arlington memorial bridge

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:

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If you caught my blog post from last week, then you will know that tomorrow I’m headed out on a road trip to Austin, Texas. One of my best friends in the entire world is moving there and asked me to ride along with her. I’m sad that she’s leaving but looking forward to spending just a little bit more time with her.

Similar to the road trip that we did 2 years ago, we’ll be spending our first night in Nashville, Tennessee. It was both of our first time in the city and I am looking forward to going back. I remember having a blast last time just walking down Broadway and checking out the live music and all the colorful lights. I expect to be doing the same this time around. After that it will be just a straight shot from there to Austin. Unfortunately we’re not stopping to go sightseeing or anything along the way because she wants to get down there as soon as possible but looking forward to spending a few extra days in Austin before flying home. So if you have any food or photo recommendations, please let me know!

Luckily we planned this trip after the Cherry Blossom peak bloom announcement so I know I’ll be back home just in time to capture the flowers.

Click here to watch our last road trip together – we drove all the way from Washington DC to San Diego, California.

This image is of the Arlington Memorial bridge on a particularly foggy day. I figured it symbolized our road ahead but also not looking forward to saying goodbye to Sue when I have to catch my flight back to DC.

My camera settings are F5 at 1/500th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

All photos available for print and licensing >

If you missed it, yesterday I announced the completion of Snap DC, Your Guide to Taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond… Thank you all so much for your positive feedback and basically good vibes all around. It was like I was floating on a cloud all day. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the blog post. But more importantly, here’s the page where you can sign up to get all the info, extras and even a preview of the first chapter of the book.

Within the first couple pages of the book you’ll see that I’ve dedicated the book to my grandma, Nai Nai. She passed away earlier this year but I know she would have been super proud of me for creating this book. I know I haven’t talked about it much but we found out she wasn’t doing well around Thanksgiving 2017. I spent a lot of days with her in the hospital and I would always bring my computer with me. I would work on Snap DC while she was resting. Remember that story I shared earlier this year about my love for flowers and my grandma saying “pretty”? We were in the hospital at that time looking through pages of the book. At that time they were just google drive pages on my phone but she is one of the first people to ever see it.

This image is not a part of the book. However it’s the image that I was working on when I found out the news of her passing. I find it symbolic to have been working on an image with the fog passing through the bridge as if it is her spirt was passing to her next life. This is exactly how I left it when I found out the news.

So Snap DC is dedicated to Nai Nai. I wish she could have seen the final product.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/1250th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

 

All photos available for print and licensing >

I preschedule all my blog posts. That’s the only way I can make sure one gets up on the blog everyday. So as I was wrapping up yesterday’s blog post on Sunday, I was messaging my friend, Birch about the snow this coming week. We tentatively made plans to meet up and shoot but with Washington DC weather who really knows if it’s actually going to happen. And as a casual side note she told me about the awesome fog layer that was forming at that time on the Potomac River. And you know me, as soon as I hear the word ‘fog’ my ears perk up. I literally just wrapped up that blog post as fast as I could and made my way to the city.

OMG it was like I was in a magical dream land. The fog was amazing! Something I experience probably once a year in the city and I loved it. Birch and I met by the Arlington Memorial bridge and walked a huge loop around the memorials. This image was taken right at the base of the bridge but what’s crazy is that there were times where you couldn’t even see this much. If this isn’t the way to spend a spontaneous Sunday afternoon then I don’t know what is. Plus this image is in full color. Nuts-o, right?

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/800th of a second and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

So as of now, the snow doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this week. I told you Washington DC weather can be kind of crazy so definietly be expecting a lot of fog images. Birch and I were walked a lot and probably stopped at least 20 times to say “woah” 🙂 I love foggy days in DC.

All photos available for print and licensing >

This past Friday, I had the honor of going back to high school again. WOW never thought I’d ever say those words but it really was an honor. I was invited by Ms. Archibald (just kidding Amanda), the current photo teacher at my alma mater, Langley High School.

I had such a great time sharing my photo journey since high school and speaking to the students about my photography. But my favorite part was after my talk and speaking to the individuals about their own images. To hear them speak about their own work and what they’d like to accomplish with their photography was inspiring. The creativity they had was like nothing I had seen. One artist was asking me on how she could expand on her dark image series. Another had used an xacto knife on her prints to reinforce the emotions the image was portraying. It was so cool. Man, to be that young again and utilize digital photography and social media to your advantage is so awesome. Kids these days…

The crazy part was walking through those doors again. There has been so much construction that my old high school was hardly recognizable. I mean nothing was the same! The photo lab still had a dark room but their main classroom looked more like a computer class than anything else. Everything is digital! Back in my day we were film only.

It would be so great to reconnect with my old photo teacher. So Mrs. Morse! If you’re out there, let’s have lunch and catch up!!

This image has nothing to do with my day at Langley. It’s an image I took a little while ago but I just thought it was cool. The camera settings on this one is 0.5 seconds and F22 at ISO 100.

Thanks again, Amanda and LHS for letting me come back. I had an experience will be hard to forget.

All photos available for print and licensing >

As far as photography goes, summer is my favorite because of the storms. We can get some pretty serious storm rain here in the DC area but the great part about them is that they don’t last too long. Usually about 30 minutes which is perfect! The best is when they end right around sunset. Man the skies open up and all this light comes through. It’s so beautiful.

Last week was no exception. Not only did we have amazing fog, but we got a crazy down pour of rain that ended right before sunset. It was everything that I wish for. But for some reason, I could not figure out where I wanted to go shoot. I was being indecisive driving around when I finally saw the back of the Lincoln Memorial. Skrrrch. Stop right there. The light that was being casted on the columns was so pretty and warm. Luckily I found the very first parking spot open on the Arlington Memorial bridge and rushed toward the memorial. Then I got stopped in my tracks when I noticed this puddle on the sidewalk. It was a perfect reflection of the memorial as well as the light that was being casted. I’m pretty sure I got a lot of crazy looks by the cars that were driving past, but it doesn’t matter. I was so excited to capture one. And on my first try! I was so surprised how well everything lined up.

My camera settings for this image was F/4.0 at 5 seconds ISO 160 handheld. The only reason I shot this handheld was because I couldn’t get low enough on my tripod to get the majority of the reflection. Plus with my really right stuff tripod bracket, it made it easy to hold it up without my camera getting wet.