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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.

2019 Update: National Park Service and Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang are both predicting the first week of April as peak bloom so it sounds like a pretty safe bet that April is going to start off really pink <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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I love La Jolla. Out of all the places that we have visited in San Diego, La Jolla is my favorite place to be. I love the beaches, the views and how photogenic that little part of SoCal is. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it also seems a bit quieter than the neighboring Pacific Beach and just an overall cool place to hang out.

This image was taken after a night of rain. It actually rained a couple of times while we were out there which was so weird because I thought it never rained in southern California? Anyways, Vincent was taking another surf lesson at sunrise so Andrew and I decided to tag along. We figured we could bring Frankie and let him run around on the beach before a lot of people got there and I could also take some early morning shots too. It turned out to such a quiet and beautiful morning of just walking in the sand and flying the drone. But after awhile both Andrew and I got a little hungry. We found a cafe close by that we could walk to but along the way we had to walk across the parking lot. It was like hitting the puddle jacket pot. I also distinctly remember saying out loud “oh snap, reflections ahead”. LOL. Who does that? It must have been my way of warning Andrew that we were going to be in the parking lot for a little while.

But honestly, if I had to pick one place with the best palm trees in San Diego, La Jolla Shores has to be it. There’s nothing special or different about them. The only difference is that there’s a lot of them on area.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5000th sec at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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If you asked my friend, Sue what her favorite part of our whole Acadia trip was, she’d say it was Ocean Path. It’s a super easy hike from Otter Point to Sandy Beach with a stop at Thunder Hole along the way. It’s two miles long and would typically take people 2-3 hours to complete, it took us almost 4. LOL. That’s only because we stopped a lot to take pictures… and snack breaks. This was our early morning hike so we didn’t have any breakfast prior.

If I had to guess, she liked this hike the most because every view point and every stop was so typical “Acadia”. Like when you google imaged pictures of Acadia, these are the views you’d see in the search results. We were also hiking on a super cloudy day and the air was crisp and cool. It made it so much more comfortable for us to really take our time and enjoy the scenery.

So if you have plans on visiting Acadia National Park, this hike would be one of my top suggestions. It faces east so basically anywhere you stand, you’re going to get a great view of the sunrise. And I’m not sure if we were just lucky or what it was, but we barely saw anyone on the hike. It wasn’t until we got closer to Sandy Beach (our end destination) where we really started seeing people. I think most people go to Cadillac Mountain to view the sunrise if they’re going to wake up that early, but there are other beautiful places in the park to see it too and Ocean Path is one of them!

The best part was being able to take a bus back to our original starting point, Otter Point where we parked our car 🙂 Luckily we got on the bus just in time before it started pouring rain. Man I can’t express how happy I was to be able to take that bus back instead of walking back 2 miles in the rain.

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As far as photography goes, summer is my favorite because of the storms. We can get some pretty serious storm rain here in the DC area but the great part about them is that they don’t last too long. Usually about 30 minutes which is perfect! The best is when they end right around sunset. Man the skies open up and all this light comes through. It’s so beautiful.

Last week was no exception. Not only did we have amazing fog, but we got a crazy down pour of rain that ended right before sunset. It was everything that I wish for. But for some reason, I could not figure out where I wanted to go shoot. I was being indecisive driving around when I finally saw the back of the Lincoln Memorial. Skrrrch. Stop right there. The light that was being casted on the columns was so pretty and warm. Luckily I found the very first parking spot open on the Arlington Memorial bridge and rushed toward the memorial. Then I got stopped in my tracks when I noticed this puddle on the sidewalk. It was a perfect reflection of the memorial as well as the light that was being casted. I’m pretty sure I got a lot of crazy looks by the cars that were driving past, but it doesn’t matter. I was so excited to capture one. And on my first try! I was so surprised how well everything lined up.

My camera settings for this image was F/4.0 at 5 seconds ISO 160 handheld. The only reason I shot this handheld was because I couldn’t get low enough on my tripod to get the majority of the reflection. Plus with my really right stuff tripod bracket, it made it easy to hold it up without my camera getting wet.

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And we’re in the home stretch. Today we’ll be arriving in San Diego which is our final destination for our great American road trip and we’ll be spending the rest of the weekend here. I’m not going to lie, this has been the time of my life but it has also been exhausting. Driving across country is something that I never thought I’d do but I’ve learned so much from it. Next time I do this, I want to drive through the northern part of the country like South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming. Theres so much more to the country that I haven’t seen. Seeing it from the road is a great way to appreciate it all. Hopefully Andrew and Frankie will be able to join. That would be sooo much fun.

This image was taken on top of the parking garage at Union Station. Pro tip- Union Station itself is amazing to photograph. Interior, exterior, beautiful views it has it all. Then after you’re all done, you can go down to the restaurants and get an adult beverage. But seriously, this an amazing spot for sunset with an unique view of the Capitol. There aren’t many places where you can go on a rooftop or shoot from a very tall point of view in Washington DC. Especially now since the Washington Monument is closed for who knows how long. So for a great birds eye view of things, Union Station is one of the best places to go to.

My settings for this image was F6.3 at 1/10th of a second at ISO 160. I did not have my tripod with me at this time but I should of. The wall of the parking garage is pretty tall. Taller than what I’m used to, so shooting for me was a little difficult. The whole time I was standing on my tipy-toes but like Tim Gunn says, ‘I made it work‘ 🙂

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Getting ready to head out to Utah again. 2 more weeks! Unfortunately, we won’t be visiting Zion National Park but other amazing places in Utah that I’ve never been. Actually, we’re flying in to Denver first then driving to Moab. How cool is that? I’m really looking forward to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I also heard theres a lot of cool stops in between Denver and Moab that are fun to see too. Have you ever been there? If so, give me some tips. Good hiking trails, cool photo spots, and where to get some good food. After Moab, Andrew and I will be spending the rest of the trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. A place I heard that you can get some serious altitude sickness. Really not looking forward to that. So if you have medicine recommendations for that, let me know too. I did a quick amazon search and was a little overwhelmed by how many options there were.

This image of Zion was taken in October 2014 at the Watchman. It seemed like just yesterday that we were there but we were lucky enough to hit the tail end of the autumn colors. It’s also one of the easiest sunset spots there is. Plenty of parking and a really short walk to get to this spot. It’s easy to find too. Just look for the huge group of photographers with tripods. You can’t miss it 🙂

The camera settings for this image is F22  at 1.6 seconds ISO 100 on the tripod. While the sun was still up when I shot this, I still wanted to try to make the Virgin River as smooth as possible. If I had the chance to shoot this again, I’d probably use my ICE Neutral Density filter to get an even longer exposure.