summer

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The third best thing about summer- sunflower fields!

The first is obviously the beach, the second being fireworks, and then comes sunflowers. LOL.

But if you’re in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area, I highly recommend stopping by McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area. There are rows and rows of sunflowers, at times it can feel endless. Plus they have multiple fields, so if one isn’t looking it’s best or too crowded, it’s really simple just to hop to the next field. But there aren’t really any signs for the fields so be sure to check out this map before you go.

On this visit, I decided to try to get a little bit closer to the sunflowers. Not necessarily macro shots like I have done in the past, but using one flower to frame the other. This particular flower caught my attention because I liked how some of the pedals were folded in. I thought I’d use the flower in the foreground to sort of fill in that spot.

But while I was out photographing the sunflowers last week, I was just reflecting on all the times I’ve photographed these summer flowers. It’s crazy to think how many times I’ve been to this sunflower fields. Check out this video from 8 years ago! Talk about a blast from the past:

Yes, I miss my long hair too.

Yes, I still feel like running through the fields every time I go. LOL

I definitely want to go back at least one more time this season to try to capture some more of these yellow beauties.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/1000th second and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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From the top of Altaire’s rooftop in Crystal City, Virginia is one of the best views of the Washington DC memorials I had ever seen. It’s rare to get such an elevated, unobstructed view. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it took my breath away.

This image was taken as the sunset was starting to burn. I totally wasn’t expecting it because I didn’t think the clouds looked like the right “sunset clouds” but it was definitely a welcomed surprise! So I quickly tried to set up my shot while looking at the United States Air Force Memorial. It wasn’t quite working out since I had focused mainly on the memorial and the beautiful red sky wasn’t showing in the image. So I took a few steps back so I could at least get a little bit of the color. I loved the way this turned out. I love how the red in the sky matches the red in the back brake lights of the cars. I think if I had to do it all over again, I would make the exposure just a  little bit longer so the cars in the foreground were a little bit more blurred but I think that’s just me being nitpicky. Other than that, I think this turned out to be very cool.

Gotta love those summer sunsets 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F13 at 0.3 sec and ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 100-400mm

 

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If I had to guess Sue’s favorite part of our 2017 road trip, it would either have been Santa Fe, New Mexico or the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Saguaro National Park but while we were there, we were in the middle of a huge heat wave. I thought Arizona was hot in previous visits to the state, but it was so HOT when we were there. Even after sunset and the sun went down, it was still so humid and hot. I even remember hearing on the radio that mailboxes were melting. That’s HOT! Holy cow. And how many times can I say hot in a row? LOL

Since it was so humid and hot, we only spent an hour or so around sunset in the national park. The rest of the time was spent in our hotel’s outdoor pool. We wanted to go when the sun was lower and maybe a little bit cooler, but that didn’t make much difference but you better believe there was lots of ice cream afterwards. Out of all the places on our roadtrip, I hope to visit Tucson again sometime soon because I actually enjoyed the time while we were there. It seemed like a super cute city with so much to do and see. We just didn’t get enough time. I just remember waking up the next morning and wanting to get out of the heat wave as soon as possible. The next stop on our trip was Los Angeles and that was nowhere close to being as hot. So we made our way over and spent the rest of our time in California before flying back home.

My camera settings for this image is F3.5 at 1/320th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.

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This image was taken about 30 minutes after I captured this one. The sun came out and was hitting the trees very nicely. By this point, Andrew and I had driven around Emerald Bay so that we were facing west and the sun was just over my right shoulder.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Andrew and I woke up really early to capture this image. 4 am west coast time so about 7am east coast time which isn’t so bad if you put it in terms of time zones, however by this point we were already adjusted to the west coast time. When I told my family the night before what time Andrew and I were planning on waking up and to go take pictures, they seemed pretty shocked. To be honest, people in general are shocked when I tell them what time I wake up to go take pictures. If you had told college-age me that I would be waking up that early, I’d be shocked too. But at this point I’m used to it. And when we’re home, Andrew usually wakes up early too. I don’t make him wake up early with me when were traveling but he’s just a good supportive husband who wants to make sure I’ll be ok so he’ll come with me too <3

But it’s funny because soon after we came home from this trip, Andrew and I went to a conference to listen to Robert Herjavec (among other people) speak. He talked about how he’s an early riser just so he can get things done before he has to go to work. Everyone thought he was crazy too. But the funny part of it was when he said people would ask him, “but aren’t you tired?” And then Robert said, “of course I’m tired! But I gotta get it done!” LOL so true Robert, so true!

If you ever get the opportunity to see Robert speak, I’d highly recommend it. He was funny, entertaining and inspiring.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/100th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

 

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So remember how in May-ish I was so excited for lightning season? On the east coast, we can get some pretty crazy lightning storms in the summertime and the first one I captured this year was pretty cool. I had never seen a lightning strike sideways before. It has always been vertical. I’m not sure how it happened like that, maybe it was too cloudy or something like that? But either way I thought it was really cool.

But that wasn’t the whole image. THE SECRETS OUT! I cropped it. LOL. In that same exact image, I actually captured a second lightning strike. I thought it was really funny looking and really different because of how yellow it was. Even though it looked cool, I didn’t think it helped the image at all. I find it a bit distracting because it’s so bright. It’s kind of like two different storms going on at once. What do you think? Would you have left it in?

Anyways, I read somewhere that September is going to remain hot in the Washington area. Hopefully that will bring more opportunities for lightning. If not, it’s ok too. I’m looking forward to the change of season and everything that fall has to bring.

In order to capture this image, I was standing in between the columns of the Jefferson Memorial. The Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial are great places to go if you ever want to photograph lightning in the district. Its scenic with the perfect amount of shelter so you and your camera gear dont get wet. I don’t use any phone apps or anything to capture them. It’s all really just watch the lightning for a bit to figure out the pattern of lightning strikes and hope for the best.

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 0.3 seconds ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.

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Just a little break from the California images to wish you a Happy Labor Day weekend! I can’t believe it’s already here. It’s one of the last weekends this year to enjoy the warm temps and jump in the water. I probably won’t be doing that though. I am looking forward to attending my friend’s wedding. It’s my college roommate’s little brother’s wedding and I can’t believe he’s actually getting married. CRAZY how time flies. If you asked me, I still think he’s 15 years old begging us for rides to his friend’s house. It’s going to be a shock to see him standing in front of everyone with a suit on.

This image was taken earlier in the summer at Lake Anna in Louisa, Virginia. A storm was approaching but that didn’t stop anyone from getting into the water. This is my friend, Cheryl. We actually went to high school together but didn’t know each other at the time. It just so happens that many years later we ended up having friends that were friends with each other and so we reconnected. It was one of those moments when I first saw her I knew her face looked familiar but wasn’t sure how I knew her. LOL But I’m glad to know her now 🙂 She’s awesome, as you can see.

In order to capture this I sat at the very edge of the boat. My camera was right above the water and would get splashed here and there but never too wet. I just love the perspective and all the detail you see in the water. Maybe this is was part of the reason why I had to get my camera serviced… HAHAA. It was bound to happen. It just means I use my camera ALLLLL the time.

Happy weekend everyone!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/640th of a second at ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 28-70mm lens.