Flowers

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I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m also a fan of when the cherry blossoms start falling. I think it adds a lot of interest when there is pink the trees but also pink in the grass.

I captured this when the petals first started falling. It was the first day of rain after a week of blue skies and I wasn’t mad about it. It ended up being a peaceful day at the Tidal Basin that allowed me to get a little creative with the petals. Luckily, there weren’t as many people out taking pictures so I had time to try different things without worrying about being in other people’s way. Trust me when I say that the Tidal Basin can get PACKED. Like tripod legs within tripod legs. It’s bananas. So a day without that many people is so freeing.

This image was almost by accident. I wanted to photograph the petals in the water, but I accidentally left my camera settings as the same as I was shooting when I was photographing the trees. Obviously, pointing up towards the sky allowed a lot more light coming in than pointing down into the water. So when I expected this image to turn out crisp and clear, it turned out a little blurry. But in such an interesting way that I tried a couple of different compositions until I came out with this one. The water was particularly choppy because of the rain so each time I clicked, I came out with something completely different. It was fun turning my camera in different angles to try something new. In the end, it’s the circular motion of these petals that really makes the image more interesting to me.

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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Now for something COMPLETELY different from what I usually do, portraits.

This was fun though. My friend from Colorado, Sam came to visit Washington. This was probably my 3rd year in a row trying to get him to come during cherry blossom season and this year we finally made it happen! Although the cherry blossom trees were not as full as they would have been during peak bloom, he still could not stop saying “Wow this is so beautiful”. It was funny to hear him say it so much because I know I kept on saying it during peak but to hear him say it so often when the petals were falling off made me realize how lucky I really am to live so close to the cherry blossoms.

This image was actually inspired by my friend, Larry. He had taken a similar image of his wife and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to recreate it with Sam. He was completely down for it and it made it even more fun.

We started grabbing all the petals we could from the grass and collecting them in our hands. I love the way this turned out. His facial expression is just perfect! LOL. And I can’t stop looking at all the different ways the petals flew out of his hands. We tried this three times before we stopped and this was the second attempt. I don’t think it could have come out any better.

Luckily, Sam had a faster lens that he let me use for this image. Now I am really considering the 24-70mm F2.8. It’s a beautiful lens and the bokeh is just amazing. Don’t be surprised if you see an updated gear list soon 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F2.8 at 1/1000th of a sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and the 24-70mm lens.

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Last Friday we had our first rain of the Cherry Blossom season. It rained off and on all day but I was really hoping it would be a little more off than on. I just happened to have a photo walk with a camera club scheduled so at least until after sunset would have been the best time with me. Even though mother nature didn’t cooperate and started raining in the middle of the night, I was excited to share the experience with them. Rain during cherry blossom season means two things. 1: There won’t be as many people at the Tidal Basin. 2: The petals start falling on the ground. That’s not to say that I want cherry blossom season to end earlier than it should, but I just love the way they blanket the grass. It’s almost like snow when you watch them falling from the trees. I love it. They’re so small and delicate that it can be hard to capture but I think it’s just as exciting.

One of my favorite things to do is to get really close to foreground subjects and make them look larger than they really are. In order to capture this image, I actually just put my camera on the ground and started clicking away. I would move it in different places to get the composition I liked, but the main goal was to make the petals look big.

Although cherry blossom season may almost be over, I have plenty to share with you all! If we are counting the past 8 days of sunrises, I woke up for 6 of them. So I got tons and tons of pictures to share! Plus I can’t wait for the other flowers around the city to bloom. Ok, it’s been decided. Spring is my favorite season.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/200th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Taken right after I captured this image, this bird was basically singing in my ear. I turned around and I could tell he was having a good time in the Smithsonian Gardens hopping from one branch to the next. So when he actually stopped to pose for the picture, I had to take it. He kind of sticks out but also kinda blends in with the background at the same time which I like.

By the way, why are all animals always “he”?

Along with the cherry blossoms, I always look forward to when the Magnolias bloom around the city. I don’t think they get enough credit because they are beautiful too. It seriously feels like you’re walking through a pink wonderland sometimes with how much blooms around the city. I love spring.

Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll probably still be out taking pictures throughout. Even though peak bloom has passed for the magnolias and cherry blossoms, I also kind of like it when the flowers are falling off a bit. When the pedals are all over the grass and in the Tidal Basin water. Especially with the rain and hopefully wind, we’re getting today it should make for some interesting petal formations. I’m hoping the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas will look totally different.

That’s the thing about cherry blossom/magnolia/flower season, it’s just so hard to let go. LOL. It comes and go so quickly when all you want to do is just sit and appreciate them for a little while longer.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/80th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Other than the Tidal Basin, it’s hard to say where my favorite cherry blossom trees are. There are so many around the city to choose from. These in particular are right in front of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. The building itself is just so beautiful and I like to use it as a grey backdrop to help create this monochromatic contrast between organic and structural. If I could, I would seriously spend hours just photographing this group of trees alone.

This past weekend I tried to avoid the crowds at the Tidal Basin and photographed the flowers outside the US Capitol and National Gallery of Art. If I was daring enough, I could probably spend the whole cherry blossom season outside of the Tidal Basin and just photograph the ones everywhere else. Actually That’s a really good idea. I may try that next year. It’s already too late this year because I’ve photographed them yesterday morning at the basin but NEXT YEAR! LOL but I’m up for the challenge.

PS If you’re in the area, it’s also the perfect time to check out the blooms by the US Capitol and even across the street at Lower Senate Park. The magnolias and cherry blossoms are looking beautiful. Even the ones at the Washington Monument trees are looking great. I could go on and on, there’s so many great trees all over.

My camera settings for this image is f5.6 at 1/200th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Home from Austin, TX and I had a blast! I loved it and didn’t want to come home but since my friend, Sue just moved there, I’m sure there will be more visits in the near future. But more about that later.

The day before I left I went to the Smithsonian Gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle to go checkout the Saucer Magnolias. They were supposed to peak that weekend so I figured going there and checking out the scene would be a good idea. It was a windy morning but I’m glad my friend, Birch as able to meet up as well. We spent the morning catching up and it made the wind that much more bearable.

One thing I learned last year from photographing the garden is that there is this beautiful view of the Washington Monument. I don’t know why, but I never noticed it before. So when I went this year, I kept the mental note in my head and wanted to get some compositions with it in it.

I love the way this one turned out. I probably stood there for a good 10 minutes before I got the shot I wanted but this lady walking past with the grey coat was perfect. I wanted to create a lot of depth in this image so I kneeled down low to get a little bit of that fencing in the shot, then the plants in the center of the garden, the lady, the trees and then finally the Monument. All the colors and everything working so well together was just a happy accident. This definietly made me excited to shoot more flower images around the city!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/200th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.