lightning

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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.

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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.

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So remember how in May I said I was so excited for summer because there’s going to be so many rain storms and I can’t wait to practice my lightning shots? I thought that since they started so early this season there would be plenty of opportunities to photograph them for the next few months.

Well guess what? After that one week, we’ve haven’t had any! Actually I take that back. We’ve had a few here and there but they have all been in the middle of the day. I think the best lightning storms are at night so they light up the night sky. There’s more contrast so it will be easier to see them and photograph them.

So this was the last time I was out photographing the lightning. There must have been some kind of event or something going on at the US Capitol because the whole time I was out I kept on seeing people all dressed up walking in and out. No one really seemed to mind that there was lightning going on. Everyone was so giggly and trying to take selfies with the clouds. I can’t imagine them coming out that great but at least they tried.

The forecast this week looks promising though. I hope that we can get at least 1 good night. Although last week I sent in my Sony camera in for a little maintenance. I’ve been using the camera almost everyday for the past 3 years. It needed a good little tune up. I wanted to get it done before my next trip so I thought that this week would have been a good week to do so because I didn’t have anything major planned. So if we do get lightning, I’ll be photographing them with my Canon. I kinda remember how to use it… so this should be interesting. LOL

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/6th of a second ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

PS If you are in the DC area, check out Sospeso. The Community Collective currently has a show going on and were kind enough to feature one of the images from this series. And if you feel like it, you can even purchase the printed frame. So grab a glass a wine and check out all the beautiful artwork.

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Like I said last week, the hike up old rag was strenuous. It was hot, humid and I was sweating all over the place. In total it took us about 6 hours to complete. You know you’re on top of the mountain when you have these huge rocks you have to climb. I had no idea that it would require so much upper body strength. Shout out to my cousin, Brian who I’ve been working out with 3-4 times a week. I feel like all that working out prepared me for this hike and this hike only. LOL. I had done the trail before but always needed assistance climbing up the rocks. This time I didn’t need any! I came home with a lot of bruises, but at least I didn’t need anyone’s hand to help pull me up 🙂

We were super lucky though. Right when we were done with the rock climbing part and we were about to reach the part where you just walk down the mountain, it started pouring. Like lightning, thunder, soaking wet! I can not imagine what it was like for the people who had to rock climb in all that rain because it was intense! But for us walking down it felt so good. I feel like it relieved us of the heat, all the steaminess of our sweat and humidity went away and it just felt so refreshing. Luckily, I packed a rain sleeve for my camera so all my electronics in my backpack was safe. I didn’t even think to bring one for myself. As long as my camera was ok, I’ll be ok.

We ended up walking a good 3-4 miles in non-stop rain. It wasn’t too bad but neither one of us wanted to stop for a break so it went by super quickly.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/50th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

So after my lightning practice last week at the Jefferson Memorial aiming at the Washington Monument, I had another opportunity to shoot lightning the very next day. This time I was at the Artechouse, which you should definietly go visit. Their latest exhibit is probably my favorite so far. It’s a celebration of lights that really can not be missed. Anyways, I was about to leave the exhibit when I got an alert on my phone saying that lightning struck 3 miles away from my current location. So you know what that means right? Leave asap so you can go storm chasing!

I figured that the US Capitol was the closest, cool looking building to me. Luckily it hadn’t started raining yet and I always have my tripod in my car so I parked as close as I could to the Capitol and made my way over. I had a blast! The wind was blowing and the lightning strikes were crazy big. While I was at the Jefferson Memorial, I had to wait some time between each strike maybe a 2-3 minutes but this time they were coming every 15-20 seconds. It was AWESOMEEEE. I was out there for only 30 minutes or so before the real big rain hit but I’m super happy with the way that this turned out.

Every time the lighting struck it would light up the sky to this amazing blue/purple color. It was such a beautiful show. There were even people who were leaving the Capitol that couldn’t help but to stop and take selfies. Such an exiting night to say the least. I ran back to the car as soon as the rain really started to pick up and it was all good in the neighborhood.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/13th of a second ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.