mclean

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I did not take this image this past snow that we got. I took it a couple of years ago but still really, really enjoy it and figured why not post it? Theres something so peaceful and serene about it. I especially like looking at that platform in the middle of the water and envisioning so much summer fun happening there with floaties and belly flops. Definietly not winter fun. Or at least that’s not my idea of winter fun LOL.

As I was editing this image in Photoshop, I was wondering if I should leave that little bit of yellowish colored grass showing on the right hand of the image. It’s not the most attractive looking grass but in the end, I decided to leave it. Its only a small amount but I love how it shows that this is actually a color image and not black and white. It’s a little detail that could be distracting but I think it tells so much more of the story of what it’s actually like being at this lake.

I also love seeing all the curves in the lake and if you look closely enough, you’ll even see a house or two. This is taken at a neighborhood lake in McLean, Virginia but if you asked me, it looks like it was taken straight out of a movie like Frozen or something. I dunno, I just can’t keep my eyes off of it. I love it so much. I could totally see myself sitting on that grass and staring at this scene for hours. It’d be awesome if I could fly my drone here too. Ohh the possibilities.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/160th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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So after yesterday’s update at Shenandoah National Park, I figured I’d give an update at Great Falls Park. I used to come to this park a lot. When I was first getting started with photography in high school AND after I graduated from college (I sort of dropped off while I was in college), I’d come to this park a lot to practice. Since then I think I just got distracted with Washington DC images that I haven’t been back in a long time. It was probably last October since I’ve been back and it felt so good to hear the roar of the water again.

But I may have seen one or two trees that have already changed colors, other than that the park was mostly green. I find this to be good news though because it gives me more reasons to go back in the near future. If you’re looking for some great fall foliage shots, the falls and the Billy Goat trail are awesome to shoot.

Another reason why I sort of stopped going to Great Falls Park was that it started to close it’s gates at night. That meant I couldn’t get in for sunrise. Luckily, sunrise is around 7:20a now and I was at the gate for about 5 minutes before someone showed up to open the gate up at 7a. Pretty perfect timing if you asked me. The parking lot is pretty close to the first overlook which is where I shot this particular image. I had plenty of time to set up for this shot.

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 2 seconds ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and my 16-35mm wide angle lens. I also used my neutral density filter to slow down the image and create those awesome water lines on the bottom middle.

 

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This is what I’m talking about!!!

Another image that I shot way back in 2011 in Great Falls Park and at the time I shot this, I don’t think I knew how to edit very well. Or maybe I was just scared to edit it because it would not turn out the way I wanted. Or who knows what the case was but I never edited this image. Isn’t that crazy? I could tell by the other images from this day that it was foggy! I dunno. I was probably intimidated.

But now that I’ve gained more skills and confidence in my photo editing, I am so glad I found this image again. I love it! It really embodies why I love fall colors so much. The red/warm tones are just so welcoming. I can’t wait for the crisp cool air to come. And pumpkin flavored everything in the grocery stores!

Back in 2011, I was strictly shooting and processing my images using high dynamic range (HDR) editing. It’s been at least 3 years since the last time I’ve done this. I’m not sure what you’d call my editing style now, but I definietly have developed a method to produce images that I’m really proud of. If you’d like to see more about how I edit my images, check out these videos.

So the camera settings for this image was 1.3 seconds at F/18 and ISO 800 on my Canon 5D Mark II. I can’t see on my metadata but I’m positive that I shot this on my tripod. Not only because it was more than a second exposure but because everything that I shot at this time was on a tripod. It could have been a super bright, sunshiny day and I would still shoot on my tripod. Even thinking about how much I’d shoot on my tripod makes me grateful for my photo process and see how much I’ve learned and grown from it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tripod and still shoot with it but only when it’s needed and it’s not needed for every single click.

 

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I’ve lived in Northern Virginia my whole life. I was born in Fairfax hospital and only time I left was when I went to college in Richmond, VA. But I’m not sure how much that really counts because I was back in NoVA every weekend anyways. So I’ve basically lived here my entire life and I remember all the things that used to be here. Like, who remembers when there used to be that big Best store? or when there was no Mosaic District and it was just a huge Multiplex Movie Theater? So seeing all these new buildings pop out of no where and new transient stations being built is so crazy to me, especially in the Tyson’s Corner/McLean area. That place has changed so much, but I think it’s all for the better. I love how the new Silver Line on the Metro will go directly to Dulles Airport. It will make it so much more convient in the future.

So just for fun, I thought it’d be cool to see what it’d look like from the Greensboro Metro Station at sunset. I’ve never been on the Silver Line before but I knew this had to be a crazy, cool view. I was right!! How awesome is that? Shout out to the Wendy’s that’s right next to this metro station. That was the first place I drove to on my own once I got my drivers license. LOL!

But there’s still one view that I want to get. I think the BEST view is that from 495 from Maryland going into Virginia. How do I stand safely on the highway to capture that view? Or is there another way? If you’re from the area, you know what I’m talking about! Man, the skyline has changed soo much it’s crazyyy and it’s only going to change more as the years go on.

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I’d like to say that this was a long and strenuous hike to get to this waterfall. I think it’d make the image seem way more epic. But it wasn’t. It was a  pleasant 20 minute walk where I stopped every few steps to take pictures of the beautiful trees. It was an awesome afternoon.

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I’m one of those people who really like to celebrate their birthdays. I mean why not? It’s the only day in the year that you can really say, “HEY! Shut up. It my birthday” and people will listen. HAHA Anyways, Andrew and I are in the middle of planning a get-away for the big day next month. Should be lots of fun 🙂