jefferson memorial

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On this particular morning, I heard my alarm go off twice before realizing why it was even going off in the first place. It had been a while since I made myself get up for sunrise. Mostly because I hadn’t been feeling well and I was using my sickness as an excuse. So once I started feeling better, I felt like I needed to get back out and take some pictures. Even if it wasn’t going to be the best sunrise, I just needed to have that time to get out in some fresh air and do something creative.

The forecast had called for cloudy skies. And it definietly was cloudy. So much so I could barely tell when the sun had actually risen. But it was ok because I hopped onto a scooter and scooted over to the Jefferson Memorial to capture some images. It was nice because I was there all by myself for most of the time. So I figured I would try something different.

I was standing in the portico and looked up. I love the how the wide angle lens was able to capture both the dome and portico ceiling and how the shapes sort of mimic each other. I think the columns in the center divided up the space very nicely.

By the way,  it looks like they’re about to start some major construction or clean up at the Jefferson Memorial. If you’ve been wanting to go, I’d go soon before another scaffolded memorial pops up in the skyline. With all the construction that’s been happening around the National Mall, I’m not surprised that the Jefferson Memorial is the next one to be restored.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/30th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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I have no doubt in my mind that I will be able to post a new cherry blossom/magnolia/flower image everyday this month. It’s already been that crazy. Crazy but awesome and so much fun! So I think I’m going to do it.

This image was taken on an afternoon walk with my friend, Austin. It had been a while since we caught up, so we met up in the middle of the afternoon, walked around a bit and found ourselves at the Tidal Basin. I’m pretty sure that during this time of year, all morning, afternoon, and evening walks end up at the Tidal Basin. But it was still a great time nonetheless.

If you know me, you know that I usually stick to cherry blossom sunrises. The later on in the day, the more and more people who show up at the Tidal Basin and not that there’s anything wrong with that. The light is just a bit harsher and I personally like the quieter hours but there is something to say about visiting in the afternoon. The was so much more energy at the basin. I found myself just observing other people more and just smiling at all the different interactions with other people, dogs, and even the trees. Who knew there was even live music at the cherry blossom booths in the Paddle Boats parking lot?! LOL I thought that stage was just there for the weekends or something.

My favorite part of this image is the very right hand side where the cherry blossom branch sort of fades and all you can see are little dots of light. I love how the cherry blossoms are so out of focus that it looks kinda like glitter. Not to mention the swan boats forming a heart <3My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1>

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The story behind this image is a long one. So here it goes… and it’s slightly embarrassing.

So I visited the View of DC for the first time on Tuesday, Dec 4th. I thought the view was really cool but I was most excited to be there at sunset/night time because I have been loving the Kennedy Center lights at night. Everytime around this year, the Kennedy Center honors the performing arts for their lifetime contributions to American culture, so to help celebrate that have rainbow colored lights on the exterior of the building. Every other time of the year they are plain white. I’m really not sure how long they keep the rainbow lights on, but I know it’s not for long.

So night time falls and I was excited to go out to the balcony and capture the Kennedy Center from an elevated view. I captured a few images of the building but kept my lens moving to see if I could capture any other cool scenes. I captured this one and remember wondering where the lights were coming from. I really didn’t think much of it.

As soon as I got home, it hit me! It’s a reflection from the Kennedy Center! Had I known while I was still at the observation deck, I probably would have spent more time trying find different ways of capturing the reflection. I love how shooting through the glass made the rainbow colors exaggerated. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever but was disappointed that the image was slightly out of focus. I knew if I went back, I could capture an even better image. So I decided then and there that I was going to go back the next day and just spend time trying to capture the reflection.

Wednesday, December 5th. I arrived to the CEB building a little bit before sunset. I figured if I was going to be there anyways, I might as well as try to capture the good light one more time. The sunset was beautiful but cold. I went back inside after the light disappeared waiting for the sky to get darker so I could really see the Kennedy Center lights glow. 20 minutes later, the lights were still white. Why weren’t they rainbow? I CALLED THE KENNEDY CENTER TO ASK WHERE THE LIGHTS WERE. LOL. I think we figured out that the lights weren’t rainbow that evening in honor of President George HW Bush’s funeral earlier that day.

Ok, no problem. Lesson learned. Since the Kennedy Center won’t always turn on the rainbow lights and I wasn’t sure when they would turn them off permanently for the rest of the year, it’s best to make sure the lights turn on before going back to the observation deck.

Thursday, December 6th. I drive by the Kennedy Center right after sunset and the lights are on! YES! I made my way back to Rosslyn, VA and excited to capture the rainbow lights. Until I get to the lobby and find out that the observation deck was closed for a private event! OMG there was no notice of a private event on their website, social media or anything. I was so frustrated especially since sunset is around 5p now and that’s right in the middle of heavy traffic time. Each way to the CEB tower was at least 45min – 1 hr of sitting in traffic. I could have cried. But found out that the next day was going to be absolutely open to the public and I should be able to capture what I was hoping for.

