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Virginia was issued the initial stay at home order on March 30th, 2020 due to the Coronavirus. It didn’t come as a surprise but it was still something that I had to mentally prepare for. Honestly, one of my first thoughts about it all was, “How am I going to go and take pictures?” Not only is photography fun for me, but it is my way of exploring places, finding stories, and expressing myself. In the past, the longest I had ever gone without taking pictures was a week. I already knew the stay at home order was going to be tough.

The world was a rapidly changing place and I was craving to capture it. Here’s are the images I created in the first two months:

Cherry Blossoms

Covid-19 really started being a concern in the Washington DC area just before the cherry blossom season. We had an unusually mild, dry winter that allowed the cherry blossoms to bloom a bit earlier in the year than they usually do. So I was excited to be able to visit the Tidal Basin with a bit less of a crowd since travel was in the process of slowing down and social distancing was starting to become a new term. I tried to go as much as I could until it started to get too crowded. When it got to be too much, I decided to just stay home and be happy with the images I was able to create. My logic was to take as many pictures as I could until it got to be unsafe and then spend quarantine editing them.

Weekdays at sunrise are really the best times to visit the Tidal Basin during cherry blossom season, Coronavirus or not.

The last day I was at the Tidal Basin when it started to get a little too crowded

The cherry blossom trees are smaller at the Washington Monument, but still just as beautiful. I tried capturing a few images from there since it’s a larger area to roam.

Cherry blossom trees are seen from the George Mason Memorial

Mt Vernon Trail/Georgetown

That weekend, Andrew and I decided that we should try to get out “one last time” before we had to stay home. We decided that the Mount Vernon trail would be a good place to go and stretch our legs. Andrew walked Frankie on the trail which allowed me to take my camera and capture a few images as well.

Considering the stay at home order was placed the very next day, I’m so glad we did this. It was a foggy morning and the trail was not as crowded as it usually is. We parked our car at Gravelly Point and headed towards the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial.

At the cherry blossom peak bloom, but the pink flowers came out a little hazy in the fog.

(L) A quick stop in Georgetown along the Key Bridge. (R) Views of the Washington Memorials are seen all along the Mount Vernon Trail.

Vienna Metro

So this is where my real pandemic images begin. It had been about 1.5-2 weeks since our walk on the Mount Vernon trail and I was going crazy. I had never purposely taken such a long break from taking pictures, and it was not making me feel good. I was really craving creativity, seeing what this new world looked like, and just to walk around with my camera. So I started locally. I mean really local since I live within a few blocks from the metro. I figured with public transportation being at an all-time low, it was probably the safest and most isolated I would ever see it.

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Greetings. About one month has passed since I posted my first COVID 19 update, I figured I’d send out another one.

In the past few weeks and even days, I’ve started realizing all the things I used to take for granted. I used to take for granted meeting up with a friend for lunch. I never even considered the fact that I would be unsafe walking past someone on the sidewalk. I took for granted being able to run to the grocery store real quick when we ran out of eggs. Now it’s a lengthy discussion with Andrew as to who’s going to go, what we want to eat for the next couple of days and if we have all the ingredients, fun snacks and even to make a note to look out for toilet paper (which we’re running dangerously low on!). Needless to say, it’s a crazy time where I’ve been feeling a lot of ups and downs. When I’m feeling up, I am productive doing things that make me happy.

A few images from an expired roll of Porta 400 film from cherry blossom season. I got these images developed from PhotoVision.

When I’m feeling down, I try my best to journal or write at least write down the things that I’m grateful for. Going on neighborhood walks has helped. Sitting down and expressing my feelings out to Andrew or friends on the phone has been great too. I’m still constantly thinking about what’s going to happen after all of this is done, when it’s going to be done but I just know all this uncertainty can’t be answered right now. When I catch myself feeling like this, I try to remember how I’m blessed to even have my health and almost instantly feel better.

From a walk on the Mt Vernon Trail before the stay at home order in Virginia.

I’ve also realized that every time I step foot outside my house, I’m concerned about the coronavirus. Even if it’s just to walk Frankie, I’m on the lookout to see who’s about to come near us and I feel so disturbed having those feelings. This has also hindered my photography. I’m not going out nearly as much as I used to but still feel the urge to capture images. I’ve taken a few pictures around my neighborhood and surrounding areas which has been nice.

Our local grocery store that I can walk to.

One day, Andrew and I just needed to get out so we decided we’d go fo a car ride. It was great to get out but so weird to see the streets of DC so quite. Frankie loved the little outing too. I also need to make a mental note that whenever I leave the house, I should bring my camera. I want to get better at that, especially since it doesn’t happen very often.

We didn’t get out of the car. Just enjoyed the views from inside.

While I’m home, I’ve been working on a few personal projects. One project that I’ve mentioned in my newsletter and on Instagram is that I’ve been scanning old family pictures. Luckily, my mom gave me a few photo albums before everything really broke out so it’s been keeping me busy. I’ve also taken the time out to scan images from high school.

A few family scans

But a majority of the time I’ve been trying to learn more. I want to take this time to try to improve my own photography. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers and attending webinars. I’ve learned that one thing that I don’t want to take for granted now is all this extra time we’ve been given. No more time spent stuck in traffic, no more time even commuting anywhere or even running mindless errands has given me so much “extra” time. All those things that I use to say that I would do if I had more time, I’m going to try to do them now!

I’ve also been going back and editing some older images. (L) Our first snowstorm in March 2018. (R) Surfer in San Diego in January 2019

But I think one of the most rewarding experiences so far has been running again. It’s been a great release for me. Andrew and I used to run a lot together when we first started dating. But after I ran a half marathon in 2015, I haven’t ran much. Running now has shown me how much stronger I have gotten over the years just by working out at the gym (which has now been replaced by virtual workouts). But in general, I feel less winded and my mile has definitely gotten faster. I am starting to feel really good when I go out for a run too. After all of this, I’m not sure if I’ll still continue running. But for now, I’m am grateful to be able to concentrate more on my health.

That’s all from me. This update was kind of all over the place with all the things I’ve been thinking about and doing but I hope you enjoyed it. Sending you much love and well wishes. Stay safe!

PS If there are any particular blog posts or photo content that you’d like to see from me, please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to use my skills to try to make you feel safe and more comfortable at home.

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From earlier this year, an image from sunrise at the US Capitol.

I don’t think I’ve shared any other images I’ve captured from this morning. It was one of those mornings where it seemed like nothing was really working quite right. Whenever that happens, I try my best to tell myself that days like this happen and that I’m at least out doing what I love to do. I capture as much as I can and just sit on the images until I’m ready to have a full editing session. Those are the times when I’m excited about editing and feel creative enough to try new things that may have not worked before.

I particularly like this image because I don’t see a lot of images of just the Peace Monument located in front of the US Capitol. I love how the bare branches are framing the monument adding to the mood.

My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-20mm zoom lens.

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One place that I’d love to be in the fall time would be Oregon. Gah, I seriously loved visiting the state. It was amazing in the late summer. I can’t even imagine what it would be like in the fall or even spring.

This image was taken along the Drift Creek Falls Hike. Towards the end of the hike, you have to cross this suspension bridge in order to see the waterfall. It actually flows right underneath so the views start when you’re on the bridge. It was a little shakey which made me a bit nervous, but Andrew seemed to have no problems with it. He had no hesitation when I asked him to go back to the center of the bridge and walk back.

I think my favorite part of this image (besides Andrew) is the framing of the leaves. If I didn’t look at it through my camera lens, I probably would have not noticed how perfectly they frame the bridge. I especially like how the leaves in the front are glowing yellow while the trees in the back are so dark green. It makes it look like a really long bridge, which it was! And I actually kinda like the bright lens flare on the top left. I think it adds even more direction in the image that leads your eye to Andrew.

My camera settings for this image are F9 at 1/125th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 24-70mm lens.

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After taking the image from yesterday’s post, I felt so inspired to take more pictures of the World War II memorial. I think I just realized how much I missed the memorial. So the next day, Andrew and I ended up going out. He wanted to get out of the house so I suggested taking pictures (obviously). We headed to DC around sunset time and just chilled out by the World War II memorial.

I had no idea what I was going to capture here, so I ended up walking around for a little bit when I saw this girl sitting on the bench. Is it just me, or did you just assume that the Memorials would not have electrical outlets? I mean, what? I saw this girl charging her phone and was so confused by it. But I was all for it since she was sitting there so beautifully in her bright pink outfit. She must have sat in that spot for a good 20 minutes. I tried all different compositions to capture her and this one was my favorite.

It’s inspired by one of my favorite photographers, Matt McClain. He works for the Washington Post and just consistently posts such amazing work. I’ve seen him post images of people by the water but the way he frames them is so creative. So while I was sitting by the fountain, I thought I’d give it a try.

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/250th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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One of the awesome benefits of staying on the Strip while in Las Vegas is the freedom to just walk around and have so many cool things to see all around you. It’s also pretty awesome when you are still on east coast time on the west coast. So waking up for a sunrise walk on Las Vegas Blvd wasn’t a part of my plan but somehow just happened.

This was the very first image I took on the trip. I loved the way that the palm trees were framing each other but what really caught my attention was the sunlight hitting the side of the Mirage hotel and casino. Those yellow and orange lines are something I feel like you could only see in Vegas. I thought it made for a very cool backdrop and loved how all of this came together.

As I mentioned before, Las Vegas definitely has a very special place in my heart. I used to love visiting as a child so walking up and down the strip, pretty much alone brought back so many memories. Apparently not many people are around at 630 in the morning in Las Vegas so it was like I had the whole place to myself. LOL. And the Mirage used to be one of the coolest hotels to visit and I remember visiting pretty often. Mostly because I remember watching Siegfried and Roy and their white tigers. It used to be one of the best tickets around in the 90s so I was also glad to see how they are honored outside of the hotel with a statue. And I had no idea, but the Mirage actually has a pretty cool night show outside the hotel now. Similar to the Bellagio that you could just walk up and see it but this one is with a Volcano eruption.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/320th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.