travel

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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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One of my favorite things to do is just to walk around and get lost while traveling. It’s so fun to just explore a new city with no real plans and a camera in hand while documenting the things that inspire you. I’ve never really thought about doing the same in the city that I live in. I don’t know. I feel like “oh I already know all the cool spots” or “whats more could I actually see?” So I tried it out last week. I parked my car and started wondering around Georgetown. I picked Georgetown because I’m used to going to the area with all the shops and restaurants. Oh and also the waterfront is my favorite part, but I’ve never really explored the surrounding neighborhood. I’ve always heard that it’s a great place to live so I wanted to see why.

Everybody’s right. What a cute little neighborhood to live in. I felt so happy just walking around and exploring. All the houses are painted in bright colors, a lot of them how flowers surrounding them. Everyone just seemed so happy walking their dogs. While walking I found Oak Hill Cemetery. It wasn’t opened while I was there but from the outside it looks like a beautiful cemetery. (is that weird to say about a cemetery?) Regardless, I’d love to shoot there before all the flowers wilt. Also on my list to shoot, Dumbarton Oaks. Another place I’ve never been that’s on the top of my list.

This image was taking in front of someone’s house! Can you imagine walking home and seeing this beauty crawl along your walls. I feel like I’d be in heaven everyday. So if you’ve never done it before, you should try to be a tourist in your own neighborhood. You may find something that you’ve never seen before and totally fall in love.

The camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/30th of a second ISO 160.

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It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Holocaust Museum in DC. The first and only time was when I was in elementary school. It wasn’t a school trip or anything but it was an experience that was hard to forget. I remember the hall of shoes and wanting to run out of that room as fast as I could. I also remember being so relieved once we were done with the museum because it was that emotional and heart-breaking. As a young girl, I don’t think I completely understood what I was looking at but even then I knew I didn’t like it.

So when the opportunity came up to visit the museum again, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I was still ready to visit all those emotions again. However this time was different. I was asked to visit for a social media architectural tour in honor of the Holocaust Remembrance day at the museum. The concentration was on the building itself however my favorite part was listening to Holocaust survivor, Margit Meissner speak. Her story of escaping the Nazis were both heroic and inspiring. She wore a pin that said “What I do Matters” and I will carry that mantra with me for as long as I can.

This image is from the Tower of Faces. An overwhelming three-story hallway of portraits of families, children and people devoted to the Jewish community in Eisiskes, Lithuania. Just looking into the eyes and faces of these people was so powerful. In the middle of the image is my friend, Zack. I didn’t tell him to pose like that or anything. It’s was just his natural reaction to try to capture it all. I think we were both just totally blown away by this particular room because we both walked in saying “Wow”.

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Sometimes finding a new point of view can be difficult. Especially if you’ve visited the same location multiple times. That’s always the problem that I have visiting the memorials. How can I make it look different from all the other times I’ve shot it. Sometimes I try to go at different times of day, other times I’ll make sure the sky is really unique or different. I’ll shoot high or I’ll shoot low. But I always try to make the memorials that I love so much different in each of my posts. So when I saw this puddle I was super excited. It was just this gigantic puddle in the middle of the grass/dirt. I got some crazy looks from people when I kneeled down to get closer to it, but I think it was all worth it in the end. There were people who even stopped next to me just to get down low to see what I was looking at. LOL. Some people may not get it but these puddle shots are quickly becoming some of my favorite to shoot.

The camera settings for this was F7.1 at 1/100th of a second at ISO 160. It was a pretty cloudy day. A storm was expected to hit a few hours later (and you know how I can’t resist shooting in storms). My main focus was to get everything even and symmetrical. I think my favorite part about this image is the tree leaning over. When you’re standing up you barely notice it, but I think with the reflection in the puddle the curvature is a little more exaggerated. It really acts as a leading line to bring you through the whole image.

Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend filled with fun, amazing light and beautiful views. We’re celebrating my brother and my grandma’s birthdays tonight with some Turkish food!

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Oh snap! I can’t believe I still haven’t blogged this image yet. I’ll let you all in on a little secret. I have a folder on my computer desktop called “Haven’t blogged yet” (very creative, I know). It’s the place where I dump all the images that I’ve worked on but haven’t blogged about it yet (hence the name of the folder). Usually all these images have already been on my instagram. It’s just so much easier for me to throw things up on there but when it comes time to blogging, I am a lot more thoughtful and careful with what I’m saying. So I need to keep a folder to make sure all these cool images end up on the blog. When it was time to write today’s blog post, I went back into my trusty folder and found this one!

I took it the day I left for New York. It was the only day of the week that called for cloudy/slightly rainy skies. Those are words are like music to my ears because that usually means colorful sunrises/sunsets and I was right! But the best part of this morning was that the colors lasted for so long. Probably a good 20-30 minutes of amazing color. I was surprised and super grateful to have the extra time to try to come up with different compositions. So in case you were wondering, this was shot close to Netherland Carillon in Arlington, VA. Its one of the only places I know of that you can get all three of these iconic DC monuments all lined up like this. I tried my best to use my “cherry blossom skills” to frame the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and Capitol building all in one image using the trees around me. I’m pretty happy with the results. What do you think?

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Am I the only one who never knows how to pack clothes for New York City? I mean you check the weather and it will say it’s 80 degrees. So obviously I’m going to pack t-shirts and tank tops.  But once you’re there, it actually feels like 65. It’s the most deceiving thing ever. All the tall buildings and walking through the shadows make it feel so much colder than it actually is. But above all else, sneakers is an absolute must. Props to all the women who walk around the city all day in high-heels. You have my respect, big time.

This image was taken en route to Grand Central Terminal from the New York Public Library. One of my favorite parts of walking through the shadows of all the tall buildings is seeing the different kinds of reflections. Reflections in puddles, reflections in glass windows, etc.  It’s almost like a game to find some really cool ones. But I thought this one was particularly cool because you can see so many different building reflections in this one building. The sun burst to the side of it was just an added bonus that I didn’t even notice until I was shooting. No idea what the name of this building is but I believe it was on 42nd street if you wanted to check it out for yourself.

My camera settings for this image was F22 1/15th of a second at ISO 200. The only reason my aperture was so small was because I wanted to make sure I could get the sun flare to be as large as possible.

So while you’re walking around the city, definietly make sure to look up AND down whenever possible. You won’t be disappointed. You may find special treasures like this that make you really happy 🙂