reflections

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After coming home from a long trip to Southern California, I knew one of the first places that I wanted to go back to take pictures was the Tidal Basin. I love it and have captured some of my favorite images from there. I personally feel like I’m back when I’m walking around the Tidal Basin and ducking my head under the low hanging cherry blossom tree branches. Luckily while we were gone, Washingtonians experienced a good amount of snow. I’m all for snow but I don’t like how it gets so messy while it melts. This time it worked to my advantage because it actually created some great puddles in places that there aren’t usually reflections.

The whole mood of this image perfectly describes what it was like being there. It was cold and kind of wet. I especially like how that little piece of ice in the foreground. But trying to get myself back on east coast was a bit of a challenge. I basically forced myself out of bed but once I was out, I was happy… and cold.

Also sorry for the last minute notice but if you’re around the Washington DC area this weekend and don’t have plans on Saturday, come out to the tidal basin for sunset. At 4:30p, I’ll be leading a free photowalk with DCTography starting at the Martin Luther King Jr memorial and then ending the walk at the Jefferson Memorial. It will be a great time and a great way to meet other photographers in the area. I’ll be talking about light and trying to capture it as we walk and the sun dips below the horizon. Hope to see you there 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/4th sec at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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So now that you know that I’ve spent multiple evenings at the View of DC, you must have figured that I have quite a few images from this place now. LOL. This is the balcony. You can see how it’s enclosed by glass so reflections can be found everywhere! I loved it from the first moment I saw it.

This image was taken on the second day that I was was visiting the CEB building. The sunset was gorgeous and I was so happy to be on the balcony to witness it. I was the only one out there with this couple who were on the opposite side taking their own pictures of the view. At this time they were looking at the images they had just captured on the camera but I love the way they are still being affectionate towards each other. I had to stoop down low in order to capture this image so that the glass reflection looked almost as big as the side of the building on the right hand side.

In case you were wondering, the spaces in between the glass panes are pretty big. I was able to fit my entire lens through it, but it wasn’t big enough to turn it to the side. If I wanted to capture an image, it had to be straight on. However if you’re at the corner of the balcony, the spaces in between are a lot smaller. Just a little tip for you photographers who were thinking about visiting and hoping to capture images without the glass.

With this view, I know I’ll be back. I feel like there’s so much more to explore here with so many different angles.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/640th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom 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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Holy Smokes. 2018 is almost here. I can’t believe it but I’m sooooo excited. 2018 is going to be the best year ever. EVERRRRRRR.

But before the ball drops, I love going through and picking out my favorite images from the past year. I think they’re interesting to see since most of my favorites are probably not your favorite.  And I don’t have a top 10 or anything like that. It’s so hard to narrow it down to 10. I imagine it’s like your parents choosing who their favorite child is. So here it is, in no particular order, here are my 14 favorite image of 2017 from Washington DC.

And if you’re interested, click on each of the images to go back to that original blog post. I think it’d be interesting to see what I had to say about them at the time of taking the images.

washington dc, jefferson memorial, clouds, tidal basin, sunrise, early morning, reflection, national mall, national park service, presidential memorial, thomas jefferson, memorial,

Still remember this day like it was yesterday. It was amazingly foggy and I had spent a good 1.5-2 hours just walking around the National Mall. I was about to call it quits and walk back to my car when I saw the Jefferson Memorial looking like a dream. You know I had to stop and take a few more images.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit, infinitekusama, yayoi, artist, exhibit, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, washington dc, museums, smithsonian, mirror, infinity, pumpkins, polkadots, rooms, creative, beautiful, thought provoking, light, dark, creativity, captivating, artist,

The Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Hirshorrn was a HUGE highlight of 2017. I waited sooo long to see it and was honored to have been able to go twice. This image was from my first visit. I’m still amazed I got to go in the room by myself. Click here to watch my youtube video of the experience.

winter, washington dc, washington monument, trees, cold, snow, winter storm stella, spring, cherry blossom trees, sleet, slush, smithsonian, foggy bottom, metro, national museum of african american history and culture, hill, monument, trees,

Our first real snow of 2017 happened when the cherry blossoms were about to bloom. Oh man, I think this was the first time I really didn’t want it to snow. But in the end, it all worked out for the better.

cherry blossom parade, cherry blossoms, puddle, reflection, washington monument, washington dc, sun burst, strideby, walking, composition, live view, photographers, photo, washington dc, cherry blossoms, tidal basin, people,

