Smithsonian

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If you know me, you know I love a good rooftop. So when I got invited to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s rooftop, I was like “What?? They have a rooftop?”

Obviously I had to accept the invitation and see it for myself. I had no idea what to expect when I went to the museum. If I’m going to be 100% honest, it was actually my first time in that museum. I have been to EVERY other museum on the mall except for this one. I have no idea why I’ve never been, it’s just one of those things unexplainable things in life I guess.

So as soon as I stepped foot on the rooftop, I was amazed. It was perfect timing for a beautiful sunset and I couldn’t believe the view. I mean how cool is it to see the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture so close but at an elevated view? I love all the hard edges along with soft curves in this image. I would have never expected this. To the left was another very cool view of the Washington Monument.

Turns out, the American History museum just opened up the rooftop this past March for events. So if you’re getting married anytime soon, may I suggest this rooftop. It is STUNNING. #eventsatamericanhistory

My camera settings for this image are F9 at 1/40th second and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm 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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Home from Austin, TX and I had a blast! I loved it and didn’t want to come home but since my friend, Sue just moved there, I’m sure there will be more visits in the near future. But more about that later.

The day before I left I went to the Smithsonian Gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle to go checkout the Saucer Magnolias. They were supposed to peak that weekend so I figured going there and checking out the scene would be a good idea. It was a windy morning but I’m glad my friend, Birch as able to meet up as well. We spent the morning catching up and it made the wind that much more bearable.

One thing I learned last year from photographing the garden is that there is this beautiful view of the Washington Monument. I don’t know why, but I never noticed it before. So when I went this year, I kept the mental note in my head and wanted to get some compositions with it in it.

I love the way this one turned out. I probably stood there for a good 10 minutes before I got the shot I wanted but this lady walking past with the grey coat was perfect. I wanted to create a lot of depth in this image so I kneeled down low to get a little bit of that fencing in the shot, then the plants in the center of the garden, the lady, the trees and then finally the Monument. All the colors and everything working so well together was just a happy accident. This definietly made me excited to shoot more flower images around the city!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/200th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Happy Halloween! I always look forward to Halloween. To me, it’s the jump off to all the holidays and I likes to eat! Pumpkin flavored everything? Yes please! I’ll take two.

What are your plans for tonight? I’ll be out with my nephews and niece trick or treating. Usually I don’t dress up for it, but this year I am. I’m going to be a shark and Frankie is going to be a piece of sushi. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP. We’re going to look so cute together. But most of all, I’m looking forward to spending time with family and eating some chocolate.

This image was taken earlier this year at the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum. The entire exhibit was amazing but my favorite of all the infinity rooms was definietly the ‘All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins’ room. The first time I visited the exhibit, the room was closed because someone sat on a pumpkin. I mean how does that even happen? I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to see it that I had to make another trip back. Luckily the second time I was there, I got to experience the room. I really don’t know what it is about a whole bunch of glowing pumpkins that make it seem so magical, but it’s soooo cool. It’s as if you stepped into a fairy tale or something.

Unfortunately the exhibit isn’t in DC anymore but if you’re in the Los Angeles area, definietly go check it out at the Broad. You won’t regret it. And from there it will be in other parts of the United States so keep in eye out for it.

The settings for this image is 1/125th of a second at F4.0 and ISO 2500 with my Sony a7II and 28-70mm lens.

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I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peak of the Freer and Sackler gallery before the reopening in early October. Shout out to IGDC for the amazing invite. It was so cool to see all the beginning stages of the museum. I say the beginning stages because it is currently under reconstruction and some of the exhibits had been taken down. So it was interesting to see the ‘before’.

You can’t tell from this image, but one of my favorite parts was all the natural lighting. The museum is shaped like a square with an inner courtyard in the middle. All the hallways have these amazing windows that lets you look out to the center. The coolest part is that it even housed peacocks at one point! I would have loved to see them. Hence, the peacock room! We got to see it with the windows opened which brought in this amazing light. I’ll have to share an image of it later. But if you get a chance to see the museum when it reopens, definietly check it out. It was very beautiful and all the gold gave me the chills.

One interesting fact that I will always remember is that though it is a predominately asian art museum (with a little bit of American sprinkled in), the architecture is Italian Palazzo. This was because Charles Freer, the museum’s designer stopped in Italy on his way to Asia. He was heavily influenced by the asian cultures but wanted to incorporate the Italian architecture. I think marrying these two cultures was such a unique idea. If you walk around the museum, make sure to be looking up as well. The ceilings and arches are beautiful!

It was my first time visiting this museum and as you can see, I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to visit again when it reopens. The image of the staircase was just a small detail but loved the texture and lines that it formed.

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Finally we got snow! After a super mild winter, I thought we weren’t going to get snow at all this year. The other day I said we were expecting at least 5″ but I think it only came out to be 2″. Then it turned into sleet. Man was it sleeting! That was definietly the worst part. It felt like mini ice cubes were attacking your face. At some points during the morning walk, I had to turn around and walk backwards. It was too much to handle. Then it made everything turn in to slush. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.

I shot this with my friend, Navin. Turns out the metro didn’t close down but they were just on a delayed schedule. Even still, I’m so happy I was able to get out there and shoot. I would of been so sad to have missed the opportunity. This time I took the Federal Triangle stop which is something I’ve never done before. Usually I’ll take Smithsonian or Foggy Bottom but I was feeling kinda adventurous 🙂 I’m glad I did because it forced me to walk a different way than I usually would have to the Washington Monument which then made me see it in a totally different way. If you’re interested, I was standing sort of close the National Museum of African American History and Culture but on the bottom of the hill. I love how the snow simplifies everything and it really just reduces the image down to the trees and the monument. The smaller trees in the background, close to the monument are cherry blossom trees. I also thought it was kind of cool how the flags perfectly align inside the two tree trunks.

I’m glad it snowed but I’d like to get on with spring now, please?