potomac river

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If you caught my blog post from last week, then you will know that tomorrow I’m headed out on a road trip to Austin, Texas. One of my best friends in the entire world is moving there and asked me to ride along with her. I’m sad that she’s leaving but looking forward to spending just a little bit more time with her.

Similar to the road trip that we did 2 years ago, we’ll be spending our first night in Nashville, Tennessee. It was both of our first time in the city and I am looking forward to going back. I remember having a blast last time just walking down Broadway and checking out the live music and all the colorful lights. I expect to be doing the same this time around. After that it will be just a straight shot from there to Austin. Unfortunately we’re not stopping to go sightseeing or anything along the way because she wants to get down there as soon as possible but looking forward to spending a few extra days in Austin before flying home. So if you have any food or photo recommendations, please let me know!

Luckily we planned this trip after the Cherry Blossom peak bloom announcement so I know I’ll be back home just in time to capture the flowers.

Click here to watch our last road trip together – we drove all the way from Washington DC to San Diego, California.

This image is of the Arlington Memorial bridge on a particularly foggy day. I figured it symbolized our road ahead but also not looking forward to saying goodbye to Sue when I have to catch my flight back to DC.

My camera settings are F5 at 1/500th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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Is it me or is today the hardest day to get anythingggg done. Holiday hangoverrrr. Last night we celebrated Christmas with Andrew’s family and it was so fun. I made christmas cookies. LOL. My family is celebrating this weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing my nephews. I see them every week but still…

Hope you all got some fun photo goodies for the holidays.

This image was taken in the summertime. I remember capturing this particular sunrise so clearly because it was from one of those days that the Tidal Basin had been crazy flooded. But this day was probably the most water I had ever seen. My jaw dropped when I walked down there because it was above the park bench seats. It was so easy to capture reflections like this because there was just so much water. I have definietly made it a habit to wear rain boots whenever I visit the basin. Even if there hasn’t been any rain for days, you just never know now and it’s a sad.

My favorite part about this image is the cloud formations. I love the way it’s framing the Washington Monument and it looks so good in the water reflection. It makes me want to go back to that summer time weather. And don’t even get me started on those summertime colors. I love the transition from orange to blue.

Actually the last time I was at the Tidal Basin (earlier this month), the sidewalk was blocked off. There was no sign or postage saying why, so let’s hope something is actually being done about all this water and flooding. It can’t be good for the cherry blossoms.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/640th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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The story behind this image is a long one. So here it goes… and it’s slightly embarrassing.

So I visited the View of DC for the first time on Tuesday, Dec 4th. I thought the view was really cool but I was most excited to be there at sunset/night time because I have been loving the Kennedy Center lights at night. Everytime around this year, the Kennedy Center honors the performing arts for their lifetime contributions to American culture, so to help celebrate that have rainbow colored lights on the exterior of the building. Every other time of the year they are plain white. I’m really not sure how long they keep the rainbow lights on, but I know it’s not for long.

So night time falls and I was excited to go out to the balcony and capture the Kennedy Center from an elevated view. I captured a few images of the building but kept my lens moving to see if I could capture any other cool scenes. I captured this one and remember wondering where the lights were coming from. I really didn’t think much of it.

As soon as I got home, it hit me! It’s a reflection from the Kennedy Center! Had I known while I was still at the observation deck, I probably would have spent more time trying find different ways of capturing the reflection. I love how shooting through the glass made the rainbow colors exaggerated. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever but was disappointed that the image was slightly out of focus. I knew if I went back, I could capture an even better image. So I decided then and there that I was going to go back the next day and just spend time trying to capture the reflection.

Wednesday, December 5th. I arrived to the CEB building a little bit before sunset. I figured if I was going to be there anyways, I might as well as try to capture the good light one more time. The sunset was beautiful but cold. I went back inside after the light disappeared waiting for the sky to get darker so I could really see the Kennedy Center lights glow. 20 minutes later, the lights were still white. Why weren’t they rainbow? I CALLED THE KENNEDY CENTER TO ASK WHERE THE LIGHTS WERE. LOL. I think we figured out that the lights weren’t rainbow that evening in honor of President George HW Bush’s funeral earlier that day.

Ok, no problem. Lesson learned. Since the Kennedy Center won’t always turn on the rainbow lights and I wasn’t sure when they would turn them off permanently for the rest of the year, it’s best to make sure the lights turn on before going back to the observation deck.

