early morning

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It’s been a busy fall season already! But I’m enjoying every minute of it. I love just driving down around my neighborhood and seeing all the colorful trees. So I obviously had to take a quick run down to Shenandoah National Park to check out the foliage around there. It’s become a tradition that my friend Larry and I will make a trip down and photograph the sunrise along Skyline Drive. This year, our friend Brande came with us too. It was a beautiful morning with photo friends.

In general, the trees were looking a little green along the drive so I think we were a bit premature in going. Regardless, it was great to watch the sunrise over the mountains. There were even little pockets of fog along the mountain range that made it even more special. But I didn’t get the shot I was looking for. I was either hoping for a really foggy morning making images look extra moody and gloomy or very colorful trees lit up by the sunlight. So since we didn’t get either of those, I’m thinking another trip to Shenandoah is necessary. Hopefully sometime soon!

My camera settings for this image are F11 at 1/30th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Our second night in Oregon was spent in Pacific City, specifically Cape Kiwanda and I loveddd it. The afternoon that we arrived was super foggy. So foggy that you weren’t able to see the Haystack Rock in the ocean. It was pretty interesting to see (or not see…). I think I loved Cape Kiwanda so much because it was definitely quieter than Cannon Beach but I just felt so relaxed and at peace there. The fog may have added to the mood as well.

But that limited our photo opportunities in this area so Andrew, Frankie and I woke up early the next morning and just hung out on the beach in front of our hotel. The skies had cleared up by morning time and created this amazingly warm glow all along the beach. My favorite part was playing with the reflections that the ocean tide created on the sand.

So this is an image of the sand dune that was on the side of the cape. I noticed some kayakers getting ready to get into the water and thought that it was the perfect focal point to break up the landscape. I love seeing the scale of the people compared to the sand dunes. Andrew and I were actually really impressed because the night before we saw so quite a few people sledding down the dunes. Looked like fun but I was in relax mode. LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/160th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 24-70mm lens.

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We flew in and out of Portland and hit the ground running. Our first stop upon arrival was donuts, but as soon as we picked up the essentials, we made our way to Cannon Beach. LOL. Just an hour and a half from Portland but by the time we arrived at our hotel, I was exhausted. We spent a little time walking around the beach but it was mostly spent decompressing in our hotel.

So Andrew and I woke up early the next morning (while Frankie continued to sleep in the hotel) and made our way to Ecola State Park. While researching the Oregon trip, this seemed like the place to be to get a great overall view of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock and it really was. I loved how peaceful it was in the morning and for a little while, we were the only ones there.

If I remember correctly, the tree on the left-hand side was a stand-alone tree and probably one of the biggest ones at the viewpoint. I captured this image while we were walking back to the car. I loved the way the branch was framing Haystack Rock. I’ll be sharing more images from this view soon because it was just so impressive. I just thought this one was an interesting one and slightly different from what you typically see at Ecola State Park.

My camera settings for this image are F10 at 1/320th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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This image was captured almost 2 years ago but it is still one of my favorite mornings in Washington DC. I remember it like it was yesterday. The day before we were supposed to get snow but ended up getting a few flurries. So I just assumed that the following morning weather was going to be a good sunrise. It ended up being too cloudy with no color, so pretty much two disappointments in a row.

But when the sun actually rose and started to shine the light down on to the National Mall, it warmed up the air so much that it actually started to get a little foggy. And somehow all that fog was got captured within this walking path in between the two rows of trees. As a result, the light was so warm and yellow and I couldn’t help but notice all the shadows the sun was creating as well.

It was honestly like walking through a dream. I had never seen this walking path like this before and ever since that day, I always find myself looking to see if it will happen again.

Plus I love how the trees at the end of the pathway form a little heart <3

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/320th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle.

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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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I captured this image while I was on my way to photograph this image.

This image of the Lincoln Memorial was taken first and I was so surprised when I saw it on the LCD screen. I was walking towards the reflecting pool when I thought it may be cool to see some grass blades as tall as the Lincoln Memorial. So I put my camera on the ground, tilted it a little bit up and this is what I came out with.

What I didn’t realize was all the morning dew that would turn into these cool little bokeh textures in the grass and somehow turned this image to look magical. In order to capture it, I had to focus the image on just Lincoln Memorial. It’s a shame I almost forgot about it. To be honest, I was more excited about the duck capture than this one on the day I captured them. But I love the way that this image turned out. I also love that little hint of purple coming, which you can really see in the duck image.

Just goes to show you never know what you’ll find unless you try 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1.6 sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.