In November 2020, I was out trying to photograph the full moon and unfortunately, clouds had a different idea. The moon was completely covered and I was just standing in the cold with my camera and 70-200mm on a tripod. I could have gone the next night when the sky would have been clear but I just was feeling so discouraged that I didn’t want to. This had been my 3rd month in a row where I wasn’t able to capture the moon. So I wanted to do something that would keep me motivated to go out and shoot.
Right then and there I came up with an idea that I should rent the biggest lens I can find. LOL.
So after discussing this idea with a few friends, I finally decided that I’d rent a 200-600mm lens. This would bring a whole new view to the city that I couldn’t even imagine. I rented it from lensrentals.com and I could not have been more excited that it actually came 3 days earlier than I had expected. So I had 10 days with the lens and I was pumped!
Images my friend, Albert captured me with the 200-600mm
My first real test came on an afternoon at the Washington Monument. It is actually the same exact place where I came up with the idea to rent the lens so it’s funny that this was the first place that I want to go to test it out.
I was blown away!
600mm ISO 250 F6.3 1/2500 on a tripod
324mm ISO 250 F6.3 1/2500 on a tripod
The compression on the lens is CRAZY. These people were at least 20 feet away from me. The US Capitol is about a mile away from the Washington Monument. But if you asked me, it seriously looks like you could just reach out and touch the people.
It’s been a while since I’ve had an update blog post. Mostly because I didn’t have much to update on. However, I was going through my catalog the other day and realized I have some images that I wanted to share!
Since coming back from New Hampshire, I tried my best to capture the fall colors around the Washington DC area. Even though Washington DC is a city, there are still some great places to go to see fall colors! All the different shades of red, yellow, and orange make me so happy. So this is a compilation of the images I’ve created from mid-October to the very end of November.
It was my friend, Larry and I’s 4th year anniversary of capturing the sunrise in Shenandoah National Park in the autumn time. I love this tradition. Mostly because it’s fun to reminisce on our friendship. Each year we go has been extremely different. But there has always been one thing in common, awesome fall colors!
This time around, we were lucky to get some fog. It was crazy because the entire time we were driving to and from Shenandoah, there was a lot of fog. So when we got to the top of the mountain, it was really cool to see it from above. They kind of look like spider webs!
Back in 2018, my cousin gifted me with his old film camera. It was unexpected but I am so grateful for it. It brought back many memories of when I first started in photography. At that time, there was no digital photography. Everything was on a negative film. But what had initially sparked my interest in photography was being able to go out with my friends and capturing portraits of them with my SLR camera, point and shoot, and even disposable cameras. It was just something fun for us to do and I used to love seeing pictures I took on my friend’s bedroom walls or lockers. So from that point on, everywhere I went, I had a camera on me.
Obviously with a “new camera” comes new adventures so when I got the film camera, I was excited to start experimenting with it. It’s been a while since I have used film so along the way, I’ve learned to take my time with composition and framing. I learned that each frame is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially since a roll is film is just 24 or 36 frames. Photograph the moments that really speak to you. And practice patience in creating and developing the images.
But omg, that sound of the shutter too! It instantly brought back so many memories.
So I thought it would be fun to go through some images that I’ve taken in the past year or so with my Canon T70 and 35-70mm lens. By the way, none of these images on this post have been edited. I may or may not edit them in the future, but for now, it’s just fun seeing the results of the film.
My first set of images were taken in August 2018. I brought it on a peach picking trip with me and it was really just to see if the camera was working if there were any light leaks and a refresher on how to use film. I’m sorry to say that I forgot what kind of film these were captured on. I tried going through my Amazon orders and I don’t see any film listed. It may have just been some old rolls of film my cousin had in his camera bag. Although it’s a little fuzzy, this roll of film got me excited to start shooting again.
