Happy Independence Day and Happy Birthday America!
And #tbt to my favorite firework image I captured last year. Actually, it’s probably my favorite firework image I’ve ever created just because I’ve never seen anything like it. I love how everything is just so symmetrical. I was lucky to be able to squeeze my way to the front of the reflecting pool to capture this image.
Unfortunately, there may not be a view like this for a while since the firework location has changed this year. So if you’d like to see my tips and tricks on how to capture the fireworks and suggestions as to the best spot to capture them in Washington DC today, check out my guide here.
I’ll be out photographing the show this year, unless we get another one of those evening storms that we’ve been getting so much lately. Fingers crossed the weather works out.
Last week was a stunner. There were so many great sunrises and sunsets. I was able to capture some but not all. This particular sunrise colors didn’t last too long but when they were out, they were out in full force and so vibrant. It totally makes waking up early worth it but that part it isn’t too bad now that it’s winter. It’s a little bit after 7a which makes it pretty manageable. The difficult part about winter sunrises is the cold. I’m definietly bundled up and walking around like the michelin tire man.
Lately whenever I go out, I carry just two lenses with me. The 70-200mm and the 16-35mm but have been favoring the 70-200mm even more. There have been times when I don’t even switch between the two lenses and only use the 70-200mm. I love it. Capturing this scene with the 16-35mm wide angle would have made the Jefferson Memorial look so small and since the color didn’t fill the whole sky, being able to zoom in to a tighter frame gives the impression of more color than there actually was.
So whenever someone asks me what camera equipment they should get, I always say that it’s really about the lens you use. It can totally change your perception of a scene and make you see things differently. Just something to think about in case you’re in the market 🙂
So after I photographed the Korean War Memorial for a bit, I walked over to the Reflecting Pool to check things out. Since we had snow the day before, I was really hoping for a little bit of fog. Lately, I’ve been loving the reflecting pool for this exact reason. I love the way the fog gets trapped around the trees of the pool so I wanted to make sure I was at the right place at the right time. Well, it didn’t happen.
But this happened! I love how simple this image is. I shot it with my 70-200mm at 200mm standing on the top of the steps that lead to the reflecting pool. I’m not sure if it’s easy to tell the location if you’re not familiar with the Washington DC area and that’s the reason why I like it so much. It looks like it could be almost anywhere. The reflection of the Washington Monument perfectly cuts the image in half and the two people standing there is absolutely perfect. I also love how compressed the image is and you can’t even see the stairs. It’s as if we’re on two totally different platforms and you have to leap down to get close to the water.
LOL I love how these past few posts turned into a chronological description of what I did in the span of 2 days. Not intentional but it will be very interesting to look back on.
PS speaking of looking back, 2018 is almost over! If you haven’t already, check out the 2019 Dynamic DC calendar. I LOVE the way it turned out this year. I don’t have many left so get them while they last. And can we talk about how much I love February’s image OMG <3
My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/1250th sec ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.
Happy Happy November! Hope you all have a pile full of chocolates at home and ready to celebrate the holidays! I know I am. Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough. Mashed potatoes in my mouth now! LOL.
But I’m most excited because this is when the Capital Weather Gang has said the fall colors will be peaking! If you saw my blog post last week, you know I’ve been seriously excited for this day. Yes, I am the type of person that when it’s the first day of summer, I expect it to be at least 80 degrees outside or I’m real upset. So now that Capital Weather Gang says “early November” I expect that means November 1st. So my friend Larry and I woke up early this morning to check things out at Shenandoah National Park. I’ll let you know exactly what it’s like tomorrow.
