Washington DC

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The story behind this image is a long one. So here it goes… and it’s slightly embarrassing.

So I visited the View of DC for the first time on Tuesday, Dec 4th. I thought the view was really cool but I was most excited to be there at sunset/night time because I have been loving the Kennedy Center lights at night. Everytime around this year, the Kennedy Center honors the performing arts for their lifetime contributions to American culture, so to help celebrate that have rainbow colored lights on the exterior of the building. Every other time of the year they are plain white. I’m really not sure how long they keep the rainbow lights on, but I know it’s not for long.

So night time falls and I was excited to go out to the balcony and capture the Kennedy Center from an elevated view. I captured a few images of the building but kept my lens moving to see if I could capture any other cool scenes. I captured this one and remember wondering where the lights were coming from. I really didn’t think much of it.

As soon as I got home, it hit me! It’s a reflection from the Kennedy Center! Had I known while I was still at the observation deck, I probably would have spent more time trying find different ways of capturing the reflection. I love how shooting through the glass made the rainbow colors exaggerated. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever but was disappointed that the image was slightly out of focus. I knew if I went back, I could capture an even better image. So I decided then and there that I was going to go back the next day and just spend time trying to capture the reflection.

Wednesday, December 5th. I arrived to the CEB building a little bit before sunset. I figured if I was going to be there anyways, I might as well as try to capture the good light one more time. The sunset was beautiful but cold. I went back inside after the light disappeared waiting for the sky to get darker so I could really see the Kennedy Center lights glow. 20 minutes later, the lights were still white. Why weren’t they rainbow? I CALLED THE KENNEDY CENTER TO ASK WHERE THE LIGHTS WERE. LOL. I think we figured out that the lights weren’t rainbow that evening in honor of President George HW Bush’s funeral earlier that day.

Ok, no problem. Lesson learned. Since the Kennedy Center won’t always turn on the rainbow lights and I wasn’t sure when they would turn them off permanently for the rest of the year, it’s best to make sure the lights turn on before going back to the observation deck.

Thursday, December 6th. I drive by the Kennedy Center right after sunset and the lights are on! YES! I made my way back to Rosslyn, VA and excited to capture the rainbow lights. Until I get to the lobby and find out that the observation deck was closed for a private event! OMG there was no notice of a private event on their website, social media or anything. I was so frustrated especially since sunset is around 5p now and that’s right in the middle of heavy traffic time. Each way to the CEB tower was at least 45min – 1 hr of sitting in traffic. I could have cried. But found out that the next day was going to be absolutely open to the public and I should be able to capture what I was hoping for.

Friday, December 7th. Again, drove by the Kennedy Center to make sure the lights were on and they were. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE DAY! And it finally was. I made my way to the observation deck and was so happy to see that I had it to myself. I spent almost 45 minutes using the glass around the observation deck as a way to capture the different reflections. I put my lens right up to the glass then pulled away. I stepped right and left, up and down to see how I could get it in different ways. This was by far my favorite.

Was all of this effort worth it? I’m not sure yet but I most definitely love the final result. It sort of reminds me of Ariana Grande’s new album cover which makes me even happier.

Told you that was a long story. Would you have gone through all of that to capture this one image?

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/15th sec at ISo6400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm

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So after all the color burned off, I was walking back to my car when I noticed that the Martin Luther King Jr memorial was looking especially glow-y. I kind of have this habit of not putting my camera away right away but it’s for moments like this. I thought I was done shooting for the morning but realized that the sun had risen enough that it was casting it’s early morning light on the memorial making it an orange-yellow color. I love when that happens. I tried several different angles but loved this one when I walked to the side to find the Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr memorial lineup with each other. I intentionally photographed this making it look like the two memorials were touching.

In other news, it’s only Tuesday and I’m already looking forward to the weekend. Andrew and I will be visiting New York for a quick birthday getaway. His birthday, not mine. It seems like we take trips to New York several times a year but this year has been so crazy that this is going to be my first time all year. I love that city and really looking forward to just walking around, taking pics and eating delicious food. If you have any NYC recommendations, let me know! We always try to do different things each trip so any tips would be extremely helpful.

