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HAPPY 2020! We made it!

I hope you all had a happy and safe night last night. 2019 was a great year for me and my travel bucket list. I am so lucky to have been able to travel to new places, destinations to see family I hadn’t seen in years and revisit some places I’ve been to in the past and relive some beautiful memories. I’m already thinking about all the places I want to go to in the new year. HAHA

Similar to yesterday’s post about my favorite images from Washington DC, these are my personal favorite images I’ve taken on my travels. They are in no special order but chronological. And I added a few more comments about each of the images now. Feel free to click on each of the images to see my original blog post.

san diego, socal, la jolla, la jolla shores, early morning, drone, flying, surfing, surf, pacific ocean

For the past two years, Andrew and I had celebrated the New Year in San Diego, California. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this year but I really hope to visit Southern California sometime later this year. One of my favorite parts about visiting is being able to fly my drone whenever I want. By the end of this trip, I was flying my drone so much more than taking pictures with my actual camera. One of the best parts is being able to fly over places that would be difficult to see. For example, this image is of my cousin getting ready to get some morning surf in.

Bellagio Las Vegas, hotel and casino, travel, visit, reflection, las vegas, red lanterns, architecture, water show, fountains of bellagio

When I was young, my mom would take me to visit Las Vegas every summer. I always loved visiting because I always thought that her sister, my aunt, lived in the coolest city in the world. At that time, Las Vegas was a lot more family-friendly, but it’s just as fun visiting now as an adult. So when we visited in February it was around the time of Chinese New Year. It was pretty cool to see how each of the casinos celebrated the holiday. This was taken outside the Bellagio hotel. I don’t remember if this was a water fixture, fountain or what, but it was just an open area of water that had a perfect reflection of the red lanterns. Another highlight of that trip? Visiting the Neon Museum for the first time.

cloud gate, the bean, chicago, illinois, sunrise, photographer, glow, the loop, millennium park, park, michigan avenue,

I mentioned this before, but I thought our trip to Chicago was very successful from a photography standpoint (and pizza standpoint too). I came back from that trip with so many images I loved. So many more than what I’ve included in this travel photography post because I wanted to limit myself and only put my absolute favorites. But this image of Cloud Gate is definitely on the top. I absolutely love that glow that’s coming from the sun rising and hitting the bottom of the sculpture. Plus that lady standing in the middle is perfect.

clark street, loop, chicago, windy city, downtown chicago, self parking, garage, street photography, lights, travel,

As far as Chicago city photography, I went on the trip knowing that parking garages are a great place to go to get some nice vantage points. For this particular spot, people are usually facing to the right to photograph some L trains from above. But I thought the view on the left was really interesting as well. I really liked how all the light posts lined up. So I made it a point to look in both directions while I was taking pictures from this garage. Luckily, I turned my head at the right moment to see these pedestrians walking almost in the same pattern as the light posts, all wearing dark colors. This moment could have not been planned more perfectly.

dji mavic pro, from above, turks and caicos, caribbean, island, beach, blue water, weekend getaway, white sand beach, beach umbrellas, pink umbrellas, shadows, beach, flying

3 days in Turks and Caicos was not enough. I spent most of the days relaxing under a beach umbrella and it was amazing. I love the calming sounds of the water and ocean breeze. UGH thinking about it now makes me really miss it since it’s so cold here on the east coast right now. At least I have these images to remind me just how beautiful the world is. I captured this image in the morning time. I try to be considerate of other people’s feelings towards drones so I knew if I had it out later in the day, there would be more chances of people not liking it on the beach. So in crowded places, I try to fly as early in the day as possible. But I just love the contrast of the blue water and pink umbrellas in this image. The shadows of the palm trees and people walking past were not expected but I think really adds to the image.

turks and caicos, grace bay, providenciales, clear water, blue water, white sand, carribean island, gopro, hero5, polarpro, fiftyfifty

I still can’t believe how many cameras I had with me on this trip. For such a short trip, I had 5 cameras, if you include my iPhone. At any given moment, I had at least two cameras with me. So this image was taken with my GoPro. I love that little camera, especially for underwater photography. You can get so creative with all the different mounts. So I bought this FiftyFifty Dome specifically for this trip but the secret for me for capturing this image was putting the camera on timelapse mode and selecting the best one from the entire series. I’d love to do more images like this next time I’m at a beach.

