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Every year Washington DC welcomes millions of visitors traveling to the National Mall to take in all the sights and history. Many will start coming in the springtime to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin. They are alluring, but can sometimes be elusive. Especially when you are dealing with nature, you never know exactly when they are going to bloom or how long they will even last. In general, they will stick around for a week to 10 days. This already leaves a short window of time to see them and that doesn’t include the fact that these flowers are fragile and can fall off their branches with a sudden gust of wind or rain.

So this guide is for all you flower nature lovers who may have missed the cherry blossoms and are here to see what else the city has to offer. Don’t worry because there’s a lot! From Saucer Magnolias to Star Magnolias, Tulips and Forsythia, there is no shortage of beautiful blossoms in the city. You just have to know where to go to see them.

But if you are only interested in the cherry blossoms, I’ve got your back. Click here for the cherry blossom guide!

The National Mall:

Washington DC, especially the mall area, is a very nice area to walk. I highly suggest just taking the day to wander and get lost. There is no doubt that you will run into flowers and beautiful trees while walking around the area. Even the side streets that lead up to the Mall have pretty florets to look at. But if you’re on a time crunch, here are a few specific places to go:

Enid A Haupt Garden

Click here to read more

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So this is the actual pipeline trail I was referring to last week. As you can see, it’s narrow. You’re pretty much walking one in front of the other the entire time and if someone wanted to pass, you have to sort of do that physical communication of who’s going to push their body towards the railings as the other person passes. It gets really awkward when strangers walk past with buckets and fishing poles. I mean these guys are usually carrying a lot of stuff.

To be honest though, I think I took this picture just so I could capture Albert‘s camera backpack. I’ve been in the market for a new one but it’s always such a struggle to find a great one. If it has one feature you’re looking for, it’s usually lacking in another. Plus I want something a little more discreet too. So if you have any recommendations, please let me know. Lately I’ve just been using a regular backpack with some camera padding inserts. But I think it’s time to get a real camera bag.

But isn’t it cool? This pipeline trail is unlike any trail I’ve been on before. I’m glad the City of Richmond made it so safe to walk on. Plus, there are a few points along the pipeline that you can actually jump off be and stand on a little beachy-sand area by the James. It was so fun.

At one point, both Albert and I jumped off to check out what the water looked like closer up. I thought that would be the most appropriate time to bust out my drone. So here’s a cool capture of both of us from above.

My camera settings for the pipeline image is F4.0 at 1/40th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Capturing this image totally reminded me of photographing Great Falls Park. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a body of water with such fast rapids storming down. It made me miss how peaceful it is just sitting at the ledge and watching birds come and go. *As long as they don’t come anywhere near me*

This image was taken at the Pipeline Trail in Richmond, Virginia. At first when my friend, Albert mentioned that he wanted to go there for sunrise, I had no idea why the trail was called what it was. I figured it was because it was a really narrow trail or something, but no. You are literally walking on top of a pipeline. It was so interesting and something I’ve never done before. But there are railings and a small platform on top to make things safe. At times when we wanted to pass each other, we had to squeeze into the railings to let the other person go by. It was fun!

So this image was captured while sitting along the edge of the pipeline. I was using the railings as a way to keep my camera sturdy for the long exposure. They key things that I wanted was for the bird to be in the light, for him to turn to the side so you can see his body shape and for the bird to keep still for at least a second so I could capture a clear shot of him. Probably out of 50 pics I took from different angles, this one fit my qualifications the best. For some reason to photograph the bird to stay still for more than a second was the hardest part.

My camera settings for this image is F22 at 1/6th sec and ISO 50 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Last week was pretty epic. Not only did we have one of the coldest days of winter that we’ve had this entire season but it was also the super blood wolf moon eclipse moon turn red night too. I made up that long title but you know what I mean. Everything about last Sunday was intense.

I got a lot of messages asking if I photographed it and I’m sad to say I did not. I thought I would give moon rise a go and see how that went. If it wasn’t too bad I may have set my alarm to photograph the actual eclipse, but I just couldn’t. The moonrise was so cold and windy, I can still feel the wind blowing on my back. Coming from the California sun to highs of 15 degrees, my body was not ready for it.

So I spent the early evening with my friend, Birch chasing the moon rise. We used the app, photopills to help guide us where to go and ended up at the US Capitol. Once we saw it, we were both so excited. It was so big and beautiful. If you were out that night, you would have found us up and down Maryland Ave, basically screaming at each other through the wind saying how beautiful it was. LOL. I know cars driving past us most of thought we were crazy. LOL whatevs.

I finally came upon this closer to 3rd street. I love the way the moonlight is playing the street lamps. Even the lights lining the balcony on the US Capitol is very interesting for me to look at. If only that one street lamp on the left was on 🙁

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/160th sec with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I remember exactly how this moment happened. My friend Sue and I spent our first morning in Oranjestad walking around the city to explore. We’re both earlier risers so we were doing it to kill time until the rest of our friends woke up so we could all go to the beach together.

Walking around the capital city made me realize just how peaceful, colorful and safe Aruba really is. We were walking around so early in the morning that none of the stores had opened and we looked like the only tourist around. No one bothered us or even said a word. I loved how there were so many locals hanging around just sitting on the benches, soaking in the sun. The only place that was open was The Pastechi House which had some amazingly fresh Pastechis. And when I say fresh, I mean they grew the spinach behind the store!

So after a quick breakfest, Sue and I continued to wonder. I had my 70-200mm lens on most of the time while I was shooting the colorful buildings when I saw this green one across the street from us. I was really drawn to it because I noticed how there were little plants growing out of the roof. I don’t think it was supposed to do that but I thought it made for an interesting play on color. I started photographing it when Sue told me there was someone over there waiting for me to finish taking pictures. I brought my camera down and waved my hand in the universal sign of “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t see you, you may pass.” LOL. But as I was giving him the hand signal I thought about how great it would be to include him in this image. So here he is rushing by so I could continue taking pictures. But I really like how everything lined up. My favorite is the reflection in the car window. It’s so subtle but I think it really adds the image.

After he passed he continued to walk slowly on his way 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/1000th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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About a week or two after Snap DC came out, I cut my hair short. It hasn’t been this short since high school. Andrew has never even seen my hair short before. I’ve always had it long, way past my shoulders, almost to the middle of my back. But I felt like I needed a drastic change. I don’t know, I felt like I was a point in my life where I needed to shake things up a bit and cutting my hair was the answer.

What I didn’t expect is how much I would look like my mom in the process. OMG it’s kinda scary. This picture looks EXACTLY like her except her hair is even shorter than mine. Either way, I’m still undecided about it. I definietly will keep it for the summer but after that, I may just grow it out long again. What do you think?

This image was taken on our last day in Aruba. My friends Sue, Neena and I were walking around Oranjestad trying to get last minute gifts for people back home when we came across this amazing yellow wall. I think it’s the side of someone’s house. Whatever the case is, I love how vibrant the color is. The palm tree made for a nice frame as well. Now that I think of it, my mom’s favorite color is yellow. LOLOL.

So shoutout to Sue for creating a picture that’s meant for my mom.

Don’t forget, a week from today I’ll be cohosting a photo workshop with my friends, Geoff Livingston Photography and Focus on the Story International Photo Festival on night photography. We’ll be walking the National Mall and talking about long exposure, street photography at night and so much more! Its going to be a really fun event with a lot more photo instruction than the regular photowalks we’ve been doing this summer. Plus there will be 3 instructors instead of one. So if you’re interested, check out all the info here.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/1000th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.