washington monument

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I’ve been uploading so many travel photos lately that I’ve been missing DC pics. No matter what, I always love shooting this city. Some people can say they get sick of shooting the same place over and over again but I don’t. It’s always looks and feels so different anytime you go. I don’t think I could ever really get tired of it.

This was taken while walking around the Tidal Basin. It was early morning, probably an hour after the sun had risen and the light was hitting these leaves perfectly. I think my favorite part of the image is the reflection of the Washington Monument in the Tidal Basin. It makes it look so long and exaggerated. Funny story is, this was actually influenced by a picture I saw at my doctors office.

I was just going in for a physical when they brought me into a little room to get my weight and my blood pressure. There was a photograph of a similar scene but taken during cherry blossom season and there was a lot more going around on top and around the monument. But I couldn’t stop staring at the reflection of the Washington Monument. I thought it was the coolest part of the image when I’m usually all crazy about cherry blossoms. I guess seeing another person’s work made me see the Washington Monument in a totally different way. It was exciting. I immediately went home to see if I had I something similar to the reflection that i saw in my doctor’s office. and I did! I took this one last year around this time. I never noticed the reflection until that doctors visit. LOL. I totally would have dismissed this picture before but i really like it. It feels like home to me <3

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So grateful that yesterday’s Independence Day fireworks were so awesome! The forecast had called for 40% rain showers but you would have never known it. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot that it was unbearable to stand outside and sitting under a tree made for a nice breeze. Luckily the clouds weren’t so heavy and dark this time that the fireworks were really able to shine.

My friends Jim and Rosa joined Andrew and I in capturing the fireworks. We ended up at the US Capitol which I had never thought of shooting from before. It turned out awesome because they were having their own concert there and John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) was the host! I was singing and dancing up until the big show. Then while the fireworks were going off, they had even more performances going on. It was a little distracting because I didn’t know what to look at, the performance or the fireworks, but overall it was a blast!

At first I was a little disappointed with how many people were in front of us for the pictures. But taking a moment to really think about what I wanted the end product to look like, I think it worked to my favor. It’s a totally different view of the fireworks than I’ve ever captured before and I think it’s an accurate depiction of what it’s like shooting on July 4th in DC. Crowds of people, a big production, and everyone having a good time. I really like how you can see the fireworks in 4 different places in this image. Can you spot them all?

But lesson learned. If I ever shoot at the US Capitol again, go early. Same goes for all the Lincoln Memorial which I might try to go to next year. The angle from that memorial looks beautiful!

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Happy  Independence day! Hope you all have a great 4th of July full of fun, family and fireworks 🙂

This image was taken last year before the National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened. It was amazing! My friend, Jim (who I used to intern for at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) and I were the only ones inside the fence taking pictures. So I’m pretty sure that means we’ll be the only two people EVER with an image like this. With no one in the shot with 4th of July fireworks with the museum and Washington Monument standing side-by-side. Pretty awesome, huh? But I do remember how gloomy and cloudy the day was. The whole day called for rain and we got little pockets here and there. I remember thinking that they may totally call off the fireworks since the clouds were so dark and heavy. Luckily, they went off as planned. But unfortunately again, we weren’t able to see the ones that went really high in the sky. We could only hear them. The clouds were so dark that you couldn’t even see the color in them from the firecrackers. We could only see some of the lower hanging ones. Oh well. I still think this turned out pretty amazingly. But a cool effect that happened from all that rain that I didn’t expect were the reflections in the walkways. I purposely got down lower so I could really highlight the reflectiveness of the ground.

I’ll be out taking fireworks images again this year at the National Mall. I’m really looking forward to it. Its like 20 minutes of pure excitement. So if you need any tips on how to shoot fireworks, check out this video I created 4 years ago. All the rules still apply:

Happy shooting and be safe!

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And we’re in the home stretch. Today we’ll be arriving in San Diego which is our final destination for our great American road trip and we’ll be spending the rest of the weekend here. I’m not going to lie, this has been the time of my life but it has also been exhausting. Driving across country is something that I never thought I’d do but I’ve learned so much from it. Next time I do this, I want to drive through the northern part of the country like South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming. Theres so much more to the country that I haven’t seen. Seeing it from the road is a great way to appreciate it all. Hopefully Andrew and Frankie will be able to join. That would be sooo much fun.

This image was taken on top of the parking garage at Union Station. Pro tip- Union Station itself is amazing to photograph. Interior, exterior, beautiful views it has it all. Then after you’re all done, you can go down to the restaurants and get an adult beverage. But seriously, this an amazing spot for sunset with an unique view of the Capitol. There aren’t many places where you can go on a rooftop or shoot from a very tall point of view in Washington DC. Especially now since the Washington Monument is closed for who knows how long. So for a great birds eye view of things, Union Station is one of the best places to go to.

My settings for this image was F6.3 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 160. I did not have my tripod with me at this time but I should of. The wall of the parking garage is pretty tall. Taller than what I’m used to, so shooting for me was a little difficult. The whole time I was standing on my tipy-toes but like Tim Gunn says, ‘I made it work‘ 🙂

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You wouldn’t be able to tell from this image, but there were tons of people out. All these school field trips, buses of tourists, and just people who wanted to see the sights at the Tidal Basin. So it was difficult for me to find my own little corner to shoot, but I did it! The secret is to figure out where all these people were coming in and exiting from. Its usually the same area, so I just walked on the opposite side of the memorial and BOOM. Clicky-click city.

This was during sunset but the weather had been calling for on and off showers all day. Music to my ears! So I went out, not really expecting much but the clouds were so dramatic that it was so easy and fun to shoot. I love how the steps of the Jefferson Memorial create a leading line to the Washington Monument. Also the tree on the right creates the perfect compliment for framing to the columns. But my absolute favorite part of the image is the distorted reflection of the Monument on the steps. So cool and interesting to look at. Who knew the marble was THAT reflective.

My camera settings on this image were f/5.6 at 10 seconds. I used my ND filter to slow down the exposure which is really showcased in the movement of the clouds. Good thing it didn’t rain for the rest of the night. I was having a ball with this sky. Also shooting at a long exposure can really blur out some of the people in the image. I think I’ll try for a slightly shorter exposure next time and experiment with the people. Kinda similar to this image I took in New York City at Grand Central Terminal a couple of weeks ago. Yea… that might be kind of interesting.

 

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Looks like an almighty sword glowing in the sky, doesn’t it? This is my favorite part of always watching your back. The sunset action was happening in front of me at the Lincoln Memorial but a quick glance over my shoulder to the World War II memorial and I saw this! The sun was setting just at the right angle to change the white monument into gold. You can even see a little bit of the National Museum of African American History and Culture getting a bit of the sun sparkle too 🙂 It makes me smile to see the reflection in the reflecting pool water catch some of the sun’s glow.

My camera settings for this image is f5.6 at 8 seconds ISO 200. I really wanted a long exposure to blur out the fast moving clouds but also bring out the glow colors even more. To do this, I used my neutral density Ice Filter. I think I should be sponsored by them because I’m always talking about these filters and how amazing they are. *shoutout to Ice* Shooting with neutral density filters can be a little difficult if you’ve never used it before. My biggest tip would be to set your camera on manual focus, focus on your subject, and then put on the filter. Make sure you have the composition you want because once you put the filter on, it will be very difficult to see what you’re looking at. It gets super dark. If you leave your camera on auto focus, it will just keep on trying to focus on something and won’t allow you to take the picture. So remember just to keep your camera on manual and it will be all good. The neutral density filter also helped on making the edges super dark and contrasty which also helped in making the Washington Monument really pop out.