nature

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This may sound crazy but a couple weeks ago I bought my very first pair of real hiking boots. For the amount of hiking that I’ve done with just plain ol’ sneakers, these definietly came at the right time. Don’t get me wrong or anything, I feel no aches or pains with my sneakers, I just think that I’ll be better supported with some proper footwear. They’ll definietly come in handy next month 😉

But for now, heres an image from my last hike. This was taken at the end of the trail at Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park. Just steps away from the parking lot was this house covered by trees and bushes. It down poured on us at the end of our hike. By the time I reached this house it had already stopped raining but all the steam that came from the rain and the humidity mixing literally made everything glow. I just love how that one branch is pointing directly at the point of the roof to make everything so centered in this image. Even the trees surrounding the house almost look perfectly straight as if they were grown for this image. Everything is just so straight up and down, I love it!

Also, if you’re not busy tonight, you should definietly come out to the Community Collective show at Sospeso. This is the third time that my friend, Jarrett has put together a show to showcase so many creative people in the Washington DC area. It should be a great time. I even have a piece that will be featured and is for sale. So if you’re interested in seeing some great art work, click here to find out more information 🙂

The settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/320th of a second at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

 

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A little while ago, my friend, Bryon from Utah came and visited Washington. I know him through the Arcanum and have spent quiet a few months talking through email. So when he came to visit we set up a little photowalk session with my other friend from the Arcanum, Larry.

We started at the Reflecting Pool, then the to Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Constitution Gardens, WWII Memorial, and eventually left at the Tidal Basin. It was a long photowalk but so much fun getting to know Bryon. We talked about everything from Salt Lake City to his initial impressions of Washington DC. It’s so funny because he said that before his first ever trip to the district, he thought that it would just be a concrete jungle. Now that he has visited a few times he knows now that ‘there are so many trees you can barely see the other side of the street’. I thought that was such a compliment.

I love how our city is more than just buildings. It’s beautiful with it’s own little spots of nature.

This was taken at Constitution Gardens. I don’t think a lot of people know about it but it’s a great place to just sit and relax. While walking around the pond, all three of us noticed the amazing light that was hitting the Washington Monument. It was probably a good hour after the sun had actually risen. I immediately busted out with my wide angle lens and got down as low as I could to the water without touching it. OMG I love it when the light can just change everything. Change your view on what you’re looking at and also change how you feel. Not that I wasn’t already happy but seeing that light made me super excited.

The settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/500th of a second ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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I hope you don’t mind but there are going to be a lot of flowers on my blog from now til about June. LOL. The cherry blossoms are starting to look real nice around the city and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and shooting them. For now, I’m enjoying all the other flowers that are popping up. These flowers are actually the same ones as the ones I captured in the snow. Turns out they weren’t cherry blossoms after all. LOL they look so different covered in all that cold white stuff.

As I was out shooting this, I was thinking to myself how nice and peaceful it was. It’s probably because I was just doing what I love, with my ear phones in listening to my favorite music and just enjoying the early morning air. There weren’t a lot of people around so I felt so free to try different compositions and ideas with my images. Thats when it came to me. I have a new goal for this year’s cherry blossom season. I want to capture the cherry blossoms in other places around the city other than the Tidal Basin. Don’t get me wrong though. I’ll still be down by the water and monuments, I just want to spend that extra time in other places too.

If you have not seen this already, the US Capitol came out with a map showing exactly where cherry blossoms are blossoming around the grounds. It inspired me to further research other places. I have a couple in mind already but if you know of any other places where there’s some good cherry blossoms, please let me know!

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/8th of a second and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II 28-70mm lens.

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It seems a little early, but I’m already thinking about pictures this year for fall foliage. Like I mentioned in my blog post last week, our trip to Acadia National Park is already booked.  I’m really looking forward to that adventure, but I want to  find more local places to take pictures. Great Falls Park has always been one of my favorite for this reason. The trees are beautiful and I love seeing the bright colors in contrast with the gigantic waterfall. I also really like it when you can see leaves falling on to the rocks. One of my favorite images from the past couple of years was one at sunset with the evening glow lighting up the Maryland side. Click here to see what I’m talking about. It’s not photoshopped. It was really that bright orange.

On a side note, I have also created this guide if you wanted to check out Great Falls Park yourself. You’ll love it. The guide and the park 🙂  If you’ve never been, the Virginia side is my personal favorite. The Maryland side doesn’t seem to have as many great viewpoints.

In more technical preparations for the fall color, I’ve invested in my first set of circular polarizers for my wide angle and zoom lenses. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try them out before our trip. But I’ll let you know how I like them when I get back. Here’s a really informative blog post by Digital Photography School that pushed me to actually get them.

The camera settings for this image is 0.4 seconds at F/14 at ISO 100. Shot with no filters on a tripod. My favorite part of this image is being able to see the color of the sky in the water. I think I could stare at that one little section for hours.

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Devils Garden in Arches National Park at sunrise. The best part about this entire trail was that we were pretty much by ourselves. Hardly anyone was out there so early in the morning. I felt like I had the whole park to ourselves. But we did run into a few chipmunks, deer, etc. They were cool.

If you’re interested in doing the hike, it’s pretty easy. For the most part the land is flat and the trail itself is well marked. The rock formations were great because they provided some shade underneath that hot sun. However, had I known earlier we would of been able to see so much more than we did. There was kind of a split in the middle of the road around this huge rock. Andrew and I didn’t know which way to go so we kinda decided to just walk back to the car and try out some other trails.

Which leads me to the question, how much research do you guys do before you leave for a trip? I have an idea of the things that I want to see when I visit a new place. I’ll mark them on a map and figure out which is better, sunrise, sunset, or during the day. But I’m not sure if I do enough research like how to get there or how long it will take. I kinda leave to when we arrive at our destination to figure that kinda stuff out. Partly out of laziness but partly because I know things always change. Road closures, construction, etc. Sometimes those things can be hard to predict. For the most part it works, but had I known the Devils Garden trail went a lot further out, I would of been able to see some more really cool arches. Oh well. You live and you learn.

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Out of all the places that we went to on our trip to Colorado and Utah, Maroon Bells was my absolute favvvvorite. I loved it so much for many reasons. First of all, the walk was super short from the parking lot to this point of view. I’m not sure why that stands out so much in my mind, but it was awesome. Then once you actually see this view, you can’t help but to say ‘WOW’. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like to shoot this during the autumn time when all the leaves are changing. OR during golden hour. OMG I’d be the happiest person in the world. And if you put those two things together… mind blown. Unfortunately, we only had about an hour here before we were off to our next location. But we’ll be back soon and I’ll be sure to spend some extra time in Aspen just for this park.

But if you asked me what was my favorite moment of this trip, it was the simplest thing. We were walking around the lake and Andrew and I were talking about what it’d be like to swim in the water. Then we started wondering about how cold the water actually was. So we dipped our fingers in and the moment my finger tips touched the water was one of my most treasured memories. The water was just so crisp and refreshing feeling. I don’t know, it was such a simple act but it really made me feel connected to the environment.

We also saw 3 more deer in the parking lot of Maroon Bells. Deers seem to be everywhere in Colorado! I mean we have some in VA but not like how it is there. They move in herds!! But that’s not the deer story I was talking about in yesterday’s blog post 🙂 Just a little bit longer for that story 🙂 Hehe.

Shout out to Jason for telling me about this place.