night photography

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And this is what it looks like when lightning strikes behind the clouds. I love the glow the clouds are giving off in this image. So much so that it’s kind of hard for me to say if I like this image better or the one I took of the actual lightning strike. There’s something about seeing all the definition in the clouds that I can’t stop looking at. Plus it’s incredible how much light actually comes from lightning. *trying my best not to reference Grease Lightning*

Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.

In other news, Andrew and I are headed to Oregon next week. I can’t wait. It’s our first times visiting and I’m really looking forward to spending time exploring the Pacific Northwest. You should see my google map. It’s filled with pins. Is it me or does it seem like everywhere you turn is another waterfall in Oregon? While I was doing some photo research, I read that someone called it the “Iceland of America”. I giggled but also really hope it’s true.

I also discovered that Oregon seems super dog-friendly. Out of all the places I was interested in going, Crater Lake National Park is the only place that dogs aren’t allowed to go. So with that in mind, Frankie’s coming on the trip with us too! I can’t wait to go on hikes with him and run on the beach. Don’t worry though, we bought a backpack for when he gets tired on the hikes 🙂 Can’t wait!!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens with my tripod.

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I’m not sure when I started to become a sunset/night photographer but it just sort of started happening naturally. The summer days have been rough to wake up for sunrise but to be honest, the sunsets have been looking way better than sunrise anyways. Sunset around Washington DC has it’s own interesting challenges like parking and dealing with the crowds of people but the more I get out there, the more I’m appreciating the sunset glow more and more.

But this image came by accident. I was out with Zack (again, on a different night) to photograph the Lincoln Memorial at sunset. The sunset wasn’t really what we expected so we waited a bit longer for blue hour to try to capture the monuments at night. Then when I was about to say bye to Zack and walk back to my car, I saw a lightning bolt out of the corner of my eye.

OMG change of plans. I did not end up going back to my car, quickly texted Andrew that I was going to be home later than I expected and both Zack and I started looking at weather apps to see where the storm was headed. We made a game plan to try to capture it by the Tidal Basin and then as the storm moved forward we were going to try to capture it with the Washington Monument. It ended up being a super exciting night of storm chasing but the only problem was that I left my tripod in my car! Argh! Capturing lightning is significantly easier with a tripod and remote.

So I had to improvise. In order to capture this, I was basically just sitting on the ground hoping to get something. I was so lucky. But I also LOVE how the street lights are red. It’s sort of like a warning to not pass in case of lightning.

My camera settings for this image is f4 at 1/15th sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35 wide-angle lens.

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Last week was a pretty awesome week for storms. I’ll post more on that soon. But that doesn’t go so well with trying to capture the full moon rising.

Fortunately, I was out with my friend, Zack to capture it. It was his idea to head to Freedom Plaza to try to get the moon over the Capitol dome but things didn’t go as planned. It took a while for us to actually see the moon because of all the low hanging storm clouds. So I’m glad Zack was there to hang out with while we waited. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have just given up and left before we were able to see it.

I love how the moon looks like an orange ball of light in the sky. It’s a nice centerpiece to all the other lights going on in the image. By the way, I could have done without all the construction cones and lights. It seems like everywhere you turn there’s some kind of construction in Washington. This is along Pennsylvania Ave.

Anyways, I’ve made it an appoint to mark my calendar for the rest of the year for full and new moons. The best moons always happen in the fall time so I can’t wait to capture some more 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/5th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm on a tripod.

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Happy Friday!

These images were taken on July 3rd. My friend, Laily invited me to her neighborhood firework show and it was a great one. Since it wasn’t the National Mall, I decided I was going to concentrate on a few different things. 1. on just the fireworks, 2. the crowds of people, 3. different exposure techniques. In the end, it was the images of just the fireworks that I liked the most. Not bad for a neighborhood show!

Unfortunately, I did not take pictures on the 4th. It had been raining all evening and to be honest, it just scared me away. I had experience of rain on the fourth and the fireworks had been less than spectacular so I decided to just sit it out. It was a last minute decision I honestly kinda regret. It looked like the beginning of the firework display was awesome but then fizzled into just colorful smoke by the end. Either way, there’s always next year 🙂

And now that I have a better idea of where the fireworks are shooting from, I think I’ll be more prepared for next time!

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Last week I got invited to go to Altaire’s rooftop. If you don’t know Altaire, it is a luxury apartment complex right off 395 in Crystal City.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia but I’ve always known it for the Pentagon and a few good restaurants. It has actually come up in conversation recently because Amazon has decided to build an office there. But other than that, I’ve never really spent that much time there.

So I was excited to get the invite. I was wondering what kind of views I could get from Crystal City since I’ve never actually photographed anything there. HOLY COW! My jaw dropped. The views are stunning. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sharing images from here for a while because I was literally like a kid in a candy store just snapping away. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to live in one of these apartments and waking up with a view like this. I don’t think I would ever leave my house. Either that or set up a tripod on my balcony and just time lapse it all day. LOL.

This image was taken just after sunset. I was waiting for the sun to go down so that I could get these car trails along the highway. I think it’s so interesting to look at all the different layers of this image and try to figure out where everything is located. For example, I think those purple lights in front of the US Capitol building is the Wharf, right?

Thanks again to the good people at Altaire for having Larry and I there. I had a B-L-A-S-T!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 0.8 seconds and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I just got back from my second trip to Chicago but my first real time visiting with a camera in my hand. I booked this trip with the intention to scout out photo locations for our upcoming photo workshop in Chicago. I wanted to get a feel for the city and the logicistics of getting around. So if you’re interested in joining me for a week in Chicago, click here.

In general, I loved visiting the city. Compared to New York City or even Washington DC, it’s a lot quieter as far as car noises and even people walking around. It’s so photogenic, meaning everywhere you turned could be a great new image. With the so many different elevated views, it was difficult to take a bad picture. I especially liked being among the skyscrapers. Even during the middle of the day, you can find some very interesting shadow play. Overall you can’t go wrong with a photo adventure in Chicago – even if it’s just for a few days.

Side note, they don’t call it the “windy city’ for nothing. Even on a nice, sunshining day, it can get really cold with the wind. I highly suggest packing at least gloves and a hat in your camera bag for those just in case moments. You don’t want to let being too cold be the reason why you don’t capture your shot. I was there at the very end of March and I wore my gloves everyday.

So we had a good 72 hours in Chicago packed full of photography. Here’s what we did:

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