early morning

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If you’re anything like me then you’ve been on zoom calls at least a couple of times a week due to stay at home orders placed by the government. It’s hard not to be able to see loved ones and colleagues in real life so one of the next best things to do is hop on a video call. I’ve attended birthday cake cutting zooms, girls happy hour calls, and even photo critiques with fellow photographers. So I figured I’d spice things up a bit with a new background and wanted to share some with you. I went through my archive and found a variety of images so you can swap out your real-life background for something a little different than your living room couch.

Here are instructions from the video conferencing site, Zoom on how to change your virtual background. These images are all cropped to the recommended aspect ratio.

Free Zoom Background 1: Rawlins Park

This image was created about a week before the stay at home orders were placed in the Washington DC area. Rawlins Park in Foggy Bottom right at full peak with Saucer Magnolia trees. If being surrounded by an abundance of pink flowers is your dream, then you can make it happen with this zoom background.

Rawlins_Park_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 2: Ecola State Park

If quarantine has got you dreaming of the ocean, then this may be the perfect Zoom background for you. I visited Oregon for the first time last year and to say that I fell in love was an understatement. I captured this the first morning I was there from Ecola State Park. The perfect place to watch the sunrise over Cannon Beach and the beautiful haystacks.

Ecola_State_Park_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 3: Multiverse

Taking the Zoom name literally, I thought this may be an interesting background for your video calls. This image was created in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Multiverse is a combination of light, sound, and video created by Leo Villareal. A Concourse walkway that connects the East and West Buildings and not to be missed if visiting the gallery.

Multiverse_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Free Zoom Background 4: US Capitol Storm

For a slightly more dramatic background, I thought this image of a lightning strike at the US Capitol could be interesting to use. Stormy times call for stormy skies?

US_Capitol_Storm_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Free Zoom Background 5: US Capitol Flowers

And for a slightly less striking image (pun intended), here’s an image from last summer at the US Capitol. I loved the way that the red flowers were framing the dome.

US_Capitol_Flowers_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

I hope you enjoy these backgrounds. If you decide to use them, please send me a screenshot! I’d love to see them.

Stay safe and healthy!

It all started when I saw a photograph similar to this one. I had never seen anything like it before.

washington dc, fog, weather, tidal basin, jefferson memorial, capital, memorial, cherry blossom trees, kutz bridge, reflection, water, camera settings, east coast, weather, dc

I feel in love with the way it was so mysterious and the way it made the Jefferson Memorial look so obscure. Even though I had photographed a little bit of fog in 2012, I didn’t know it could get this foggy in the city until I saw that particular image.

I’m sorry I don’t have a link to the original image anymore, but I studied that picture. I wanted to know exactly where the photographer was standing and tried to figure out different ways I could have potentially captured it.

It finally happened to me on Christmas Day 2015. I woke up early for sunrise since my family doesn’t celebrate until later in the evening. I figured the best way to start off the day would be to take a quick morning walk around the National Mall. I checked the weather and it said it was going to be unseasonably warm, so why not.

I don’t remember how long the fog took to appear but I do remember it was quite a bit after sunrise. When it first started forming, I was over by the Potomac River. I had never seen fog just appear out of nowhere but something triggered in my head that if it was starting to form on the river, maybe it was forming at the Tidal Basin. I walked over as quickly as I could and there it was! It was the white Christmas I never knew I wanted.

After that, I became obsessed with finding out more about fog. How to capture it, when it was going to happen and all the best places in the Washington DC area to photograph it.

The Lincoln Memorial on a foggy morning. (L) Predawn (R) 20 minutes after sunrise

So here’s what I learned:

Click here to read more

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Going through some images from the archives, I found this one from Ecola State Park overlooking Cannon Beach in Oregon from August of last year. Our trip to Oregon had to be one of my favorites from 2019. It’s a place that I had never been too, but still constantly think about just because of how beautiful it was.

On our first morning on the coast, Andrew and I woke up early to catch the sunrise. Frankie was still in bed. LOL. So we made our way to Ecola State Park to catch one of the best views along the coast. I am so glad I was able to get the drone up for a little bit as the sun was coming over the horizon. The pastel colors that the early morning light created is probably my favorite part of this image.

I CANT WAIT to go back. I just don’t know when that will be though.

My camera settings for this image are F2.2 at 1/400thh sec and ISO 400 with my DJI Mavic Pro.

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So the Thomas Jefferson memorial is still under scaffolding. It’s been like this for more than 6 months and I don’t like it.

There have been times when there’s been scaffolding around other memorials and monuments that I don’t mind. But the scaffolding around the Jefferson is just so much that it’s very difficult to find the good out of it. It’s there because the roof is getting restored and clean so it may not come down until later this year.

Until then, I’ve been purposely avoiding the tidal basin because it’s just so distracting. However, I met up with a few friends on Sunday to capture the moonset and the best spot to watch was the Tidal Basin. So on my way to the location, I tried my best to try to think of it differently and make the best of it.

I found this puddle that had very interesting textures in the mud and thought it went well with the sunrise clouds. I also like how you can see the entire memorial and see that it’s not entirely covered by scaffolding. Maybe next time I’ll just go to the back and take pictures of that. LOL.

My camera settings for this image are F9 at 1/5th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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I captured this image across the street from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. My friend, Birch and I spent a very cold morning walking around Chinatown and somehow ended up in front of the museum. I asked if we could stand in this spot for a little bit because I noticed this reflection coming from a staircase railing.

At first, I was waiting for someone to walk closer to the museum to walk by, but I saw this interesting moment happen and had to capture it. It sort of reminds me of an image I posted last week at the Washington Monument. I was so concentrated on what was happening in the background that I didn’t even notice someone was about to walk in front. It’s interesting because at this time of day, there weren’t many people walking around in general so I’m surprised I captured two at the same time.

My favorite part of the image is that it looks like an optical illusion because the reflection sort of looks like it’s coming out of nowhere. I also love how the man in the front also appears in the reflection. Overall a very interesting street scene that turned out very cool.

My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/3200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

 

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Man, I take a lot of pictures at the Lincoln Memorial. LOL. It’s hard not to though. Especially with the US Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial currently under construction, it sort of limits the monuments and memorials to go to in the National Mall.

However, this image was taken as I was leaving the memorial parks and headed back to my car. I noticed how great the columns looked and loved even more that there were two people peaking their heads out trying to capture the early morning sky with their own cameras.

I think this day was unusual though. It was still very early in the morning and all of a sudden a busload of tourists came walking in. They usually don’t get there that early so I think that may have been one reason why I left so early. That and the fact that it was 20 degrees out. 20 DEGREES! I was wearing so many layers of clothing that you probably heard me swishing back to my car. But the sky that morning made it all worth it!

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/1250th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.