american flag

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Home from another amazing weekend in New York. I seriously love going to that city and I don’t think I’ve ever said “photo” so much in my life. But it was all worth it because PhotoPlus was so much more than I expected. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming. So while I’m still digesting everything that happened, here’s a little image I captured of the General Andrew Jackson Statue located close to the White House in Washington DC right before I left on the trip.

My favorite part of this image is how simple it is, but I also love the framing. The American Flag in the background is the flag you see on top of the White House and it was just in perfect alignment with General Jackson and his hat. Patriotic but effortless all at the same time. LOL. I think the cloudy day even worked well for this shot to simplify this image even more.

I plan on spending the day going through the images I captured in New York over the weekend. More about that soon!

My camera settings for this image are F7.1 at 1/40th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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But of course, Memorial Day weekend is to honor those who have died in active military service.

On my way to Washington DC to photograph Rolling Thunder, I stopped by Arlington National Cemetery. I was riding the metro so it was just a quick stop off at Rosslyn Metro station and then a scooter ride to the cemetery. I didn’t expect to make this stop but I’m glad I did. I had never seen “Flags In“.

I think one of the most aesthetically pleasing parts about the Arlington National is the rows and rows of the perfectly lined white headstone. The patterns created can be hypnotizing. So with the American flags right next to them, it adds a little bit of color and it is so symbolic. Seeing so many American flags in a row is emotional. I wish I could have spent just a little more time photographing them but hopefully, I’ll plan my time better and try again next year.

This image was taken around 10:30a. The sun was definitely out so while walking around so I was purposely looking for a light/shadow composition. I was thinking it would be really cool to see some flags in the shadow but then have some emerging into the light. I stood underneath a large tree to capture it and I love the way it highlights that fourth flag in from the side. To get that really compressed look, I used my ultra zoom lens and got down real close to the ground. Almost eye level with the flags.

My camera setting for this image is F9 at 1/250th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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I deleted Instagram off my phone on Tuesday night.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it was. I’m going to be open and honest here because I just got done talking about this with my friend, Alejandra and I felt inspired to share the story…

I woke up Tuesday morning at 6a. Not an unusual time for me to wake up if I’m not shooting the sunrise. Usually I’d wake up around 4:30-5 if I were. So 6am is kinda like I’m sleeping in. Just like everyone else, one of the first things I do when I’m fully awake is go on my phone and check out what’s been going on social media. One of the first things I see is that there was this amazingly beautiful sunrise, pinks, purples, the whole 9 that morning. I took a look out my bedroom window (which is facing west) and noticed that the sky was so pink. From my experience I know that if the sky facing west is pink then it had to be an amazing sunrise. I immediately felt upset. I missed out on an opportunity to capture one of my favorite things in the whole world, a colorful sky.

So that’s how I started off my day. I spent the rest of the morning thinking about where I would have gone if I went out to take pictures, what my composition what have been like, etc etc etc. Basically just beating myself up about missing the sunrise. But I felt like there had to be underlying reason why I was upset. I was upset because I knew that my most popular images on Instagram are the ones with skies just like the one I had slept through. They are the ones with the most beautiful sunrises with a memorial or something iconic in the foreground and I had missed out. This winter has been so grey and foggy that I couldn’t believe I stayed in bed for this one! I was missing out on the likes. I was missing out on new followers. I was missing out on other people’s confirmations that they like me as an artist and in turn them liking me as a person.

How freaking crazy is that?

So obviously one thought lead to another and I ended up having a really hard mental day. Everything was getting on my nervous. I started getting really antsy and impatient about some projects that I’m working on and why it’s not all complete. Even though nothing had really changed as far as the progression, I just expect things to come sooner, better, and I could not get over it.

I realized at the end of the day I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, to create the type of images I was expected to, and to get as many ‘likes’ as I possibly could. What’s crazy is that I even have this magical number in my head that if I don’t hit it within the first hour of my posting, then it’s not a good image. I just couldn’t deal with it anymore and decided to delete instagram from my phone and take a little “instabreak”. I don’t know how long it’s going to last but I already feel like some pressure has been taken off.

As an artist, I shouldn’t be so concerned with what other people think of my work. I should be concerned if I like the work. I should worry about if the image I created is a true representation of who I am as an artist and if it conveys the thoughts or emotions that I want said.

I don’t know. Those are just my quick thoughts about being an artist on social media now. Please let me know if I’m not the only crazy and if you feel the same way as well. I’ll be back on instagram eventually. Probably within the next week because I still love it for artistic inspiration and I’ve made some amazing friends from the app. I just need to take a little bit of time for myself. I’ll still be out there taking pics even if I’m not posting on instagram… I’ll be posting them on twitter now instead. LOL. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!!! I took this one this morning at the Iwo Jima Memorial 🙂 JK I love taking pictures and sharing them with everyone. I just felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself and don’t feel the same pressure from facebook, twitter, etc…

Other thoughts that passed through my head yesterday were not being my true self on the internet vs. real life and the need for everything to be perfect in my images before posting them. If you’re interested, let me know and I can write another long ass blog post about those topics and hopefully start a discussion.

And for those who are only here for my camera settings they are F10 at 20 seconds ISO 160 on my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

The White House is by far the most difficult landmark to photograph in Washington DC. It’s also the reason why I don’t have many images of it on my site. And in the past couple of years it’s gotten even harder. There have been so many restrictions on where you can walk around or even stand. Its kinda crazy compared to what it used to be.

Thankfully, my friend Christa has the hook up at her job and we were able to go to her work’s rooftop and capture it from there. But even there it was still a little sketchy. She let me know that we may get warnings from the White House just for having our tripods out… on the rooftop… a block away. But in the end, we had no troubles. Thank you Secret Service!

For this image, I used my 70-200mm lens to capture it all. It was the only lens I had on this whole rooftop adventure. I just love the way it compressed all the layers and what’s even more shocking is all the great details you can in the buildings in the very back. That’s Rosslyn, VA in case you were wondering. *shock face emoji* LOL.

What’s even better is that there are 5 american flags in this image. Can you find them all? The last two may be a little more difficult to find but I love seeing little surprises like that.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/60th of a second and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-20mm zoom lens. I specifically remember thinking that I wanted to create a stop motion effect with the American flag in the foreground so that is why my ISO is so high. The sun was setting and the light was already pretty dark. It had to be a real quick shutter.

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This is the first time I ever done this but this is an iPhone pic! Usually all my images on my blog are from my DSLR cameras but I just LOVED the way that this one turned out.

Isn’t that crazy?

I took it at Reagan airport walking through the security line on our way to Maine. You know how it goes, you have a million and one things in your hands, you want to get everything together and in it’s place before you have to put your stuff in those big grey tubs and security is staring you down extra hard. It was an early morning flight so the sunlight was pouring through the windows. Luckily I was at the right place at the right time with my phone in my back pocket. I pulled that sucker out so fast, took this shot and just kept it moving. I had all my DSLR camera equipment in my backpack but it was just easier to take a quick shot with my phone. It wasn’t until I was sitting at the gate and I looked at the image and thought, “WOW, that’s patriotic!”

From now on, I’m going to try to fly out of DCA as much as I can. The airport itself is just so beautiful. There’s so much to take pictures and you can’t beat the view at take off. 

So what do you think? Would you want to see more of my iPhone images or just keep it strictly DSLRs? To be honest, I don’t take much with my phone but in the rare occasion I do, I wouldn’t mind posting it on here.

Camera settings on this image was F2.2 at 1/125th of a second ISO 32 on my Apple iPhone 6. Weird that I was able to see that right? HAHA!