One last thing. If you’re free this weekend, come hang out with me, IGDC and my friend Austin Graff as we host a fun photo walk around Anacostia. Click here to sign up. It’s free! We just need a headcount. During this walk, Austin will lead us through his very own neighborhood as he gives us the rundown of everything new, exciting and colorful in this historic neighborhood. I’ll be there to help give tips on how to make the most out of the photowalk and bring home some images you would be proud of. Hope to see you there 🙂 Maybe there will be some fall colors we can photograph at the Frederick Douglass House 🤷🏻♀️
The other day my friend called me and said “I can’t believe you don’t weigh 1,000lbs”. I laughed and asked why? Her reasoning was that she spent the last week telecommuting and working from home and she felt like she spent every hour on the hour in the kitchen. Each time she’d go in there, she’d find a snack or eat a full on meal which caused her to think she gained 10lbs working from home. All I could do was laugh even more and said, “you’re probably doing that because you’re procrastinating”. We laughed more about how much food she ate and it led me to think how lucky I am to be able to find a “work at home” balance. How many times have you had plans to work from home but wound up doing the laundry or cleaning your countertops because you were avoiding something? You can’t tell, but I’m raising both hands up in the air because it’s something I am constantly struggling with.
It has taken me years to figure out a schedule but no matter how much I think I’ve figured it out- when I’m most productive or what works best for me, it is a constant change. Something that worked for me last month, may not work for me today.
So here are a few tips I’ve come up with for those of you who work from home and still want to be productive:
Set a schedule and stick to it like a regular office job. Just like showing up to a job at 9am, you gotta keep to maintain that same mindset. Working from home is great because sometimes you can create the schedule with what works best for you, but you have to be honest with yourself. I used to think I was most productive in the mornings, but more recently I’ve found new inspiration in working in the evenings. So with that said, I will schedule my days to have my most creative times at night and do all the busy work like replying to emails and client work during the day.
Change your environment. Sometimes it feels like you are trapped in your house. You spend every waking moment in the house and it’s so difficult to get out in to the real world, especially when it’s cold outside. To break that up, I’ve actually been going to coffee shops to get things done. There’s something about seeing other people work on their computers that motivates me to work on mine. I’ve found myself more focused on my task. Whether it’s preparing blog posts or catching up on photography tutorials, I love getting out of the house with the intention of getting work done. Usually I’ll just leave in the morning and get as much done as I can until I start feeling hungry. I’ll go home eat lunch, reset, and will be eager to get back to where I left off at home. Even if you can’t leave your house, just changing rooms like working from the dining room instead of your desk can cause a major positive shift in workflow.
Take breaks. This is where I express my gratitude to Frankenstein. Having a dog has taught me and forced me to take breaks. Whether it’s for a short walk for him to go to the bathroom or a quick belly rub session, Frankie has taught me the importance of walking away from the computer to take a quick breather. These little breaks always put a smile on my face. Even when you really don’t want to, taking these quick breaks has taught me to refocus on what is important and how to prioritize my time more efficiently. I think if it weren’t for him, burn out could come way more easily and frequently.
Those are just a few tips. Don’t worry, I have plenty more. Let me know if you’re interested and I can definietly make this a series.
My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1.6sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens. It was taken during a full moon rising behind the US Capitol.
As you’re reading this, I’m traveling from San Francisco to Palo Alto today to hang out with my cousins. I’m really looking forward to seeing them and catching up. It is also the beginning of family time for the rest of this trip.
I spent the weekend to myself in San Francisco. I’m glad to have met up with photo friends along the way but for the most part I found myself wondering the city with just my camera. I’ve always heard that you should travel alone. It’s a great way to “discover” who you really are. But to be honest, I feel like I already have a good sense of who I am. It came to me when I was in college and really expanded from there. I’ve always been a really decisive person where I know I like or don’t like something after trying it for the first time. But to be honest there has been something that I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind since the Focus on the Story International Photo Festival.
The first talk that I listened to at the festival was by Maggie Steber and I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt more inspired in my life. Among the things that she had talked about was having a personal photo project. Sure, me taking pictures of cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument are all things that I love to do but what is that one thing that really resonates with me? What is that one thing that I feel so much that is just dying to come out? I knew what this personal project had to be ever since Maggie’s talk but I think I’ve just been too scared to start.
I’m writing this blog post in advance but I’m also writing it as a reminder to myself. Angela- just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect right now. Just start by writing down your ideas. While you’re away from everything familiar to you, jump out of your comfort zone.
My camera settings for this image is F8.0 at 1/8th of a second at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.