sunrise

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Last week was a stunner. There were so many great sunrises and sunsets. I was able to capture some but not all. This particular sunrise colors didn’t last too long but when they were out, they were out in full force and so vibrant. It totally makes waking up early worth it but that part it isn’t too bad now that it’s winter. It’s a little bit after 7a which makes it pretty manageable. The difficult part about winter sunrises is the cold. I’m definietly bundled up and walking around like the michelin tire man.

I decided to go to the Tidal Basin because it’s been a little while since I’ve watched the sun rise from there. This is pretty close to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial along the tidal basin and one of my favorite spots for sunrise that I mention in this post. I met up with my friend, Larry and we spent the morning just catching up and snapping pics. It was great.

Lately whenever I go out, I carry just two lenses with me. The 70-200mm and the 16-35mm but have been favoring the 70-200mm even more. There have been times when I don’t even switch between the two lenses and only use the 70-200mm. I love it. Capturing this scene with the 16-35mm wide angle would have made the Jefferson Memorial look so small and since the color didn’t fill the whole sky, being able to zoom in to a tighter frame gives the impression of more color than there actually was.

So whenever someone asks me what camera equipment they should get, I always say that it’s really about the lens you use. It can totally change your perception of a scene and make you see things differently. Just something to think about in case you’re in the market 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F9 and 1/25th sec at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

 

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If you asked me my favorite time of day to photograph Washington DC, it has to be sunrise. Hands down, no questions asked, absolutely the best. Yes, the early wake up time can be a little brutal especially in the long summer months but it is so worth it. I love the alignment of where the sun rises among the monuments as opposed to where it sets from. It gives off this amazing warm glow on the memorials that’s hard to get at sunset. Plus there is this overwhelming feeling of peace and calm in a city that’s usually hustling and bustling during the day. At sunrise you’re more likely to get images with no one in them while at sunset it’s nearly impossible.

Whether you’re traveling or live within the DC Metro area, I highly recommend you try to make your way down to the National Mall early in the morning at least once. I typically try to arrive at my sunrise location about 30 minutes before the sun rises. That way you will see all the great predawn colors in the sky. Dress according to the weather and grab a coffee, you won’t regret it.

For the serious photographers out there, you may be wondering about tripods. For the most part they are not allowed. However if you’re photographing sunrise and there is no one else around, you could probably get away with it. I think the biggest concern is when the memorials are crowded and other people may trip over the legs. Out of all the times I’ve been out for sunrise (trust me it’s way more than I can count), I have been asked to put it away once while I was at the Lincoln Memorial. All other times other than sunrise at any of the memorials, it’s pretty much out of the question.

The United States Capitol is slightly different. Technically, it’s not the National Mall so the same rules don’t apply as they do at the memorials. There is way more security there and I’ve heard conflicting rules about tripods. The last time I spoke to a Capitol Policeman about it, he said they are allowed. However since then I’ve heard of photographer friends being asked to put it away. It seems like there is no right or wrong answer there so I would take your tripod if you want and just be respectful when photographing the grounds.

One last thing to note, I wrote a book all about photographing Washington DC. It’s called Snap DC: Your Guide to taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond… and it is available on Amazon. So if you are interested in seeing more of Washington DC than just the sunrise, click here to check it out.  As an added bonus I created a 1, 3, and 5 day sample photo itinerary for your trip to Washington DC, click here to download my ideal schedule.

Now on to that sunrise…

The Lincoln Memorial

In my opinion, this is the ultimate sunrise location in Washington DC.  It’s the most iconic and it is the place that I tell everyone they must go if they have never been to the national mall and especially at sunrise. It’s the center of 4 great landmarks all within a central area. A one stop shop if you will.

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So after I photographed the Korean War Memorial for a bit, I walked over to the Reflecting Pool to check things out. Since we had snow the day before, I was really hoping for a little bit of fog. Lately, I’ve been loving the reflecting pool for this exact reason. I love the way the fog gets trapped around the trees of the pool so I wanted to make sure I was at the right place at the right time. Well, it didn’t happen.

But this happened! I love how simple this image is. I shot it with my 70-200mm at 200mm standing on the top of the steps that lead to the reflecting pool. I’m not sure if it’s easy to tell the location if you’re not familiar with the Washington DC area and that’s the reason why I like it so much. It looks like it could be almost anywhere. The reflection of the Washington Monument perfectly cuts the image in half and the two people standing there is absolutely perfect. I also love how compressed the image is and you can’t even see the stairs. It’s as if we’re on two totally different platforms and you have to leap down to get close to the water.

LOL I love how these past few posts turned into a chronological description of what I did in the span of 2 days. Not intentional but it will be very interesting to look back on.

PS speaking of looking back, 2018 is almost over! If you haven’t already, check out the 2019 Dynamic DC calendar. I LOVE the way it turned out this year. I don’t have many left so get them while they last. And can we talk about how much I love February’s image OMG <3

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/1250th sec ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.

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It looked like nothing even happened the day after it snowed last week. It was like back to fall all over again, which I don’t mind in the least. I went out to photograph the sunrise because I thought with the weird weather it would bring something dramatic, it didn’t, but it was the fall leaves that caught my attention. They were particularly colorful by the Korean War memorial so I decided I would spend some time photographing a memorial I don’t usually photograph.

It’s funny because I always had this idea in my head about the Korean War Memorial. I thought it was a difficult memorial to photograph because where it is on the National Mall (it’s not in a very well lit corner) or how the figures are placed. I don’t know, I never really got a composition I was really happy with… until this time.

Maybe it was the colorful leaves behind the figures or I was feeling particularly inspired, but I had a really good time photographing the memorial. To be honest, I still think that photographing this is the best during snow or fog. It just reduces things everything down. It even makes the shrubs in between the soldiers a little less visible which I think makes it a little better in a photograph. Oh well, since it’s going to be a particularly snowy this winter, I guess I’ll have more time to put this into practice.

That orange glow though! My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/50th sec and ISO 500.

Also, let me know if you like these multiple image posts 🙂 It takes me a little bit longer but I feel like it tells more of a story of what it was like being at the location.

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Is it me or did Thanksgiving creep up on you too? I can’t believe it’s next week! In the past I would have already known what dishes I’m making but this year I have no clue. I have not looked at pinterest once! I need to get on that this weekend.

But in the meantime I have been going through some of the images I’ve taken recently of the fall colors. It was like I spent a week straight photographing different places around the Washington DC area to capture the color but didn’t have time to go through ALL the images. But this trip to Shenandoah National Park was definietly a highlight.

Shenandoah National Park isn’t exactly in the Washington area but it’s a great place to escape to when you need a little time with nature. On this trip I went with my friend, Larry and we were both pleasantly surprised by the sunrise color. In the past, we haven’t had much luck with color in the park. Mostly a lot of cloudy, foggy days.  So as soon as I saw that color come out, I was super excited to switch to my 16-35mm wide angle to try to capture as much of the sky as I could. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but lately, I’ve been really liking to have a blurry foreground element and have something in the mid-ground in focus. That is exactly what I was trying to do here with the huge rocks that I was standing on in order to capture this image. What do you think?

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/40th sec at ISO 1250 with my 16-35mm and Larry let me borrow his Sony A7III for the day.

And if you have any Thanksgiving recipe suggestions let me know! Something on the easy side 🙂