Virginia

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Attention! Attention! I have a new sunset spot that I need to share. It’s very similar to the view at this one, but at least this time you’ll be able to go whenever you want and won’t be trespassing on residential property. LOL.

Its at the Observation Deck at the CEB Tower in Arlington, VA. If you haven’t already you gotta go! I honestly don’t know what took me so long because it opened in the summertime and earlier this week was my first time visiting. You can walk 360 degrees all around the 31st floor of this building which gives you very interesting viewpoints of Rosslyn, VA and Washington, DC. It’s absolutely stunning! The one downside is that you’re always shooting through windows.

This image was captured right before sunset through the window. The glow on the memorials is what caught my attention to this scene and I couldn’t help but snap multiple images. My tip is to put your lens right up against the glass to reduce glare. If you have a dark black cloth that you can put over the lens, that’s even better! In order to capture this, I actually used my cell phone as a shield against the little spot that was being reflected. It was enough for the day but in case you’re there on a super sunny day, a cloth would be best.

But I haven’t told you the best part yet! The best part is that you can go up to the second floor of this observatory and go outside! You’re still shooting through glass but it’s even better with the fresh air. There are little spaces in between the glass panes that you can sort of fit your lens through but otherwise, it’s an interesting place to experiment.

My camera setting for this image is F5.6 at 1/100th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Is it me or did Thanksgiving creep up on you too? I can’t believe it’s next week! In the past I would have already known what dishes I’m making but this year I have no clue. I have not looked at pinterest once! I need to get on that this weekend.

But in the meantime I have been going through some of the images I’ve taken recently of the fall colors. It was like I spent a week straight photographing different places around the Washington DC area to capture the color but didn’t have time to go through ALL the images. But this trip to Shenandoah National Park was definietly a highlight.

Shenandoah National Park isn’t exactly in the Washington area but it’s a great place to escape to when you need a little time with nature. On this trip I went with my friend, Larry and we were both pleasantly surprised by the sunrise color. In the past, we haven’t had much luck with color in the park. Mostly a lot of cloudy, foggy days.  So as soon as I saw that color come out, I was super excited to switch to my 16-35mm wide angle to try to capture as much of the sky as I could. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but lately, I’ve been really liking to have a blurry foreground element and have something in the mid-ground in focus. That is exactly what I was trying to do here with the huge rocks that I was standing on in order to capture this image. What do you think?

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/40th sec at ISO 1250 with my 16-35mm and Larry let me borrow his Sony A7III for the day.

And if you have any Thanksgiving recipe suggestions let me know! Something on the easy side 🙂

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Now on to a totally different fall foliage vibe is this image I captured on Halloween morning. My friend, Larry and I met up and made our way to Great Falls Park. PRAISE HANDS EMOJI that the gate was open and we were able to get in around sunrise time. But there was not much of a sunrise. It was a really foggy morning at the park which was kind of appropriate considering the day. The crazy part was that it was so foggy by the water but when you looked to the other side of the park it was blue skies.

Since it was so foggy, Larry and I ended up walking to the last overlook first and decided to work our way back to the front as the morning went on. This image was taken as we were leaving that last overlook and saw two deers just hanging out beside the start of the River Trail. We tried our best to be as stealth as possible but I think it was our camera shutters that gave us away to the deer. That or it could have been me trying to push the limits and move closer and closer to the deer. Either way, the deer were not as friendly as we would have liked. So here’s a shot of one of the deer running away from me. Deer butt is better than no deer, am I right? LOL

My favorite part about this image is the framing. I love how the leaves on the tree are almost about to touch the deer in the background. Even that little branch that’s hanging down directly in the middle of the two tree trunks is a happy accident that I did not even notice until I brought this image up on the computer.

Speaking of happy accidents, I was Bob Ross for Halloween. LOL. But I don’t know how great it was because I scared my 3 year old nephew as soon as he saw me. I think it may have been the facial hair. He was so hesitant to come near at any point of the night. When I asked him to share candy with me, he was more than willing to but basically just threw it at me from a safe distance. HAHA. What did you dress up as?

