july 4th

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Now that it’s almost August, I thought it would be a good time to share another firework image. HAHA.

But seriously, I think this year’s firework images have been my favorite so far. I love the way that they turned out. Not only was the weather perfect, but the show itself was amazing. This image kinda reminds me of this one that I posted earlier in the month, except this one was a little bit later in the night. Since so many fireworks had been shot off there was much more smoke but I can’t stop looking at the details in the lights. Just looking at it, I can hear the crackling noise that the fireworks make.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about shooting with my 70-200mm that night. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the right lens or if the wide angle would be best. But with the 70-200mm I was able to capture so much more details then I had expected. It brought so many unexpected point of views that it is honest my new favorite lens. I’m having so much fun with it.

As far as my next lens. I’m thinking a prime lens. I haven’t really played with one before but I love how fast they are. I’m totally in the zone for experimentation and trying new things so I think a prime lens may be the next move. If you have a Sony prime lens, let me know your favorite one and why. I’m open to suggestions.

Oh and you may have noticed that I’ve been slowly adding to my gear collection. Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing an updated gear video and I can get that to you soon-ish.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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#TBT to last week on the National Mall and how I snuck my way to the best spot to capture the Washington DC firework show. 

To be honest, I’ve didn’t envision this. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a fireworks image like this at the National Mall but it’s one of my favorites that I’ve ever taken. Luckily, I was so close to the reflecting pool that I was able to get this view point. It also helped that I was shooting with my 70-200mm and that this was taken at the very beginning of the show so there was no smoke or anything else to cloud the view of the Washington Monument. Just a very clean sky and an amazingly still day. It was kind of crazy though because I was so close to the reflecting pool that pieces of the firework shrapnel was falling on me. I didn’t even bother looking down to clean myself off because I was so focused on capturing light that there was no time.

This was my first time shooting the fireworks from here. So within that 30 minute window I had time to try different angles. Meaning I was standing up and sitting down throughout the entire show. I found out that sitting down was probably my best bet. I got some cool images of just the tip of the Monument but I think the advantage of being so close to the reflecting pool is the reflection. In the beginning I thought the fencing would get in the way, but I actually kind of like it now. It adds an extra element of line and reflection that isn’t usually seen unless it’s the 4th.

My camera settings for this image is 5.6 at 1/10th of a second ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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So the 4th was awesome. It was one of the best fireworks displays I had seen in a long time. It was hot and humid but not humid enough where it effected the sparkles like it had in the years past.

I rode the metro to the mall and made my way over to the Lincoln Memorial. I was flying solo this year since Andrew had better plans of bbq and fireworks at home and it seemed like all my photo friends had their own ideas of where to shoot the fireworks from. I’ve been wanting to shoot in front of the Lincoln Memorial for so long so that I finally took the opportunity this year to do so. I arrived around 615p and the Lincoln Memorial steps were already packed! I didn’t even bother. It seemed like everybody was so squished up and it was already way too hot without all that body heat around me so I looked over to the Reflecting Pool to look for some open spots. I think being by myself was an advantage because I was able to squeeze in, dead center of the Reflecting Pool. It was awesome! There was only one row of people in front of me and that was it.

I sat there for almost 3 hours, reading on my kindle app and playing some phone games. Its funny though, I stood up to get my camera ready at around 9p. The fireworks were supposed to be going off at 9:09p. And even though I had been waiting for those fireworks for sooo long, it still surprised me when the first one went off. I’m pretty sure I screamed so loud that the people around me heard me yelp and jump a little bit. A little embarrassing, but whatevs. The show was one that would be hard to forget! I’m not usually one to say anything but I was ohhh-ing and awe-ing the whole time.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1 second ISO 160 shot Bulb with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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Happy Independence Day, America! Hope everyone has a happy and safe evening tonight. I look forward to capturing some more firework images somewhere in the National Mall. Not sure where yet but either way it will be a good time. I always find photographing the fireworks super exciting. I feel like it’s similar to photographing lightning. You never really know what you are getting until you pop your memory card into your computer. Most of the time its way better than you imagined ­čÖé

If you have plans for photographing the fireworks, check out this youtube video I created a few years ago. Even though the video is a little older, the information is still valid. It’s all my tips, tricks and camera settings in order to capture the bursts. Hope you’re able to capture some great ones!

This image was taken 3 years ago close to the Memorial Bridge in Arlington, VA. It is definietly one of my favorite views of the monuments and Andrew and I have sort of figured out a system for photographing the fireworks from here. It’s a long story but Andrew’s least favorite holiday of the year is the 4th because in the years past I made him sit outside with me, in the heat and humidity while we wait for the fireworks. He misses out on all the bbqs and other things so when the 4th comes around he kind of rolls his eyes at the whole thing. So we figured out that he could just drop me off at wherever I want to go shoot from, close to the time when the fireworks are suppose to go off and he will just drive home to the air conditioning while I just metro my way home. It’s works out for both of us! LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1 second ISO 160 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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So grateful that yesterday’s Independence Day fireworks were so awesome! The forecast had called for 40% rain showers but you would have never known it. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot that it was unbearable to stand outside and sitting under a tree made for a nice breeze. Luckily the clouds weren’t so heavy and dark this time that the fireworks were really able to shine.

My friends Jim and Rosa joined Andrew and I in capturing┬áthe fireworks. We ended up at the US Capitol which I had never thought of shooting from before. It turned out awesome because they were having their own concert there and John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) was the host! I was singing and dancing up until the big show. Then while the fireworks were going off, they had even more performances going on. It was a little distracting because I didn’t know what to look at, the performance or the fireworks, but overall it was a blast!

At first I was a little disappointed with how many people were in front of us for the pictures. But taking a moment to really think about what┬áI wanted the end product to look like, I think it worked to my favor. It’s a totally different view of the fireworks than I’ve ever captured before and I think it’s an accurate depiction of what it’s like shooting on July 4th in DC. Crowds of people, a big production, and everyone having a good time. I really like how you can see the fireworks in 4 different places in this image. Can you spot them all?

But lesson learned. If I ever shoot at the US Capitol again, go early. Same goes for all the Lincoln Memorial which I might try to go to next year. The angle from that memorial looks beautiful!

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Happy ┬áIndependence day! Hope you all have a great 4th of July full of fun, family and fireworks ­čÖé

This image was taken last year before the National Museum of African American History and Culture was opened. It was amazing! My friend, Jim (who I used to intern for at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) and I were the only ones inside the fence taking pictures. So I’m pretty sure that means we’ll be the only two people┬áEVER with an image like this. With no one in the shot with 4th of July fireworks with the museum and Washington Monument standing side-by-side. Pretty awesome, huh? But I do remember how gloomy and cloudy the day was. The whole day called for rain and we got little pockets here and there. I┬áremember thinking that they may totally call off the fireworks since the clouds were so dark and heavy. Luckily, they went off as planned. But unfortunately┬áagain, we weren’t able to see the ones that went really high in the sky. We could only hear them. The clouds were so dark that you couldn’t even see the color in them from the firecrackers. We could only see some of the lower hanging ones. Oh well. I still think this turned out pretty amazingly. But a cool effect that happened from all that rain that I didn’t expect were the reflections in the walkways. I purposely got down lower so I could really highlight the reflectiveness of the ground.

I’ll be out taking fireworks images again this year at the National Mall. I’m really looking forward to it. Its like 20 minutes of pure excitement. So if you need any tips on how to shoot fireworks, check out this video I created 4 years ago. All the rules still apply:

Happy shooting and be safe!