Andrew did say that we can go to B&H though. I can’t wait. For some reason I’ve never been but I always had the impression that they aren’t open on the weekends. Since we usually just go for the weekends I never even bothered. Turns out they’re just not opened on Saturdays, so guess what we’re doing Sunday 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/125th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm handheld.

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Last week was a stunner. There were so many great sunrises and sunsets. I was able to capture some but not all. This particular sunrise colors didn’t last too long but when they were out, they were out in full force and so vibrant. It totally makes waking up early worth it but that part it isn’t too bad now that it’s winter. It’s a little bit after 7a which makes it pretty manageable. The difficult part about winter sunrises is the cold. I’m definietly bundled up and walking around like the michelin tire man.

I decided to go to the Tidal Basin because it’s been a little while since I’ve watched the sun rise from there. This is pretty close to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial along the tidal basin and one of my favorite spots for sunrise that I mention in this post. I met up with my friend, Larry and we spent the morning just catching up and snapping pics. It was great.

Lately whenever I go out, I carry just two lenses with me. The 70-200mm and the 16-35mm but have been favoring the 70-200mm even more. There have been times when I don’t even switch between the two lenses and only use the 70-200mm. I love it. Capturing this scene with the 16-35mm wide angle would have made the Jefferson Memorial look so small and since the color didn’t fill the whole sky, being able to zoom in to a tighter frame gives the impression of more color than there actually was.

So whenever someone asks me what camera equipment they should get, I always say that it’s really about the lens you use. It can totally change your perception of a scene and make you see things differently. Just something to think about in case you’re in the market 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F9 and 1/25th sec at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

 

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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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Speaking of fog, Saturday was really foggy. There were times that you could not even see the Washington Monument it was so foggy. But at sunrise, the fog brought this beautiful glow to the city and it was amazing.

On this particular day, I parked on Ohio Dr. so coming from that side of the National Mall, I had my first glimpse of the US Capitol at the Reflecting Pool. I love how the dome is partially covered by the mist and lights. This was the very first shot I took and probably my favorite from the entire morning. I didn’t have my tripod with me so I sort of balanced my camera along the side of the reflecting pool and for this shot it worked well. Others, not so much. Another reason why this is my favorite shot. LOL.

So I have been getting questions about foggy mornings. Just like a colorful sunrise, they’re hard to predict. This particular morning I knew it was going to be foggy because the night before had been incredibly foggy and the weather apps said it was going to last all night. However, there have been times that I have been out and knew there was going to be fog without the weather apps saying so. I’ve realized that when I listen to the radio or a weather forecast and the meteorologist says, “warm front” then there’s a good chance for fog. It’s the combination of the warm air mixing with the cold that brings the foggy mornings and I love it. Foggy mornings like this is what makes photography so much fun. You just never know what you’re going to get.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.6 sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II with my 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.

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This past weekend was an unusual one. If you have been in the Washington DC area then you know that it pretty much skipped fall weather and went straight from summer to winter. We may have had a week or so of ‘warm’ weather but it didn’t last too long. So when I saw that Saturday was raining all day but Sunday was going to be a little foggy with the high in the 50’s, I knew I had to take advantage.

My original Sunday plans were canceled so Andrew and I were left with a whole afternoon to ourselves. That’s when we decided to take Frankie to the US National Arboretum. Neither Andrew or Frankie had ever been there so I thought it would be a great place to just get out of the house. That and the fact that a lot of it is paved and Frankie wouldn’t get too wet walking around was a huge plus.

Typically when the three of us are out together, I’m busy taking pictures while Andrew and Frankie are checking out the scene. When we arrived at the National Capitol Columns, I was happy to see the yellow shrubs in front of the columns. It was a great pop of color in an otherwise gloomy day but it needed something. Frankie obviously! LOL.

I called Andrew over and asked him to stand a little bit inside of the bushes and lift Frankie up above his head. I had no idea how it was going to turn out but I love it. LOL. It definietly has some Lion King vibes to it. Thankfully Frankie’s so great that he’s not even phased by all our weird ideas.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/1600th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.