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If you’re anything like me then you’ve been on zoom calls at least a couple of times a week due to stay at home orders placed by the government. It’s hard not to be able to see loved ones and colleagues in real life so one of the next best things to do is hop on a video call. I’ve attended birthday cake cutting zooms, girls happy hour calls, and even photo critiques with fellow photographers. So I figured I’d spice things up a bit with a new background and wanted to share some with you. I went through my archive and found a variety of images so you can swap out your real-life background for something a little different than your living room couch.

Here are instructions from the video conferencing site, Zoom on how to change your virtual background. These images are all cropped to the recommended aspect ratio.

Free Zoom Background 1: Rawlins Park

This image was created about a week before the stay at home orders were placed in the Washington DC area. Rawlins Park in Foggy Bottom right at full peak with Saucer Magnolia trees. If being surrounded by an abundance of pink flowers is your dream, then you can make it happen with this zoom background.

Rawlins_Park_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 2: Ecola State Park

If quarantine has got you dreaming of the ocean, then this may be the perfect Zoom background for you. I visited Oregon for the first time last year and to say that I fell in love was an understatement. I captured this the first morning I was there from Ecola State Park. The perfect place to watch the sunrise over Cannon Beach and the beautiful haystacks.

Ecola_State_Park_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 3: Multiverse

Taking the Zoom name literally, I thought this may be an interesting background for your video calls. This image was created in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Multiverse is a combination of light, sound, and video created by Leo Villareal. A Concourse walkway that connects the East and West Buildings and not to be missed if visiting the gallery.

Multiverse_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 4: US Capitol Storm

For a slightly more dramatic background, I thought this image of a lightning strike at the US Capitol could be interesting to use. Stormy times call for stormy skies?

US_Capitol_Storm_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 5: US Capitol Flowers

And for a slightly less striking image (pun intended), here’s an image from last summer at the US Capitol. I loved the way that the red flowers were framing the dome.

US_Capitol_Flowers_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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I hope you enjoy these backgrounds. If you decide to use them, please send me a screenshot! I’d love to see them.

Stay safe and healthy!

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Spring is my favorite time to be in Washington DC. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and everyone seems to have a smile on their face. What’s not to love? It’s a special time to be in the city where tourists and locals alike flock to the famous cherry blossoms to admire their beauty.

To fully prepared, I reference this website a lot. It’s National Park Services’ Bloom watch. I think they have the most accurate up to date information about the peak bloom. They also break down the stages so that you know what you’re looking at in case you are overly eager and want to check out the trees asap.

2020 Update: National Park Service is predicting an even earlier peak bloom on March 21-24th due to this beautiful, warm weather we’ve been having. <3

So if this is your first Cherry Blossom experience in the Nation’s Capital, let me try to break it down for you…

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This time last week, I had scheduled two meetings for the same afternoon. I like doing this so I don’t have to keep commuting back and forth more than I have to. So killing time in between the meetings, I found myself at the National Gallery of Art. It’s one of my favorite places to go to just pop in and get inspired. They always have something new and interesting going on in the exhibits, especially the East Building.

But I had so much time on my hands on this particular day that I ended up going from the East to West Building. One of my favorite parts about the gallery is the light tunnel that connects the two sides. Leo Villareal’s Multiverse is something not to be missed. It’s a beautiful light show that can be seen along the moving sidewalk. Sometimes I find myself going back and forth on the sidewalk just because the tunnel is that amazing. This time, I just captured the tunnel from the edge and patiently waited for the lights to take up the entire frame.

My camera settings for this image are F3.2 at 1/125th sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 35mm prime lens.

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I think it’s because it’s getting to be the end of the summer but I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting a lot more questions about museums and things to do in the Washington DC area. I always have my usual suggestions like sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial or the Library of Congress for a great interior, but when people ask me about museums, I always have to mention the National Gallery of Art. Especially when photographers ask, I tell them they have to go to Multiverse.

It’s the tunnel that connects the East and West wings of the gallery, located on the very bottom level close to the gallery’s cafeteria and gift shop but it’s seriously the coolest tunnel ever. While riding along the moving walkways, the lights in the tunnel flicker on and off and create this really cool light show. In the past, I’ve always just done short, quick exposures for some reason but this time I wanted to focus on the longer exposure.

I just balanced my camera on the handrails and tried to keep it as steady as I could. This looks like some trippy experience straight out of That 70’s Show. I think the hand railing also adds an extra reflection that you can see coming out of the bottom right-hand corner that makes it look even more like you’re completely surrounded by light. Very cool.

So if you ever find yourself in the area, you gotta check out the Multiverse.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 2.5 sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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It may seem a little premature, but I’ve already started thinking about updates I need to do for my Washington DC Cherry Blossom guide. I definietly want to make it a habit to update it every year, especially as the spring season approaches. So the other day while I was going through some of my older images and I came across some from the National Gallery of Art.

Although there aren’t as many cherry blossom trees there and they are significantly skinnier, these are some of my favorites in the city. The reason being that when you go, you’re usually the only one with these blossoms and I just love the backdrop. The National Gallery of Art is such a beautiful building all on it’s own but when you combine that with the cherry blossom trees. Um can you say, magic? LOL. That may be exaggerating a little but I love shooting there. Last year may have been my third year in a row but it honestly never disappoints.

For this image I really wanted to keep this one with a monochrome look. Nothing too dramatic or standout-ish. Just a simple image of beautiful flowers with a simple background. Visiting the National Gallery of Art is probably one of the only ways to accomplish something like that. With all the people around the cherry blossoms, the trees being so close to each other and just the way they are planted, it would be very difficult to do the same at the Tidal Basin. Unless of course, you’re shooting in fog *heart eye emoji*

So if you have any questions about the cherry blossoms around the Washington DC area, please let me know. It will definietly help me update the cherry blossom guide.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.4 sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday! The food is always delicious and it’s all about giving thanks. Honestly, what could be better? 2018 has been particularly amazing and I have so much to be thankful for. But it’s closing out with a bang!

If you’re in the Washington DC metro area, keep an eye out for Northern Virginia Magazine. Remember this image from 2017? I captured this on National Coffee day at the National Gallery of Art. It was so great because I got to meet up with friends early in the morning and sample all kinds of delicious beverages. If you know me, you know that I don’t usually drink coffee so I was EXTRA hyped this day.

After the tasting, a group of us headed upstairs to the rooftop to check out Katharina Frithsch’s Hahn/Cock. We had a mini photoshoot with my friends, Diego and Laurie. Laurie was in this amazing orange dress that perfectly contrasted with the artwork but special thanks to Diego’s amazing jumping skills because this image made the cover! I love how there’s so much energy and life to the entire spread. Earlier this week Andrew and I were walking through Whole Foods (his favorite store) and I noticed the magazine out of the corner of my eye. It looks so good! I immediately stopped and bought three. One for me, one for my mom and one for Diego 🙂

Northern Virginia Magazine December 2019, museum guide, washington dc, national gallery of art, nga, Katharina Frithsch's Hahn/Cock, blue rooster, rooftop, museums,

Special thanks to Northern Virginia Magazine for selecting this image for the cover. I’m so honored and could not be more grateful. What a happy Thanksgiving!

Last but definietly not least, I’d like to thank all of you for taking the time out to view my images and for all your love and unconditional support. It means the world to me and it definietly does not go unnoticed. Wishing you the best this holiday season <3