national parks

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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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If you’ve signed up for my newsletter then you already know, but I have a super exciting announcement to make. I am this year’s Ball for the Mall’s official photographer! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I am so thrilled and so grateful. If you don’t know what the Ball for the Mall is, it’s a fundraising event that the Trust for the National Mall puts on every year to raise money for the National Mall. This year the tent is going up right in front of the Smithsonian museums.Ā Being the official photographer does not mean I’m photographing the event. It just means that the Trust for the National Mall is featuring my images on all their materials for the event like the invitation, save the dates, etc. I’m honored to be helping with such a beautiful cause that’s so close to my heart. I’ve spent so much time at the Mall and it’s given me so much. I’m grateful to be able to give back. Plus I heard there’s going to be some super cool people like Wolf Blitzer emceeing the event. I am going to try to take a selfie!

I’ve never been before and I’m really looking forward to attending the event with Andrew later on this month. Now, to go ball gown shopping. AHHH!!!! šŸ™‚ I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m so excited.

This image was taken on morning on a super cold winter morning at the National Mall (obviously). I love it because the sky reminds of tie-dye. I mean when you see a scene like this, how could you not fall in love with our national parks?

The settings for this image is F9 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 200 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 17-40mm wide angle lens. You know this is an older image when the Canon 5DmII is mentioned.

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Not to call anyone out, but are you a senior citizen? If so, you should definietly know about the new changes to the National Park passes. Starting August 28th, the National Park service is increasing the price of the pass from $10 to $80. So you have exactly 2 weeks to get one if you are old enough. The best part is that you get free admission to any National Park for the rest of your life. That’s a freakin’ deal if you ask me!

Right before our trip to Colorado and Utah, Andrew and I purchased a regular National Park pass. It was $80 and it’s only good for a year. With that trip alone, it paid for itself. A lot of the parks that we went to were $20-$25 admission and the amount of parks we visited paid for the pass within 5 days of our trip. So awesome and convienet. There were even some state parks that accepted the pass too. It’s totally worth it.

So if you’re interested, click on this linkĀ from the National Park Service pageĀ for more information. Share it with your family and friends too! They will thank you.

This image was taken in Rocky Mountain National Park on our last sunrise ofĀ the trip. The sunrise itself wasn’t that great but as soon as the sun cameĀ up above the horizon, it turned everything around Bear Lake pink! And that rock in the middle of the water was so beautiful. I knew it would make a great piece for foreground.Ā The perfect way to end our trip even though I really didn’t want it to end. I really enjoyed my time in Rocky Mountain National Park and I look forward to visiting again soon. And any other National Park I visit if a senior citizen wanted to take me. LOL JK.

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Just a few things I’m grateful for:

  1. My health
  2. Andrew and Frankie who make me laugh everyday
  3. Family who are always there when I need them (and even when I don’t)
  4. the Fab 5 who are the bestĀ girlfriends anyone could have
  5. Daily accountability calls
  6. Work that I feel so lucky, proud and grateful to be doing
  7. Moments that take your breath away like beautiful sunrises
  8. the invention of cheese. NOM NOM NOM.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!