someguy, presidents heads, andy feliciotti, presidents park, williamsburg, virginia, va, croaker, night photography, flashlight, light pollution

The Presidents Heads in Croaker, Virginia has been on my list to visit forever. I actually have been wanting to go to this abandoned field for some time that this was actually my second attempt ongoing. The first time didn’t work out. But it’s ok because this second trip made it all worth it. I loved going there with my photography friends and capturing the Presidents Heads at sunset and night time. It made the whole experience so much more memorable. PS. I also heard they’re filming an episode of Walking Dead here soon. I’ve stopped watching the series but I will definitely be on the lookout for that episode. That’s going to be so cool.

ecola state park, early morning, cannon beach, oregon, haystack rock, tree, branches, seaside, ecola state park photos, ecola state park crescent trail, oregon, travel, visit

My very first time visiting Oregon was amazing. I loved, loved, loved the coast and I can’t wait to go back again. And I was super happy when I found this framing. It was taken at Ecola State Park around sunrise time. I had to step back a little bit to find it and I believe this was one of the last images I captured from this viewpoint. I also think that the memory of showing this image to my mom and her saying that she liked this image because it reminded her of a Chinese watercolor painting also makes me like this image even more.

cape kiwanda, pacific city, oregon, oregon coast, drone, view from above, sand, beach, shadows, lines, travel, dji, drone, mavic pro,

On our third morning along the coast, Andrew, Frankie and I woke up and went for a walk on the beach. This was actually taken on my birthday, so it makes it even more special. But I decided to take my drone out and fly it for a bit. I had every intention of capturing the haystack and ocean but wasn’t really happy with what I was getting. When I was about to land the drone, I flew it above us and saw all the long shadows the sun was creating. I loved the way it turned out, especially with the lines on the beach and how simple everything is. Its one of those images that is probably more sentimental than anything else. And if you’re wondering about the 4th shadow, that’s my camera bag. LOL.

fog, mill run, southwest, ohioplye state park, cucumber falls, waterfall, hills, trese, fall, autumn,

On a last-minute road trip, my friend Sue and I decided to visit Falling Water in Pennsylvania. We booked an Airbnb in a town that was close by and had a great time visiting the surrounding areas. If you know me, I’m an early bird. My internal alarm clock woke me up super early. Like 30 minutes before my alarm went off, so I decided to take advantage of the early morning and tried to find somewhere to take pictures. I had planned to go to a waterfall, but I didn’t make it because this morning fog was distracting me. I found myself pulling over every 10-15 minutes taking pictures. Unfortunately, I left my drone in the Airbnb or else that would have made for some EPIC foggy shots.

rainy day, cinematic, moody, images, photography, travel, new york city, nyc, umbrellas, punch buggy, volkswagen, red car, umbrellas, street photography

Since we’re about a 4-hour drive to New York, I try to make it a point to visit at least once a year. This time we visited, I went to my very first photo expo, PhotoPlus. The expo was very impressive and a little overwhelming. Regardless, being in the city is always a good time. On our last day in New York, it rained a lot. But that didn’t stop us from getting our last meal in the city, soup dumplings. Luckily, Chinatown was amazing for these rainy day vibes. I loved how everyone was carrying around an umbrella and didn’t seem to mind the bad weather.

central park, new york, nyc, fall, autumn, fall foliage, canadian geese, gapstow bridge, orange leaf, travel, weekend in new york

Is it me or is Central Park hard to photograph? Whenever I think of the park, I always think of how big and crowded it is. It’s a little overwhelming and intimidating if you ask me. So I was really happy with the way this image turned out. A little moment of peace with some Candian Geese. That rhymed. But my favorite part about the image is the framing and the yellow leaves around the bottom of the image. It just creates so much more depth that I think is needed in this image. I also think of Home Alone 2 when I think of Central Park, but that’s a different story. LOL.

taipei, taiwan, rain, forecast, weather, typhoon, scooters, street photography, umbrella, zhongxiao dunhua, taxi

