sunrise

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Sunrise has been pretty rough these days. A 4 am wake-up alarm is not my ideal time to be woken up, especially in the summertime but sometimes it’s necessary. Like last week when I finally made my way to the Lincoln Memorial for sunrise after what seemed like forever. The sunrise itself wasn’t that great but the early morning glow was what made it all worth it.

I met up with my friend, Birch who I haven’t seen in what feels like even longer than my last Lincoln Memorial photo walk. We mostly caught up with life while chasing the light around the reflecting pool. This image was taken from the Lincoln Memorial looking towards the National Mall. We were kinda standing around with cameras in hand when this guy on the bike just showed up. The perfect silhouette to the Monument.

The scene itself seemed a little off balance with most of the interesting elements on the left-hand side, so I solved it by cutting off the right-hand side with a column from the Lincoln Memorial. I love how it framed all the necessary elements of the image but also created some interesting layers.

BTW, when is the Washington Monument finally going to open? I’m ready to go back!

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/5000 and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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We’ve been having a lot of stormy weather lately in the Washington DC area. It seems like almost every day I’ve been getting warnings on my phone about rain or thunderstorms. I’m not complaining though because it feels great to break up some of the hot, humid summer days. But with all these rainy days, I’m always thinking about the water levels at the Tidal Basin and how bad the flood walls need to be repaired.

Even though I took this image last summer, it reminds me of what it’s probably been like at the Tidal Basin right now. It’s pretty ridiculous to see how much the Tidal Basin gets flooded, even on a day that doesn’t rain that much. To be honest, this particular day was the worst I’ve ever seen it. The sidewalks are flooded and it has become un-walkable. At some point, I had to walk up the slight hill, up to the sidewalk in order to get around trees and the flooding in order to walk along the Tidal Basin. It’s crazy!

If you’re are just as concerned as I am about your grandchildren seeing the Tidal Basin in all its beautiful glory, including the iconic cherry blossoms, please consider taking the pledge from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s a national treasure that needs to be preserved.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/250th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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This image has been shared more than 3.6 million times.

Probably much more than that but with so many people showing it to their friends and family, I know my name has been lost and I can’t keep track. To say it’s been an honor is an understatement. The number of conversations, emails and private messages I’ve received about this one image has been overwhelming but so humbling. Even to this day, 7 years later, I will still get messages in my email box specifically about the emotions people have felt about it.

This post isn’t to brag or to show off. It comes from the bottom of my heart. The deepest gratitude I can offer to the beautiful city I call home, all those who have taken the time to tell me how much this image has meant to them, and especially all the veterans and families who have been impacted by the Vietnam War.

So I wanted to take a moment and talk about the story behind the image, Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Sunrise:

It All Started 11 Months Prior. January 6th, 2012:

I woke up for sunrise with every intention to photograph the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I had visited the memorial one time before but did not come out with images I was super excited about. After a conversation with a friend, I decided I needed to go back.

Little did I know, the sunrise that morning was going to be EPIC!

Click here to read more

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So this is the actual pipeline trail I was referring to last week. As you can see, it’s narrow. You’re pretty much walking one in front of the other the entire time and if someone wanted to pass, you have to sort of do that physical communication of who’s going to push their body towards the railings as the other person passes. It gets really awkward when strangers walk past with buckets and fishing poles. I mean these guys are usually carrying a lot of stuff.

To be honest though, I think I took this picture just so I could capture Albert‘s camera backpack. I’ve been in the market for a new one but it’s always such a struggle to find a great one. If it has one feature you’re looking for, it’s usually lacking in another. Plus I want something a little more discreet too. So if you have any recommendations, please let me know. Lately I’ve just been using a regular backpack with some camera padding inserts. But I think it’s time to get a real camera bag.

But isn’t it cool? This pipeline trail is unlike any trail I’ve been on before. I’m glad the City of Richmond made it so safe to walk on. Plus, there are a few points along the pipeline that you can actually jump off be and stand on a little beachy-sand area by the James. It was so fun.

At one point, both Albert and I jumped off to check out what the water looked like closer up. I thought that would be the most appropriate time to bust out my drone. So here’s a cool capture of both of us from above.

My camera settings for the pipeline image is F4.0 at 1/40th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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This was captured on the same day after this image. Probably just 1 or 2 hours after the sunrise image was captured,

You know it’s so funny when you visit a place for the first time before the sun actually rises, everything is so dark and you can barely make out what’s in front of you. Neither Andrew or I had ever been to Joshua Tree and we had no idea what’s was really going on. But once the sun came out and you can actually see, it’s always so shocking and beautiful. Like, “I missed out on all this?”

So this image was taken on our way out of the park. I know we drove down this road during sunrise, but didn’t really know what it looked like. It just took my breath away once I could actually see it. I love the way the shadows are crossing the road. I believe they were created by some Joshua Trees but I am not completely sure. It mimics the clouds in the sky so well, almost as if it were a reflection. And nothing more says the American Southwest to me than those huge wide open spaces. I made Andrew pull over so I could capture it really quickly. Luckily we visited during the government shutdown and in the middle of winter when there weren’t as many people around. It made it really easy to just pull over and hop out real quick for the picture. Looking at this image definitely makes me want to go back soon but I’m not sure which is better, the extreme cold (wind) or the extreme heat that Joshua Tree experiences.

My camera settings for this image is F 4.0 at 1/5000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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I haven’t been taking as many pictures around DC lately. Mostly due the fact that it’s been raining so much. Also I feel like I still have so many images to go through from this year. When I come home from travel, I get really excited and look at all my images. I’ll pick a few that I like the best and spend some time editing those. But for the most part, I’ll leave most of the other images just sitting there.

Sometimes I feel like I just need a break from them or I’ll end up getting really excited about a photowalk I did at home and those images will distract me for a bit.  Either way I always find it better after I have spent a little time apart from the images that I’ll be really happy with the edits. Now that I think of it, when I go back to look at those travel images after some time, it instantly brings me back to all these great memories and I think it’s easier to edit them after I can figure out how these places and experiences made me feel.

For example, this image was taken on our very first morning in Joshua Tree at the very end of December 2018. It was the best sunrise we had the entire trip but for some reason I was never extremely happy with the way I edited them. 5 months later, I had some time over the weekend and looked through a lot of my Joshua Tree images. I almost forgot about this sunrise and I can’t believe it. It reminds me of the morning when we woke up really early, even without alarm clocks because we were still on east coast time and hoping into the car. Since we were on our way to Joshua Tree, I felt like the only appropriate thing to do was to listen to all the U2 songs I could think of off of the top of my head. It ended up being so fun and we were cracking up over the littlest things. Aww so fun!

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/250th sec and ISO 2000 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 16-35mm.