mountains

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So this ends the week long look back at my adventures with my friend, Sue. If you haven’t been following along, she has been one of my best friends for forever and is moving to Austin, Texas this week. I’m grateful she asked me to take the long drive down to Texas with her so we can spend a little more time together but also I get to check out Austin since I’ve never really been to Texas before.

It’s crazy because looking back at our first cross country road trip, Spain, Maine, and now this image from St John, I’ve realized we’ve done so much together. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface. We’ve been on plenty of girls trips and have spent so much time just adventuring around the Washington DC metro area. I’ll miss her lots but I also know it won’t be for too long before I see her again.

This image is of St John Virgin Island. It’s funny because this was our first ever vacation together and probably one of my favorites. I mean how can it not be? I’m all about that island life. LOL. I remember the exact moment I took this too. We were actually staying on St Thomas, took a ferry to St John and then a bus took us to the local beaches from there. Fortunately the bus stopped at some beautiful places along the way for us to take pictures. I leaned over Sue to take this image but I’m pretty sure that she’s used to me doing stuff like that by now. Not much longer after I took this pic, we were down on that beach laying out 🙂 Sounds perfect right about now.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/640th sec at ISO 80 with my Sony A7II and 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.

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One of the places I was looking forward to the most while visiting Joshua Tree National Park was the Cholla Cactus Garden. From the pictures, I could tell that they were like cacti that I’ve never seen before. What surprised me the most was that some of them were taller than me! Andrew is 6′ and it looked like some of them were almost as tall as him! That’s insane.

One of my favorite parts about the garden was that it was right in front of these beautiful mountains. They made for an amazingly beautiful background at sunrise. More of those images soon but while I was looking through my images, I was really drawn to this one. I really liked having the photographers in the middle capturing the scene but still being able to see the cacti in the foreground and mountains in the background. The depth of this image is really interesting and perfectly describes what it’s like being in the garden.

If you’ve never been, the garden is a little bit out there but worth the drive. Probably 15-20 minutes outside of the other trails and attractions but I liked it so much that I actually went twice on our trip. One time with just Andrew when we went out for a solo sunrise adventure. The second time was when our cousins joined us later on in the day and I wanted to show them what it was all about. The sunrise adventure was a little bit better. Andrew and I were the only ones there and I loved when the sun rose a little bit and you could see the sunlight poking through the spikes of the cacti.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/800th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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Woke up at 4:30a yesterday to go light chasing!

My friend, Larry and I made our way to the Thornton Gap Entrance at Shenandoah National Park and it was fantastic. So many times I’ve been to Shenandoah National Park and run into fog like this and this. Yesterday was the opposite of that. It was cloudy but clear enough to see some fantastic colors. I haven’t had a chance to go through all my images, but I really liked this one. I think it really captures the mood plus I can’t stop looking at the light that is hitting this man’s yellow jacket. By the way, that’s not Larry. It was just another photographer enjoying the sunrise with us.

As far as a foliage report, I think this weekend would be a great time to go. This overlook, which is very close to the entrance, had some beautiful, colorful trees. As we were driving up the mountain though, we noticed that a lot of trees had already become bare with yellow leaves on the ground. So if you haven’t checked out much fall color, I’d recommend going to Shenandoah National Park soon. I’m not sure about the Front Royal entrance but if I had to guess, I’d guess it would probably be better to go sooner than later.

Man it’s like the fall colors came so quickly and now we’re already talking about them leaving? It’s like cherry blossom season in the fall. But speaking of cherry blossoms, I heard the Tidal Basin is looking real nice too. So I have a busy weekend planned of shooting.

Also Larry was kind enough to let me borrow his Sony A7III and I may be in love. My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/80th sec at ISO 800 with Larry’s A7III and my 70-200mm handheld.

 

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About 20 minutes before I took this image, I was fortunate enough to capture this image. They were pretty much right across the Romsdalsfjorden from each other. But I say that I was fortunate because I felt like I was in the right place at the right time with the right lens. One of the great things about Norway was that I didn’t see very many birds. LOL not even kidding. If you know me, then you know I have a slight fear of them. It’s a long story but it’s a fear that I’ve had since I was little. But I think that they can make interesting subjects in pictures (as long as they stay further back).

To be honest, these were the only 3 birds I remember seeing the entire trip. I saw them flying from far away so I brought my camera to my eye and just started shooting. I was hoping I could capture them in some type of way that would be interesting. I think I accomplished that when they were flying over this mountain peak. I love how they are lined up similar to the shape of the mountain.

I still haven’t gone through all my images from Norway yet, but you may have noticed that I’ve already gone through so many from Ă…ndalsnes. I loved it. The entire place is so photogenic. I remember feeling so small because you’re basically surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks like this one. You can see why we wanted to stay here for two nights instead of one. So I highly recommend staying here for at least 2 days if you really want to make the most out of your trip to Ă…ndalsnes.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 1/500th ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Before leaving Geiranger, Andrew and I decided to go on a 30 minute hike. It wasn’t too far from the cabin where we were staying and an excellent way to get some physical activity in before we got back on the road to our next destination. What started off as just a normal hike along a mountain ended up being one of my favorite memories of the entire trip.

The beginning of the hike started off pretty flat, but that wasn’t going to last long. I could see about half a mile ahead of us, we were about to go up a little hill and turn the corner as soon as we got to the top. So we started our hike with that view just ahead of us. It hadn’t even been 10 minutes into when I saw two ears and a little head pop up from around the corner. OMG was that an alpaca? I turned around to Andrew to see if he saw what I was seeing and he was! Then all of the sudden 2 more heads popped up and I screamed “THERE’S EVEN MORE OF THEM!” I could not contain my excitement. I think in the end there was about 5 or 6 of them. I had my long lens on and captured a few images from a distance but immediately switched to my wide angle. There was no way I was not going to walk closer to them. Can you imagine see a group of alpacas with the Norwegian mountains and fjords as the backdrop? Holy crap my mind was blown.

The rest of the hike was great. More about that later but seriously these alpacas were so cool to see. I’m still smiling ear to ear just thinking about it.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/3200th of a second at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.