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Before leaving to Chicago, I had no idea there were so many alleyways in the city. Now that I think about it, it makes sense though. Just never really thought about alleys. So this one time when Andrew and I were on our way to a photo location (I don’t remember exactly which one but it’s safe to say it was a parking garage), google maps actually lead us through this one as the fastest way to get to our final destination. It seemed a little sketch with the smell of super greasy food, what it looked like people taking a cigarette break in the alley, and just an overall darkness hanging above us but other than all that I saw no reason not to walk through. LOL.

So we did.

Then I saw this puddle and probably spent a good 5 minutes just standing in front of it. I was trying to find a good reflection and then patiently waited for someone to walk past. I think the smell was starting to get to me and I was tempted to just ask Andrew to walk past a few times but then at the moment I was about to give up, two people actually walked past. You can see the second person a little bit closer to the wall on the right hand side.

Because I didn’t want that second person to be so visible and I thought this image would lend itself so well to it, I decided to convert it to black and white. In the end, it was just more interesting to just reduce it down to its lines and shapes and really bringing the attention to the person in the middle and the reflection. I love the way that it turned out. It actually kinda makes me want to go back to some older images and looking at them in black and white. It’s seriously a whole totally different point of view.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/125th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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What do you do when the cherry blossom flowers have fallen? If you’re at the National Mall around the Tidal Basin, you find any way possible to gather and collect them. It was fun because I saw the NPS people use shovels and snow blower to pile them all up. Pretty much by any means possible.

But I kinda felt like a creeper because I followed them all around the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial with my camera just so I could capture this scene. I just couldn’t help myself. It was so beautiful. I already love it when the petals are  falling from the trees, they look so delicate and fragile. The snow blowers created a similar effect but x 3000. It was the coolest thing ever.

So when I captured this image, I actually had the person snow blowing the petals in the frame. In the end, I thought it was a little more mysterious cropping them out and removing all context. It just looks like a pink snow globe to me an I love it. You don’t get to see scenes like this very often.

It also makes you wonder though. Can you imagine how insane it would be if they didn’t pick it up? Just look at how much is on this little part of the wall and floor alone. That’s definietly a huge slipping hazard for when it rains. So thank you, NPS!

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/1250th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I just got back from my second trip to Chicago but my first real time visiting with a camera in my hand. I booked this trip with the intention to scout out photo locations for our upcoming photo workshop in Chicago. I wanted to get a feel for the city and the logicistics of getting around. So if you’re interested in joining me for a week in Chicago, click here.

In general, I loved visiting the city. Compared to New York City or even Washington DC, it’s a lot quieter as far as car noises and even people walking around. It’s so photogenic, meaning everywhere you turned could be a great new image. With the so many different elevated views, it was difficult to take a bad picture. I especially liked being among the skyscrapers. Even during the middle of the day, you can find some very interesting shadow play. Overall you can’t go wrong with a photo adventure in Chicago – even if it’s just for a few days.

Side note, they don’t call it the “windy city’ for nothing. Even on a nice, sunshining day, it can get really cold with the wind. I highly suggest packing at least gloves and a hat in your camera bag for those just in case moments. You don’t want to let being too cold be the reason why you don’t capture your shot. I was there at the very end of March and I wore my gloves everyday.

So we had a good 72 hours in Chicago packed full of photography. Here’s what we did:

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Capturing this image totally reminded me of photographing Great Falls Park. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a body of water with such fast rapids storming down. It made me miss how peaceful it is just sitting at the ledge and watching birds come and go. *As long as they don’t come anywhere near me*

This image was taken at the Pipeline Trail in Richmond, Virginia. At first when my friend, Albert mentioned that he wanted to go there for sunrise, I had no idea why the trail was called what it was. I figured it was because it was a really narrow trail or something, but no. You are literally walking on top of a pipeline. It was so interesting and something I’ve never done before. But there are railings and a small platform on top to make things safe. At times when we wanted to pass each other, we had to squeeze into the railings to let the other person go by. It was fun!

So this image was captured while sitting along the edge of the pipeline. I was using the railings as a way to keep my camera sturdy for the long exposure. They key things that I wanted was for the bird to be in the light, for him to turn to the side so you can see his body shape and for the bird to keep still for at least a second so I could capture a clear shot of him. Probably out of 50 pics I took from different angles, this one fit my qualifications the best. For some reason to photograph the bird to stay still for more than a second was the hardest part.

My camera settings for this image is F22 at 1/6th sec and ISO 50 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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The other day I mentioned briefly that I was heading to Richmond, Virginia. Well that weekend was so crazy. Richmond has changed so much since I graduated college. Even VCU’s campus was barely recognizable in some parts. I had a really good time going back and looking forward to visiting more often.

This image was captured Sunday morning on our way to Belle Isle. For some reason, while I attended college in Richmond, we never made it over there. We had always intended to but I think I was just too busy partyin’ to really turn that plan into action. LOL. It was so cool though and way bigger than I thought it was going to be. We definietly did not have enough time to explore the entire island. This is the bridge you walk to get over it. From a distance, you can see that it’s a really wavy pedestrian bridge. But you’re actually suspended from a bridge meant for cars from the top. It wasn’t scary as I thought it would be. It was actual very stable and there wasn’t a lot of noise or anything like you’d expect.

Next time I go to Richmond, I definietly want to bring Frankie. I think he would really enjoy all thing to do and sniff around the James River. The city itself just seems very dog friendly 🙂 And we all know how much I love that.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/500th sec with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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If you haven’t noticed yet, the key to capturing Chicago images is definietly self parking garages. LOL. There’s just so many around and if you just poke your head out a little bit, there are some really interesting compositions you can get. This one was taken from a parking garage off of Kinzie St.

So I went to this parking garage to capture some images of the L train from above (how many times have we heard this story?) and in between time I ended up throwing on my zoom lens onto the camera to try to find interesting compositions. In this particular scene, I really liked how the L train was curving so I waited for someone to walk underneath it. It didn’t take long for these two girls to enter the scene. I particularly like the one wearing the pink coat. I think it stands out so nicely in the urban setting.

In other news, I’m leading another photowalk! If you’re in the DC area on June 1st, I’d love for you to join me at the Tidal Basin for a sunrise photowalk. I’ll be there with the Focus on the Story photo festival as we enjoy a (hopefully) beautiful Saturday morning together. It’s free to join, just click here to register. Meet at the Martin Luther King Jr memorial 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/640th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.