The streets of Taipei are crowded! Even waking up before sunrise, you’ll always find people on the streets. It’s pretty crazy how noisy it can get, not necessarily from cars honking but just all the different types of cars engines on the road. From trucks to cars to scooters, you really gotta watch out while walking the streets. But I took full advantage of a busy street in Taipei and waited for this moment to happen. I saw this lady standing on the corner of a crosswalk, right by the taxis. I knew if I waited long enough, some taxis would cross in front of me and create this intersection of yellow. What I didn’t notice while I was capturing the moment was all the yellow in the signs too. I love it when things like this just work out!

tamsui, zhuwei, taipei, new taipei, taiwan, mrt, scooter, street photography, midday light,

Right before my trip to Taiwan, I got my first prime lens! I almost immediately fell in love and probably had that lens on my camera about 70% of the time I was traveling. I can’t even describe how it simplifies street photography and finding moments like this is so much easier to capture. There were a lot of images that I captured with that lens, but this one is probably one that sticks out the most because I just love that slice of light coming from the corner of the image.

taipei, taiwan, restaurant, kitchen, mirror, reflection, travel, self portrait, tamshui

I grew up visiting Taiwan. As I’ve gotten older, the visits have become less frequent but each time I go, I am reminded of so many memories while visiting in the past that I think I grow a greater appreciation for it. This time was even more special because it was going to be the last time I saw my grandfather on my mom’s side. He was 103 years old! I’m so grateful for the time we went because I got to see him while he was still healthy. I hadn’t mentioned it in the past, but he had a stroke during our visit and passed away soon after I came home. I’m grateful to have the last memories of him while he was healthy and to have been able to help him in the hospital. I was considering sharing some images I captured of him during the beginning of our trip, but not sure if I really will on my blog…

But with all that said, I created so many amazing memories this past year. A lot of them came from my travels and I could not be more grateful for the opportunities. There were moments that made me laugh hysterically and moments that made me cry. 2019 will be hard to forget. But it makes me so excited to see what’s in store for 2020 and all the images that still need to be created. Thank you all so much for following along on my journey.

What’s on your travel list for 2020? and HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!!!

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Taken at the same time as this image, these two scenes were taking place just a few steps away from each. Luckily, I was across the street and I didn’t have to take those steps. All I had to do was shift my body a little bit and I saw these lovely ladies getting their hair done. Obviously, hair appointments don’t stop when it’s raining out.

I think my favorite part about this image are all the tones that are going on. It’s such an everyday scene (at least for women) but everything seems to be matching. For example the blues. The overall image is very blue, but blues can be found in the woman’s shirt that’s closest to the left, then in the hair towel and apron on the women in the center and then the apron on the woman on the very right. Those blue tones match the neon lights that you see reflecting in the mirror along with some orange tones. The orange tones go along the woman who has her hair in a bun, then the orange apron, and a little bit of orange in the store sign to the very left. Oh and I forgot to mention there’s even a little orange in the sign hanging on the wall on the very right. To be honest, I didn’t notice how everything matched so well when I captured the image, but now that I see the scene, I just like it so much more.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/200th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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When we booked our hotel I knew the rooftop views were going to be epic, but I didn’t know how good they would be. Here was the view when you walked straight out onto the patio. As soon as we walked out there, my jaw dropped. I loved being able to see so much for the skyline but then I turned to the side and saw this. So cool right? A birds eye view of the Manhattan bridge.

After our first trip to the rooftop, Andrew and I decided to just walk around the city and get some food to eat and run a few errands. We found ourselves all the way up midtown and was shocked by how many people we saw. Somehow we ended up really close to Rockefeller center and literally stood in the same spot for like 10 minutes because there were just so many people. There was no flow of traffic and we were just stuck. Even with police there, no one was moving. It was kind of insane but the best part was this guy in front of me who screamed “ok, who just slapped my ass”. LOL.

Needless to say once we got back to the hotel, we were tired. But I wanted to go back up to the rooftop one more time. I really didn’t want to. The bed was calling my name, but I knew that it was the only opportunity I was going to get.

It was a little awkward walking back to the rooftop. By that time, it was basically a club with everyone all dressed up. I was still in my sneakers and winter coat. Oh well. Anything for the shot, right?

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 0.8 sec at ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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I’ve been noticing a trend lately. A trend just between Andrew and I that we’ll agree that we’ll travel somewhere or go somewhere fun and then I have to do all the work. Like pick the travel itinerary, hotel, etc etc etc. But I’m not even mad about it because that means I have full control over everything. LOL. So when we decided we were going to go to New York for his birthday, I was on the hunt for a great hotel.

