landscape

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Every year Washington DC welcomes millions of visitors traveling to the National Mall to take in all the sights and history. Many will start coming in the springtime to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin. They are alluring, but can sometimes be elusive. Especially when you are dealing with nature, you never know exactly when they are going to bloom or how long they will even last. In general, they will stick around for a week to 10 days. This already leaves a short window of time to see them and that doesn’t include the fact that these flowers are fragile and can fall off their branches with a sudden gust of wind or rain.

So this guide is for all you flower nature lovers who may have missed the cherry blossoms and are here to see what else the city has to offer. Don’t worry because there’s a lot! From Saucer Magnolias to Star Magnolias, Tulips and Forsythia, there is no shortage of beautiful blossoms in the city. You just have to know where to go to see them.

But if you are only interested in the cherry blossoms, I’ve got your back. Click here for the cherry blossom guide!

The National Mall:

Washington DC, especially the mall area, is a very nice area to walk. I highly suggest just taking the day to wander and get lost. There is no doubt that you will run into flowers and beautiful trees while walking around the area. Even the side streets that lead up to the Mall have pretty florets to look at. But if you’re on a time crunch, here are a few specific places to go:

Enid A Haupt Garden

Click here to read more

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On our third day in Taiwan, we headed to Jiufen. I had heard it’s like no other place in Taiwan with extremely narrow alleys with so many different vendors and places to eat, I really wanted to check it out. Little did I know it would take more than two hours by public transportation to get there from Taipei. From I read online, it didn’t seem like it would take that long. But those two hours made a huge difference.

By the time we got to the top of the mountains to Jiufen, it was pouring rain. And it was that uncomfortable rain where it was cold and splashing everywhere. So much to the point that when you were walking through those narrow alleys, you had to watch out for your eyeballs or else someone may poke you with their umbrella. We went but didn’t get to stay for as long as I would have liked. I really wanted to see what it looked like at night time but it was just way too crowded and wet.

But at least now I can see I went, right? LOL I’ll definitely have to try it again next time.

This image was taken while we were waiting for the bus to come. AT THE BUS STOP. I’ve never seen such a beautiful bus stop in my life!

My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/160th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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I forgot to mention on the blog that my girlfriends and I were going to go to Austin, Texas. As you may know, I went for the first time earlier this year to help my friend, Sue move. She’s all moved in and invited my friends and me to come visit her for a fun girls’ weekend in the south. I had a blast!

But since it was a girls’ weekend, I decided to just keep it simple and only bring my camera. That’s it. Meaning, I didn’t bring my drone, tripod, GoPro or anything like that. I just had my camera and two lenses and to be honest, walking through the airport with such little equipment/baggage felt so nice. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled so light.

The first two nights we spent at the Wyndham in downtown Austin and one of the best parts of the room was the outdoor patio. This image was from our first sunset. We were hanging out by the pool when I saw the clouds and color start to come in. So I quickly ran to the elevator to go back to our room and tried to capture it all from an above level perspective. I love this view and thought the buildings were all so different and interesting.

I had a blast in Austin and looking forward to sharing more images from our trip.

My camera settings for this image are F22 at 0.6 sec and ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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Our second night in Oregon was spent in Pacific City, specifically Cape Kiwanda and I loveddd it. The afternoon that we arrived was super foggy. So foggy that you weren’t able to see the Haystack Rock in the ocean. It was pretty interesting to see (or not see…). I think I loved Cape Kiwanda so much because it was definitely quieter than Cannon Beach but I just felt so relaxed and at peace there. The fog may have added to the mood as well.

But that limited our photo opportunities in this area so Andrew, Frankie and I woke up early the next morning and just hung out on the beach in front of our hotel. The skies had cleared up by morning time and created this amazingly warm glow all along the beach. My favorite part was playing with the reflections that the ocean tide created on the sand.

So this is an image of the sand dune that was on the side of the cape. I noticed some kayakers getting ready to get into the water and thought that it was the perfect focal point to break up the landscape. I love seeing the scale of the people compared to the sand dunes. Andrew and I were actually really impressed because the night before we saw so quite a few people sledding down the dunes. Looked like fun but I was in relax mode. LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/160th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 24-70mm lens.

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I can just taste the lobster rolls when looking at this image. I’m 90% sure that I actually ate a lobster roll everyday that we were in Maine. You know how the saying goes, when in Maine… LOL. But seriously the lobster rolls were always so packed with so much meat and the bread was so buttery, I couldn’t help myself. I may just take a trip to Maine just for the seafood! Just joking. I do want to go back to Maine, but not just for the food. I want to go back because it seems like a really chill place to be. Like a very easy going, port town with a lot of super friendly people.

Oh and all the Maine puns! You know, how I only mainely wanted lobster rolls while there. LOL

My friend, Sue and I visited in October 2017. Neither one of had been there and we were on the hunt for some fall foliage color in the NorthEast. Our intention was to visit Acadia National Park so we only ended up staying one night in Portland. This image was taken early morning, just after sunrise at Portland Head Lighthouse. It was a great place to catch the sunrise because it was right by the city and it was super easy to get to. There weren’t a lot of people there so I felt comfortable enough to climb around on the rocks until I found my shot. To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s allowed or not but I did it anyways. Anything for the shot right? I do remember purposely making the foreground rocks out of focus and a little in your face. I feel like it creates a bit more interest, framing and dept to the entire image.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 8 seconds and ISO 640 with a neutral density filter and my Sony A7II with 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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Photographers, tell me if you feel the same way: Sometimes after you travel, you feel like you need to just sit on the images before you can dedicate the time to edit them all. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the excitement of travel or something but I don’t know if I can do my best work right afterward I return home. Sometimes I’ll edit images along the way and be satisfied with them, but for the most part it’s always when I have had time pass where I’m really excited about an image. Am I the only who feels like that?

For example the image above. I have posted images from this same spot here and here and I really like them but I know I still have so many more images to edit and at the time I wasn’t too happy with them. I just needed some time to breath in between time to really remember the intention behind the image. So I ended up editing a whole bunch of images from Norway this past week. Some that I’ve posted before and redid, some that I have never worked on. I’m excited to share them with you  as time goes on:)

For this particular image, I love the mood that it is creating. Not only from the stormy clouds but the overall glow on the mountain sides and the ripples in the water. Norway is such a quiet country and I feel like this really conveys what it was like there. Ugh just looking at this image makes me want to go back. I loved visiting so much.

Just in case you’re planning on going, check out my road trip travel guide here.

My camera setting for this image is F10 at 1/40th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.