Friday, December 7th. Again, drove by the Kennedy Center to make sure the lights were on and they were. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE DAY! And it finally was. I made my way to the observation deck and was so happy to see that I had it to myself. I spent almost 45 minutes using the glass around the observation deck as a way to capture the different reflections. I put my lens right up to the glass then pulled away. I stepped right and left, up and down to see how I could get it in different ways. This was by far my favorite.

Was all of this effort worth it? I’m not sure yet but I most definitely love the final result. It sort of reminds me of Ariana Grande’s new album cover which makes me even happier.

Told you that was a long story. Would you have gone through all of that to capture this one image?

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/15th sec at ISo6400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm

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Last week was a stunner. There were so many great sunrises and sunsets. I was able to capture some but not all. This particular sunrise colors didn’t last too long but when they were out, they were out in full force and so vibrant. It totally makes waking up early worth it but that part it isn’t too bad now that it’s winter. It’s a little bit after 7a which makes it pretty manageable. The difficult part about winter sunrises is the cold. I’m definietly bundled up and walking around like the michelin tire man.

I decided to go to the Tidal Basin because it’s been a little while since I’ve watched the sun rise from there. This is pretty close to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial along the tidal basin and one of my favorite spots for sunrise that I mention in this post. I met up with my friend, Larry and we spent the morning just catching up and snapping pics. It was great.

Lately whenever I go out, I carry just two lenses with me. The 70-200mm and the 16-35mm but have been favoring the 70-200mm even more. There have been times when I don’t even switch between the two lenses and only use the 70-200mm. I love it. Capturing this scene with the 16-35mm wide angle would have made the Jefferson Memorial look so small and since the color didn’t fill the whole sky, being able to zoom in to a tighter frame gives the impression of more color than there actually was.

So whenever someone asks me what camera equipment they should get, I always say that it’s really about the lens you use. It can totally change your perception of a scene and make you see things differently. Just something to think about in case you’re in the market 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F9 and 1/25th sec at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

 

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Attention! Attention! I have a new sunset spot that I need to share. It’s very similar to the view at this one, but at least this time you’ll be able to go whenever you want and won’t be trespassing on residential property. LOL.

Its at the Observation Deck at the CEB Tower in Arlington, VA. If you haven’t already you gotta go! I honestly don’t know what took me so long because it opened in the summertime and earlier this week was my first time visiting. You can walk 360 degrees all around the 31st floor of this building which gives you very interesting viewpoints of Rosslyn, VA and Washington, DC. It’s absolutely stunning! The one downside is that you’re always shooting through windows.

This image was captured right before sunset through the window. The glow on the memorials is what caught my attention to this scene and I couldn’t help but snap multiple images. My tip is to put your lens right up against the glass to reduce glare. If you have a dark black cloth that you can put over the lens, that’s even better! In order to capture this, I actually used my cell phone as a shield against the little spot that was being reflected. It was enough for the day but in case you’re there on a super sunny day, a cloth would be best.

But I haven’t told you the best part yet! The best part is that you can go up to the second floor of this observatory and go outside! You’re still shooting through glass but it’s even better with the fresh air. There are little spaces in between the glass panes that you can sort of fit your lens through but otherwise, it’s an interesting place to experiment.

My camera setting for this image is F5.6 at 1/100th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I didn’t exactly believe this the first time I saw it, but Capital Weather Gang was right. It’s look like it’s going to be a snowier winter than normal. Well, at least that what it seemed like last week because we got snow. In November.

I woke up for sunrise Thursday morning and looked out the window and barely saw anything. So I went back to bed thinking that we probably got as much as we were going to because we never get snow in November. If anything, it usually starts in January but holy cow. I fell asleep for about another hour and when I woke up the sidewalk, grass, roads, everything was covered. I was so excited.

I love snow.

So I got up, ate breakfast, walked Frankie and was ready to head out the door. I decided to go to the tidal basin because I love photographing the snow with white memorials. I love the monochromatic look. Even when it’s full on color, it still looks black and white 🙂 But since it was fall and the leaves were changing, I thought it would be interesting to photograph the contrast.

The image above was taken from across the street at the George Mason Memorial. I love it because it still had some flowers and color. It was really the look I was going for to photograph the snow with fall colors.

This was taken on my way towards the Jefferson Memorial. I love how delicate the snow looks on the bushes. Oh, have I mentioned that I love snow on greenery too? Totally reminds me of Christmas.

Thomas Jefferson and I both love a good reflection.

On my way back to the car I decided to check out the cherry blossom trees. Most of the leaves are gone and I can’t imagine the snow making it that much better.

So not to jinx anything, but crossing my fingers for more snow this year!