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Another rainy, moody image from our trip to New York.

This image was taken after we finished our meal. Andrew and I started walking back to our car when we ducked into this little alleyway because the wind had really started to pick up and blowing the rain everywhere. We were getting soaked. So we stood under a doorway of a closed store to wait it out a little bit. Luckily, there were some other people hanging out in this alley because they were all in line for Sunday morning Dim Sum.

Rain or shine, Dim Sum is always a great Sunday morning treat! What caught my attention about this person and his umbrella was the puddle that was building up on the umbrella. I don’t know, I keep on looking at that and decided that I needed to capture it. The added bonus was all the reflections from where he was standing. The rain made everything glow.

Now I sort of wish that it will rain every time I go on a trip. LOL.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/100th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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So for the most part, we had beautiful weather on our trip to New York. It was pleasantly Autumn while we were there with cool weather temps but not cold enough for heavy jackets. Andrew and I couldn’t stop talking about how ideal it was because every other time we’re there it’s FREEZING.

But the day we left the city was POURING rain. As soon as I woke up in the morning, I could hear the rain pounding on our hotel room window. Good thing I was prepared with a long, heavy-ish jacket that kept me warm. Don’t get me wrong, I still got wet but it was better than having nothing at all.

So for our last meal in New York, Andrew and I went down to Chinatown for some soup dumplings. What’s better on a cold, rainy day? We made the decision that I would drive and I’d drop Andrew off in front of the restaurant so that he could put our name down in case there was a wait. That allowed me to drive around, find parking and along the way, I could stop and take some super moody images of the city with the rain. Turns out, Chinatown is PERFECT for rainy shots. I loved the mood this part of city created and it seemed like there were still so many people out with umbrellas. As soon as I saw a whole bunch of umbrellas lined up in a corner of the street waiting to cross, I knew we were in the right place.

This is probably my favorite image I captured the whole weekend we were in New York. I just love the bright red punch buggy with all the red in the signs plus the out of focus pedestrians. I don’t know it definitely brings me back to that rainy, windy Sunday.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/250th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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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.

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Confused by what sights to see on your short visit to Washington DC?

There are so many monuments, memorials, and museums. Where do you even start?

If want to know the absolute best of the best things to see in Washington DC, keep on scrolling. This guide is for you!

I’ve lived in the Washington DC area my entire life and in that time I’ve gotten to know the city very well. It has changed so much in the past few years that it may be hard to keep up with all the new and fun things to see. Sometimes I even think it’s hard to keep up with all that is going on. There have been new museums, memorials and points of interest that would be fun for a solo traveler as well as families all at the same time.

So in this guide, I will share some highlights of my favorite sights as a Washington DC native and photographer.

My 7 Favorite Must-See Sights in Washington DC:

 

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I captured this image while I was on my way to photograph this image.

This image of the Lincoln Memorial was taken first and I was so surprised when I saw it on the LCD screen. I was walking towards the reflecting pool when I thought it may be cool to see some grass blades as tall as the Lincoln Memorial. So I put my camera on the ground, tilted it a little bit up and this is what I came out with.

What I didn’t realize was all the morning dew that would turn into these cool little bokeh textures in the grass and somehow turned this image to look magical. In order to capture it, I had to focus the image on just Lincoln Memorial. It’s a shame I almost forgot about it. To be honest, I was more excited about the duck capture than this one on the day I captured them. But I love the way that this image turned out. I also love that little hint of purple coming, which you can really see in the duck image.

Just goes to show you never know what you’ll find unless you try 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1.6 sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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If you’re looking for the best spots to watch and photograph the sun setting in Washington DC, you’ve come to the right place.

The National Mall can get crowded, overwhelming and confusing. I’m here to help you navigate the park so you can get your best shots quickly and efficiently.

I’ve lived in the area my whole life and been photographing the National Mall for over 8 years. I’ve pretty much been to every one of these places at least 20 times. So here’s my complete list of the best to watch the sunset in Washington DC:

But First, Here’s What You Need to Get Ready for Your Sunset Shoot

Because of the number of people that visit the National Mall every day, sunset is a little more difficult to navigate than sunrise. There are far more people, we’re talking busloads of people, so be prepared. That means if this is your first time in Washington DC, I’d highly suggest public transportation either by metro, Lyft or even an electric scooter! All are very convenient ways to get you around the Nation’s Capital.

Also with the number of people, I’d even say try to get to your sunset location earlier than you think you should. Who knows what kind of hang-ups you could possibly run into. If it were a cold winter day, I say you could get by with going 30 minutes early. On a beautiful summer day, I’d go as far as saying an hour before sunset would not be a bad idea.

And my number one most asked question, are tripods allowed? For the most part, yes, but you may run into some complications. If you’re in a densely crowded area like World War II Memorial or Lincoln Memorial, you will probably be asked to take it down immediately by Park Police. They can be a walking hazard and just get in the way of people. But if you’re in a more spread out area like the Washington Monument grounds or even the Tidal Basin, there is a little more elbow room so you could get away with it.

The United States Capitol is unique because it’s technically not a part of the National Mall. The last time I spoke to Capitol police they said tripods are allowed. Since then, other photographer friends have told me that the Capitol police asked them to take down their tripods. So I’m still pretty if-y if they are actually allowed. I tend to just bring my tripod to the Capitol and if I’m asked to put it away, I do so politely.

Now on to The Top 5 Sunset Locations in Washington DC:

The Washington Monument is Always a Good Idea

The Washington Monument is so iconically Washington DC and the tallest structure in the city. So because of that, there is no best time to photograph it. It can be seen from so many different vantage points around the city that the possibilities are endless. However, if you catch it at the right time, it can glow orange. It’s absolutely amazing if you see it.

In order to capture the glow, I’d recommend getting to your sunset location early and face east towards the Monument. I would suggest standing either in front of the World War II memorial or along the grassy area in front of the west side of the monument and maybe 30-40 minutes ahead of sunset will work. I think the closer you are to the monument the better the imagery. But the key is to be patient. The way that the sun reflects off of clouds and on to the monument to glow doesn’t happen every day but if you see it, it will make your travel images very unique.

Other cool places to see the Washington Monument: POV Bar at the W Hotel, Rooftop Bar at the POD hotel in Chinatown (I have a thing for rooftop bars), Netherlands Carillion in Arlington VA, or along the Tidal Basin.

 

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The Washington Monument glows orange on a winter sunset evening.

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