Happy Chinese New Year! Sorry, I’m a few days late but this past Sunday I was finally able to go to the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, Washington DC. It is always something that I try to attend but the past couple of years I have forgotten about it, had other plans or just too lazy to go. I think the last time I may have gone was when I was in high school.
Needless to say, it has been a while and I’m so glad I was able to make it this year. I met up with a few photo friends beforehand but ended up getting to the parade as it was starting. Luckily, I found a great spot close to the Friendship Gate and was able to capture a few images from there as the parade was ending. But I ended up being about 3 rows from the front. At first, I was a little hesitant about my spot and was worried if I would even be able to see anything. As the parade was nearing the finish line, I am glad I was able to get the perspective that I did. Having the rows of people in front made it easier for me to frame the people coming down the parade route. For example, this image of Mayor Muriel Bowser. The tall man standing in the front row ended up covering everyone else she was walking beside and your main focus goes directly to the Mayor. I loved how smiley she was as she was coming down the street.
My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/200th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
Going through some more images of my trip to Taiwan at the end of last year, I loved looking back on images I created from this corner of the city. It just reminded me of how colorful Taipei really is. I love all the pink in the image and it was just a coincidence that it says “PINK” on the billboard. I don’t think I even noticed that when I was creating this image.
And if you turned left into that street, it was blocked off to cars but lined with tents selling fresh fruits and other produce. Often times my mom and I would walk there, grab some kind of fruit as a snack and continue on our day. My favorites were the ones you can’t get back in the United States or hard to find like Dragon fruit or another one known as Sugar Apple. OMG so good!
My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/2000th sec and ISO has 800 with my Sony A7II and 35mm prime lens.
I hope you all had a happy and safe night last night. 2019 was a great year for me and my travel bucket list. I am so lucky to have been able to travel to new places, destinations to see family I hadn’t seen in years and revisit some places I’ve been to in the past and relive some beautiful memories. I’m already thinking about all the places I want to go to in the new year. HAHA
Similar to yesterday’s post about my favorite images from Washington DC, these are my personal favorite images I’ve taken on my travels. They are in no special order but chronological. And I added a few more comments about each of the images now. Feel free to click on each of the images to see my original blog post.
For the past two years, Andrew and I had celebrated the New Year in San Diego, California. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this year but I really hope to visit Southern California sometime later this year. One of my favorite parts about visiting is being able to fly my drone whenever I want. By the end of this trip, I was flying my drone so much more than taking pictures with my actual camera. One of the best parts is being able to fly over places that would be difficult to see. For example, this image is of my cousin getting ready to get some morning surf in.
When I was young, my mom would take me to visit Las Vegas every summer. I always loved visiting because I always thought that her sister, my aunt, lived in the coolest city in the world. At that time, Las Vegas was a lot more family-friendly, but it’s just as fun visiting now as an adult. So when we visited in February it was around the time of Chinese New Year. It was pretty cool to see how each of the casinos celebrated the holiday. This was taken outside the Bellagio hotel. I don’t remember if this was a water fixture, fountain or what, but it was just an open area of water that had a perfect reflection of the red lanterns. Another highlight of that trip? Visiting the Neon Museum for the first time.
I mentioned this before, but I thought our trip to Chicago was very successful from a photography standpoint (and pizza standpoint too). I came back from that trip with so many images I loved. So many more than what I’ve included in this travel photography post because I wanted to limit myself and only put my absolute favorites. But this image of Cloud Gate is definitely on the top. I absolutely love that glow that’s coming from the sun rising and hitting the bottom of the sculpture. Plus that lady standing in the middle is perfect.
As far as Chicago city photography, I went on the trip knowing that parking garages are a great place to go to get some nice vantage points. For this particular spot, people are usually facing to the right to photograph some L trains from above. But I thought the view on the left was really interesting as well. I really liked how all the light posts lined up. So I made it a point to look in both directions while I was taking pictures from this garage. Luckily, I turned my head at the right moment to see these pedestrians walking almost in the same pattern as the light posts, all wearing dark colors. This moment could have not been planned more perfectly.
