northern virginia

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I’m pretty sure it was my lucky week last week because we ended up having 2 snow days! The second came totally unexpected to me. I think I was so concentrated on the getting news updates about the polar vortex and how cold it was going to be on Thursday that I did not even see the snow on Friday coming.

From what I saw the day of, it was only going to snow a little bit for a few hours in the morning. I think the weather people were estimating an inch or less. But it ended up snow pretty much all day. I’m so glad because I was busy in the morning which left the afternoon for me to play in the snow with my friend, Birch.

We first met up at the View of DC so we could capture the whole city in a blanket of snow. But it was snowing so much that the visibility of everything was really low. While we were up there, we decided that we wanted to get back onto ground level and see what it looked like from Roosevelt Island, in particular the bridge. There was something that bridge that Birch really wanted to capture so we went for it.

Out of all the times I’ve been to Roosevelt Island, I’ve never actually crossed that bridge. Weird, right? So glad Birch suggested going out there because I love this image of her. I love the ice in the water that formed during the polar vortex, I love how you can see the snow falling but I also love capturing Birch in her natural state. LOL. Also having that extra snowflake blur on her is very interesting to me. A happy accident that brings just a little bit more attention to her and her camera 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F11 at 1/125 sec at ISO 200 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 70-200mm zoom.

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So it finally happened! Some fresh snow! and I was finally able to capture it. My favorite part about winter.

It started late in the afternoon last Tuesday and was so excited that I hopped in my car right away to try to capture it with the memorials in DC before there were too many footprints in the grass. I love that look of white on white. As soon as I crossed the bridge, my heart sank a little bit. It was actually too warm in Washington for the snow to actually stick on the ground. We were all getting snow but it only sticking in Virginia. UGH. Turned right back around to where I came from.

There was nothing else I could do but either capture it at night or just wait for the next morning and hopefully capture something good in Virgina at sunrise with my drone. So that’s what I did. I woke up early morning, not quite sunrise time but waited a little bit for the sun to rise just to make to be extra cautious in case of ice or something on the roads. I put a random park in my gps and made my way over. I knew it wasn’t going to be my final destination but wanted to get in the general direction of a fly zone.

I drove past the W&OD trail and saw that it may have been a great place to pull over. I don’t exactly where this was taken. Some random neighborhood in between Fairfax and Reston, VA but was so surprised to see that little creek flowing through the trees. After a little bit of flying around, I noticed the sun coming up a little more and blessing the trees with that warm light. I was totally not expecting it but love the way the image is divided between warm and cool. Plus it’s untouched like I was hoping for 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/100th sec at ISO 155 with my DJI Mavic Pro.

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I did not take this image this past snow that we got. I took it a couple of years ago but still really, really enjoy it and figured why not post it? Theres something so peaceful and serene about it. I especially like looking at that platform in the middle of the water and envisioning so much summer fun happening there with floaties and belly flops. Definietly not winter fun. Or at least that’s not my idea of winter fun LOL.

As I was editing this image in Photoshop, I was wondering if I should leave that little bit of yellowish colored grass showing on the right hand of the image. It’s not the most attractive looking grass but in the end, I decided to leave it. Its only a small amount but I love how it shows that this is actually a color image and not black and white. It’s a little detail that could be distracting but I think it tells so much more of the story of what it’s actually like being at this lake.

I also love seeing all the curves in the lake and if you look closely enough, you’ll even see a house or two. This is taken at a neighborhood lake in McLean, Virginia but if you asked me, it looks like it was taken straight out of a movie like Frozen or something. I dunno, I just can’t keep my eyes off of it. I love it so much. I could totally see myself sitting on that grass and staring at this scene for hours. It’d be awesome if I could fly my drone here too. Ohh the possibilities.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/160th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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I be dronin’. LOL.

We had gorgeous weather here in Virginia over the Thanksgiving weekend. What could be better than spending that time outdoors? So Andrew and I decided to grab the drone and practice flying. Checking out the maps, we decided to go to Reston. I was looking forward to capturing some lake images but once I got to our location, it was the trees that really caught my attention. I can not believe that it is almost December and the trees are still this colorful and hanging on. It seems kinda late doesn’t it?

Either way, I loved the way my very first drone image turned out. It’s actually a small piece of a larger image but that word “slow” really caught my attention. With some fancy cropping and rotating, I came up with this.

Practicing my flying skills is always a good thing, but I also need to practice my composition skills with the new point of view. It’s a totally new way to see the world and I need to know when to fly up higher or get down low and when there’s too much in the frame. I think that was my problem when I viewed the images on my computer. There’s just too much going on and you have no idea what to focus on.

Regardless, I’m loving my mavic. Every opportunity I get, I want to fly. I was even showing Andrew how to fly too. He didn’t take any pics but I bet if he did, it would some how turn out blurry. He’s just that good. LOL

My camera settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/100th of a second and ISO 100 with my DJI Mavic Pro. Now that I think of it, I need to update my gear page with my new flying camera 🙂

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This is what I’m talking about!!!

Another image that I shot way back in 2011 in Great Falls Park and at the time I shot this, I don’t think I knew how to edit very well. Or maybe I was just scared to edit it because it would not turn out the way I wanted. Or who knows what the case was but I never edited this image. Isn’t that crazy? I could tell by the other images from this day that it was foggy! I dunno. I was probably intimidated.

But now that I’ve gained more skills and confidence in my photo editing, I am so glad I found this image again. I love it! It really embodies why I love fall colors so much. The red/warm tones are just so welcoming. I can’t wait for the crisp cool air to come. And pumpkin flavored everything in the grocery stores!

Back in 2011, I was strictly shooting and processing my images using high dynamic range (HDR) editing. It’s been at least 3 years since the last time I’ve done this. I’m not sure what you’d call my editing style now, but I definietly have developed a method to produce images that I’m really proud of. If you’d like to see more about how I edit my images, check out these videos.

So the camera settings for this image was 1.3 seconds at F/18 and ISO 800 on my Canon 5D Mark II. I can’t see on my metadata but I’m positive that I shot this on my tripod. Not only because it was more than a second exposure but because everything that I shot at this time was on a tripod. It could have been a super bright, sunshiny day and I would still shoot on my tripod. Even thinking about how much I’d shoot on my tripod makes me grateful for my photo process and see how much I’ve learned and grown from it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tripod and still shoot with it but only when it’s needed and it’s not needed for every single click.

 

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I’ve lived in Northern Virginia my whole life. I was born in Fairfax hospital and only time I left was when I went to college in Richmond, VA. But I’m not sure how much that really counts because I was back in NoVA every weekend anyways. So I’ve basically lived here my entire life and I remember all the things that used to be here. Like, who remembers when there used to be that big Best store? or when there was no Mosaic District and it was just a huge Multiplex Movie Theater? So seeing all these new buildings pop out of no where and new transient stations being built is so crazy to me, especially in the Tyson’s Corner/McLean area. That place has changed so much, but I think it’s all for the better. I love how the new Silver Line on the Metro will go directly to Dulles Airport. It will make it so much more convient in the future.

So just for fun, I thought it’d be cool to see what it’d look like from the Greensboro Metro Station at sunset. I’ve never been on the Silver Line before but I knew this had to be a crazy, cool view. I was right!! How awesome is that? Shout out to the Wendy’s that’s right next to this metro station. That was the first place I drove to on my own once I got my drivers license. LOL!

But there’s still one view that I want to get. I think the BEST view is that from 495 from Maryland going into Virginia. How do I stand safely on the highway to capture that view? Or is there another way? If you’re from the area, you know what I’m talking about! Man, the skyline has changed soo much it’s crazyyy and it’s only going to change more as the years go on.