trees

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Since I’ll be away this week, I thought it would be kinda cool to pre schedule these blog posts to illustrate the importances of moving your feet while shooting. What I mean is that photographers can get so comfortable when they find one composition that they end up staying in that same exact spot for the entire sunrise, sunset or whatever period of time. To me, there’s little worse than coming home and finding a whole memory card full of the exact same images. I personally feel like I didn’t push myself enough or I could have missed an opportunity. Even something as simple as turning around and seeing what’s going on behind you can even lead to a more interesting image.

So everyday this week there will be a new image but they were all taken within an hour of each other. I would stop at each place for about 10 minutes or so. However long I felt was necessary and then kept it moving. I walked from the edge of the reflecting pool to the center to the other side of the reflecting pool. I would walk up and down the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial steps. And even go back down to the reflecting pool when I saw something cool happening over there. None of the images will be the same but all taken in the same area. I hope that you’ll find inspiration from this and keep your feet moving!

This particular image is one of the very first ones I was happy with this Sunday morning. Despite what you may think it wasn’t taken at the reflecting pool either. It was on the Lincoln Memorial steps. There just happened to be this beautiful puddle right and I stood behind it to capture the Washington Monument. I think my favorite part of this image is the little gap you see in between the trees and the reflection. I think it makes it much more interesting than if it were just a perfectly symmetrical image. The colors ain’t bad either 😉

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 1/40th of a second at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.

 

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A little while ago, my friend, Bryon from Utah came and visited Washington. I know him through the Arcanum and have spent quiet a few months talking through email. So when he came to visit we set up a little photowalk session with my other friend from the Arcanum, Larry.

We started at the Reflecting Pool, then the to Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Constitution Gardens, WWII Memorial, and eventually left at the Tidal Basin. It was a long photowalk but so much fun getting to know Bryon. We talked about everything from Salt Lake City to his initial impressions of Washington DC. It’s so funny because he said that before his first ever trip to the district, he thought that it would just be a concrete jungle. Now that he has visited a few times he knows now that ‘there are so many trees you can barely see the other side of the street’. I thought that was such a compliment.

I love how our city is more than just buildings. It’s beautiful with it’s own little spots of nature.

This was taken at Constitution Gardens. I don’t think a lot of people know about it but it’s a great place to just sit and relax. While walking around the pond, all three of us noticed the amazing light that was hitting the Washington Monument. It was probably a good hour after the sun had actually risen. I immediately busted out with my wide angle lens and got down as low as I could to the water without touching it. OMG I love it when the light can just change everything. Change your view on what you’re looking at and also change how you feel. Not that I wasn’t already happy but seeing that light made me super excited.

The settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/500th of a second ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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Still basking in the glow of the photowalk this past Saturday. It was so much better than expected. To be honest, I was only expecting about 25 people to show up. But about 10 minutes before the photowalk was scheduled to happen, people were were just pouring in. It was so awesome and exciting! I may have counted at least 70 people in total. I still can’t believe it. Thanks again for everyone who woke up so early to walk around the Mall with me. I had such a great time meeting and talking to you all!

Even the weather was better than expected. The days leading up to the event called for some really cloudy skies. Meaning a really dark, probably uneventful sunrise due to rain we were expecting later in the day. Luckily, the weather gods were with us and the clouds parted a bit to bring in these cotton candy, puffy clouds. It was so beautiful, especially at that pre-dawn blue hour.

This image was taken at about 4:55a. I arrived to the Lincoln Memorial early just in case and met up with my friend, Larry for a quick little photoshoot at the Reflecting Pool. He always early to everything so I knew he would have been there even before I arrived. My favorite part of this image is the fog that you can see on either side of the reflecting pool. Those trees are actually along side a path way. The pathway has trees on both sides of it so if you’re lucky enough to see fog, sometimes it gets trapped in there and creates this amazing atmosphere. I just wish I had more time to photograph it.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 10 seconds and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle 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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One of my favorite places to go to shoot in Northern Virginia is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. I actually learned about it through Andrew. The first time we went here was on one our first dates. I still remember thinking it was weird that he took me here because he gets bad allergies in the spring time but he knew it was a place that I’d enjoy so I really appreciated that about him. Some of my favorite cherry blossom images that I’ve ever taken were taken from here. For example this one and this one. I just love the variety of flowers that you can see here.

So when I got the opportunity to pick a workshop location for a recent one-on-one teach that I did, Meadowlark was the first place that popped in my head. It is beautiful but still quiet enough where we’d be able to walk and talk about cameras and settings without disturbing many other people. The National Mall is a good place too, but it can get pretty crowded and parking isn’t always the best situation. So a great alternative is Meadowlark.

This image was taken from across the lake facing the Korean Bell Garden. I love how the branches create a cool frame around the pagoda. If I didn’t know any better than I would have assumed this was taken somewhere in Asia.

Just in case you’re in the area, the gates will open at 6a on Saturday May, 19th when they typically open at 10a. I bet this would look really nice in the early morning light. And if you’re interested in my workshops, click here for more information. They’re one-on-one so I can cater the information based on whatever you’d like to learn. Plus you don’t have to live in the DC metro area, we could go over everything through google hangouts or skype 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/1250th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm handheld.

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On my quest to find different cherry blossom angles, I came across this one. I love the way that it turned out. Whenever I look at it, it makes me feel like I’m in some kind of cherry blossom jungle and I have to somehow make my way over to the Washington Monument without making any of the pedals fall off. Is that weird? I dunno…

I met up with my friend, Larry and took him to a part of the Tidal Basin he had never been to before. It’s one of my favorite spots to go to especially during cherry blossom season because not a lot of people know about it and its usually far less crowded than the other places in the Tidal Basin. I have taken a couple of images from this place before, you can see them here and here. If you’re interested in seeing where this is, check out this map. I took it at that little part where it says “Kutz Bridge”. You have to cross Independence Ave to get to it from the larger part of the Tidal Basin but its well worth it.

Shout out to my friend, Navin for one of my favorite cherry blossom images ever and he took it from this exact location. It was because of him that I’ve been inspired to take so many different images from here but it would be very difficult to top his. Doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying though.

But with the crazy wind and rain that we got Sunday evening til Monday, it’s pretty safe to say that the cherry blossom season in Washington DC is over now. Don’t worry though, I took soooo many pics. It’s a little overwhelming to go through them all but just be expecting them… for about the next year or so. LOL. JK I didn’t take that many but it feels like I did.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.