jefferson memorial

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Back in 2018, my cousin gifted me with his old film camera. It was unexpected but I am so grateful for it. It brought back many memories of when I first started in photography. At that time, there was no digital photography. Everything was on a negative film. But what had initially sparked my interest in photography was being able to go out with my friends and capturing portraits of them with my SLR camera, point and shoot, and even disposable cameras. It was just something fun for us to do and I used to love seeing pictures I took on my friend’s bedroom walls or lockers. So from that point on, everywhere I went, I had a camera on me.

Obviously with a “new camera” comes new adventures so when I got the film camera, I was excited to start experimenting with it. It’s been a while since I have used film so along the way, I’ve learned to take my time with composition and framing. I learned that each frame is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially since a roll is film is just 24 or 36 frames. Photograph the moments that really speak to you. And practice patience in creating and developing the images.

But omg, that sound of the shutter too! It instantly brought back so many memories.

So I thought it would be fun to go through some images that I’ve taken in the past year or so with my Canon T70 and 35-70mm lens. By the way, none of these images on this post have been edited. I may or may not edit them in the future, but for now, it’s just fun seeing the results of the film.

My first set of images were taken in August 2018. I brought it on a peach picking trip with me and it was really just to see if the camera was working if there were any light leaks and a refresher on how to use film. I’m sorry to say that I forgot what kind of film these were captured on. I tried going through my Amazon orders and I don’t see any film listed. It may have just been some old rolls of film my cousin had in his camera bag. Although it’s a little fuzzy, this roll of film got me excited to start shooting again.

Delaplane, Virginia August 2018

Nowadays, I find myself researching different kinds of film and cameras, just to see what’s out there. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers getting great images with their analog cameras. I have to admit though, it’s a little hard for me to capture film images. I have my digital camera which I love, but it’s hard to balance the time between my digital and film camera. I spend most of my time shooting on my digital camera because I’m so used to it that sometimes I’ll even forget that I have a film camera on me.

It has helped to go on photo outings that are dedicated to just film. I’ll leave my digital camera at home and I love the feeling of roaming with such light equipment. Since I don’t have additional lenses or equipment for my film camera, it has been a nice change of pace to just have one camera with one lens.

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Expired Film

I am extremely grateful for my friend, Jim. He was my photography mentor when I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum while I was in high school. We’ve been able to reconnect through social media which was really cool when we found each other! Last year, he was kind enough to give me a whole bunch of expired Portra film 400 and 800 rolls of film. It has been so fun to try to go through all the rolls. I’m nowhere near completing them, but to see how the expired film develops has been super interesting.

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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:

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While the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is under scaffolding from the exterior, you are still able to go climb up the steps and go in the interior. However, some of the side openings that allowed you to walk all around the base of the memorial are blocked off, everything else looks pretty much the same.

As we were walking through, I noticed the beautiful sunlight that was coming through some of those openings. So I did what any person with a camera would do, take a shadow selfie that made my legs look extra long 🙂

My camera settings for this image are F9 at 1/1000th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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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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One week ago today, I was with my friend Larry on the Altaire rooftop again. It probably the best view I’ve ever seen of the nation’s capital. I feel so lucky every time I get to go up there.

So the first time we were up there, we were visiting during sunset. The sunset was amazing and the night pictures were even better. But I wondered what it looked like during sunrise. So when the opportunity came up, I had to jump on it. I know this isn’t the usual kind of sunrise images I post, but I really like it. It’s the Friday morning commute in and out of DC with a little haziness in the sky. I love that you can see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the US Capitol all in one frame. But if you look even closer, you’ll see the Basilica of the National Shrine, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and the Old Post Office!

It’s so interesting to see all the individual cars and where they’re headed on 395. I don’t know, I really like it. What do you think?

Big thanks again to Altaire for the opportunity to shoot on your rooftop.

My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/160th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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These summer storms have been getting intense. And it seems like they’re happening almost every day, right?

I’m so happy I was able to get out and photograph the skies in between some downpours in order to get this shot. It had been a while since I’ve been to the Tidal Basin so I completely forgot that the Jefferson Memorial is now under scaffolding. Hopefully, it won’t last too long because it’s just to clean the top of the dome, but with Washington DC, who knows.

To quote my friend, Larry “DC means doing construction” LOL.

Like I said, this was photographed in the middle of some downpours. I was there just around sunset when I noticed the rainbow so I immediately had to pull over. All of a sudden, the second rainbow out of the top of the Jefferson Memorial showed up. I was so excited. I was standing on Kutz Bridge in order to capture this and I even heard cars driving past and people going “Ouuu double rainbow”. LOL.

Hopefully, there will be some more storms in the future and I’ll be able to capture some lightning strikes. Those are always so exciting to capture.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/20th sec and ISO 100 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.