Guides

All photos available for print and licensing >

The Mount Vernon Trail is one of the best places to go for those who enjoy being active outdoors but doesn’t want to deal with the crowds in Washington DC. The 17 miles trail spans from Rosslyn, VA to President George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon but along the way provides some of the best views of the nation’s capital and then some. The trail itself is protected by the National Park Service and can be accessed year-round from 6 am- 10 pm.

Here’s a great map of the trail.

For a majority of the time, the trail is sandwiched between the Potomac River and the George Washington Parkway.  This makes it really easy to hop on and off the trail at any given point. But it also provides some very beautiful waterfront views.  In other words, you don’t have to walk the entire 17 miles in order to see the best of the best, here are some personal favorite points of interests and places where you can hop on and off the trail:

theodore roosevelt, island, trail, leaves, trail, sunrise, early morning, gw parkway, george washington parkway, early morning, potomac river, autumn, virginia, va, dc, nature, lincoln memorial, washington monument, memorial bridge, sunrise, washington dc

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Arlington Memorial Bridge are seen from the Mount Vernon Trail in the middle of autumn.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

(L) the footbridge leading to Theodore Roosevelt Island (R) Theodore Roosevelt statue

Let’s start with one of my favorite places along the Mount Vernon Trail, Theodore Roosevelt Island. A great place to begin your outdoor adventure. I love it because it’s not like any other place along the trail. Park your car in the parking lot and cross the footbridge. You’ll be greeted by Theodore Roosevelt himself. Walk within the island for a bit more solitude than you would get along the Mount Vernon Trail. No bikes are allowed on the island but there’s a bike rack by the bridge so you can leave your bike and walk 🙂

Once you are back on the Mount Vernon Trail, you will see beautiful willow trees, and about half a mile away from Roosevelt island, you’ll start seeing some of the best views of the Washington DC Memorials. Its one of the only places where you can actually see the top 3 landmarks (Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the US Capitol) all lined up in a row. There is not one spot, in particular, you should go to see them. The more you walk, the more the perspectives will change and the view from across the Potomac River is like no other. If you walk a little further, you’ll start seeing the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as well. Enjoy these views or the memorials anywhere from Roosevelt Island to the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial.

independence day, fireworks, lincoln memorial, july 4th, gw parkway, washington dc, arcanum, mentor, photography, photo,

July 4th firework celebration

If you can, my favorite time to go here is on July 4th for the firework show. You basically get front row seats all along this part of the trail so you don’t really have to go early to claim your spot. If you do decide to go, then driving/parking may be a hassle. The best way to do it is to take the metro and get on and off at the Rosslyn stop. It’s a little more than half a mile walk but you’ll be saving so much more time by using the public transportation route. I have been on the George Washington Parkway when there are fireworks and cars will literally stop in the middle of the road to watch it. At that point, traffic gets super backed up!

Click here to read more

It all started when I saw a photograph similar to this one. I had never seen anything like it before.

washington dc, fog, weather, tidal basin, jefferson memorial, capital, memorial, cherry blossom trees, kutz bridge, reflection, water, camera settings, east coast, weather, dc

I feel in love with the way it was so mysterious and the way it made the Jefferson Memorial look so obscure. Even though I had photographed a little bit of fog in 2012, I didn’t know it could get this foggy in the city until I saw that particular image.

I’m sorry I don’t have a link to the original image anymore, but I studied that picture. I wanted to know exactly where the photographer was standing and tried to figure out different ways I could have potentially captured it.

It finally happened to me on Christmas Day 2015. I woke up early for sunrise since my family doesn’t celebrate until later in the evening. I figured the best way to start off the day would be to take a quick morning walk around the National Mall. I checked the weather and it said it was going to be unseasonably warm, so why not.

I don’t remember how long the fog took to appear but I do remember it was quite a bit after sunrise. When it first started forming, I was over by the Potomac River. I had never seen fog just appear out of nowhere but something triggered in my head that if it was starting to form on the river, maybe it was forming at the Tidal Basin. I walked over as quickly as I could and there it was! It was the white Christmas I never knew I wanted.

After that, I became obsessed with finding out more about fog. How to capture it, when it was going to happen and all the best places in the Washington DC area to photograph it.

