Washington DC

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One of my favorite places in Washington DC is Dumbarton Oaks. I always look forward to going, but mostly in the springtime. You just automatically feel like you have been transported to Europe or something because of the architecture and just the abundance of flowers and plants. Ok, maybe not Europe but you definietly don’t feel like you’re in the capital city anymore.

So after cherry blossom season was over, I met up with my friend, Andy to walk around and take pictures. It just so happened that the Orangery was our first stop coming into the garden area and our last before we left. The first time we were there, it was crowded with a tour group so we wanted to wait a bit for people to clear out before taking pictures. I’m so glad we did because I just love the way this one turned out.

The lights and shadows coming from the ceiling above was so eye catching. I loved the patterns it was creating, especially on the plant in the corner. So I got down low to try to exaggerate the shadows a little bit more to fill up the frame. I just can’t stop looking at the lights on the plant.

But you can see behind the plant and how the interior is just covered in these vines. If you time it right, you can actually see wisteria hanging from them on the outside Orangery because it’s covered with vines on the exterior too. OMG it just takes my breath away everytime.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/500th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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On this particular morning, I heard my alarm go off twice before realizing why it was even going off in the first place. It had been a while since I made myself get up for sunrise. Mostly because I hadn’t been feeling well and I was using my sickness as an excuse. So once I started feeling better, I felt like I needed to get back out and take some pictures. Even if it wasn’t going to be the best sunrise, I just needed to have that time to get out in some fresh air and do something creative.

The forecast had called for cloudy skies. And it definietly was cloudy. So much so I could barely tell when the sun had actually risen. But it was ok because I hopped onto a scooter and scooted over to the Jefferson Memorial to capture some images. It was nice because I was there all by myself for most of the time. So I figured I would try something different.

I was standing in the portico and looked up. I love the how the wide angle lens was able to capture both the dome and portico ceiling and how the shapes sort of mimic each other. I think the columns in the center divided up the space very nicely.

By the way,  it looks like they’re about to start some major construction or clean up at the Jefferson Memorial. If you’ve been wanting to go, I’d go soon before another scaffolded memorial pops up in the skyline. With all the construction that’s been happening around the National Mall, I’m not surprised that the Jefferson Memorial is the next one to be restored.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/30th sec and ISO 1600 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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Sometimes I go through my “Haven’t blogged yet” folder and I can’t believe some of the images that I haven’t blogged yet! Like this one! It was one of the first I captured this season and I love it because of the unique perspective.

I just happened to be walking around the Tidal Basin by myself when I noticed a group of people taking selfies. They looked like they were having fun so I didn’t want to interrupt them by walking past and being in the background of their shot. So I stood there a little while until they were done. But that’s when I noticed that to the right of them was a straight shot of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial statue. Now that I think of it, I don’t know if they were capturing the memorial or the cherry blossoms in the background but the sun had just come up a little and the light was shining very nicely on the memorial and the trees surrounding it. It was like the beacon in the middle of cherry blossom trees and just screaming for me to capture it.

I probably spent a good 10 minutes just standing there trying to get this shot how I wanted it. It took longer because there were floating heads in some shots from people walking in front of my lens but it was totally worth it. I feel like the lighting and the framing worked so well to bring attention to the distant memorial.

I’m actually surprised because it doesn’t even look like there’s that many people in front of the memorial. Usually there are wayyyy more people during cherry blossom season.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/640th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m also a fan of when the cherry blossoms start falling. I think it adds a lot of interest when there is pink the trees but also pink in the grass.

I captured this when the petals first started falling. It was the first day of rain after a week of blue skies and I wasn’t mad about it. It ended up being a peaceful day at the Tidal Basin that allowed me to get a little creative with the petals. Luckily, there weren’t as many people out taking pictures so I had time to try different things without worrying about being in other people’s way. Trust me when I say that the Tidal Basin can get PACKED. Like tripod legs within tripod legs. It’s bananas. So a day without that many people is so freeing.

This image was almost by accident. I wanted to photograph the petals in the water, but I accidentally left my camera settings as the same as I was shooting when I was photographing the trees. Obviously, pointing up towards the sky allowed a lot more light coming in than pointing down into the water. So when I expected this image to turn out crisp and clear, it turned out a little blurry. But in such an interesting way that I tried a couple of different compositions until I came out with this one. The water was particularly choppy because of the rain so each time I clicked, I came out with something completely different. It was fun turning my camera in different angles to try something new. In the end, it’s the circular motion of these petals that really makes the image more interesting to me.

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I’ve already started to scout out cherry blossom trees for next year. I’m committing to the idea of photographing the cherry blossom trees around the city and staying away from the Tidal Basin. I’m sad I came up with the idea too late to do it this year because it was such a great bloom, but at least it has given me time to think about other locations.

For example, Hains Point. It’s just east of the Tidal Basin and you sort of get the same feels as being at the basin since they are close to the water, but I really liked this location because there were a variety of cherry blossom trees. In this image you can see the Yoshino trees that you see at the Tidal Basin, but then you also get the weeping cherry blossoms as well as a peek of the Kwanzan trees. I love the variety of whites and pinks and it’s a great location for some cherry blossom portraits. The flowers are just as abundant if not more but it just doesn’t have as many people around.

When I was there I saw at least 3 photoshoots going on with professional photographers on a Saturday morning but these two girls had the right idea. From the moment I got there, they were having a blast with their own photoshoot. It reminded me of things my girlfriends and I would do when we’re on a trip together. Just having so much fun doing crazy things to get a fun shot. But I think the pulled out perspective really gives you an idea of just how much is blossoming in the area. I loved the rows and rows of trees.

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/125th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.