sunrise

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Taken a year ago on this day at the United States Capitol Building at sunrise.

I even remember capturing it. It was the day I was going to go to the Hamilton show at the Kennedy Center and I was pumped. I was so excited about the show just because I had heard so many great things about it. Let me tell you it met all my expectations. I even remember being the only person out capturing this sunrise (besides a few random joggers) so I was able to blast the show’s soundtrack from my iPhone. I forgot my headphones that day so you gotta do what you gotta do.

The sky literally exploded in front of my eyes and I was having so much fun capturing it. In order to get the most out of the reflection, I got down really close to the water. I love how you can see the little bubbles on top. I think it adds an interesting texture to the image.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/60th sec and ISO 320 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 17-40mm wide-angle lens.

 

 

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Taken around the same time I captured this image, I love the way this one turned out. It also goes great as a pair because I think it portrays what it’s been like in DC lately, H-O-T. Granted it’s not as hot as it was last week but it is definitely sundress or tank top season. OMG.

This image was taken around sunrise time. I was definitely getting the orange glow from the sun but boosted up the vibrancy a little bit in lightroom to show off the color a little more. After I saved the image in my “haven’t blogged yet” folder, I noticed it was sort of similar to this image I captured a few weeks ago at the McKee Beshers sunflower fields.

So I guess that means I have a “style” for when I’m feeling extra warm outside. They both give off that, “please provide me with some shade” feeling. LOL

My camera settings for the Capitol image is F8 at 1/1000th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

My camera setting for the sunflower image is F4 at 1/3200th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Since I’ve photographed Washington DC so much, I sometimes play tricks on myself and try to park my car in different places so I can find different perspectives in photographing the landmarks. That way I will force me to walk different directions than I’m used to and hopefully see things differently. I think this trick works well, as long as you remember where you parked your car 🙂

So I was driving around, trying to look for a different parking spot when I noticed the Bartholdi Fountain flowing with water at sunrise. I was surprised it was on because even the World War II memorial on the National Mall doesn’t start the water until 6 am. So when I drove past around 5:30 am, I was excited and knew that I wanted to photograph the fountain.

It’s been a while since I have photographed it. Almost 4 years! But I do remember thinking that I wanted to get back there one day for sunrise. So I finally did it and concentrated on creating layers with the US Capitol dome. The sunrise itself didn’t have any clouds in the sky so I really wanted to fill the frame with the dome, water, and fountain. I made sure to have a “slower” shutter speed so you can see the steam of water flowing well against the almost white sky.

My camera settings for this image is F20 at 1/15th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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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!

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