Virginia

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Sometimes I’ll get into these zones and edit a whole bunches of images all at the same time, store them onto my desktop folder called “haven’t blogged yet” and then totally forget about them. This is the case with this image. I took it last week when it was crazy foggy at Shenandoah National Park and didn’t even bother posting it on instagram or anywhere else. Umm whoops?

In order to get into these zones, I’ll put on my ear phones and not even think about anything else other than the music I’m listening to and the image in front of me. It’s so fun. Although if you were looking through my window I’d look like a weirdo because I’ll be bopping my head and flinging my pointer finger around to the beat of the music. HAHA

To be honest, I’m probably done with Shenandoah National Park for the season. I’m going to try to concentrate on photographing more local areas to me like Great Falls Park and DC for the rest of the fall time. It’s not that I don’t love going, it’s just exhausting waking up so early in the morning, spending a couple hours there and then driving back. I usually won’t be home until the afternoon and it feels like most of the day has gone. But who knows? Maybe there will be a sunset shoot or night time shoot in my future? We’ll see!

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/40th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and my 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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This past Friday, I had the honor of going back to high school again. WOW never thought I’d ever say those words but it really was an honor. I was invited by Ms. Archibald (just kidding Amanda), the current photo teacher at my alma mater, Langley High School.

I had such a great time sharing my photo journey since high school and speaking to the students about my photography. But my favorite part was after my talk and speaking to the individuals about their own images. To hear them speak about their own work and what they’d like to accomplish with their photography was inspiring. The creativity they had was like nothing I had seen. One artist was asking me on how she could expand on her dark image series. Another had used an xacto knife on her prints to reinforce the emotions the image was portraying. It was so cool. Man, to be that young again and utilize digital photography and social media to your advantage is so awesome. Kids these days…

The crazy part was walking through those doors again. There has been so much construction that my old high school was hardly recognizable. I mean nothing was the same! The photo lab still had a dark room but their main classroom looked more like a computer class than anything else. Everything is digital! Back in my day we were film only.

It would be so great to reconnect with my old photo teacher. So Mrs. Morse! If you’re out there, let’s have lunch and catch up!!

This image has nothing to do with my day at Langley. It’s an image I took a little while ago but I just thought it was cool. The camera settings on this one is 0.5 seconds and F22 at ISO 100.

Thanks again, Amanda and LHS for letting me come back. I had an experience will be hard to forget.

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So excited to see that fall has FINALLY arrived in Shenandoah National Park. I’ve been waiting for all of October for the leave to change. Except the visibility was very low while we were there.

Yesterday my friend, Larry and I met really early in the morning to head to the Thorton Gap entrance at Shenandoah National Park. As I was pulling out of my neighborhood I could see that it was already a little foggy  where we live but the more west we went, the foggier it got. It was so exciting. Y’all know how much I love shooting in the fog. It’s my favorite weather to shoot in! But once we got there, it was SUPER foggy. Like whiteout. Sunrise is around 7:20 but we couldn’t really see any kind of daylight until 7:25a. The visibility was probably less than 100ft. At some points it looked like cars were coming out of no where because you couldn’t even see their headlights until they were really close by. It was kinda nuts but totally awesome. I’m pretty sure we said “wow, crazy” about 200 times each as we were driving through the park.

The best part was that it smelled like fog. You know that smell? Yea, the smell of happiness.

Luckily, Larry is a sony man as well and just recently purchased the 100-400mm lens. He was kind enough to let me use it for a little while, even after knowing my tripod story. I was shooting it handheld. It was a little bit heavier than I am used to, but it was still very easy to capture sharp images. I felt like a sports photographer the entire time. LOL.

My camera settings for this image is 1/60th of a second at F5.6 at ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and Larry’s 100-400mm. The focal length of this is at 282mm.