Thursday, December 6th. I drive by the Kennedy Center right after sunset and the lights are on! YES! I made my way back to Rosslyn, VA and excited to capture the rainbow lights. Until I get to the lobby and find out that the observation deck was closed for a private event! OMG there was no notice of a private event on their website, social media or anything. I was so frustrated especially since sunset is around 5p now and that’s right in the middle of heavy traffic time. Each way to the CEB tower was at least 45min – 1 hr of sitting in traffic. I could have cried. But found out that the next day was going to be absolutely open to the public and I should be able to capture what I was hoping for.

Friday, December 7th. Again, drove by the Kennedy Center to make sure the lights were on and they were. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE DAY! And it finally was. I made my way to the observation deck and was so happy to see that I had it to myself. I spent almost 45 minutes using the glass around the observation deck as a way to capture the different reflections. I put my lens right up to the glass then pulled away. I stepped right and left, up and down to see how I could get it in different ways. This was by far my favorite.

Was all of this effort worth it? I’m not sure yet but I most definitely love the final result. It sort of reminds me of Ariana Grande’s new album cover which makes me even happier.

Told you that was a long story. Would you have gone through all of that to capture this one image?

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/15th sec at ISo6400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm

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Always on the hunt for new compositions around the National Mall, I found this one a while ago. However it was one of those things where I couldn’t get it right and wanted to try again until I came out with something I was happy with. Last week I was a bit early for sunrise so I thought I would take my time walking around Kutz bridge. It was about 6a (sunrise is close to 7:30a now!) so there were plenty of people driving around. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try some cool long exposures.

I started off on top of the grail. You can’t tell but you can get some pretty cool reflections off of it from the tail lights as the cars drive past. The reflections were cool but I still wasn’t happy with the composition. That image will probably be one of those that I go back to and try again. So I decided to get down a little lower and actually put my camera on the ground to capture the light trails. This turned out so much better. I love how the grail is dividing the image in to two parts but the way that the clouds have formed and the angle of the car lights make it all look like everything is pointing to the center of the image. It is such a yin yang type photo with the dark shadows on the left and bright light from the street lamp on the right.

One of my favorite things about the Sony cameras is that you can tilt up your LCD screen so it’s much easier to see what your camera is seeing without having to bend all the way over.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 6 seconds at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Its been a couple of years since it’s been built and guess what. I still haven’t been on the Capital Wheel. I should really put that on my to-do list. I bet the views from there are real nice. For some reason every time I’ve been to the National Harbor, it’s closed. But then again, I’m usually there just to eat and not really anything else. Have you had Grace’s Mandarin? OMG so good. LOL.

I captured this image about a year ago just by luck. I happened to be driving home from my friend’s house in Maryland and noticed how insanely foggy it was getting outside. But when I crossed over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, I noticed how the fog was effecting the colors of the ferris wheel. It was like something I had never seen before. It was sooo foggy that the fog was actually carrying the colors from the lights. I had to make a quick U-turn to check things out. Luckily I had my camera and tripod with me. Oh man, I would have been so upset if I didn’t. But as I got closer to the ferris wheel, the cooler it looked. The fog blocked everything else out and the only thing visible was the wheel. If I shot this without the fog, you would have probably seen so much many more lights from the National Harbor or even the roads leading up to it. I’m so grateful that I had my gear with me.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 0.8 seconds at ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm camera.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Can you believe it’s already December 15th? Luckily I finished all my holiday shopping earlier this week. Thank you Amazon! I’ve never been so prepared 🙂

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Last but not least, my personal favorite time to see reflections is during cherry blossom season in Washington DC.

I know it’s a little unfair since the Tidal Basin itself can be super reflective, but this was a special day. This was a super, super foggy day out where hardly anything was visible except for these amazing cherry trees. I remember capturing this around 9am. The tide was really high so the water was overflowing onto the sidewalks. Luckily, I was wearing my rain boots and was able to walk around in the puddles. This gave me a perspective that no one else was able to capture or if they did, they were not able to stay in the water for that long. If you look on the bottom right hand corner of the image, you can see a slight color variation on the cherry blossom branch in the reflection. That was the line divide of the sidewalk and the water itself. CRAZY right? Definietly the best day of cherry blossom photography ever in history of all the world.

The camera settings for this image was F6.3 at 1/40th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm. I remember purposely not using my wide angle for this image because I felt like it would have added way too much to the image. Either too many trees on the left or too much white space on the right. This was captured at 28mm and it worked out perfectly.

Let me know what you thought of this week’s reflection images. Did you like the series? Should I do more of them in the future with other themes?
In case you missed the past couple of days, here’s what you missed: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4

Have a great weekend, everyone!