capitol dome

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Taken from the top of the parking garage, this image definitely took a lot of patience.

I made my way to Union Station for sunrise and figured the parking garage may be a good place to start the morning walk. It has such a great view of the US Capitol that it’s a stop I make pretty much every time I visit the train station.

As I was shooting, I kept on thinking about how there had to be another composition that hadn’t been done before. So I kept on walking around, each step getting further and further from the parking garage wall when I noticed the parking lights. I figured if anything, I could get repetition or something out of them, but when I put my camera up to my eye, I was surprised that the dome was peaking out too.

So I moved to a position where I could frame the dome with the lights and loved the way it turned out but it needed something else. There was too much empty space. So I was actually waiting for a bird or something to fly into the frame because like I said, it was early morning and the very top of the parking garage isn’t as busy as you would think it is. No way did I think someone was actually going to go all the way up to park when 15 minutes later, a car ACTUALLY PARKED! I was so excited. I was across the parking lot waiting for him to walk to the elevator. I felt a little stalker-ish but he put on his vest and went straight to the elevator and it turned out way better than I could have imagined. I love how perfectly everything lines up!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/320th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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It’s been a while since I’ve shared a proper Washington DC image. With all the fun traveling that I’ve been doing, I have backlogs of images that could last me for weeks! Super fun but I thought I’d switch it up a bit today.

This image was taken last Friday. Sunrise is early (5:55a to be exact) but for some reason it was not difficult for me to get to the United States Capitol 30 minutes prior. It has been awhile since I woke up that early, but I think I was just so excited to get and shoot that the early morning alarm did not even bother me.

The sunrise looked promising but ended up being too cloudy. So I walked around and found these awesome flower bushes. They’re actually across the lawn and a sidewalk away from the United States Capitol. Not as close as you may think but if you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that I love making foreground elements look as big as the background. So to capture this, my camera was in the bushes. I angled it up just so the flowers frame the dome and I love how it looks like they look like they’re about to engulf the building.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/200th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Hope you enjoyed the last two blog posts where I relieved some of my favorite moments of 2018. If you missed it, you can see them here and here. There were just so many images to choose from because I tend to like all my images LOL. but for some reason this one didn’t make the cut.

This evening at the US Capitol was pretty epic. There was barely any rain but the lightning strikes were going crazy. It was perfect. The only reason why it didn’t make the 2018 favorites just because I wasn’t able to capture the lightning strikes like how I’d hoped for. I was really hoping for a huge strike like this one I captured in 2016. Man, I think capturing that image has sort of made me a bit jaded from all the other lightning strikes I’ve been able to capture. Like this one is cool and all but… LOL.

But I do really like this image because of the composition. Those clouds were epic and I loved the way the sky turned from dark blue to purple when the lightning would hit. Just showing that little bit of of the US Capitol dome is all the information you need to know exactly where you’re standing. It was beautiful night and I was so lucky to even capture anything at all.

So let me know, were there images that you liked in 2018 that weren’t on my list? I’d be really interested in hearing your opinion.

Either way, I’m so looking forward to 2019! It’s going to be a fantastic year with hopefully a lot more photo opportunities like this one to capture that huge lightning strike I’ve been looking out for.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/13th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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I found the biggest difference between photographing the US Capitol and the other memorials like Lincoln Memorial or Jefferson Memorial during lightning was the fact that there was no real place to hide from the rain. At least when you visit the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, you are able to hide under a bit of shelter and still be able to create images. At the US Capitol there is nothing like that so you’re basically out in the open, hoping your camera gear doesn’t get soaked.

That was the case for this image. I actually had a huge rain droplet in the middle of my lens and didn’t even notice until a couple of frames after this image. Its ok though because I cropped the image to the most interesting part of the image anyways. I’m just glad I caught it when I did. Every time the lighting would strike, it turned the skies crazy purple. I love how the relationship between the lightning and the US Capitol dome. The lighting bolt is twisting and turning in all kinds of ways when the US Capitol is so straight and architectural. I think my favorite part of the image is the fact that the lights are still on in the dome. It some how gives it even more life.

I’m really looking forward to photographing more lightning this summer, especially since sunrise is so early now, I’ve noticed that I’ve been shooting a lot more sunsets and night images than sunrises. LOL. I woke up yesterday to capture the sunrise and it was totally washed out with rain. I should have just stayed in bed…

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/15th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.

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You know what’s funny? As I was shooting this, I noticed I was the only one who was getting up close to the US Capitol building. There were quite a few tourists out there with me. I think a bus pulled up while I was there and so many of them were taking selfies in front of the Capitol. But no one would even get near the fountain. Weird, right? Maybe it was the Capitol police with their guns that looked so intimidating. Or maybe they were just not trying to get into my shot. Either way, I was all alone taking this picture. I’m not complaining though. It was really nice to be the only one. Who knows how many people got pictures of my back side though. HAHA.

On this evening, it looked like it was going to storm but I don’t think it actually did. The clouds were super dark. I couldn’t tell with my eyes if they were moving but once I slapped on the Ice Neutral density filter 10 stop, I could see that they were making this really cool effect. Like they were all racing out of the Capitol dome. I really liked it so I tried different angles and came out with this one. This one came out particularly awesome because you can see some reflection in the water and may I add the symmetry of the building’s architecture is probably the coolest part of the image.

For some reason seeing dark and moody images of the Capitol always reminds me of President Underwood. So now that House of Cards season 5 is officially back on Netflix, I think you know what Andrew and I will be doing on our flight back home from our trip. Oh man, can’t waitttt. This season is really going to be good!