Snap DC

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Spring is my favorite time to be in Washington DC. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and everyone seems to have a smile on their face. What’s not to love? It’s a special time to be in the city where tourists and locals alike flock to the famous cherry blossoms to admire their beauty.

To fully prepared, I reference this website a lot. It’s National Park Services’ Bloom watch. I think they have the most accurate up to date information about the peak bloom. They also break down the stages so that you know what you’re looking at in case you are overly eager and want to check out the trees asap.

2019 Update: National Park Service and Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang are both predicting the first week of April as peak bloom so it sounds like a pretty safe bet that April is going to start off really pink <3

So if this is your first Cherry Blossom experience in the Nation’s Capital, let me try to break it down for you…

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If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for cute, cuddly things. So obviously, I had to spend some time at La Jolla Cove while I was out in San Diego. This image was captured early morning while I was out shooting sunrise with Andrew and Frankie. As soon as I saw the seals, I squealed and yelled out that I had to get closer. Andrew, who is always looking out for me, told me that I can’t get too close but I didn’t listen. I pretty much hopped the wall and walked over to seals as fast as I could. Obviously I didn’t want to disturb them so I threw on my 70-200mm lens and got as close as I could without them noticing.

I love that little guy in the middle. Doesn’t it look like he’s smiling? It’s like a dog pile that I wish I were a part of. There were other seals all along the rocks but this group really made me happy. You know what though, one of my friends told me that there are times when there aren’t any seals here? Is that true? I’m grateful that I’ve never witnessed that. I always look forward to the seals whenever I’m in the area.

One last thing, this Thursday I’ll be a part of a travel writing panel at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. If you’re free, I’d love for you to attend. I’ll be there with my friends, Katie Bianco, author of 100 Things to do in Washington, DC Before you Die and Jennifer Barger who has worked with National Geographic, Traveler, etc as we discuss our experiences about writing and photographing the District. I will be talking about Snap DC.

Click here for the details.

My camera settings for the seal image is F7.1 at 1/200th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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When people think about Washington DC, one of the first things that come to mind is the White House. But for some reason, it’s never a real go to spot for me to go capture images. There are several reasons for this regardless of who’s residing in the house.

  1. The White House is located in a spot where it’s not great at either sunrise or sunset. The only way to get a really nice sky in the background is if you are lucky with one of those days where the color takes over the whole sky. Those days are so hard to predict that it’s just easier to be closer to one of the monuments as opposed to the White House.
  2. The security around the White House keeps getting increasingly stricter. Since I first started out in photography, you could actually get pretty close to the gate and no one would say anything. Now, you have to be a least across the street. With all the tourists all cramped up in one little sidewalk, it’s so difficult to get a great shot.
  3. If you are want to take your White House shot, try to bring the biggest zoom you can. It will be the only way you can get a close up shot without a lot of people in your image. This image was taken with my 70-200mm at 93mm.

This image also happens to be an image I took just for my book, Snap DC and had never been published before. I definietly remember the day I took this because I remember I parked my car, walked all the way to the White House, and then realized I left my camera in the car. OMG how does that even happen? I swear, only me.

So if you’re interested in more Washington DC photo tips like this, check out Snap DC on Amazon. Just remember to bring your camera with you 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2019! WOW. Not to total ignore 2019 but everytime I think 2019, I can’t help but think 2020 is just around the corner and that is just bananas to me. Like can you imagine people saying that they were born in 2020? The number is just crazy to me. P.S. Where are the flying cars at?

Anyways…

Much like my top travel images of 2018, I like to reminisce and look back on my favorite images from Washington DC from the past year. It makes me feel so fortunate to live in the Nation’s Capital. I love being able to hop in my car and within minutes be among some of the most recognizable and loved landmarks in the world. I feel extremely blessed and look forward to another year of capturing more images.

Click on each image to read the original blog post but I’ll try to add some additional light on these images now that I’ve sat on them for a while. In no particular order except chronological, here are my favorite images of 2018.

fog, tidal basin, winter, weather, umbrella, stranger, candid, washington dc, national mall, moody, cherry blossom trees, trunk, photowalk,

This day was definietly a highlight of the winter season. I remember we had some crazy foggy mornings but on this particular day, the fog happened in the middle of the day. Oh yea, it was raining too. Luckily, it was on a Sunday and I didn’t have much else going on. So what better way than to walk around the National Mall than with my friend, Birch. I still love how everything lines up in this image, even the little reflection you see in the puddle behind the lady is so interesting to see.

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Continuing my thoughts on being a photographer and writer

From the feedback that I got yesterday about being a photographer and writer I can see that I’m not the only one who feels like it’s difficult to express themselves verbally. After all, photographs are a visual representation of a 1000 words right? What more do we need to say?

I’ve started to read the book, Henri Cartier-Bresson Interviews and Conversations 1951-1998. From its title you may guess that Mr Cartier-Bresson did not consider himself a writer. In fact he’s published several books, most of which he did not write the words in and I found that to be very interesting. I’m not done with this book, but when I am, I’ll for sure write a book review like I do with many other books that I read.

But Henri is such a influential photographer that I would think many people would love to hear his exact thoughts about photography, art and his life in general. Maybe he was like me and did not know how to do it. But as I’ve taken the commitment to be more thoughtful and concise with my writing, the more I’ve learned from it as well. I’ve learned that there is more to the story than just a pretty photograph. There is so much preparation that is involved (whether you realize it or not), timeliness and even whether or not you executed your planned intention. The ability to verbalize this and to make sure to clearly send the right message makes you really think about the words you use and how to use them. I could re-write the same sentence like 10 times and it still not come out right.

Regardless, in the past two years I’ve have come to realize how important words are. I still would not consider myself the best writer in the world but I definietly try my best. Reading/listening to books has really helped me come up with my own writing style and learned just how free I can be in this new form of communication.

As seen in my recently published book, Snap DC. LOL

This image was taken about 20 minutes before the previous image. I figured that if I’m writing about the same thing, having similar images would be ok. But can we please get rid of that Lincoln Memorial scaffolding? 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

My camera settings were F16 at 1 sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom lens on a tripod.

PS Happy Halloween!

 

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Some of you may not know but I’ve been writing this blog since March 2010. It was then that I commited to posting a new image every monday-friday and I have not broke that commitment once. To be fair, sometimes the blog posts will go up a little bit later than others but they are always there!

However when I made that commitment, I never said anything about writing. I have never considered myself to be a person who can easily express their feelings or view point. I feel like I know what I mean in my head but when it comes to verbalizing it, it can be difficult. You know what I mean?

So if you read my blog in the early days, you would have seen my image and then one or two sentences max. I remember it was such a hassle and torture to even do that. But it was in January of 2017 where I commited to be more than just a photographer. I wanted to be more thoughtful and practice the art of writing. Thanks to my friend, Mel for the encouragement!  So I stepped up my game and have been consistently taking pictures and writing about them more thoughtfully for almost 2 years. I will say it was a struggle at first but the more I do it, the easier it gets. I even find myself looking forward to writing sometimes. I think it’s the sense of accomplishment that I feel after writing something I’m proud of. Don’t get me wrong though, some days are easier than others. For example, I wrote a book talk/speech for a photo club I presented at last week. It took me about 1 hour to write a speech that I loved so much. The icing on the cake was that people came up to me to tell me how inspired they were by it. I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the week!

I have a lot more to say on this topic so to be continued for tomorrow…. LOL

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/80th sec at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom on my gitzo tripod.