checked my camera to see if I got the shot, looked up and he was gone. He must have been running to his friends or something because it was literally dust behind him. I wanted to get his email address so I could send him the whole series of jump, but oh well. Maybe next time.

In order to capture the jump, I had to put my camera on burst mode. My camera settings for this image was F5.0 at 1/800th of a second and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm.

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Since I blog every weekday and haven’t skipped a day since March 2010… or 2011? I don’t remember. But people are always asking me how I keep up with it. How do I have so many images to blog about? And I always have to laugh when people ask me about that.

  1. because I have soooo many pictures. Sometimes I think it’s too many. Sometimes I feel like I run out of time because I don’t get a chance to edit them all and I’ll forget about some images.
  2. I try my best to make the most out of each photo trip. Even if I’m going to the Lincoln Memorial, I’m constantly moving around and keeping my feet busy. I can’t think of anything worse than coming home with a memory card full of the same exact images. I’m always trying to find new angles and light on each trip. That way I have a lot of different options to consider when I get home. I’m lucky if I get one image I like, but for the most part I’ll come home with several.
  3. I keep a folder on my desktop that’s called “Haven’t blogged yet”. These are the images that I may have already edited for fun, edited to upload to my instagram, or for whatever reason just have completed but haven’t blogged about them yet. This makes it super easy for me to just sit down and pic an image to write about. Once they’ve been blogged, they are archived.

So for those of you wondering how I maintain my blog, I try to keep it as easy as possible. On a good week I like to keep 1 day just for blogging. That can be difficult sometimes when I have a busy schedule but my blog is definietly high on my priority list. I preschedule them so I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week and then the cycle continues the following week.

If you have any other questions about blogging or anything like that, please let me know. I’ll definietly try my best to help.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 80 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

PS more views like this this summer!!

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I found the biggest difference between photographing the US Capitol and the other memorials like Lincoln Memorial or Jefferson Memorial during lightning was the fact that there was no real place to hide from the rain. At least when you visit the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, you are able to hide under a bit of shelter and still be able to create images. At the US Capitol there is nothing like that so you’re basically out in the open, hoping your camera gear doesn’t get soaked.

That was the case for this image. I actually had a huge rain droplet in the middle of my lens and didn’t even notice until a couple of frames after this image. Its ok though because I cropped the image to the most interesting part of the image anyways. I’m just glad I caught it when I did. Every time the lighting would strike, it turned the skies crazy purple. I love how the relationship between the lightning and the US Capitol dome. The lighting bolt is twisting and turning in all kinds of ways when the US Capitol is so straight and architectural. I think my favorite part of the image is the fact that the lights are still on in the dome. It some how gives it even more life.

I’m really looking forward to photographing more lightning this summer, especially since sunrise is so early now, I’ve noticed that I’ve been shooting a lot more sunsets and night images than sunrises. LOL. I woke up yesterday to capture the sunrise and it was totally washed out with rain. I should have just stayed in bed…

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/15th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.