YAY for cherry blossoms. You know I had to add at least 1 or 2 in here. I love this particular image because it’s so different from what I usually do. OMG there are people in my images. LOL. But my favorite part is the guy walking right on the sunburst. I was 100% lucky to be able to capture that.

cherry blossoms dc, washington dc, sakura, cherry blossom, fog, sunrise, early morning, spring, cherry blossom branch, couple, selfies, sakura, camera settings, zoom lens, sony a7ii, jefferson memorial, tidal basin

From one of the best days ever of 2017. The crazy foggy cherry blossom morning at the Tidal Basin.

washington dc, cherry blossom, cherry blossom festival, sunrise, fog, early morning, pink, white, trees, tidal basin, jefferson memorial, predictions, spring, winter, flowers, live preview, camera settings, composition,

Another one from that fog-a-licious day.

lincoln memorial, washington dc, east coast, travel, early morning, sunrise, president lincoln, mr lincoln, dc, early morning, people, person, scale, image, photography, photo, exposure settings

My friend, Del taking in the Lincoln Memorial.

Succulents, US botanical gardens, united states botanical gardens, capitol, capital, national mall, garfield circle, flower, water droplets, close up, flora, macro, sony, canon, metabones

I think it’s so interesting how the rain drops stayed balled up on top of the succulents after a big rain storm.

summer storm, washington dc, national mall, lincoln memorial, sunset, glow, rain, thunderstorm, clouds, reflection, puddle, travel, visit, parking, arlington memorial bridge,

Just a couple of minutes after I took the succulents image, I captured this amazing puddle.

hop on, hop off bus, tour bus, washington dc, us capitol, rain, storm, weather, summer storm, double rainbow, puddle, reflection street, architecture, government

Triple Rainbow!!! Never would have I imagined to have captured such a cool reflection shot. One of my all time favs.

tidal basin, fall colors, yellow, leaves, autumn, trees, cherry blossom trees, washington monument, reflection clouds, red trees, national mall, photowalk, photo shoot, early morning, sunrise,

I really love how the clouds are in the same shape and form as the branches. And that yellow/gold color *praise hands emoji*

United States Capitol, Washington DC, sunrise, early morning, capitol building, reflection, puddle, steps, trees, autumn, fall, waking up, statue of freedom, capitol hill, east coast, government, photowalk

One of my favorite unexpected finds.

Washington DC Sunset, the district, washington monument, rooftop, jefferson memorial, national mall, thomas jefferson, national airport, reagan, dusk, thanksgiving, giving thanks, grateful, photo, point of view,

So thankful for my friend, Christa who took me to this rooftop. Loved being up there!

Lincoln Memorial Steps, Washington DC, lincoln memorial, sunrise, glow, orange, sun, columns, steps, watch sunrise, nation's capital, national mall, winter, glow

My last sunrise of 2017. It was a cold and beautiful one. Just look at that glow 🙂

On Monday, I’ll have my favorite images from travel. Those are my favorite out ’em all!
Have a fun and safe New Years Eve everyone! See ya in 2018!

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Am I the only one who never knows how to pack clothes for New York City? I mean you check the weather and it will say it’s 80 degrees. So obviously I’m going to pack t-shirts and tank tops.  But once you’re there, it actually feels like 65. It’s the most deceiving thing ever. All the tall buildings and walking through the shadows make it feel so much colder than it actually is. But above all else, sneakers is an absolute must. Props to all the women who walk around the city all day in high-heels. You have my respect, big time.

This image was taken en route to Grand Central Terminal from the New York Public Library. One of my favorite parts of walking through the shadows of all the tall buildings is seeing the different kinds of reflections. Reflections in puddles, reflections in glass windows, etc.  It’s almost like a game to find some really cool ones. But I thought this one was particularly cool because you can see so many different building reflections in this one building. The sun burst to the side of it was just an added bonus that I didn’t even notice until I was shooting. No idea what the name of this building is but I believe it was on 42nd street if you wanted to check it out for yourself.

My camera settings for this image was F22 1/15th of a second at ISO 200. The only reason my aperture was so small was because I wanted to make sure I could get the sun flare to be as large as possible.

So while you’re walking around the city, definietly make sure to look up AND down whenever possible. You won’t be disappointed. You may find special treasures like this that make you really happy 🙂