We used to only stay in Starwood hotels. At one point of time I had so many points on our SPG Preferred Member account that we used to stay in hotels for free all the time. Unfortunately, all those points have gone away so we were debating whether or not we wanted to stay with them this time. We figured staying in a new neighborhood and change of scenery would be nice and let us get to know a different part of New York. So I found this great place in Chinatown for us to stay.

The room was nice and everything but the best part was the rooftop. As soon as we put our stuff down in the room, I grabbed my camera and I was ready to go all the way up. Since the sunset is earlier in the day for winter and it was a cloudy day overall, I knew I had to get up there as soon as possible if I wanted to get a “day time shot”.  The lighting was a bit difficult to work with. I actually re-edited this image 6 or 7 times before I finally came up with something I liked.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/100th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Last week, I was so honored to be invited by POD DC and Crimson Diner & Whiskey Bar to join them for an end of the summer rooftop celebration. The new hotel with accompanying diner is located right in Penn Quarter. They had a wonderful tasting menu including lobster rolls and a fun cocktail making class. I participated in both 🙂

And now that sunset is earlier and earlier in the day, we were up on the roof just in time to watch the sun go down and the dark sky light up. My favorite part of the view is being able to see the Friendship Archway at Chinatown with the Washington Monument all the way in the very back. So cool! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a vantage point like this one.

My intention for this image was to capture some car light streaks going through the Friendship Archway. I did not have my tripod so I kinda of balanced my camera along the edge of the rooftop to capture this. The settings on my camera was F7.1 at 3.2 seconds and ISO 160 and I didn’t even need a wide angle. This was shot with my 28-70mm and was still able to capture it all. But I also have to credit my Sony A7II for this. It’s fantastic in low light situations and it was so easy to capture this.

Even on a Thursday night, there were still quite a few people walking around and enjoying the night. I wanted to make sure that it looked lively so I upped the saturation in the lighter parts of this image to make it look a little more vibrant and happening.

Now that I know about this place, I’d love to go back on a night with a really nice sunset. I think the images would turn out fantastic. Thanks again, POD DC. I had a blast!

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DC isn’t just the monuments. It’s a beautiful place with so many things inside the city and surrounding states. Here are a few of my personal favorite images from this past year.

Part 3: Around DC

In no particular order… Click the image to find the original blog post and the story behind it.

chinatown, washington dc, blizzard 2016, jonas, snowzilla, street, black and white, snow, winter,This year started off with a crazy snow storm. Crazy but beautiful.

capital ferris wheel, national harbor, maryland, md, to do, potomac river, fog, sunset, night, ferris wheel, visit, ride, reflection, fog

The Capitol Farris Wheel in the fog on a warm February evening

smithsonian gardens, smithsonian institution, washington dc, landscapes, interior scapes, horticulture, collections and exhibits, national mall, constitution ave, outdoor gardens, magnolias, pink, trees,

Smithsonian Gardens is definietly the hot spot for springtime. I mean C’MON!

flowers, pink, tree, magnolias, smithsonian, garden, look up, dream,

A little close up for all you flower lovers.

newseum, news and jounalism, northwest dc, nw dc, musem, washington dc

Standing outside of the Newseum, creeping on people walking by. I mean watching people walk by.

national portrait gallery, exhibits, modern, contemporary, museum, exhibits, bones, skeleton, shadows, walk with locals, washington dc

Inside the National Portrait Gallery. I had never been to the very top floor. Very cool! Highly recommended.

Electronic Superhighway , america, neon lights, tvs, Nam June Paik, national portrait gallery, washington dc, exhibit, art, modern,

A modern take on America in the National Portrait Gallery.

sunflower, sunflower fields, sunflower seeds, maryland, ms, mckee beshers, yellow, sunset, poolesville, summer, clouds, storm

Beautiful sunflower fields in Southern MD. My favorite summer time flower.

fall leaves, great falls, yellow, golden, sun burst, virginia, autumn, fall foliage,

Great Falls Park is the perfect place to go in Virginia to catch the fall leaves changing colors.

Thank you all so much for tagging along with me on all my crazy adventures this year. It was definietly a blast, but I know 2017 is going to be even better! Cheers to you! <3

In case you missed the previous two posts:
My favorite images from travel
My favorite images of the DC monuments