sunrise

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Back in 2018, my cousin gifted me with his old film camera. It was unexpected but I am so grateful for it. It brought back many memories of when I first started in photography. At that time, there was no digital photography. Everything was on a negative film. But what had initially sparked my interest in photography was being able to go out with my friends and capturing portraits of them with my SLR camera, point and shoot, and even disposable cameras. It was just something fun for us to do and I used to love seeing pictures I took on my friend’s bedroom walls or lockers. So from that point on, everywhere I went, I had a camera on me.

Obviously with a “new camera” comes new adventures so when I got the film camera, I was excited to start experimenting with it. It’s been a while since I have used film so along the way, I’ve learned to take my time with composition and framing. I learned that each frame is precious and should not be taken for granted, especially since a roll is film is just 24 or 36 frames. Photograph the moments that really speak to you. And practice patience in creating and developing the images.

But omg, that sound of the shutter too! It instantly brought back so many memories.

So I thought it would be fun to go through some images that I’ve taken in the past year or so with my Canon T70 and 35-70mm lens. By the way, none of these images on this post have been edited. I may or may not edit them in the future, but for now, it’s just fun seeing the results of the film.

My first set of images were taken in August 2018. I brought it on a peach picking trip with me and it was really just to see if the camera was working if there were any light leaks and a refresher on how to use film. I’m sorry to say that I forgot what kind of film these were captured on. I tried going through my Amazon orders and I don’t see any film listed. It may have just been some old rolls of film my cousin had in his camera bag. Although it’s a little fuzzy, this roll of film got me excited to start shooting again.

Delaplane, Virginia August 2018

Nowadays, I find myself researching different kinds of film and cameras, just to see what’s out there. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers getting great images with their analog cameras. I have to admit though, it’s a little hard for me to capture film images. I have my digital camera which I love, but it’s hard to balance the time between my digital and film camera. I spend most of my time shooting on my digital camera because I’m so used to it that sometimes I’ll even forget that I have a film camera on me.

It has helped to go on photo outings that are dedicated to just film. I’ll leave my digital camera at home and I love the feeling of roaming with such light equipment. Since I don’t have additional lenses or equipment for my film camera, it has been a nice change of pace to just have one camera with one lens.

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Kodak UltraMax 400: San Diego, California January 2019

Expired Film

I am extremely grateful for my friend, Jim. He was my photography mentor when I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum while I was in high school. We’ve been able to reconnect through social media which was really cool when we found each other! Last year, he was kind enough to give me a whole bunch of expired Portra film 400 and 800 rolls of film. It has been so fun to try to go through all the rolls. I’m nowhere near completing them, but to see how the expired film develops has been super interesting.

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It all started when I saw a photograph similar to this one. I had never seen anything like it before.

washington dc, fog, weather, tidal basin, jefferson memorial, capital, memorial, cherry blossom trees, kutz bridge, reflection, water, camera settings, east coast, weather, dc

I feel in love with the way it was so mysterious and the way it made the Jefferson Memorial look so obscure. Even though I had photographed a little bit of fog in 2012, I didn’t know it could get this foggy in the city until I saw that particular image.

I’m sorry I don’t have a link to the original image anymore, but I studied that picture. I wanted to know exactly where the photographer was standing and tried to figure out different ways I could have potentially captured it.

It finally happened to me on Christmas Day 2015. I woke up early for sunrise since my family doesn’t celebrate until later in the evening. I figured the best way to start off the day would be to take a quick morning walk around the National Mall. I checked the weather and it said it was going to be unseasonably warm, so why not.

I don’t remember how long the fog took to appear but I do remember it was quite a bit after sunrise. When it first started forming, I was over by the Potomac River. I had never seen fog just appear out of nowhere but something triggered in my head that if it was starting to form on the river, maybe it was forming at the Tidal Basin. I walked over as quickly as I could and there it was! It was the white Christmas I never knew I wanted.

After that, I became obsessed with finding out more about fog. How to capture it, when it was going to happen and all the best places in the Washington DC area to photograph it.

The Lincoln Memorial on a foggy morning. (L) Predawn (R) 20 minutes after sunrise

So here’s what I learned:

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On particularly sunny days, just after the sunrises be sure to look at the Lincoln Memorial. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the way that the sun glows on the memorial is probably one of the best things in DC.

And there aren’t too many people who are out at that time of day either. Usually, you will see a few photographers, some Park Police but even more runners. I’ve never actually run on the National Mall but I see a lot of them sprinting up the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial for a final push. This is one of those runners. After running up the stairs, he put his arms behind his head to get a breath of air. I love how his shadow was perfectly aligned with the Lincoln Memorial wall.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/8000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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From earlier this year, an image from sunrise at the US Capitol.

I don’t think I’ve shared any other images I’ve captured from this morning. It was one of those mornings where it seemed like nothing was really working quite right. Whenever that happens, I try my best to tell myself that days like this happen and that I’m at least out doing what I love to do. I capture as much as I can and just sit on the images until I’m ready to have a full editing session. Those are the times when I’m excited about editing and feel creative enough to try new things that may have not worked before.

I particularly like this image because I don’t see a lot of images of just the Peace Monument located in front of the US Capitol. I love how the bare branches are framing the monument adding to the mood.

My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-20mm zoom lens.

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Going through some images from the archives, I found this one from Ecola State Park overlooking Cannon Beach in Oregon from August of last year. Our trip to Oregon had to be one of my favorites from 2019. It’s a place that I had never been too, but still constantly think about just because of how beautiful it was.

On our first morning on the coast, Andrew and I woke up early to catch the sunrise. Frankie was still in bed. LOL. So we made our way to Ecola State Park to catch one of the best views along the coast. I am so glad I was able to get the drone up for a little bit as the sun was coming over the horizon. The pastel colors that the early morning light created is probably my favorite part of this image.

I CANT WAIT to go back. I just don’t know when that will be though.

My camera settings for this image are F2.2 at 1/400thh sec and ISO 400 with my DJI Mavic Pro.

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I captured this at the same time I captured this image.

After playing around with some long exposures, I decided to walk around to see if I could get any foreground interest. I was there with my Sunday morning sunrise friends so finding a person as my foreground was pretty easy. Luckily Mark made for a great unknowing model and I was able to capture a few images of him taking pictures.

But the moral of the story is that Mark always gets to our locations early and snags the best spots before anyone else.

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/25th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.