 

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Somehow I’m lucky enough to live right in the middle of two awesome airports, Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  But for some reason, I’m always flying out of Dulles. So when the rare opportunity comes up to fly out of Reagan, I take FULL ADVANTAGE! I do my research and try to figure out where I can sit on the plane to make sure I get the birds eye view of the National Mall. If you want to do the same, read on…

I know you can see the monuments if you’re flying north of DC and about 50% sure you can see them when you’re flying west of the city. You definietly won’t see them if you’re flying south. So if you’re flying north, try to sit on the right hand side of the plane. Obviously, when you’re flying back to DC, sit on the left hand side. If you aren’t able reserve those seats, you’ll still be able to get pretty cool views of the Pentagon and Air Force Memorial on the opposite side so be on the look out for those. Either way, window seats are key! And have your camera ready right at take off or when you are descending. It’s  surprising how fast the memorials will pop into your window. You’ll see them as you’re climbing your way up to the clouds or when you’re right about to touch down.

In order to take this image, I was sitting in the window seat, but I had to lean into the middle seat to capture it. My intention was to capture the light coming from the window and use it to frame the monuments. I really like this image, but I also wish I went a little closer to capture only the monuments. Oh well! There’s always next time:

My settings for this image is 1/3200 of a second at F/8 ISO 1000 with my 16-35mm wide angle lens and Sony A7II.

 

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Happy Friday! Yay It’s here!

Lately I have not been getting excited for the weekend. Mostly because I have so much fun during the week that the weekend is kind of an afterthought to me. It is so weird. But it is true. I get excited for Mondays! But this weekend is an exception. I’m really looking forward to it.

Reason #1: It’s Frankenstein’s Birthday! My baby boy is going to be 8 years old. Seriously, where does the time go? I remember the day we brought him home. Currently, he is right next to me sleeping and snoring in his dog bed. But it is so cute! We plan on having a little birthday party for him on Sunday. Yes, we are those dog parents. But its our way of celebrating our favorite little pup. This was him two years ago.

Reason #2: I’m heading to Maine next week! I can’t wait. It will be my first time there and I’m guessing it’s going to be a great time. From what I hear, we should be visiting at the perfect time for fall foliage too. So if you’ve been to Bar Harbor or Acadia National park and have some good photo or food recommendations, let me know! I’ll make sure to add them on the to-do list.

Lobster Rolls, I’m comin’ for yaaaa!

So that means by the time I get back, DC weather needs to cool down. It’s been way too hot lately. Time for your leaves to start changing and your air to get crisper. I’ll be practicing in Maine but the real test will be when I get back home.  It’s FALL Y’ALL!

This image was taken in 2014 during the autumn season in Great Falls Park. The camera settings are 15 seconds F/22 ISO 50 shot on a tripod at sunset.

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This is what I’m talking about!!!

Another image that I shot way back in 2011 in Great Falls Park and at the time I shot this, I don’t think I knew how to edit very well. Or maybe I was just scared to edit it because it would not turn out the way I wanted. Or who knows what the case was but I never edited this image. Isn’t that crazy? I could tell by the other images from this day that it was foggy! I dunno. I was probably intimidated.

But now that I’ve gained more skills and confidence in my photo editing, I am so glad I found this image again. I love it! It really embodies why I love fall colors so much. The red/warm tones are just so welcoming. I can’t wait for the crisp cool air to come. And pumpkin flavored everything in the grocery stores!

Back in 2011, I was strictly shooting and processing my images using high dynamic range (HDR) editing. It’s been at least 3 years since the last time I’ve done this. I’m not sure what you’d call my editing style now, but I definietly have developed a method to produce images that I’m really proud of. If you’d like to see more about how I edit my images, check out these videos.

So the camera settings for this image was 1.3 seconds at F/18 and ISO 800 on my Canon 5D Mark II. I can’t see on my metadata but I’m positive that I shot this on my tripod. Not only because it was more than a second exposure but because everything that I shot at this time was on a tripod. It could have been a super bright, sunshiny day and I would still shoot on my tripod. Even thinking about how much I’d shoot on my tripod makes me grateful for my photo process and see how much I’ve learned and grown from it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tripod and still shoot with it but only when it’s needed and it’s not needed for every single click.