In November 2020, I was out trying to photograph the full moon and unfortunately, clouds had a different idea. The moon was completely covered and I was just standing in the cold with my camera and 70-200mm on a tripod. I could have gone the next night when the sky would have been clear but I just was feeling so discouraged that I didn’t want to. This had been my 3rd month in a row where I wasn’t able to capture the moon. So I wanted to do something that would keep me motivated to go out and shoot.
Right then and there I came up with an idea that I should rent the biggest lens I can find. LOL.
So after discussing this idea with a few friends, I finally decided that I’d rent a 200-600mm lens. This would bring a whole new view to the city that I couldn’t even imagine. I rented it from lensrentals.com and I could not have been more excited that it actually came 3 days earlier than I had expected. So I had 10 days with the lens and I was pumped!
Images my friend, Albert captured me with the 200-600mm
My first real test came on an afternoon at the Washington Monument. It is actually the same exact place where I came up with the idea to rent the lens so it’s funny that this was the first place that I want to go to test it out.
I was blown away!
600mm ISO 250 F6.3 1/2500 on a tripod
324mm ISO 250 F6.3 1/2500 on a tripod
The compression on the lens is CRAZY. These people were at least 20 feet away from me. The US Capitol is about a mile away from the Washington Monument. But if you asked me, it seriously looks like you could just reach out and touch the people.
To be honest, I never had New Hampshire on my bucket list of places to travel. I’m not much of a winter sports girl and I honestly didn’t know what more the state had to offer. So when my wanderlust started kicking into high gear in the middle of August, I started researching places to go for the Autumn time. I know New England has some of the best foliage to offer in the country, so that is where I began my research.
The more I looked into it, the more it seemed like New Hampshire was the best place to go. About a 10-hour car ride (one way) can easily be divided into two relaxing days of travel. Plus, I know there would be some fun stops along the way. In general, we were looking to relax on this trip. We wanted to have some great views that were easily accessible from the road but also have fit in a hike or two throughout the day. Nothing too strenuous, but something that was good enough to build an appetite for after the hike. After getting some great advice from fellow photographer, Patrick Koetzle, I was ready to hit the road.
Our entire trip revolved around spending 3 whole days in the White Mountains National Forest area the first week of October. At that time it seemed like we were right in the middle or towards the end of peak autumn color which was exactly what I was looking for. For the most part, the weather was beautiful. In the mid-50s with no humidity. But in the middle of our trip, it rained really hard and it got really cold and windy bringing the temps down to the 30s.
Based on all my research about the White Mountain area, an overwhelming amount of people suggest staying in a town called, Lincoln. I did my best to find a suitable place to stay but even booking our trip 2 months in advance, our options were limited. We ended up finding a cottage in Twin Mountains. We brought our dog, Frankie so it was great to have our own little cottage with a fenced-in backyard. The location was right in between Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, two of the places where we wanted to spend most of the time so the cottage was perfect for us.
So if you’re looking to stay somewhere centrally located with your own private kitchen and hot tub, I’d highly recommend staying with Sherry and Ron. They were amazingly welcoming and thoughtful hosts.
We did visit Lincoln one day around lunchtime. Since we were visiting during the Covid pandemic, a lot of the restaurants and stores seemed like they were closed. That just reinforced the idea that our decision to stay in Twin Mountains was the best option for us.
Driving around this area is so exciting. I remember telling Andrew on more than one occasion that he had to drive just so I could stare out the window. But I think my favorite was the Franconia Notch side. Maybe because it seemed like there was more color on that side but more than anything, I just really enjoyed the views.
Our first official hike was Artist’s Bluff for sunrise. Although it is only 1.5 miles long, the hike was strenuous being that it was just straight up the mountain then down the mountain. There were a few flat areas but not much. If I think about it, a majority of the hikes around the White Mountains area was like this. A great glute workout for sure! But it was absolutely worth the sweat.
This image was taken on the same day as this one. When I first arrived at the reflecting pool about 45 minutes before sunrise, I saw that the World War II memorial was beautifully lit with the fountain flowing. So I got busy trying to capture the image I had imagined in my head. After 10 minutes of being there, the fountains turned off at the World War II memorial. It was unfortunate because the image I had imagined had to do with the fountains. So I shifted my focus on photographing the Atlantic side of the memorial. But then I didn’t even notice that the Pacific side was glowing with color! It was one of those mornings when I seemed to be a little off with everything but oh well. I was glad I went out either way.
So when I finally noticed the color, I ran with my tripod inside the memorial. You may see that I caught a little bit of the remaining color, but it was pretty much gone by the time I set my camera back up. Either way, I still think the reflection turned out so nice and crisp.
I should look up the fountain schedule thou. It was so weird that they turned it off at sunrise. I wonder when they turn it back on?
My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/16th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 35mm prime lens.
This past weekend, my friend, Andy invited a few photographer friends out to join him for sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial. It was a super cold and windy morning, I almost didn’t make it out of my bed. But I ended up going and had a great time catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. The sunrise itself wasn’t the best so I was super surprised to see that there were so many other people at the memorial for a winter sunrise. So I figured I would try to capture some of the people who were there watching the sunrise with me. In frame is my friend, Mark.
While we were shooting, Andy also created a super fun video of all of us where we each gave one sunrise tip. Mark, myself and others were all asked on the spot and the answers are pretty funny if you ask me. Let me know which one you think has the best tip! Click here to watch the video.
My camera settings for this image are F9 at 1/320th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7Ii and 35mm.
As many times as I’ve mentioned my friend, Larry on the blog, I’ve finally taken a picture of him! LOL, sort of. This was taken from the Altaire rooftop in Arlington, VA. We were actually leaving the rooftop when he was a few steps ahead of me. I saw him walk past this divider, I told him to stop, and act like he was taking a picture. I think this turned out cooler than I had imagined! I loved how the silhouette turned out.
Also really looking forward to going to New York this weekend. Besides PhotoPlus, I plan on just shooting a lot around the city. So this is basically what I’ll be looking like if I were a guy with a backward hat on. LOL.
Let me know if you’ll be in New York this weekend too!
My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/800th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
So the story behind these heads is that they were originally apart of a Williamsburg attraction called President’s Park. It started in the early 2000s and these busts were in an open-air museum type thing for people to pay to see. Unfortunately, people did not want to pay to see it so in 2010, the park closed and the heads were left to be trashed.
A man named Howard Hankins happened to help build the park but also did not want to see the busts go to waste. He bid and won them at an auction and ended up moving them to his property. I don’t think he had any real plans for them, he just didn’t want to see them destroyed. So they’re basically just sitting on his property and this is what they look like after sitting around for 9 years without any maintenance.
It’s pretty cool to see how decayed they are. I mean the details on some of these heads were incredible. I wanted to add an image here to give you a sense of scale and to sort of see how they are laid out. To the right of the image is my friend, Zack taking pictures of one of the presidents. You can see how an average height person comes to almost the shoulder of the presidents.
Most of them are lined up in rows like this. There were 3 long rows, a few shorter rows and even fewer that just stood out. Please don’t ask me to name all of them because I definitely can’t. LOL. But I was surprised to see President Clinton and both of the Bushs’.
My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/320th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.