It’s been a while since I’ve had an update blog post. Mostly because I didn’t have much to update on. However, I was going through my catalog the other day and realized I have some images that I wanted to share!
Since coming back from New Hampshire, I tried my best to capture the fall colors around the Washington DC area. Even though Washington DC is a city, there are still some great places to go to see fall colors! All the different shades of red, yellow, and orange make me so happy. So this is a compilation of the images I’ve created from mid-October to the very end of November.
It was my friend, Larry and I’s 4th year anniversary of capturing the sunrise in Shenandoah National Park in the autumn time. I love this tradition. Mostly because it’s fun to reminisce on our friendship. Each year we go has been extremely different. But there has always been one thing in common, awesome fall colors!
This time around, we were lucky to get some fog. It was crazy because the entire time we were driving to and from Shenandoah, there was a lot of fog. So when we got to the top of the mountain, it was really cool to see it from above. They kind of look like spider webs!
To be honest, I never had New Hampshire on my bucket list of places to travel. I’m not much of a winter sports girl and I honestly didn’t know what more the state had to offer. So when my wanderlust started kicking into high gear in the middle of August, I started researching places to go for the Autumn time. I know New England has some of the best foliage to offer in the country, so that is where I began my research.
The more I looked into it, the more it seemed like New Hampshire was the best place to go. About a 10-hour car ride (one way) can easily be divided into two relaxing days of travel. Plus, I know there would be some fun stops along the way. In general, we were looking to relax on this trip. We wanted to have some great views that were easily accessible from the road but also have fit in a hike or two throughout the day. Nothing too strenuous, but something that was good enough to build an appetite for after the hike. After getting some great advice from fellow photographer, Patrick Koetzle, I was ready to hit the road.
Our entire trip revolved around spending 3 whole days in the White Mountains National Forest area the first week of October. At that time it seemed like we were right in the middle or towards the end of peak autumn color which was exactly what I was looking for. For the most part, the weather was beautiful. In the mid-50s with no humidity. But in the middle of our trip, it rained really hard and it got really cold and windy bringing the temps down to the 30s.
Based on all my research about the White Mountain area, an overwhelming amount of people suggest staying in a town called, Lincoln. I did my best to find a suitable place to stay but even booking our trip 2 months in advance, our options were limited. We ended up finding a cottage in Twin Mountains. We brought our dog, Frankie so it was great to have our own little cottage with a fenced-in backyard. The location was right in between Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, two of the places where we wanted to spend most of the time so the cottage was perfect for us.
So if you’re looking to stay somewhere centrally located with your own private kitchen and hot tub, I’d highly recommend staying with Sherry and Ron. They were amazingly welcoming and thoughtful hosts.
We did visit Lincoln one day around lunchtime. Since we were visiting during the Covid pandemic, a lot of the restaurants and stores seemed like they were closed. That just reinforced the idea that our decision to stay in Twin Mountains was the best option for us.
Driving around this area is so exciting. I remember telling Andrew on more than one occasion that he had to drive just so I could stare out the window. But I think my favorite was the Franconia Notch side. Maybe because it seemed like there was more color on that side but more than anything, I just really enjoyed the views.
Our first official hike was Artist’s Bluff for sunrise. Although it is only 1.5 miles long, the hike was strenuous being that it was just straight up the mountain then down the mountain. There were a few flat areas but not much. If I think about it, a majority of the hikes around the White Mountains area was like this. A great glute workout for sure! But it was absolutely worth the sweat.
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.
If you remember Memorial Day weekend 2018, I went on the Old Rag Hike trail in the Shenandoah Mountains with my cousins. Well, a few weeks before Memorial Day weekend this year, I was trying to come up with a plan and asked everyone again if they wanted to go on another hike. Luckily, most were free and we ended up going on a hike that none of us had ever been before, Hawksbill Summit Trail.
It was a short stroll compared to Old Rag, but the elevation on the hike was no joke. In about 3/4th of a mile, you climb an elevation of 672 feet. So pretty much going straight uphill the entire way. I’m not exactly sure how long it took us but I want to say less than an hour. Once you get to the top, it’s totally worth it.
Luckily we started the day early by starting the hike at 9 am. There weren’t many other people on the trail yet and the trees covered the sun for most of the way which probably made the whole experience that much easier. By the time we reached the summit a few clouds had rolled in so I asked my cousin, Mona to sit on some rocks and pose for me. I loved how the jagged rocks were sticking out of the mountain. It was a little iffy actually getting her to that spot though.
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.
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.