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Even in the middle of January, I’m already starting to get questions about cherry blossoms season in spring. Actually, I started receiving them in December! Props to all of you early planners out there who want to make sure they capture my favorite time in Washington DC. Seriously, cherry blossom season is the best time to be in the Capital. I don’t blame you.

Even with all my experience shooting the blossoms, it’s still very difficult to predict when they’ll actually bloom. I usually say beginning of April will be your best bet, but I’ve seen them as early as late March and as late as mid April. They don’t last too long either. From what I’ve seen a week to a week and a half tops. I remember one year we may have only had 3 good days with the flowers before they all fell off due to rain we got. They’re fragile flowers so don’t be disappointed if you planned so much to see them and you don’t. They honestly really hard to plan for.

But for those of you wondering, I created this guide. Hope this helps. I try my best to update it every year and plan on doing so this year when we’re closer to the dates. I like to update it with what NPS has forecasted as peak bloom, new changes and developments, etc.

I have also dedicated a whole chapter in Snap DC about photographing the cherry blossoms. You can never have too much cherry blossom info, am I right? So if those two resources don’t help, let me know and I’ll try my best to answer any questions you may have.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/25th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. 

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One of my new favorite places in the world is the CEB Tower in Rosslyn, VA. I’ve found myself recommending it to people without them even asking. LOL thats how you know it’s a great place to be. Not only is there a great view of Washington DC, but the observation deck itself is very beautiful. The first time I visited, I was blown away by the interior and the windows, paneling, everything. It’s floor to ceiling windows and it’s just breathtaking at sunset.

But my favorite part is when you go outside to the little deck area and you’re literally standing 31 floors up in the air with nothing but beauty around you. That is what my friend, Albert was experiencing in this image. He’s sitting outside on the deck, posing for his own pictures when I saw him perfectly framed by the window panels while standing inside. It was right around sunset time so the sky was working in our favor as well. I love that he is being silhouetted by the colors.

So if you’re planning a visit to the CEB Tower, definietly enjoy the view but the interior is something to appreciate as well. Also, there’s a bar inside so what can be better than some nice views and a little drinky drink. You know what I’m saying? LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/15th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

By the way, currently working on the follow up to this blog post about sunrises in Washington DC with one about sunsets. Obviously the CEB Tower will be included, but if you have any other places that you think are good for sunsets in Washington DC, please let me know! I would love to add your input.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend 🙂

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One morning I found myself walking around the US Capitol with my 70-200mm in hand. It was right before Christmas and other than capturing the capitol Christmas tree, I wanted to get some images that weren’t just of the holidays.

So here’s a little secret, one of my favorite places to be is on the west side of the Capitol facing east at sunrise. It sounds counterintuitive but once the sun comes up a little bit, I love how it shines bright onto the building’s facade. With the beautiful architecture, columns, and everything else, the sun can create some interesting shadows and make the lines really pop.

I loved the way these columns looked from a distant angle. At first I was standing a little further back when I noticed the patterns they were creating. There was no way I was able to capture it without some blue sky so I kept walking a little bit closer and closer until I could finally fill the entire frame with it. With the warm sunlight shining bright on top and the dark shadows in the tunnels underneath, I thought it was a really interesting composition.

A few moments after I captured this image, a Capitol Police officer came out from the columns and it was an almost perfect focal point to capture. I was so excited and snapped a few images but then my camera battery died and the officer went back into the columns 🙁 I think I’ll be back sometime soon to try to recreate this and hopefully have some warm sunlight shining as well. Either way though, I really love the way it turned out. It makes me feel all warm and happy inside.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8000th sec at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I know I’m extremely late to the game on this one. Like almost 6 years late, but have you seen the movie “Finding Vivian Maier”? If you haven’t, it’s on Netflix and it’s definietly a must watch especially if you’re a creative but more specifically a street photographer. Holy Cow. I was blown away by this movie.

First of all, Vivian Maier’s work was so good and to think she shot everything on film too. I feel like with film (as opposed to digital cameras) is much more planning and thinking involved. Especially since film takes a little while to shoot and reload, but also since you can’t even see what the image looks like after you’ve captured it. It’s like praying you got something good but never not knowing for sure until your roll is developed and then it is sometimes difficult to go back and recreate that exact moment. It’s actually a bit terrifying when you sit down to think about it.

And that Rolleiflex. OMG how cool was that camera. I love how the viewfinder was on top so that you could sneakily take photos without people really knowing. I feel like I can sort of do that with my Sony A7II but not to the extent that Vivan did.

But second of all, how cool is it to find a huge trunk of negatives and seeing such amazing photographs. I loved how you got to know her and her personality through her images and the stories of people she connected with. It was very interesting how she sort of recreated herself for different people. I think when I think about her images her self portraits stand out the most to me in my head. She was such a mysterious woman and to see what she actually looked like was very nice.

Anyways, you may have noticed in 2018 I really tried my best at street photography and it’s something I really enjoy but something so different for me. Vivian Maier is now a huge inspiration to that and look forward to capturing more on my travels 🙂 This image was taken in Aruba while we were sitting down for breakfast. Across the street was this man who just seemed so content with the morning. He was basically screaming for me to capture this image.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/1000th sec at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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When people think about Washington DC, one of the first things that come to mind is the White House. But for some reason, it’s never a real go to spot for me to go capture images. There are several reasons for this regardless of who’s residing in the house.

  1. The White House is located in a spot where it’s not great at either sunrise or sunset. The only way to get a really nice sky in the background is if you are lucky with one of those days where the color takes over the whole sky. Those days are so hard to predict that it’s just easier to be closer to one of the monuments as opposed to the White House.
  2. The security around the White House keeps getting increasingly stricter. Since I first started out in photography, you could actually get pretty close to the gate and no one would say anything. Now, you have to be a least across the street. With all the tourists all cramped up in one little sidewalk, it’s so difficult to get a great shot.
  3. If you are want to take your White House shot, try to bring the biggest zoom you can. It will be the only way you can get a close up shot without a lot of people in your image. This image was taken with my 70-200mm at 93mm.

This image also happens to be an image I took just for my book, Snap DC and had never been published before. I definietly remember the day I took this because I remember I parked my car, walked all the way to the White House, and then realized I left my camera in the car. OMG how does that even happen? I swear, only me.

So if you’re interested in more Washington DC photo tips like this, check out Snap DC on Amazon. Just remember to bring your camera with you 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom.

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Taken at the same time as this image, I was really excited how this one turned out. It’s just the opposite side of the wall of the previous image with the sort of the same idea of a vanishing point. I love how everything lined up with this image. Even this guy’s outfit fits the scene so well with the little details of color in his backpack. I love how it’s all in the same color family with the street signs.

I think with these two images, I just got lucky with people who were passing by at the right time that just happen to match the scene. At times I have waited 5 to 10 minutes with the composition already in my mind for people to walk by who I thought would work for the image. If someone doesn’t come by in that time frame, I usually get impatient and walk away. So going to a place with a lot of people walking around is key but also having patience is a huge factor in taking these street images. This one happened instantly. There wasn’t much waiting at all for either image and I was so happy with the way they turned out.

I captured this image around the holidays and I was telling my friend, Birch that this image would have been perfect if a Santa was ringing his bell as he was walking down this sidewalk. One day we should make that happen. LOL. Anyone have a Santa Claus outfit? If so, we really need to get together soon.

Side note: I heard a really nice Santa costume is $5,000! That’s nuts! I can’t even imagine the dry cleaning cost after the season is over.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/320th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom.