On October 17th, Washington DC held the 2020 Women’s March. I’m grateful to have been able to attend since my first one in 2017. A lot has changed since then. First of all, the women’s march in 2017 was in January and I remember it being pretty cold. People were walking on an icy reflecting pool and I even witnessed some people falling through the cracks. I remember crowds of people standing by the Lincoln Memorial but no one had any concern of social distancing or face masks. This was my first time attending anything like it before and I did not know much about protest/march/event photography.
For the 2020 March, I felt a lot more comfortable approaching people with my camera and I realize how my images speak louder than words. I tried my best to get unique angles while focusing on the crowd but concentrated on details that could be easily overlooked.
In general, it felt like this group of people wanted their voices heard and they were not going to back down from anything. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed a month prior to the march and soon after there was already a supreme court justice nominated as a replacement. These women were vocal about reproductive rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, and more.
The March started at Freedom Plaza with a kickoff rally and starting point for everyone to meet. Most everyone I saw there was wearing a face mask.
Before I knew it, everyone around me started forming into a line and somehow I ended up being at the very front of it. It was so cool how everyone just came together so quickly.
Back in 2018, my cousin gifted me with his old film camera. It was unexpected but I am so grateful for it. It brought back many memories of when I first started in photography. At that time, there was no digital photography. Everything was on a negative film. But what had initially sparked my interest in photography was being able to go out with my friends and capturing portraits of them with my SLR camera, point and shoot, and even disposable cameras. It was just something fun for us to do and I used to love seeing pictures I took on my friend’s bedroom walls or lockers. So from that point on, everywhere I went, I had a camera on me.
Obviously with a “new camera” comes new adventures so when I got the film camera, I was excited to start experimenting with it. It’s been a while since I have used film so along the way, I’ve learned to take my time with composition and framing. I learned that each frame is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially since a roll is film is just 24 or 36 frames. Photograph the moments that really speak to you. And practice patience in creating and developing the images.
But omg, that sound of the shutter too! It instantly brought back so many memories.
So I thought it would be fun to go through some images that I’ve taken in the past year or so with my Canon T70 and 35-70mm lens. By the way, none of these images on this post have been edited. I may or may not edit them in the future, but for now, it’s just fun seeing the results of the film.
My first set of images were taken in August 2018. I brought it on a peach picking trip with me and it was really just to see if the camera was working if there were any light leaks and a refresher on how to use film. I’m sorry to say that I forgot what kind of film these were captured on. I tried going through my Amazon orders and I don’t see any film listed. It may have just been some old rolls of film my cousin had in his camera bag. Although it’s a little fuzzy, this roll of film got me excited to start shooting again.
Delaplane, Virginia August 2018
Nowadays, I find myself researching different kinds of film and cameras, just to see what’s out there. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers getting great images with their analog cameras. I have to admit though, it’s a little hard for me to capture film images. I have my digital camera which I love, but it’s hard to balance the time between my digital and film camera. I spend most of my time shooting on my digital camera because I’m so used to it that sometimes I’ll even forget that I have a film camera on me.
It has helped to go on photo outings that are dedicated to just film. I’ll leave my digital camera at home and I love the feeling of roaming with such light equipment. Since I don’t have additional lenses or equipment for my film camera, it has been a nice change of pace to just have one camera with one lens.
Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019
Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019
I am extremely grateful for my friend, Jim. He was my photography mentor when I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum while I was in high school. We’ve been able to reconnect through social media which was really cool when we found each other! Last year, he was kind enough to give me a whole bunch of expired Portra film 400 and 800 rolls of film. It has been so fun to try to go through all the rolls. I’m nowhere near completing them, but to see how the expired film develops has been super interesting.
Besides the Washington Monument, there aren’t many options in Washington for someone to get an elevated view of the city. Sure you could go to a rooftop bar or hotel, but who can pass up the opportunity to go to the third tallest building in the city, for free! The Old Post Office Tower is located at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave and considered to be a part of the National Mall. It’s viewing tower has some unique views that can’t be seen anywhere else and opened daily from 9 am – 5 pm daily (last entry is at 4:30 pm) except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In the early 1900s, this building was used as the city’s main post office. Since then has been transformed into office buildings and in 2016 Donald Trump redeveloped the property into a hotel with restaurants and retail.
The entrance is located in the middle of 12th street between Pennsylvania Ave NW and Constitution NW, next to the Starbucks. A little tucked away but there are signs that will lead you to the entrance. As you enter the building, there is security who checks your bags to make sure you aren’t carrying anything you aren’t supposed to be carrying. You are then directed down the hall to the elevators. This hallway was particularly interesting because it had old images of Washington DC from years ago. Living in the Washington area, these are scenes I see almost every day so it’s interesting to see what it actually looked like in the early 1900s.
After playing around with some long exposures, I decided to walk around to see if I could get any foreground interest. I was there with my Sunday morning sunrise friends so finding a person as my foreground was pretty easy. Luckily Mark made for a great unknowing model and I was able to capture a few images of him taking pictures.
It looks like a warm summer day, right? No, it was 30 degrees out but a cloudless morning with a bright yellow sun that made the whole city glow for a little while. I was just at the right place at the right time to capture the glow. I love how it almost looks like the street lamps could be giving off the light as well.
On this particular morning, I met up with my friend, Larry who was already standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. Don’t worry though, there’s a bike lane in the middle of the street and we were standing somewhere that was very safe from traffic. Plus it was a Saturday morning was there wasn’t even any traffic. LOL.
We were trying to capture the sunrise but the cloudless sky didn’t really make for the dramatic colors he was looking for. So we started to walk around to see if we could capture the sun from a new perspective. As soon as we stepped back onto the sidewalk, I captured this. I just love how everything is lined up so nicely, leading your eye straight to the US Capitol.
My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
I love how the city gets so patriotic during the 4th of July. Anywhere you walk you can see flags everywhere. But the Willard InterContinental on Pennsylvania Avenue always sticks out in my mind as being one of my favorites. I’ve noticed that every year they will hang American flags outside each of the hotel windows and it just looks so cool from afar.
But for some reason or another, I’ve tried so hard to capture these flags but couldn’t get an image I was happy with. I may have first noticed them 3 years ago. I even tried photographing them last year and said: “Oh well, next year”. But this year was going to be the year.
I had an image in my head of what I wanted to capture ahead of time and I knew I was going to take my time around this building to make sure I got it. Although when I arrived some of the flags were twisted around the pole, this is pretty much what I had in my mind. I love how the white building is the perfect contrast to the flags. But it’s all the horizontal lines and repetition that really gets me. If I ever had a big office building, I’d want to do the same thing.
To be 100% honest though, I’ve been so busy with photographing things for other people and projects that it’s been a while since I had gone out to shoot just for myself. I went out for a little photo-therapy and it felt great. I’ve realized it something that I need to make a priority to do at least once a week, even when its one of those super busy weeks where it seems like I don’t have time. I can’t let it slip anymore.
My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/160th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.