capitol hill

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One morning I found myself walking around the US Capitol with my 70-200mm in hand. It was right before Christmas and other than capturing the capitol Christmas tree, I wanted to get some images that weren’t just of the holidays.

So here’s a little secret, one of my favorite places to be is on the west side of the Capitol facing east at sunrise. It sounds counterintuitive but once the sun comes up a little bit, I love how it shines bright onto the building’s facade. With the beautiful architecture, columns, and everything else, the sun can create some interesting shadows and make the lines really pop.

I loved the way these columns looked from a distant angle. At first I was standing a little further back when I noticed the patterns they were creating. There was no way I was able to capture it without some blue sky so I kept walking a little bit closer and closer until I could finally fill the entire frame with it. With the warm sunlight shining bright on top and the dark shadows in the tunnels underneath, I thought it was a really interesting composition.

A few moments after I captured this image, a Capitol Police officer came out from the columns and it was an almost perfect focal point to capture. I was so excited and snapped a few images but then my camera battery died and the officer went back into the columns 🙁 I think I’ll be back sometime soon to try to recreate this and hopefully have some warm sunlight shining as well. Either way though, I really love the way it turned out. It makes me feel all warm and happy inside.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8000th sec at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom 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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Lately whenever I think of snow, I’ve been thinking cherry blossoms. Pretty awful, right? Only because the past few years when we have had snow storms, it has always been later in the season and interfered with the cherry blossom peak. So last week when we had our first “snow” in the Washington DC area, it made me want to look back to some of my spring images. You could say I’m already missing the warmer weather 🙂

Washington DC has two awesome flower trees. Obviously the cherry blossoms (captured on the left side right below the US Capitol dome) but a very close second are these pink magnolia trees. The magnolias are just as beautiful but the flowers themselves are bigger and I believe less delicate meaning they won’t fall after a huge gust of wind or rain. They can be found all around the city but my favorite ones are located on the National Mall. Although the US Capitol isn’t technically the National Mall, I feel like it’s close enough….

Seeing these pink flowers frame some of our nation’s most iconic landmarks make me so happy. It definietly gives them a more feminine and warm feel.  This particular day was a foggy spring morning. I think it works though because now the whole image is filled with pink flowers instead competing with blue skies. And yes, I did have to wait like 5 minutes to get some people walking along the path. You know, just your local, lurking photographer waiting for you to walk past 🙂 LOL. Yes, to be honest sometimes I do feel like a creeper sometimes. But it’s for the ART!

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/30th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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As you may know, I’ve been on the hunt for fall colors in the city and the US Capitol never disappoints. However sunrises can sometimes be disappointing. The night before, as I was getting ready for bed, I checked my weather apps. All signs pointed to a colorful sunrise but when I got up in the morning I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Usually when you get a colorful sunrise, you have to have clouds and there was not a cloud in the sky. So since I was up, I decided to make my way down to the Capitol anyway. I was a little discouraged because I had my hopes up and I really think that played a part of how my images turned out while I was on the east side of the Capitol. I didn’t really come out with anything that I really liked. I even stopped by Lower Senate Park but it was all closed for construction. As I was leaving, I felt like it must have been one of those days where I wasn’t going to get much. It’s ok because those days happen more often than I’d like to admit but then something magical happened.

I was on my way home and I just saw this gold glow coming from the street right ahead of me. It just happened to be this amazingly beautiful tree covered in yellow leaves and I had to pull over. Don’t tell anyone but the only spot available was for government officials only, but I was only going to be there for a second 😉 So glad I did because I love the way this turned out. Images like this is what makes me super excited for the seasonal change. So in the end, it all worked out. I really believe that if you come out with even one good image that the photo session is totally worth it.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/1250sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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From the other day when I was going through old photographs of the US Capitol, I ran across this one. This on the other hand, I do remember photographing. It was earlier this year, I don’t remember what season, but I do remember it being cold. I also remember that I was the only photographer out while there were severals runners all around me. Do you see that person in the blue? I think she kept on running by me to see what I was actually doing. She’s in several of my shots but decided to not really include her in the final image since I think the compass is the main focus here. I also remember just walking around the Capitol grounds and just having a great time listening to my earphones.

Sometimes I listen to music in my earphones but other times I’m listening to audiobooks. I just finished my latest earlier this week. It was Tiffany Haddish’s book, The Last Black Unicorn. It reminded me a lot of Kevin Hart’s book, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons because it’s all about how Tiffany became a comedian. I love how she reads the book herself. I feel like it gives me a way better feeling of who she is in real life. I feel like if we met, I would be cracking up laughing the entire time.

The book is funny but I was not cracking up laughing the entire time. Tiffany has gone through some crazy stuff in her life that makes you realize how amazingly strong this woman is. She’s definietly a role model to someone who needs to look on the brighter side of things. A little warning: It does get a little raunchy at times but overall I’d recommend it to my friends if they’re looking for an interesting book to read/listen to.

If any of you have any other book recommendations, please let me know. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I read/listen to a lot of motivational, self improvement or biography type books. I love a good non-fiction story.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/15 sec at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Just going through some older images of the US Capitol building, I ran across this one. Most of the time when I look at these images, I remember EXACTLY when I captured them, what I was feeling, etc. But for some reason, I don’t remember with this one. Did I even capture this images? LOL of course but I’m not sure what happened. Maybe I was just busy that day or something and didn’t have time to go through them all and eventually I just forgot about them? OR maybe I’ve just been to the US Capitol so much that all my memories are starting to mush together into one? I know it had to have been a sunrise. Either way, I’m glad found this image.

This is actually the original.

Dome, US Capitol Building, washington dc, tour, capitol building, interior, architecture, sunrise, capitol hill, NE DC, SE DC, pink

I really like the way that it came out but as I was waiting for my computer to save the image, I thought about what it would look like with a vertical crop. I tested it out. Which do you like better?

Either way, I love the two bright colors right next to each other. It’s so unexpected but very interesting to me. And the most unexpected part about the image is being able to see the inside of the dome! Look in the windows. You can see a little bit of the interior. So COOL!

PS. I’m still trying to get a tour of the interior of the US Capitol dome. Those shots would be AH-Mazing. I think I’ve written to my representative at least 3 times and still no answer. If anyone knows how I can get in, let me know the time and place and I’ll be there.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/50 sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.