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Reflections day 4. Man, this is gettin’ easy.
Check out day 1, 2, and 3

I took this image earlier this summer at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It was an early morning hike around Bear Lake and the water was so still. It was literally like a mirror when I saw it and immediately knew exactly how I wanted to capture it. I knew that I wanted it to look as if it were printed on a piece of paper and you folded it in half, you would see the exact same thing on either side. Kinda of like what you used to do with paint and paper as a little kid but with nothing else seen especially in the corners. I don’t know why but I was paying particular attention to the corners when I was capturing this. I didn’t want to give it any kind of location context.

A majority of the time, I’d probably want something in the foreground or something to divide it up, but not for this particular image. I wanted it to keep it as simple as possible and just enjoy the beauty of nature. Man, can you imagine what this place looks like now? It’d be so cool if the leaves changed color with this reflection. Praise hands emoji!

After I photographed this image, we ended up hiking around to this side of the lake but it was so difficult. The water levels were really high, there was still some snow on the ground (which you can see little bits of), and it was super muddy. Let’s just say the hike didn’t last too much longer after that. I’m really hoping to go back to Colorado in 2018. I seriously fell in love.

The camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/250th of a second ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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You know what’s really cool about waking up for sunrise? The windy air. LOL!

Sorry, bad joke. But for real, waking up for sunrise and then driving to the top of a mountain can get real chilly and Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park was no exception. I was wearing 2 pairs of pants, about 5 layers including a jacket on the top half of my body and gloves while waiting for the sun in the beginning of October. It’s totally worth it though. I love being first place and when you’re on top of Cadillac Mountain, you see the sunrise first before anyone else in the United States. YESSSSS.

But usually I’m hoping for a cloudy sunrise. The colors of the sun fill the clouds and that is my favorite time to take pictures. If it’s cloudy enough, it can make the whole sky turn a variety of colors. But it didn’t happen this day. The day that we designated to shoot sunrise from Cadillac Mountain was super clear. Not a single cloud in the sky. In this instance, I think it works though. All the rocks and textures on the bottom half of the image bring the interest in this photograph and the simplicity in the sky above just work well together. I love how there is a slight gradient but otherwise, I’m staring at that guy walking across the frame. Him being there really reminds me of what it was like being on top of the mountain. Pretty chilly but totally worth waking up early and capturing a great landscape image.

And as I was putting my camera back into my backpack, my tripod blew over and almost hit someone. Again. *face palm*

The settings for this image is 1/250th of a second at F/5.6 ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm zoom.

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So after yesterday’s update at Shenandoah National Park, I figured I’d give an update at Great Falls Park. I used to come to this park a lot. When I was first getting started with photography in high school AND after I graduated from college (I sort of dropped off while I was in college), I’d come to this park a lot to practice. Since then I think I just got distracted with Washington DC images that I haven’t been back in a long time. It was probably last October since I’ve been back and it felt so good to hear the roar of the water again.

But I may have seen one or two trees that have already changed colors, other than that the park was mostly green. I find this to be good news though because it gives me more reasons to go back in the near future. If you’re looking for some great fall foliage shots, the falls and the Billy Goat trail are awesome to shoot.

Another reason why I sort of stopped going to Great Falls Park was that it started to close it’s gates at night. That meant I couldn’t get in for sunrise. Luckily, sunrise is around 7:20a now and I was at the gate for about 5 minutes before someone showed up to open the gate up at 7a. Pretty perfect timing if you asked me. The parking lot is pretty close to the first overlook which is where I shot this particular image. I had plenty of time to set up for this shot.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 2 seconds ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and my 16-35mm wide angle lens. I also used my neutral density filter to slow down the image and create those awesome water lines on the bottom middle.

 

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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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So you know that one of Sue’s highlights from the trip was the Ocean Path. If I had to pick mine, it would have been the airplane tour we did on our last night in Maine with Acadia Air Tours. We booked the “airvan” for 35 minutes at sunset. It was perfect because the plane was actually built for sightseeing.

But if you have never been on a scenic airplane tour, I have 2 photo tips for you:

1. Constantly check your images. The beginning of the flight was perfect. I had the correct settings to make sure I wasn’t getting any motion blur in my images. But as the sun was setting towards the end of our flight, I did not realize how much the light had changed.  I should have bumped up my ISO or something because all the images towards the end of the flight were so blurry. I wasn’t upset or anything, I still had a rockin’ time on the flight. Just check your images as you go!

2. Zoom lens all the way. I brought my 70-200mm just in case, but didn’t feel like I needed it at all. We were only up 2000ft max in the air and I was still able to get pretty good zoom-age with my 28-70mm. I say zoom instead of a wide angle because there were times when there would be a lot of sun glare on the windows. Especially when we were faced a certain way, it was very difficult to avoid it. At least with the zoom lens, I was able to avoid those spots as opposed to a wide angle or something that would have captured it all. Sue was taking pics with her phone and said that the sun glare was really difficult to avoid the entire trip. All of her photos had at least a spot.

So if you’re in Acadia National Park and want to see it from a different point of view or even have a totally different experience, I’d highly recommend Acadia Air Tours. Bernard was our pilot and he was so nice. It was very easy to talk to him and I didn’t feel like I was bothering him with the million and one questions I was asking 🙂  And if you do book a trip with them, tell them I sent ya!

This was taken at the beginning of our flight and my camera settings for this image is 1/25th of a second at F5.6 ISO 640.

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If you asked my friend, Sue what her favorite part of our whole Acadia trip was, she’d say it was Ocean Path. It’s a super easy hike from Otter Point to Sandy Beach with a stop at Thunder Hole along the way. It’s two miles long and would typically take people 2-3 hours to complete, it took us almost 4. LOL. That’s only because we stopped a lot to take pictures… and snack breaks. This was our early morning hike so we didn’t have any breakfast prior.

If I had to guess, she liked this hike the most because every view point and every stop was so typical “Acadia”. Like when you google imaged pictures of Acadia, these are the views you’d see in the search results. We were also hiking on a super cloudy day and the air was crisp and cool. It made it so much more comfortable for us to really take our time and enjoy the scenery.

So if you have plans on visiting Acadia National Park, this hike would be one of my top suggestions. It faces east so basically anywhere you stand, you’re going to get a great view of the sunrise. And I’m not sure if we were just lucky or what it was, but we barely saw anyone on the hike. It wasn’t until we got closer to Sandy Beach (our end destination) where we really started seeing people. I think most people go to Cadillac Mountain to view the sunrise if they’re going to wake up that early, but there are other beautiful places in the park to see it too and Ocean Path is one of them!

The best part was being able to take a bus back to our original starting point, Otter Point where we parked our car 🙂 Luckily we got on the bus just in time before it started pouring rain. Man I can’t express how happy I was to be able to take that bus back instead of walking back 2 miles in the rain.