boulders

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Before settling into San Diego, we spent the last few days of 2018 in Joshua Tree National Park. I was so excited because I’ve never been but have always heard how amazing it is. It totally lived up to expectations. It is beautiful.

The if-y part about it was the government shut down. We arrived just days after it started and wasn’t sure what it would be like in the park. Since it was our first time, I don’t know if it was quieter than usual but it was definietly like we had the park all to ourselves. With a couple of random people who would drive by, it was great to explore without having to worry about being in anyone else’s way. But on second thought, it could have been the temperatures that deviated people from visiting. It was cold! and so windy.

I captured this image on the very first day of 2019. It was a sunrise hike to welcome in the new year and the last thing we did before leaving Joshua Tree. If you’re traveling with kids, Joshua Tree is a great place for them to explore. These huge boulder rocks are along several very easy trails and if they’re anything like, Axl, he loved climbing on all of them. The only hard part was getting him up before sunrise. LOL.

I was standing on some rocks when I heard from a distance, “Tita Angela, you are so far away!” I turned around and saw his little head peeking through the rocks and thought it was the cutest little scene. I’m so glad he enjoyed the national park and look forward to hiking with him in different places as he grows up.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/100th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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This image reminds me of this song. No particular reason why but whenever I am feeling like I’m “on top of the world” Brandy immediately comes to mind. LOL and the music video used to be so ground breaking back in the day with the different camera angels. HAHA.

Anyways, this image is from top of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. I love the perspective because it almost seems like the people are just as large as the boulders. Believe me, those boulders are HUGE! And there I go again with the 3’s 🙂

The hike up to the summit is no joke though. I was pouring sweat the entire time. The east coast humidity didn’t help much either. I’m pretty sure those people were feeling it as well. But I’ve been getting private questions about how I find my hikes so I thought I’d address that here. Usually I’ll go by word of mouth and other people’s recommendations but if I’m looking into something totally new and different, then All Trails is definietly my go-to. It gives you all the information and more to prepare for your trip. My favorite part is when other hikers include images from their hikes so you can get a feel for what to expect.

All Trail labeled this hike hard and I would definietly agree. Our group had to stop a couple of times for water breaks but if you do this, I’d highly recommend brining more than just a little snack. Andrew and I both brought Vietnamese Báhn Mì Sandwiches and we were still hungry. So if you plan on hiking Old Rag, prepare for a long hike with amazing views on top!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/1600th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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Honesty hour…

Lately I’ve been thinking about my style of photography. I think I’m most known for sunrise at the Washington DC monuments, but I want to be more than just that. I want to become a more well rounded photographer that can photograph much more than empty, open spaces. I want expand and push my creativity. I’ve started to photograph more street, lifestyle, and portrait work but haven’t really said anything about. I haven’t really said anything about it because it’s not what I’m known for. And is it really even that good? I dunno, but I am enjoying it and when it comes down to it, that’s all that really matters, right?

So this is an example of the type of work that I’m leaning more towards. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my landscapes and sunrises but I’m expanding. This was taken memorial day weekend on the Old Rag trailhead in the Shenandoah Mountains. Typically I would have waited to bring out my camera until we got to the summit of the mountain and photographed the landscape but this time I wanted to capture the experience of what it was like to get to the top. This image is of my cousin, Mona, my sister-in-law, Audrey, Andrew and another hiker who just happened to be standing at the right spot at the right time. For me, it perfectly describes what it’s like. Cautious getting to the top while climbing over big ass boulders with amazing views along the way. My favorite part of the image is Mona’s body position and the way she’s getting around the rocks.

I have many more images that I took while on this hike. I’ve already sprinked a few here and there and theres more to come. So let me know what you think of these. I’d love to know!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/1000th of a second and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Speaking of a lot of images, over Memorial Day weekend my cousins, Andrew and I went on a hike in the Shenandoah Mountains. It was amazing. Andrew and I had done the Old Rag hike twice already but it’s been a couple of years. I kinda forgot what it was like.

This time it was hot and super humid. *note to self, don’t wear grey shirts when going on a hike. You’ll get very visible sweat stains and it’s not cute.*

I don’t remember it being as strenuous as it was but the views are hard to beat. I took so many pictures during the hike that it’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to get through them all. I did post a few on my instagram stories a couple of days ago and this one was one of my favorites. We were on top of the mountain when there was a place where you could either climb down these huge boulders, gently and safely ORRRRR jump like this guy did. I chose the first option but while I was waiting for everyone else to cross, I saw this guy with his running start. I was able to get into position quick enough to capture his leap. I love it because it sort of looks like he’s walking on an invisible tight rope. I checked my camera to see if I got the shot, looked up and he was gone. He must have been running to his friends or something because it was literally dust behind him. I wanted to get his email address so I could send him the whole series of jump, but oh well. Maybe next time.

In order to capture the jump, I had to put my camera on burst mode. My camera settings for this image was F5.0 at 1/800th of a second and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm.