garden

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Since I’ve photographed Washington DC so much, I sometimes play tricks on myself and try to park my car in different places so I can find different perspectives in photographing the landmarks. That way I will force me to walk different directions than I’m used to and hopefully see things differently. I think this trick works well, as long as you remember where you parked your car 🙂

So I was driving around, trying to look for a different parking spot when I noticed the Bartholdi Fountain flowing with water at sunrise. I was surprised it was on because even the World War II memorial on the National Mall doesn’t start the water until 6 am. So when I drove past around 5:30 am, I was excited and knew that I wanted to photograph the fountain.

It’s been a while since I have photographed it. Almost 4 years! But I do remember thinking that I wanted to get back there one day for sunrise. So I finally did it and concentrated on creating layers with the US Capitol dome. The sunrise itself didn’t have any clouds in the sky so I really wanted to fill the frame with the dome, water, and fountain. I made sure to have a “slower” shutter speed so you can see the steam of water flowing well against the almost white sky.

My camera settings for this image is F20 at 1/15th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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One of my favorite places in Washington DC is Dumbarton Oaks. I always look forward to going, but mostly in the springtime. You just automatically feel like you have been transported to Europe or something because of the architecture and just the abundance of flowers and plants. Ok, maybe not Europe but you definietly don’t feel like you’re in the capital city anymore.

So after cherry blossom season was over, I met up with my friend, Andy to walk around and take pictures. It just so happened that the Orangery was our first stop coming into the garden area and our last before we left. The first time we were there, it was crowded with a tour group so we wanted to wait a bit for people to clear out before taking pictures. I’m so glad we did because I just love the way this one turned out.

The lights and shadows coming from the ceiling above was so eye catching. I loved the patterns it was creating, especially on the plant in the corner. So I got down low to try to exaggerate the shadows a little bit more to fill up the frame. I just can’t stop looking at the lights on the plant.

But you can see behind the plant and how the interior is just covered in these vines. If you time it right, you can actually see wisteria hanging from them on the outside Orangery because it’s covered with vines on the exterior too. OMG it just takes my breath away everytime.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/500th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle 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.

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So when I was trying to come up with a blog post idea for today, I actually google previous blog posts I created on this same day but in previous years. The best part about daily blogging is that I had at least 5 other posts I could refer to. The best part was that all of them were flower images too. That just added another check mark to the consistency tracker. LOL.

This blog post is paying an homage to the one I created on March 21st of 2016. Click here to see it. That image and this one were probably taken on the same day behind the Smithsonian Castle at the Enid A Haupt Garden. The best part about it is that in the caption I wrote, “I feel like if I ever had a book about my life, this would be the cover”. Well, the story about my life has yet to be written but little did I know that less than 2 years later, I would actually write a book. CRAZY! That image didn’t end up being the cover but I felt like that was foreshadowing to what really happened.

Fast forward 2 years, swap the magnolia flowers for cherry blossoms and it’s almost been a full year that Snap DC has been published. I still can’t believe it and it’s probably one of the projects I’m most proud of. I still get messages from people about how they’re using my book and feel inspired by it. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. And if you haven’t checked it out already, I definietly talk about my favorite places to capture flowers around the Washington DC area and the Enid A Haupt garden is on that list because of beauties like these.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/400th sec ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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A little break from all the pink spring flowers for some yellow ones. I captured this image behind the George Mason Memorial. It’s a little hidden gem that’s so close to the Tidal Basin but I don’t know how many people actually know about it. It’s kind of an empty space and I believe there’s still construction going on in the very center of the memorial. Regardless, it’s a great way to escape the crowds of the Tidal Basin but still capture some beautiful flowers.

What originally caught my attention about this space were all the beautiful magnolia trees. You can see them sort of in the center layer at the edges of this image. But once I actually started composing, I liked the yellow flowers more. They were just so beautiful and whimsical. I love how there are even more yellow flowers in the center layer, in between the magnolia trees.

The whole time I was editing this image, I was thinking of my mom. Her favorite color is yellow and she loves gardening. She doesn’t grow flowers or anything but she has a full fledge garden in her backyard of all kinds of fruits and vegetables for the spring/summer. In fact, she’s had a garden in every house that we’ve lived in and I have so many memories with her in those gardens. Whether it’s picking the fruit and vegetables that I wanted to eat or her making me pull weeds and laying out the soil because I was eating her fruits and vegetables and I had to contribute in some way. We’ve spent a lot of time outdoors together and that may be one of the reasons why I love being outside so much. Interesting that I never put those two things together before…

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/250th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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I’m happy to report that the Magnolia trees have been saved! The snow that we had last week didn’t seem to phase them much. I captured this image Friday morning behind the Smithsonian Castle at the Enid A Haupt Garden. I arrived a little bit after sunrise so I could get that beautiful early morning glow happening on the flowers. It was like walking in paradise. The birds were chirping, the wind was soft but nothing beats that early morning light.

In order to capture this image, I had to be patient. For some reason there were not a lot of people walking by or in the gardens. I stood there for a good 10 minutes before I even saw anyone else but I already had this vision in my head so I had to wait. There I was, standing in the trees looking like a flower monkey. LOL. Standing with my camera close to my face. I left my ear phones at home so I was blasting music by Drake from my phone in my pocket. This guy must have liked Drake too because he crept up behind me and scared the living sh*t out of me. I turned around and gave him a half smile and half ‘what are you doing?’ face. He just smiled back and went on his way shooting.

Obviously I had to stare him down for a little bit. LOL. And then I saw him walking to the the spot that I was waiting for someone to walk past. So I took advantage of the opportunity and finally captured the image I was looking for. Thank you fellow photographer so being so still.

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/125th of a second at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.