national mall

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It’s been 15 days since the first confirmed case of the coronavirus hitting Washington DC and I’m still a little speechless. I know everyone around the world is dealing with Covid-19 in their own way so I just wanted to take a second to say Hello. How are you doing? I hope all is well. 

Magnolia and Forsythias

Like many others, I’ve been feeling unsettled and worried. With so much information and rumors being spread around, it’s hard to know what to believe. I’m constantly checking news sites for updates but unintentionally getting information flashed before me on social media and by friends and family sharing links. There have been times where I’ve felt so overwhelmed that I needed to turn off my phone.

All of my photography walks, talks and events have been canceled for this month and next. I’ve never mentioned this before, but I was in the middle of working on a coffee table book with a book publisher that was expected to be released in 2022 and that has even been canceled. This whole situation has been disappointing, to say the least.

View of the Washington Monument from the Enid A Haupt Garden

So I did what I thought was best. I found myself seeking more spiritual advice and journaling my feelings. I tried to look on the bright side of things:

  • I have a home where I can stay comfortably and safely with everything I need right here.
  • I’ve been reconnecting with old friends since everyone seems to have a little more time on their hands.
  • The sense of community and working together has never felt so warming and needed.

But even more so, the sense of gratitude has uplifted me through the times where I’ve felt helpless:

  • People all over the world are risking their own health to save others.
    • Thank you, doctors and other health care professionals, food delivery men and women,  news reporters, government officials, and everyone in between who is doing their best to make the world a safer and easier place to live.
  • People who are on the internet spreading the good word and encouraging everyone to stay mentally and physically healthy by offering advice has made me smile every day.
  • Acts of generosity that have come from unexpected places have filled my heart.

 

Washington Monument is seen from the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

With all these new feelings of confusion, worry but also gratitude, I keep coming back to the fact that I am very lucky. I’m lucky that my family and I are healthy and safe. There are people dealing with far more pressing issues than getting bored at home all the time. I am fine. Andrew’s fine. My parents, brother and distant relatives are fine. Frankie’s fine. *thank you.

But before all of this happened, I was writing a spring guide to DC flowers which I will probably finish at a later time. It just doesn’t feel right or natural to keep on working on it right now. But what’s most natural to me, is going out and photographing the city. The days leading up to the craziness of the Coronavirus, I was busy photographing the saucer magnolias that were peaking around the city. I knew we would be quarantined or on lockdown soon so I tried my best to go out and capture them so I had some images to edit while I was home.

Magnolias in peak bloom around Washington DC

Now that cherry blossoms are peaking and we’re told to practice social distancing, I have been going out this past week to take pictures, but by myself. I’m usually out there in the mornings when there aren’t as many people around. It’s so weird when a popular event like the cherry blossoms peaking at the Tidal Basin is usually shoulder to shoulder crowded but this year is a lot less crowded and everyone is cautious avoiding each other.

Stone lantern at the Tidal Basin in Washington DC

Bur from here on out, I’ll be self-quarantining only leaving my house to walk Frankie around the neighborhood or if we need groceries. Everything else will have to wait. Expect a “best places to find spring in DC” post soon. But for now, I just thought I’d drop in and tell you that you are loved and I hope you are safe.

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Although it’s not official “peak” cherry blossom season, there have been sightings all around the city.

So this is my first official cherry blossom image for 2020. I’m really looking forward to capturing more blooms around the city!

With that said, this year will be a little different. I already have some cherry blossom workshops planned at the Tidal Basin, but other than that I won’t be capturing the Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms. I really wanted to spend this season capturing the flowers all around the city as opposed to that area. It’s going to be a fun challenge and I’m up for it. I’ve already started creating a list!

My camera settings for this image are F5.6 at 1/5000th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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Almost two weeks ago, I attend my first Creative Morning. If you don’t know about it, I highly suggest signing up for their newsletter to get more information. But it’s basically a monthly networking and speaking event for any type of creative. It was a great time.

The DC chapter seems to have them in a variety of different locations. The one that I went to happened at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. So after the event was done, I took a little bit of time to go around the museum with a few friends. It’s crazy to say but I haven’t been since the media preview from before it opened to the public. I’m glad to have revisited it.

This image is of my friend, Dave. We asked him to go to the middle of the staircase to pose, but once he got to the middle he was trying to communicate with us that the wall actually goes up taller and we wouldn’t be able to see him. It was a funny moment to see him try to explain why he couldn’t go any further when all of us were on the floor pointing to the right from him to go further.

My camera settings for this image are F5.6 at 1/125th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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On particularly sunny days, just after the sunrises be sure to look at the Lincoln Memorial. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the way that the sun glows on the memorial is probably one of the best things in DC.

And there aren’t too many people who are out at that time of day either. Usually, you will see a few photographers, some Park Police but even more runners. I’ve never actually run on the National Mall but I see a lot of them sprinting up the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial for a final push. This is one of those runners. After running up the stairs, he put his arms behind his head to get a breath of air. I love how his shadow was perfectly aligned with the Lincoln Memorial wall.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/8000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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It’s as if they’re coming right at you! LOL

But the cherry blossoms are coming! It’s so crazy to say because it’s only the beginning of March, but we had such a warm winter season in the Washington DC area that the flowers are expected to bloom in a couple of weeks. I’m pretty sure the National Park Service will be announcing their estimated peak dates soon, and when they do, I’ll be sure to update my guide to the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.

As for now, I’m just enjoying images I’ve captured in previous years of the blooms.

My camera setting for this image are F5.6 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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From earlier this year, an image from sunrise at the US Capitol.

I don’t think I’ve shared any other images I’ve captured from this morning. It was one of those mornings where it seemed like nothing was really working quite right. Whenever that happens, I try my best to tell myself that days like this happen and that I’m at least out doing what I love to do. I capture as much as I can and just sit on the images until I’m ready to have a full editing session. Those are the times when I’m excited about editing and feel creative enough to try new things that may have not worked before.

I particularly like this image because I don’t see a lot of images of just the Peace Monument located in front of the US Capitol. I love how the bare branches are framing the monument adding to the mood.

My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-20mm zoom lens.