autumn

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If you know me, I love a good road trip. Especially the ones that make you feel like you’ve hopped on an airplane and you’re miles away from home but in actuality, you just jumped into your car. So if you’re like me, I created a list of my favorite summer destination that are 3 hours or less from Washington DC with a variety of adventures waiting for you. So if you like being in the outdoors, this list is for you:

Great Falls Park:

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Great Falls Park from the Virginia side

I’ve mentioned this place a hundred times on my blog so it’s definitely a favorite. Less than 20 miles outside of Washington DC, find some peace in Great Falls Park. From the roaring falls, to plenty of space to roam or have a picnic, Great Falls is kind of an unexpected gem outside a major US city. The great part about Great Falls is that there’s a Virginia and Maryland side. You can see actually see the Maryland side while in Virginia and vice versa but they are very different.

Virginia has a better view of the falls and in my personal opinion, the park just feels a little bit more open with wider fields and more viewing spots of the falls. It’s a great place to have a picnic or go on a hike with friends.

Maryland allows you to be closer to the rocks but I personally enjoy the views on the hike on the Maryland side much more.

Don’t be surprised if you see kayakers navigating the rough waters or blue herons fishing for the dinner on either side of the park.

Alexandria, Virginia

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Old Town Alexandria at sunrise

Specifically, Old Town Alexandria. Old Town Alexandria is just 8 miles away from Washington where you can enjoy a day by the Potomac River. Surrounded by cute shops and even better restaurants, it’s shouldn’t be a surprise if you find yourself smiling while walking around the neighborhood. If you of age, The BRÜT Wine Bar is a personal favorite if you like bubbly adult drinks. Waterfront Park is a fantastic place for kids to run around and to experience free outdoor art. I can’t express how much I enjoy this cute little town every time I visit.

But Alexandria is also a great central point for many other excursions. Hop on a scenic water taxi that will take you the National Harbor in Maryland or to DC destinations such as the Wharf, Georgetown, the National Mall, and Nats Stadium. It is also along the Mount Vernon trail that gives you access to Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve and Huntly Meadows Park, both wetland areas with boardwalks that make it fun for birdwatchers and photographers to enjoy the views.

Shenandoah National Park

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Shenandoah National Park along Skyline Drive on a foggy early morning

Shenandoah National Park is beautiful summer, fall, spring, winter, whenever! Just 70 miles outside of the District, it’s the best place to get a great hike in. My personal favorite is Old Rag Mountain Trail and Hawksbill Mountain Trail. Both give you an unbelievable view of the mountains and surrounding areas. Just know that both of these hikes are steep but Hawksbill Mountain Trail is significantly shorter, so plan accordingly with the time you have in the mountains.

If hiking isn’t your thing, I highly suggest finding a rental company where they’ll take you down to the river. You can rent canoes, rafts or tubes to float your way down the river. It’s so relaxing.

But if you just want an easy way to enjoy the views, Skyline Drive has stunning views from multiple overlooks along the way.

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For me, Thanksgiving is really about family and friends being together and celebrating all the blessings we have in life. In no particular order here are a few things that I’m grateful for:

  • Family, friends, Andrew and Frankie
  • My health
  • My warm bed
  • The kindness of people I’ve never met before
  • The internet for connecting people all over the world.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful day however you are celebrating and I’m so grateful for you.
<3 Angela

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This image may be my favorite in the series I captured at Rock Creek Park. I like it because of how monochromatic yellow it is. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I love those monochrome colored looks.

You may also know that I enjoy going out with other photographers to take pictures too. But once in a while, I find so much peace going out on my own. Especially in Rock Creek Park, a place I am not too familiar with, I loved exploring the area and finding little corners like this. However, this was one time I wish I was out with another person. I think this would have been really cool if there was a person standing there with an umbrella or something. Oh well, there’s always next time.

My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/13th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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Referring back to my autumn to-do list, I checked another location off the list, Rock Creek Park. I’ve only been one other time in the fall but this year I really wanted to go back again. In a city full of cars and people, I love it when there are big parks like this that make you feel like you’re in a totally different area.

Last time I was there, I photographed Boulder Bridge but it was around sunset time instead of sunrise. At that time it must not have rained for a while I could basically walk in the middle of the creek with no problem. This year, I captured the same spot during sunrise and there was no way. I had to improvise and photograph it from the side. Luckily there were some trees with fall colors that I could use to frame the bridge. However, I think my favorite part of the image is the rolling water. It reminds of wavy long hair. LOL. I had my tripod at the time, but I think I just used a tree trunk as a camera support.

My camera settings for this image are F22 at 0.6 sec and ISO 100 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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While walking around New York City, I made sure to look for any signs of fall foliage. I was so happy to see that there were trees that were already turning yellow and orange that it made me curious to see what the trees looked like in Central Park. So when Andrew and I had some spare time, we ended up taking an afternoon walk around the park.

I don’t know how it happened, but we ended up on a side of the park that neither one of us had been to before. Actually, I do know how it happened, this park is HUGE! There’s so much going on everywhere. There was even an ice skating rink open! But as we were exiting the park, we stumbled onto this bridge. I was happy to see some sort of a moment in silence right underneath where these Candian geese were just wading in the water and cleaning themselves off. In such a busy park and even busier city, it’s unusual to find such quietness. So I had to capture it.

My favorite part of this image are the out of focus yellow leaves in the foreground. It reminds me of falling leaves in the fall. But you see what I’m saying about fall colors in New York City? They were everywhere and I loved every second of it 🙂

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/320th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I’ve been working on this fun photo project lately. The best part about it is that it’s getting me to parts of Washington DC that I never knew about or never really had the chance to go to before. For example, this image was taken in Dupont, right around the corner from the Philips Collection. The Philips Collection is a place that I’ve been to a couple of times but noticed how close it was to the Embassy of India where this Mahatma Gandhi Memorial is right in front of it. My mind was blown how close I had been to this memorial but had never seen it before.

I’m grateful that I finally know where it is and had the opportunity to photograph it in the fall. I think the green, almost yellow leaves really make a great pop of color in the image but also gives the image a bit more layers and depth.

My camera settings for this image are F5.6 at 1/320th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.