national mall

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It’s pretty well known by now that I’m an early bird. Even if I don’t go out to take sunrise pictures, I still like to get an early jump on the day. I hate being late to meetings and I hate feeling like I’m rushed. I’m a very go with the flow type person and would rather not worry about looking at the clock all the time.

But to be honest if I’m not out taking pictures early in the morning and it’s one of those lazy days where I don’t have much going on, I’m usually just taking my time eating breakfast with a face mask on. The last thing on my mind is exercising. LOL. But props to everyone who do wake up early in the morning to work out. It’s very unusual to be at the National Mall and not see a runner or someone on a bike. Even in below freezing weather you’ll see people! Good for them.

I honestly think that’s one of the best parts about Washington. I love seeing how active people are. It’s inspiring. Plus they can make for great subjects when no one else are around 🙂

I was standing on top of the Lincoln Memorial steps when I captured this. I just happened to run into my friend, Andy while out taking pics and we had stopped at the top of the steps to catch up. I saw the bicyclist coming from a pretty good distance so I lined up my composition and just waited for him to ride by. I was surprised to have captured the runner as well. I didn’t see her at all. Glad she was there for that little extra pop of color.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/500th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

 

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So after all the color burned off, I was walking back to my car when I noticed that the Martin Luther King Jr memorial was looking especially glow-y. I kind of have this habit of not putting my camera away right away but it’s for moments like this. I thought I was done shooting for the morning but realized that the sun had risen enough that it was casting it’s early morning light on the memorial making it an orange-yellow color. I love when that happens. I tried several different angles but loved this one when I walked to the side to find the Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr memorial lineup with each other. I intentionally photographed this making it look like the two memorials were touching.

In other news, it’s only Tuesday and I’m already looking forward to the weekend. Andrew and I will be visiting New York for a quick birthday getaway. His birthday, not mine. It seems like we take trips to New York several times a year but this year has been so crazy that this is going to be my first time all year. I love that city and really looking forward to just walking around, taking pics and eating delicious food. If you have any NYC recommendations, let me know! We always try to do different things each trip so any tips would be extremely helpful.

Andrew did say that we can go to B&H though. I can’t wait. For some reason I’ve never been but I always had the impression that they aren’t open on the weekends. Since we usually just go for the weekends I never even bothered. Turns out they’re just not opened on Saturdays, so guess what we’re doing Sunday 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/125th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm handheld.

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Last week was a stunner. There were so many great sunrises and sunsets. I was able to capture some but not all. This particular sunrise colors didn’t last too long but when they were out, they were out in full force and so vibrant. It totally makes waking up early worth it but that part it isn’t too bad now that it’s winter. It’s a little bit after 7a which makes it pretty manageable. The difficult part about winter sunrises is the cold. I’m definietly bundled up and walking around like the michelin tire man.

I decided to go to the Tidal Basin because it’s been a little while since I’ve watched the sun rise from there. This is pretty close to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial along the tidal basin and one of my favorite spots for sunrise that I mention in this post. I met up with my friend, Larry and we spent the morning just catching up and snapping pics. It was great.

Lately whenever I go out, I carry just two lenses with me. The 70-200mm and the 16-35mm but have been favoring the 70-200mm even more. There have been times when I don’t even switch between the two lenses and only use the 70-200mm. I love it. Capturing this scene with the 16-35mm wide angle would have made the Jefferson Memorial look so small and since the color didn’t fill the whole sky, being able to zoom in to a tighter frame gives the impression of more color than there actually was.

So whenever someone asks me what camera equipment they should get, I always say that it’s really about the lens you use. It can totally change your perception of a scene and make you see things differently. Just something to think about in case you’re in the market 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F9 and 1/25th sec at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

 

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Speaking of fog, Saturday was really foggy. There were times that you could not even see the Washington Monument it was so foggy. But at sunrise, the fog brought this beautiful glow to the city and it was amazing.

On this particular day, I parked on Ohio Dr. so coming from that side of the National Mall, I had my first glimpse of the US Capitol at the Reflecting Pool. I love how the dome is partially covered by the mist and lights. This was the very first shot I took and probably my favorite from the entire morning. I didn’t have my tripod with me so I sort of balanced my camera along the side of the reflecting pool and for this shot it worked well. Others, not so much. Another reason why this is my favorite shot. LOL.

So I have been getting questions about foggy mornings. Just like a colorful sunrise, they’re hard to predict. This particular morning I knew it was going to be foggy because the night before had been incredibly foggy and the weather apps said it was going to last all night. However, there have been times that I have been out and knew there was going to be fog without the weather apps saying so. I’ve realized that when I listen to the radio or a weather forecast and the meteorologist says, “warm front” then there’s a good chance for fog. It’s the combination of the warm air mixing with the cold that brings the foggy mornings and I love it. Foggy mornings like this is what makes photography so much fun. You just never know what you’re going to get.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.6 sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II with my 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.

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A recent find, one of the best views of the Washington DC skyline is in Anacostia! Thanks again to my friend, Austin who came up with the idea of photowalking around the Anacostia neighborhood. I would have never thought to visit Anacostia, but now I won’t even hesitate to go back. The neighborhood has so much history and character, but it is also changing too. Judging by all the construction happening, it could be the next cool hangout spot. So if you’re planning on going, definietly check out Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church to see the best view of the city. It’s outstanding!

From the parking lot, you have an amazing view of the US Capitol, other buildings and then this unrivaled view of the Washington Monument. I think it’s so cool to have been able to capture it with Nationals Park in the foreground. Such a different perspective of the city that I’m totally not used to. I bet the July 4th fireworks would be an amazing show to watch from here.

So after the photowalk was officially over, I offered my friend, Larry a ride back to his car. I live close to a metro that he usually parks at so I asked him if he needed a ride but we had to make a few stops first. The first stop was to the church to capture this image. Luckily, Larry was kind enough to let me use his 100-400mm lens. Like I’ve said before, the compression on these ultra zoom lenses are amazing. I’m always so impressed by them and this would not have come out the same if it weren’t for it. Second stop was to District Donut for their seasonal donuts 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/500th sec and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and Larry’s 100-400mm lens