City

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In my opinion, one of my more successful photo trips of the year was when I went to Chicago in March. I must admit, I was a little scared to go because I thought it would be too cold to walk around. But after the wind settled down after the first 1.5 days we were there, it really wasn’t bad at all. I say that it was a successful photo trip because I came back with so many images I loved from that trip.

One of the highlights was definitely visiting Cloud Gate or the Chicago Bean. We actually ended up going twice. One time on a Saturday afternoon which was so packed and I don’t recommend at all. But the second time was on a Sunday morning around sunrise and it was so much more manageable. Yes, there were other people there but it was definitely not crowded like it was on a Saturday afternoon.

Visiting that Sunday morning was great because I had many opportunities to photograph Cloud Gate with no one in the frame, but I also tried some creative compositions to crop people out. In this image, I focused mainly on Cloud Gate where it’s barely recognizable. All you see are the reflections from the surrounding buildings.

My camera settings for this image are F7.1 at 1/100th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.

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The first morning we were in Oranjestad, my friend Sue and I walked around the city. It was so cute and every turn had something new and unexpected. I loved all the colorful buildings and homes and this house was no different. It was the pink flowers that originally drew me in but then it was all the cracks and tears all along the facade that really made me want to photograph the house. I just loved all the details and really wished that I was able to walk onto the porch but there was a gate blocking us from doing that.

So I captured this image with my 16-35mm wide angle lens. As we were walking around more I felt like I wanted to capture more detailed shots of the house. I opened up my backpack, trying to dig out the 70-200mm when I noticed a cat was sitting on the porch! I had no idea it was there when I first took the picture so I tried to remain calm and quickly put my 16-35mm wide angle back on the camera before I went any further. I’m not sure what happened but the cat quickly got up and ran away 🙁 I was kind of disappointed that I wasn’t able to capture the cat like I wanted to but went back to review my images and I’m so glad I was able to capture this. It’s so funny because I didn’t even know he was there in the first place. He was a tiny little guy so I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed him the first time you looked at this image too. LOL.

My camera settings for the image is F8 at 1/800th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Like I’ve mentioned before, I have quiet a few family members that live in the Northern California area so I’ve been a few times. And when I booked this trip to San Francisco, I wanted to make it a little different. I didn’t want to go to all the tourist attractions (which I did end up going to a few, but not as many as I would have before) but I just wanted to walk around the different neighborhoods and get to know the local side of San Francisco.

But the only shot that I had planned and definitely wanted to capture was this one. Up until recently, I had never seen anything like it. I love how the Bay Bridge is framed by the tall buildings and whenever I look at it, it totally reminds me of rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat! HAHAHA. Wasn’t there a picture similar to this on the cover? or something like that. I can’t just be making it up.

So if you ever are going to be in the Bay area and want to capture something similar, here are a few tips I learned from capturing it:

  • This shot is located on California St and Stockton St (I think). I heard that going on a Sunday morning is the best time to capture it because it’s going to be far less crowded and you’ll have a better chance of getting a clear shot of a trolley. So this was taken on a Sunday morning. I didn’t actually attempt to go any other morning.
  • Be patient. The website says the trolley runs every 6-15 minutes. If you asked me, it seems like longer. I think I only saw two trolleys while I was there for an hour. Maybe I was there a little too early but still….
  • Bring a long lens. In order to capture this compressed look, a long zoom lens is ideal.
  • Hopefully when you go there will be no cars because you have to stand in the middle of the street to capture it. I’d suggest bring a friend with you so they can lookout if a car is on the way. If not, have you camera settings ready to capture this real quick.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom 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.

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I usually have tons of plans and to-do lists before I leave for a trip, but this time I didn’t have any of that. I might of had a few suggestions here and there from friends but otherwise, I left for Maine last week with no expectations. Well, I’m happy to say that I had a blast. It was way better than expected! LOL.

About 2 days before we left, my friend Sue and I decided to stay one less day in Acadia National Park and spend that extra time in Portland. I’m so glad we did that. It’s only 3 hours away from Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park but it gave us a better idea of what it’s really like being in Maine. From the one day that we were there, I loved how seeing lobster cages in the back of a pick up truck was no big deal and you can really tell that the people who lived there, loved it there. Everybody was so happy and friendly and I don’t think I have seen such a clean city before. You can really tell that Mainers respect their land and their water.

And on the top of every to-do list that we googled about Portland was this lighthouse, Portland Head Light. I loved how accessible it was. It’s so close to the city and it’s just a short walk from the parking lot. Which was perfect when you are running late for a sunrise! Man, was I running through that parking lot like it was no one’s business. And I may or may not have jumped a fence to capture this, but I figured it was ok since I saw other people doing it, right?

My camera settings for this image is 8.0 seconds at F/4 ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. I also had my neutral density filter on there to make a longer exposure to smooth out the water.

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One of my favorite parts of the trip was taking our dog, Frankie on walks to different places in the city. This was taken on our second to last day. It was extra cloudy with a little bit of wind but so nice and comfortable to be outside. We made our way to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade but we parked our car just above it. What a cute little neighborhood. I’m sorry I don’t know the name but it looked just like the houses did in the Cosby Show. Wasn’t that based in Brooklyn too?

Anyways, it was Andrew and I’s goal to take pictures of Frankie with different landmarks behind him. So obviously, we had to take a picture of him with the Manhattan skyline in the back. He’s balancing on a bike share stand and looks thrilled, doesn’t he? HAHA He’s such a good boy but for some reason, he gets scared to jump off of things. Even when we’re home, he doesn’t like jumping off the couch or bed, so he has to be brought up onto furniture if he wants gets on it. That’s the only way he’s guaranteed a way down.He won’t jump up on his own. So we knew if we put him up on this bike stand, he would not jump. He’d just stand there for as long as we’d let him. LOL.

Whenever I look at this picture, I just smile. I’d love to take him on my trips. Don’t you think he’d look awesome next to the faces at Mount Rushmore. HAHAHA. Crazy dog mom? Maybe… But look at him. He loves it!

My settings for this image was F/5.6 at 1/320th of a second ISO 200. No tripod or anything. Just love.

Have a great weekend everyone! That week was short!