Delaplane, Virginia August 2018
Nowadays, I find myself researching different kinds of film and cameras, just to see what’s out there. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers getting great images with their analog cameras. I have to admit though, it’s a little hard for me to capture film images. I have my digital camera which I love, but it’s hard to balance the time between my digital and film camera. I spend most of my time shooting on my digital camera because I’m so used to it that sometimes I’ll even forget that I have a film camera on me.
It has helped to go on photo outings that are dedicated to just film. I’ll leave my digital camera at home and I love the feeling of roaming with such light equipment. Since I don’t have additional lenses or equipment for my film camera, it has been a nice change of pace to just have one camera with one lens.
Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019
Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019
I am extremely grateful for my friend, Jim. He was my photography mentor when I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum while I was in high school. We’ve been able to reconnect through social media which was really cool when we found each other! Last year, he was kind enough to give me a whole bunch of expired Portra film 400 and 800 rolls of film. It has been so fun to try to go through all the rolls. I’m nowhere near completing them, but to see how the expired film develops has been super interesting.
A little more than a week after I returned from Taiwan, I was back on an airplane but this time to Florida. It was a quick weekend trip to celebrate my friends Taz and Fahim’s wedding vow renewal but that doesn’t mean I didn’t bring my camera with me. It was my first time in Destin, Florida and to be honest, it was a lot more scenic than I thought it would be. I never knew the beaches in the panhandle of Florida were so beautiful.
The entire wedding party stayed in a beach house right on the beach. It was so nice to wake up in the morning and walk right out onto the sand before anyone else in the house was awake. Maybe because it was the beginning of December but the beach here was so quite. You barely saw anyone else out so my photo subjects were birds until the rest of my friends woke up. LOL.
My camera settings for this image are F5.6 at 1/100th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
Taken right after I captured this image, this bird was basically singing in my ear. I turned around and I could tell he was having a good time in the Smithsonian Gardens hopping from one branch to the next. So when he actually stopped to pose for the picture, I had to take it. He kind of sticks out but also kinda blends in with the background at the same time which I like.
By the way, why are all animals always “he”?
Along with the cherry blossoms, I always look forward to when the Magnolias bloom around the city. I don’t think they get enough credit because they are beautiful too. It seriously feels like you’re walking through a pink wonderland sometimes with how much blooms around the city. I love spring.
Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll probably still be out taking pictures throughout. Even though peak bloom has passed for the magnolias and cherry blossoms, I also kind of like it when the flowers are falling off a bit. When the pedals are all over the grass and in the Tidal Basin water. Especially with the rain and hopefully wind, we’re getting today it should make for some interesting petal formations. I’m hoping the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas will look totally different.
That’s the thing about cherry blossom/magnolia/flower season, it’s just so hard to let go. LOL. It comes and go so quickly when all you want to do is just sit and appreciate them for a little while longer.
My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/80th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
After doing a little bit of research, I found that one of the best places to practice flying your drone is in Fiesta Island in San Diego. It’s a wide open area with plenty of room to fly with not a lot of trees or anything to get in your way. It’s perfect. So one beautiful afternoon last week, I headed down there by myself to get some fly time in.
Overall, it was an awesome experience. It was my first time flying over water and the views were beautiful! However there are a few more things here that I have to look out for than I do flying back home. First of all, there are so many more birds here. It’s a little nerve wracking when a whole flock of them fly by. But I did get a pretty cool shot of them flying below the drone… youtube video coming soon 🙂
Second, the wind here is a huge factor. At one point my drone went a little bit too high in the sky and I honestly thought it was a goner. I hit the ‘return home’ function on the remote but it just went higher and further away. OH MAN were my hands shaking. I was so nervous about it drifting to the other side of the island or even hitting a bird or something and going straight down. Luckily, I was able to get it back and it’s all safe and sound.
So here’s one of the images I was able to capture while practicing. It’s a simple one of me sitting on the beach as a bird is flying by but I really enjoy the lines in the sand and the color of the water. Hopefully I’ll be able to fly more asap.
The settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/1100 of a second and ISO 100 with my DJI Mavic Pro.