sunrise

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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.

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I just got back from my second trip to Chicago but my first real time visiting with a camera in my hand. I booked this trip with the intention to scout out photo locations for our upcoming photo workshop in Chicago. I wanted to get a feel for the city and the logicistics of getting around. So if you’re interested in joining me for a week in Chicago, click here.

In general, I loved visiting the city. Compared to New York City or even Washington DC, it’s a lot quieter as far as car noises and even people walking around. It’s so photogenic, meaning everywhere you turned could be a great new image. With the so many different elevated views, it was difficult to take a bad picture. I especially liked being among the skyscrapers. Even during the middle of the day, you can find some very interesting shadow play. Overall you can’t go wrong with a photo adventure in Chicago – even if it’s just for a few days.

Side note, they don’t call it the “windy city’ for nothing. Even on a nice, sunshining day, it can get really cold with the wind. I highly suggest packing at least gloves and a hat in your camera bag for those just in case moments. You don’t want to let being too cold be the reason why you don’t capture your shot. I was there at the very end of March and I wore my gloves everyday.

So we had a good 72 hours in Chicago packed full of photography. Here’s what we did:

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Chicago is such a photogenic city. I felt like everywhere I turned there was a new image to capture and I probably took way more pictures than I had expected to prior to leaving for the trip. Which is 100% why I am so excited for the photo workshop in July. The whole time I was walking around the city, I just envisioned walking around with some of you and having so much fun with our cameras. I was so inspired by Chicago and the vibe that I think I found some great photo spots to help you create some stunning images. So if you’re interested in learning more about spending a week with me in Chicago, click here. Feel free to send me or Focus on the Story any questions you may have.

This image was captured a little bit after sunrise. To be honest, I was surprised by how many people were out there so early in the morning. A little surprised, but not really because I did notice a lot of people walking around with cameras. Even in the non-touristy spots, there were photographers everywhere. But I’m glad I was there in the early morning because this spot can get real packed, real quick. Also that amazing glow that was going on underneath the bean was stunning! As soon as I saw it, I just kept on hoping and waiting for someone to walk right underneath. This lady was under the bean all by herself taking pictures and I love how her outfit just matched that early morning light.

PS Can you spot me in the image? Andrew is standing just a few steps behind me. I love how reflective that surface is.

My camera setting for this image is F4 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Other than the Tidal Basin, it’s hard to say where my favorite cherry blossom trees are. There are so many around the city to choose from. These in particular are right in front of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. The building itself is just so beautiful and I like to use it as a grey backdrop to help create this monochromatic contrast between organic and structural. If I could, I would seriously spend hours just photographing this group of trees alone.

This past weekend I tried to avoid the crowds at the Tidal Basin and photographed the flowers outside the US Capitol and National Gallery of Art. If I was daring enough, I could probably spend the whole cherry blossom season outside of the Tidal Basin and just photograph the ones everywhere else. Actually That’s a really good idea. I may try that next year. It’s already too late this year because I’ve photographed them yesterday morning at the basin but NEXT YEAR! LOL but I’m up for the challenge.

PS If you’re in the area, it’s also the perfect time to check out the blooms by the US Capitol and even across the street at Lower Senate Park. The magnolias and cherry blossoms are looking beautiful. Even the ones at the Washington Monument trees are looking great. I could go on and on, there’s so many great trees all over.

My camera settings for this image is f5.6 at 1/200th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.