sunrise

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I know its wrong but whenever I travel and check the hours for a national park, I kinda just assume it’s more like a guideline as opposed to an actual rule. I think it’s because there have been so many times at so many different parks that the gates are left open and I just drive right through. Well this is definietly not the case at White Sands National Monument. They closed the gate! I was so disappointed that we woke up early just to go take some sunrise shots and it was closed.

But since we were already up, dressed and ready to take some pictures, we decided to pull over at this camp site spot near the entrance of the park. It had really pretty cactuses and a lake that maybe we could get a few shots in. I didn’t really expect much but then I saw these three birds just hanging out in the water. I knew they were going to fly away as soon as they saw me so I did my best to slowly approach them. I only had my 28-70mm so I wasn’t able to zoom super close to them like I would have wanted to. Regardless, I’m really happy that I was able to capture them taking off. My favorite part of the image is that one little water drop in the middle of the second and third bird. Such small details like that can really make an image. For me, my eye keeps on going straight to that spot and I love it!

So listen to me now. If you’re going to White Sands National Monument, definietly get your beauty sleep in so you can be ready to shoot sunset. Sunset is where it’s at at White Sands! 

Settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/200th of a second ISO 500.

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The other day, Andrew and I were talking about how crazy the past two months have been. I think all the craziness started around Memorial day and it’s just been non-stop ever since. I’m not complaining though. It definietly makes life interesting and fun. But for some reason I feel like it’s only the beginning. And no, I’m not pregnant- MOM!

Then I started thinking about the year as a whole. I’m so grateful for everything that has happened this year and it all started in Iceland. A place I’ve visited before but this time I really got to explore and enjoy this amazing country. It’s just so beautiful at every turn. Everyone you meet is so nice when you talk to them. The food was better than expected and the waterfalls are even better.

However this image was taken at a black sand beach in Höfn called Stokksnes. No waterfalls that I knew of were near by but if you ever visit Iceland this place is definietly worth the drive. Holy crap I can’t express that enough. It’s amazingly beautiful. And the sunrises lasts for so long. We were there in the winter time so I don’t know what it’d be like in the summer. But the best part was that the sunrise was at 945a! (You can’t see my face but it looks like I just ate a sour lime, but in a really expressive/happy way.) It felt like we were there for an hour and the color was still changing and exploding. Highly recommended and I’d go again and again if I had the opportunity to.

So even though more than half the year is gone, I’m optimistic and really looking forward to new adventures. Which also reminds me, how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?

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Today on our road trip we’re driving from Oklahoma City, OK to Roswell, New Mexico. Over the weekend we zipped past the east coast and most of the central time zone with only a few stops. This was intentional because Sue and I wanted to spend most of the time in the south west. The temperatures will be hot but the pictures will be too, amiright? *high five* Really looking forward to the rest of this adventure. Follow along on my instagram stories to see what we’ve been getting up to in real-time.

The image above was taken just a few weeks ago in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. I loved seeing these little cacti along the walking trails. Every time I saw one, I’d squeal. They’re just so cute. I bet if you were just walking, you wouldn’t even notice them. They aren’t very big and there weren’t very many of them but it’s little details like this that I love photographing. Things other might have passed by but if you really take your time and look around, they’re so fun to see. The sunrise lighting was perfect. Perfectly describes the mood I felt while I was there, happy and warm.

I did not have a macro lens with me on this trip, so I shot this with my 16-35mm wide angle. That was so I could make sure to get enough foreground and background in this shot. My camera settings for this image was f7.1 at 1/25th of a second at ISO 250. My favorite part is seeing the glow on all the plants in this image. Especially the tall purple flowers on the right hand side. Barely noticeable, but it’s there 🙂 And who knows who’s foot prints those are in the very front. They definietly were not mine.

 

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Devils Garden in Arches National Park at sunrise. The best part about this entire trail was that we were pretty much by ourselves. Hardly anyone was out there so early in the morning. I felt like I had the whole park to ourselves. But we did run into a few chipmunks, deer, etc. They were cool.

If you’re interested in doing the hike, it’s pretty easy. For the most part the land is flat and the trail itself is well marked. The rock formations were great because they provided some shade underneath that hot sun. However, had I known earlier we would of been able to see so much more than we did. There was kind of a split in the middle of the road around this huge rock. Andrew and I didn’t know which way to go so we kinda decided to just walk back to the car and try out some other trails.

Which leads me to the question, how much research do you guys do before you leave for a trip? I have an idea of the things that I want to see when I visit a new place. I’ll mark them on a map and figure out which is better, sunrise, sunset, or during the day. But I’m not sure if I do enough research like how to get there or how long it will take. I kinda leave to when we arrive at our destination to figure that kinda stuff out. Partly out of laziness but partly because I know things always change. Road closures, construction, etc. Sometimes those things can be hard to predict. For the most part it works, but had I known the Devils Garden trail went a lot further out, I would of been able to see some more really cool arches. Oh well. You live and you learn.

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What may look like a beautiful sunrise image is actually a little shocking. This was a sunrise shoot that was hard to forget. It was the morning after a huge tornado hit the DC area and usually after dramatic storms like that, we’ll get dramatic skies. So I woke up early and made my way down to the Tidal Basin. I was super excited to see this beautiful sunrise and immediately parked my car. I started off at the pedestrian bridge that’s on Ohio Drive. A good starting point for any image at the Tidal Basin and to get a better view I wanted to get closer to the water. Man, I was shocked when I tried to walk down the ramp and realized that I wouldn’t be able to get down any further. The water levels were so high that it was covering half the walkway. That meant the entire sidewalk area  further down was flooded. I think I stood there in disbelief for a minute because I had never seen anything like it. So I quickly turned around and to find an area on the grass where I could stand. I figured standing behind this bench would give me the most accurate depiction of how flooded it was to give scale. I bet if I actually stood in the water, it would of been up to my shins. Craziness! I had never seen the water rise this high before. Can’t be good for the cherry blossoms at all.

At least the ducks were happy.

So if you wanted to help the National Mall fix this flooding problem, please consider donating. It will really help with the improve and restoration of the seawall that’s obviously being damaged by the water and reconfigure the foot traffic so the cherry blossom trees won’t need replacement every year.