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.
At the end of every year, I like to sit down and look through all the images I’ve taken in the past year. It’s one of my favorite traditions because I reflect back on the year and most of the time, I have forgotten about some of the fun photo excursions I’ve been on. It’s also really nice to put all these images together in one place and view them as a collection.
We can all agree that 2020 was very unusual. Not only were there times where I felt uncomfortable going out to take pictures, but there were times where I just felt uninspired and a lot of judgment towards my own work. The judgment towards my work has always been there, however it was much more amplified this year. I tried my best to go out and shoot at least once a week but there have been at least a dozen photo walks that I’ve been on where NO ONE has seen the pictures from. I just wasn’t happy with them, so they are just sitting in my Lightroom catalog as we speak.
But that’s not to say that I lost my passion for photography. I feel like I am even more passionate about it than ever. When I wasn’t out shooting or doing the normal stuff I would typically be doing in a normal year, I was at home learning. I have never watched so many tutorial videos, read so many books, and slowed down to be really present while I’m out shooting. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been so hard with myself. I always felt like something could be better or different and I’m trying to use all that I’ve learned and apply it to my real-life shooting.
Typically I would have another blog post about my favorite travel images, but that obviously didn’t happen this year either… LOL. So here are my favorite images from 2020 🙂
At the very beginning of the year, my friend Andy messaged a few of friends and started a little group called Sunday Sunrise. We were going to try to meet up every Sunday… for sunrise. LOL. Unfortunately, the group was only able to meet a few times in the beginning of the year, but while we were in the peak of meeting up, I created this one beautiful morning. I just love how the reflection turned out with that person walking towards the Washington Monument.
It’s interesting because this was the day that I realized that I take a majority of my images in a vertical orientation. A couple of years back, a friend of mine told me that magazines are always looking for vertical images because magazines are vertical. So ever since then, I’ve tried to challenge myself with the vertical orientation. And then Instagram started favoring the vertical orientation as well, so I’ve been creating pictures that way without even realizing it. This year, I’ve been making a conscious effort to take more horizontals to balance out the way that my imagines are seen.
Another image with our Sunday Sunrise group. I don’t remember it raining or anything the day before, but there was this large puddle at the Grant Memorial. It was an awesome find because it gave such a different perspective of the US Capitol building. The beautiful sunrise colors was an added bonus!
It felt like spring came early this year and it was very much welcomed. I find that I’m always on the hunt to find new places to capture all the beautiful blooms in the city. I have been to the National Cathedral a few times for spring, but it was mostly to photograph the Saucer Magnolias that are at the park next to it. Never had I thought of walking the grounds and I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw these beautiful blooms.
I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a good old fashioned DC landmark image at sunrise. It’s probably what I’m best known for and where I got most of my photography practice, so I figured it was time to share another. Back in the day, I used to share these kinds of images every day. I really believe that it pushed me to develop my photo-eye and since then, I can see how I’ve really grown as a photographer. But don’t get me wrong, I still find myself waking up early in the morning to photograph the landmarks. I just don’t share them as often as I used to. Maybe I’m just more particular about the way they turn out now…
One thing I love about this blog is having a visual diary of all the images I’ve taken. Looking back, I have seriously changed my style a lot. I could not be more grateful for everything the Washington landmarks have taught me and would never stop loving wondering the National Mall at all crazy hours of the morning.
This image was taken back in September when the Washington Monument had just re-opened. It was fenced off for the entire 3 years that it was under construction so I had been missing the views that you can only get from this iconic landmark. I remember it being a really cloudy morning, I didn’t expect any color but I didn’t care. I just wanted to go photograph the Monument without any fences. I was so excited to see that pink come in. It only lasted for a few minutes, but it made everything worth it.
My camera settings for this image are F13 at 1/10th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
Here’s something interesting. The other day I was having trouble sleeping so I started surfing the internet. One thing lead to another and I ran across this article from the Google blog. I’m a month late, but I thought this was interesting enough to share. Turns out google now can credit the creator of images in google image searches! This is such amazing news. I personally know that a lot of my images have been shared without proper credit on social media so I can only imagine where they have ended up.
Like, yes I did take that image of the Tidal Basin at sunrise. Thank you google for the image credit! LOL. This image was taken on the same day as this image and this image. Isn’t it amazing how much the sky can change in about 30 minutes? The image previously blogged were when I first arrived at the Tidal Basin however this one was taken when I was about to leave. The water level was still really high but the it was the cloud formations that really caught my eye at that time. By the time the sun came out, it turned all the clouds orange. An explosion of color like no other!
My camera settings for this image is F16 at 1/125th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.
Not too long ago, Budget Travel reached out to me because they wanted to use one of my images for their blog post. They were writing a piece on the best places in the country to see the sunrise and obviously, Washington DC made the list (because it really is one of the best places!). So I was honored that they wanted to use one of my images.
You may have remembered when I took this image. It was at the same time as this one. Isn’t it crazy how different it looks with a vertical crop vs. a horizontal crop? They were obviously taken a couple of minutes a part but they look so different to me. What about you? Do you see a difference? If so, which one do you prefer? Anyways, I love the way that this one turned out as well. I think it’s so interesting to see the cloud formations behind the trees. The reflection from the reflecting pool could not be any better!
On a side note, we just got back from our trip to Orlando yesterday. I had a blast! A much needed vacation after a pretty stressful time in life. I’m ready to get back out there and shoot! More sunrises and sunsets like this please <3 I’ll be back home for a little while now. No real trips planned as of yet but I’m getting the itch to go somewhere in springtime. If you know of any cool places to go to, let me know. Especially places with some beautiful flowers!
Every morning I have a routine. After I have settled into my desk and take care of the little things that need to be done, I will begin my day with processing an image. It relaxes me, it makes me happy and I feel accomplished once it’s done. I’m one of those photographers who enjoys the process of editing an image and I really believe that it’s at that time in front of the computer that your image really comes to life. Your emotions and vision become whole.
After I’m done, I’ll save it to a folder on my desktop called “haven’t blogged yet” and then uploaded the image to instagram. I usually come up with some little phrase or caption that suites the image but as soon as it’s up, I’ll mostly likely forget about the image. It’s kinda of those one and done things and then I’m on to working on the main focus for the day. However it doesn’t always make it on to instagram. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the social media network. Most of the time, I love it. But there have been a few instances where the image just doesn’t look good. Whether it’s the instagram cropping, the resolution quality or even if it doesn’t fit well with the ‘grid’ view of my other images, there will be images that won’t even make it to my instagram. Is that being called being too picky?
On the flip side, people who follow me on instagram are the ones who are the first to see most of my images.
I have quite a few images in the “haven’t blogged yet” folder that have not seen the light of day on any social media. I still really enjoy them but sometimes, it just doesn’t fit well. They would only look good on my blog, facebook, and other social medias where you can see the whole entire piece. This is one of those images.