Sunset

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On our last day in California I thought about the places that I would miss the most in San Diego. We were able to see and capture a lot in the two weeks that we were there so there were a lot of places to consider. Each of locations were great in their own way but I decided that I’d only go to my absolute favorites on the very last day for sunrise and sunset. Somehow both times ended up being somewhere in La Jolla.

This image was from our very last ‘sunset’. It was so foggy at the Windansea Beach and the visibility was very low. It didn’t matter though. I was just so happy to be there. I love just sitting on the rocks, feeling that ocean breeze in my hair and taking in the whole scene.  It was really cool to see so many surfers out too. The waves were huge and I have no idea what kind of system they have in the water to make sure they don’t run into each other, but it was so fun to watch them ride. It seemed like at any given moment there was a surfer coming in and a surfer going out. But now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever felt the water myself. I just automatically assumed it was going to be cold and didn’t even try. LOL.

I’ll definietly miss San Diego, especially on cold weather days back home in Washington DC but I’m super grateful for the time we got to spend there. I know we’ll definietly be back to California sometime in the near future. I’ll be thinking about you beaches, palm trees and all organic green smoothies. (How did this turn into an eulogy?)

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/50th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens on my gitzo tripod.

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Ok so I couldn’t say that White Sands National Monument in New Mexico was my favorite place I traveled to this past year because I LOVEDDDD Colorado. Colorado as a whole is amazing. I felt like every turn we made was something even more beautiful on the other side. I’m pretty sure I said “wow” about a million times. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to spend more time there in 2018. Theres something about those snow capped mountains that gets me so excited.

And among all the beautiful places in the Centennial state is Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately there were parts of the park that was closed due to snow while we were there but still really enjoyed the park in general. That’s just another reason to go back right? This was image was taken on our first sunset there. We arrived to our walk early which meant we were able to take our time and take in beautiful views like this.

But it can be difficult at times finding balance. Photographers, let me know if you feel this way too. Usually when I’m out I feel some sort of pressure to find the right composition with the right lighting and to keep it moving so I don’t always end up with the same shots. But with all of that going on in your head, when do you find the time to just stop and enjoy the sunset? I’ve even heard of photographers saying that the only way they could really enjoy the sunset is just leaving the camera at home. I don’t agree. I think having your camera enhances the experience but there does need to be some sort of balance.

If you want to see more from our adventure, watch this youtube video. Shoutout to cheetos for being so delicious 🙂

My camera settings for this image is f/9 at 1/640th of a second at ISO 640 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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The White House is by far the most difficult landmark to photograph in Washington DC. It’s also the reason why I don’t have many images of it on my site. And in the past couple of years it’s gotten even harder. There have been so many restrictions on where you can walk around or even stand. Its kinda crazy compared to what it used to be.

Thankfully, my friend Christa has the hook up at her job and we were able to go to her work’s rooftop and capture it from there. But even there it was still a little sketchy. She let me know that we may get warnings from the White House just for having our tripods out… on the rooftop… a block away. But in the end, we had no troubles. Thank you Secret Service!

For this image, I used my 70-200mm lens to capture it all. It was the only lens I had on this whole rooftop adventure. I just love the way it compressed all the layers and what’s even more shocking is all the great details you can in the buildings in the very back. That’s Rosslyn, VA in case you were wondering. *shock face emoji* LOL.

What’s even better is that there are 5 american flags in this image. Can you find them all? The last two may be a little more difficult to find but I love seeing little surprises like that.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/60th of a second and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-20mm zoom lens. I specifically remember thinking that I wanted to create a stop motion effect with the American flag in the foreground so that is why my ISO is so high. The sun was setting and the light was already pretty dark. It had to be a real quick shutter.

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It’s still crazy to me that 2017 is almost over. I was looking through my instagram feed the other day and I was reminiscing on some of my pics from the past year. I had some really great adventures in 2017 and I’m looking forward to the last couple of days the year. That’s when I do an end of the year recap of my favorite images. It’s going to be really hard to pick just a few but seeing them all displayed in one place is going to be so exciting! It’s funny though because my favorites are not usually other people’s favorites. It’s probably because I have a different emotion connection to the images than others but it’s all good. I love that I can look back at the pictures and just smile.

I’m pretty sure there will be an image or two of Utah on that list. When Andrew and I went to Utah in the early part of summer, we had the best time ever and created some memories that will last a life time. Including our little run in with some feisty elks. OMG that was so scary. LOL. BTW I know now that they were elk and not deer and that story was from Colorado, but Utah and Colorado was all the same trip!

This image is from Dead Horse Point Utah State Park. We got to spend a beautiful sunset there and I would highly recommend anyone else doing so. It was great for sunset because if you’re at the very tip of the park, you can actually follow the light of the sun all around the rim of the bend. It’s absolutely beautiful!

The settings for this image is F/9 at 1/8th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm lens.

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I have this song playing in the background as I’m writing this blog post. Although I don’t share the same thoughts about rain with Missy Elliot, I do appreciate a catchy beat when I hear it. LOL. Oh, how I make myself laugh.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know how important music is to me. I love it. It just puts me in such a good mood. Whether I’m driving, taking pictures, editing pictures, whatever it is, there’s a song for any mood you are in. And watching music videos is something that I remember doing ever since the Total Request Days with Carson Daily. I’d come home from school, heat up a hot pocket, and spend the next hour mesmerized by song and dance. I think watching the visual representation of a song makes the song so much more enjoyable to me. I guess that means I am just a very visual person.

But about this image… This was taken right before a big storm was about to approach the Washington Monument. Luckily, it was around the same time as sunset and it made the sky turn this amazingly warm color in the sky. The coolest part is seeing the cloud formation right on top of that sun. I also enjoy looking at each individual flag and seeing how different they are blowing in the wind. Yea, that evening was something very special.

So unlike Missy Elliot, I love the rain. I love the pre-rain, post-rain, and rainbows. Actual rain, I’m sort of iffy about. As long as my camera gear doesn’t get damaged, then I’m all good 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/13th of a second ISO 100 on my Canon 5d Mark II with my 17-40mm wide angle lens.