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.

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The best part about fall colors is that they are everywhere. You don’t really have to go far to enjoy them. Often times taking pictures around your neighborhood is just as good as going to Shenandoah National Park or anything like that. For example, Andrew and I spent some time in Manassas, VA over the weekend. Obviously Frankie had to come with us so we had a little mini photoshoot in the woods.

Now when most people think Manassas, they naturally think of the battlefields. But this was across the street from there. It was a great place to go with a whole bunch of trees. Plus Frankie is so photogenic, how could you go wrong 😉 In order to capture this, I had to take the stick he was chewing on out of his mouth and dangled it in front of my camera for him to look like he was looking at it. I was shooting on continuous and sort of hoped for the best. So when I first saw this image on my computer, I couldn’t help but smile.

Immediately all the captions started running through my head. For example…

  • ‘When they ask you if you want fries with that’
  • ‘When someone brings pizza to the party’
  • ‘When you’re sharing an ice cream cone and can’t wait for your next turn’

You get the idea. LOL.

Besides my furry model, I really enjoy looking at the shadows of this image. It was taken around noon so the shadows were extra long as the sun was right above us. I purposely had Frankie stand in the middle of two trees to help frame him and to make the image just a little more interesting to look at.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/640th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Woke up at 4:30a yesterday to go light chasing!

My friend, Larry and I made our way to the Thornton Gap Entrance at Shenandoah National Park and it was fantastic. So many times I’ve been to Shenandoah National Park and run into fog like this and this. Yesterday was the opposite of that. It was cloudy but clear enough to see some fantastic colors. I haven’t had a chance to go through all my images, but I really liked this one. I think it really captures the mood plus I can’t stop looking at the light that is hitting this man’s yellow jacket. By the way, that’s not Larry. It was just another photographer enjoying the sunrise with us.

As far as a foliage report, I think this weekend would be a great time to go. This overlook, which is very close to the entrance, had some beautiful, colorful trees. As we were driving up the mountain though, we noticed that a lot of trees had already become bare with yellow leaves on the ground. So if you haven’t checked out much fall color, I’d recommend going to Shenandoah National Park soon. I’m not sure about the Front Royal entrance but if I had to guess, I’d guess it would probably be better to go sooner than later.

Man it’s like the fall colors came so quickly and now we’re already talking about them leaving? It’s like cherry blossom season in the fall. But speaking of cherry blossoms, I heard the Tidal Basin is looking real nice too. So I have a busy weekend planned of shooting.

Also Larry was kind enough to let me borrow his Sony A7III and I may be in love. My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/80th sec at ISO 800 with Larry’s A7III and my 70-200mm handheld.

 

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Happy Happy November! Hope you all have a pile full of chocolates at home and ready to celebrate the holidays! I know I am. Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough. Mashed potatoes in my mouth now! LOL.

But I’m most excited because this is when the Capital Weather Gang has said the fall colors will be peaking! If you saw my blog post last week, you know I’ve been seriously excited for this day. Yes, I am the type of person that when it’s the first day of summer, I expect it to be at least 80 degrees outside or I’m real upset. So now that Capital Weather Gang says “early November” I expect that means November 1st. So my friend Larry and I woke up early this morning to check things out at Shenandoah National Park. I’ll let you know exactly what it’s like tomorrow.

And if you did read my blog post last week, I’ve updated it with new suggestions. Let me know if you have any more ideas!

One last thing. If you’re free this weekend, come hang out with me, IGDC and my friend Austin Graff as we host a fun photo walk around Anacostia. Click here to sign up. It’s free! We just need a headcount. During this walk, Austin will lead us through his very own neighborhood as he gives us the rundown of everything new, exciting and colorful in this historic neighborhood. I’ll be there to help give tips on how to make the most out of the photowalk and bring home some images you would be proud of. Hope to see you there 🙂 Maybe there will be some fall colors we can photograph at the Frederick Douglass House 🤷🏻‍♀️

My camera settings for this image is F9 1/60th sec at ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.