lightning

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I’m not sure when I started to become a sunset/night photographer but it just sort of started happening naturally. The summer days have been rough to wake up for sunrise but to be honest, the sunsets have been looking way better than sunrise anyways. Sunset around Washington DC has it’s own interesting challenges like parking and dealing with the crowds of people but the more I get out there, the more I’m appreciating the sunset glow more and more.

But this image came by accident. I was out with Zack (again, on a different night) to photograph the Lincoln Memorial at sunset. The sunset wasn’t really what we expected so we waited a bit longer for blue hour to try to capture the monuments at night. Then when I was about to say bye to Zack and walk back to my car, I saw a lightning bolt out of the corner of my eye.

OMG change of plans. I did not end up going back to my car, quickly texted Andrew that I was going to be home later than I expected and both Zack and I started looking at weather apps to see where the storm was headed. We made a game plan to try to capture it by the Tidal Basin and then as the storm moved forward we were going to try to capture it with the Washington Monument. It ended up being a super exciting night of storm chasing but the only problem was that I left my tripod in my car! Argh! Capturing lightning is significantly easier with a tripod and remote.

So I had to improvise. In order to capture this, I was basically just sitting on the ground hoping to get something. I was so lucky. But I also LOVE how the street lights are red. It’s sort of like a warning to not pass in case of lightning.

My camera settings for this image is f4 at 1/15th sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35 wide-angle lens.

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It happened! OMG! I’m pretty sure it’s because I blogged about it last week, but I was finally able to capture a lightning strike this summer. I still can’t get over it.

I had been talking to my friend, Andy sporadically throughout the day through text message when I finally asked him if he wanted to meet up for sunset. He told me he was already meeting up a friend for sunset but if I wanted to join them, I was welcome to. So I crashed their party and invited another friend and ended up having such a great time.

The best part was that we did not even get wet! The storms were passing right in front of us and we definitely felt some of those lightning strikes, but no actual raindrops on us. It was perfect.

The sunset ended up being dramatic but I stayed about an hour after to try to get a more distinct lightning strike. You can definitely see lightning strikes a lot better when it’s dark out.

Holy cow I did not expect this one. It was like Thor’s hammer slammed straight down into the Capitol Reflecting Pool. I’m still so excited I was able to capture it.

Since I got one, I’m hooked. I can’t wait for another storm to happen so I can try to get even more lightning strikes. Maybe now that I’ve blogged about it again, it will happen again 🙂 Fingers crossed!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle 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.

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Hope you enjoyed the last two blog posts where I relieved some of my favorite moments of 2018. If you missed it, you can see them here and here. There were just so many images to choose from because I tend to like all my images LOL. but for some reason this one didn’t make the cut.

This evening at the US Capitol was pretty epic. There was barely any rain but the lightning strikes were going crazy. It was perfect. The only reason why it didn’t make the 2018 favorites just because I wasn’t able to capture the lightning strikes like how I’d hoped for. I was really hoping for a huge strike like this one I captured in 2016. Man, I think capturing that image has sort of made me a bit jaded from all the other lightning strikes I’ve been able to capture. Like this one is cool and all but… LOL.

But I do really like this image because of the composition. Those clouds were epic and I loved the way the sky turned from dark blue to purple when the lightning would hit. Just showing that little bit of of the US Capitol dome is all the information you need to know exactly where you’re standing. It was beautiful night and I was so lucky to even capture anything at all.

So let me know, were there images that you liked in 2018 that weren’t on my list? I’d be really interested in hearing your opinion.

Either way, I’m so looking forward to 2019! It’s going to be a fantastic year with hopefully a lot more photo opportunities like this one to capture that huge lightning strike I’ve been looking out for.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/13th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

So remember how in May-ish I was so excited for lightning season? On the east coast, we can get some pretty crazy lightning storms in the summertime and the first one I captured this year was pretty cool. I had never seen a lightning strike sideways before. It has always been vertical. I’m not sure how it happened like that, maybe it was too cloudy or something like that? But either way I thought it was really cool.

But that wasn’t the whole image. THE SECRETS OUT! I cropped it. LOL. In that same exact image, I actually captured a second lightning strike. I thought it was really funny looking and really different because of how yellow it was. Even though it looked cool, I didn’t think it helped the image at all. I find it a bit distracting because it’s so bright. It’s kind of like two different storms going on at once. What do you think? Would you have left it in?

Anyways, I read somewhere that September is going to remain hot in the Washington area. Hopefully that will bring more opportunities for lightning. If not, it’s ok too. I’m looking forward to the change of season and everything that fall has to bring.

In order to capture this image, I was standing in between the columns of the Jefferson Memorial. The Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial are great places to go if you ever want to photograph lightning in the district. Its scenic with the perfect amount of shelter so you and your camera gear dont get wet. I don’t use any phone apps or anything to capture them. It’s all really just watch the lightning for a bit to figure out the pattern of lightning strikes and hope for the best.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 0.3 seconds ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.