The Lincoln Memorial on a foggy morning. (L) Predawn (R) 20 minutes after sunrise

So here’s what I learned:

Click here to read more

All photos available for print and licensing >

Besides the Washington Monument, there aren’t many options in Washington for someone to get an elevated view of the city. Sure you could go to a rooftop bar or hotel, but who can pass up the opportunity to go to the third tallest building in the city, for free! The Old Post Office Tower is located at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave and considered to be a part of the National Mall. It’s viewing tower has some unique views that can’t be seen anywhere else and opened daily from 9 am – 5 pm daily (last entry is at 4:30 pm) except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the early 1900s, this building was used as the city’s main post office. Since then has been transformed into office buildings and in 2016 Donald Trump redeveloped the property into a hotel with restaurants and retail.

The entrance is located in the middle of 12th street between Pennsylvania Ave NW and Constitution NW, next to the Starbucks. A little tucked away but there are signs that will lead you to the entrance. As you enter the building, there is security who checks your bags to make sure you aren’t carrying anything you aren’t supposed to be carrying. You are then directed down the hall to the elevators. This hallway was particularly interesting because it had old images of Washington DC from years ago. Living in the Washington area, these are scenes I see almost every day so it’s interesting to see what it actually looked like in the early 1900s.

Click here to read more

All photos available for print and licensing >

Spring is my favorite time to be in Washington DC. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and everyone seems to have a smile on their face. What’s not to love? It’s a special time to be in the city where tourists and locals alike flock to the famous cherry blossoms to admire their beauty.

To fully prepared, I reference this website a lot. It’s National Park Services’ Bloom watch. I think they have the most accurate up to date information about the peak bloom. They also break down the stages so that you know what you’re looking at in case you are overly eager and want to check out the trees asap.

2020 Update: National Park Service is predicting an even earlier peak bloom on March 21-24th due to this beautiful, warm weather we’ve been having. <3

So if this is your first Cherry Blossom experience in the Nation’s Capital, let me try to break it down for you…

Click here to read more

All photos available for print and licensing >

Traveling to a new photo location can be fun and exciting but also intimidating. You’ve seen all these beautiful images on Instagram before your trip that got you hyped about travel but how can you actually capture images that compare? You’re only visiting this city for a limited amount of time. The pictures you’re seeing on social media are from locals who have spent almost the entire year in this location. They have the luxury of time and patience for the right weather conditions and lighting. You only have a limited amount of time before you have to hop back onto your flight home.

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:

The key to creating memorable images are creative compositions that show your unique point of view of what it was like being there. Everyone knows what the Eiffel tower looks like, but only you see it with your unique, photographic eye. With a slightly different mindset and perspective on photography, you can make images that stun your friends and locals alike.

So here are a few tips I have compiled that may have you thinking a little more while you are out shooting, but they will be sure to make your images stand out from the mundane tourist images that others are taking. These are also good for any level of photographer, mobile or DSLR, so be sure to send this link to your friends!

Also, if you need a little help prior to your trip about planning your photo locations, click here for a few tips on how to do that effectively.

So pack your camera equipment and let’s go!

1. Tell A Story

One of the most important things you can do to capture a unique/creative image while traveling is to tell a story. It makes your viewer want to read more into the image making it more memorable and adds your own voice to the image. It sounds a lot easier said than done. But there are multiple ways of doing this.

Click here to read more

All photos available for print and licensing >

Whether you’re going for fun, to visit family or to break out of your everyday normal routine, we all want to create memories that will last a lifetime while traveling. Capturing images with your camera is the best way to relive those memories and share them with loved ones when you return home. So grab your mobile camera or a DSLR, these are some of my best tips to make sure you come away from your travels with images you are proud of. And you don’t even have to be a professional photographer to capture them. It may take a lot of preparation work, but in the end, it will all be worth it.

Plus photography is super fun 🙂

1. Scout Photo Locations From Your Computer

One of the best ways to start preparing for your trip is to start planning all the beautiful sights you want to see before you leave. But if it’s your first time visiting a new place, all the options and maps can get a little confusing. Scouting out various photo locations and points of interest before you leave will help reduce stress. It will allow you to not waste time on your vacation and you could hit the ground running as soon as you arrive. Plus if you’re going to a very popular tourist destination, you can be prepared by obtaining tickets and plan for events in advance and not have to worry about lines.

So here’s what I like to do before I even leave on my trip,  I like to begin my research on social media.Click here to read more