reflecting pool

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I’m so glad that Sunrise Sundays are becoming a thing with my photography friends. It all started on the first Sunday of 2020 when my friend, Andy invited a few people to photograph sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial. And ever since then, it’s becoming a weekly meetup at different locations and it’s been such fun each time.

This past weekend we went to the US Capitol. Currently, the reflecting pool is under construction so we ended up meeting at the Ulysses S Grant Memorial instead. I’m glad we did. The white marble allowed for a different kind of reflection than the reflecting pool would have offered. I love how the Capitol dome is just poking out from the edge of the Grant Memorial.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/250th sec and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Sunday was a busy photography day for me because not only did I capture the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, but I also went out and photographed the sunrise earlier in the day. I met up with some other photo friends at the Washington Monument. The sunrise itself wasn’t the best, but when the sun finally peaked over the horizon, it made the city glow.

At first, it was the reflection in the reflecting pool that attracted me to this scene. I just love how even from so far away, you can see the columns so clearly. But then looking at the little details of this image is what really makes me so happy. I love seeing all the people standing at the edge of the pool. They look so little compared to the enormous memorial. And while I was framing this image in my camera, I did notice the birds fly by so I’m glad I was able to capture them in the frame. They add a bit more interest to the top of the image that I like. But my favorite part is that if you zoom into this image, you can still see the Lincoln statue so clearly inside the memorial! So cool if you ask me!

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/1250th second and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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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.

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Going through some images I took earlier in the year, I found this gem. I had no idea I captured the lightning because the exposure was actually pretty dark. I thought maybe a lightning strike hit behind the clouds or something but it was the bright light on the left-hand corner that caught my eye where I thought it could be something. So in Lightroom, I brought up the exposure and found the lightning strike! It was so exciting. Probably almost as exciting as capturing it, even though I didn’t know I had captured it at all.

It brought back all these memories of that evening. Obviously, I knew I captured this one and waiting out the rain on the west side of the Capitol was awesome because we didn’t actually get wet. But it’s always a good time storm chasing with friends. It makes the time go by so much faster.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/5th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.

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So my favorite view from the Washington Monument was definitely facing west with views of the World War II Memorial, Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial. It may have been because we were there around sunset and obviously you want to be facing west, but it was the Reflecting Pool that kept on catching my eye. I couldn’t believe how still and peaceful the water looked. It literally looked like glass from above.

But out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an airplane flying by in the sky and you could see it in the reflecting pool. It was the coolest thing ever. Luckily, at that time of the night, there’s pretty much an airplane that flys by ever ten minutes. So I just waited a bit for another one to come and tried my best to capture it in the reflection.

I also love seeing all the traffic around the memorial and into Arlington, Virginia. GAH I love these elevated views. Can’t wait to go up in the Washington Monument again to capture some more!

If you have any questions about getting tickets or what it’s like up there, please feel free to let me know. I’m currently writing a guide that will explain the process.

My camera settings for this image are F4.5 at 1/30th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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It happened! OMG! I’m pretty sure it’s because I blogged about it last week, but I was finally able to capture a lightning strike this summer. I still can’t get over it.

I had been talking to my friend, Andy sporadically throughout the day through text message when I finally asked him if he wanted to meet up for sunset. He told me he was already meeting up a friend for sunset but if I wanted to join them, I was welcome to. So I crashed their party and invited another friend and ended up having such a great time.

The best part was that we did not even get wet! The storms were passing right in front of us and we definitely felt some of those lightning strikes, but no actual raindrops on us. It was perfect.

The sunset ended up being dramatic but I stayed about an hour after to try to get a more distinct lightning strike. You can definitely see lightning strikes a lot better when it’s dark out.

Holy cow I did not expect this one. It was like Thor’s hammer slammed straight down into the Capitol Reflecting Pool. I’m still so excited I was able to capture it.

Since I got one, I’m hooked. I can’t wait for another storm to happen so I can try to get even more lightning strikes. Maybe now that I’ve blogged about it again, it will happen again 🙂 Fingers crossed!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.