3 days in Turks and Caicos was not enough. I spent most of the days relaxing under a beach umbrella and it was amazing. I love the calming sounds of the water and ocean breeze. UGH thinking about it now makes me really miss it since it’s so cold here on the east coast right now. At least I have these images to remind me just how beautiful the world is. I captured this image in the morning time. I try to be considerate of other people’s feelings towards drones so I knew if I had it out later in the day, there would be more chances of people not liking it on the beach. So in crowded places, I try to fly as early in the day as possible. But I just love the contrast of the blue water and pink umbrellas in this image. The shadows of the palm trees and people walking past were not expected but I think really adds to the image.
I still can’t believe how many cameras I had with me on this trip. For such a short trip, I had 5 cameras, if you include my iPhone. At any given moment, I had at least two cameras with me. So this image was taken with my GoPro. I love that little camera, especially for underwater photography. You can get so creative with all the different mounts. So I bought this FiftyFifty Dome specifically for this trip but the secret for me for capturing this image was putting the camera on timelapse mode and selecting the best one from the entire series. I’d love to do more images like this next time I’m at a beach.
The Presidents Heads in Croaker, Virginia has been on my list to visit forever. I actually have been wanting to go to this abandoned field for some time that this was actually my second attempt ongoing. The first time didn’t work out. But it’s ok because this second trip made it all worth it. I loved going there with my photography friends and capturing the Presidents Heads at sunset and night time. It made the whole experience so much more memorable. PS. I also heard they’re filming an episode of Walking Dead here soon. I’ve stopped watching the series but I will definitely be on the lookout for that episode. That’s going to be so cool.
My very first time visiting Oregon was amazing. I loved, loved, loved the coast and I can’t wait to go back again. And I was super happy when I found this framing. It was taken at Ecola State Park around sunrise time. I had to step back a little bit to find it and I believe this was one of the last images I captured from this viewpoint. I also think that the memory of showing this image to my mom and her saying that she liked this image because it reminded her of a Chinese watercolor painting also makes me like this image even more.
On our third morning along the coast, Andrew, Frankie and I woke up and went for a walk on the beach. This was actually taken on my birthday, so it makes it even more special. But I decided to take my drone out and fly it for a bit. I had every intention of capturing the haystack and ocean but wasn’t really happy with what I was getting. When I was about to land the drone, I flew it above us and saw all the long shadows the sun was creating. I loved the way it turned out, especially with the lines on the beach and how simple everything is. Its one of those images that is probably more sentimental than anything else. And if you’re wondering about the 4th shadow, that’s my camera bag. LOL.
On a last-minute road trip, my friend Sue and I decided to visit Falling Water in Pennsylvania. We booked an Airbnb in a town that was close by and had a great time visiting the surrounding areas. If you know me, I’m an early bird. My internal alarm clock woke me up super early. Like 30 minutes before my alarm went off, so I decided to take advantage of the early morning and tried to find somewhere to take pictures. I had planned to go to a waterfall, but I didn’t make it because this morning fog was distracting me. I found myself pulling over every 10-15 minutes taking pictures. Unfortunately, I left my drone in the Airbnb or else that would have made for some EPIC foggy shots.
Since we’re about a 4-hour drive to New York, I try to make it a point to visit at least once a year. This time we visited, I went to my very first photo expo, PhotoPlus. The expo was very impressive and a little overwhelming. Regardless, being in the city is always a good time. On our last day in New York, it rained a lot. But that didn’t stop us from getting our last meal in the city, soup dumplings. Luckily, Chinatown was amazing for these rainy day vibes. I loved how everyone was carrying around an umbrella and didn’t seem to mind the bad weather.
Is it me or is Central Park hard to photograph? Whenever I think of the park, I always think of how big and crowded it is. It’s a little overwhelming and intimidating if you ask me. So I was really happy with the way this image turned out. A little moment of peace with some Candian Geese. That rhymed. But my favorite part about the image is the framing and the yellow leaves around the bottom of the image. It just creates so much more depth that I think is needed in this image. I also think of Home Alone 2 when I think of Central Park, but that’s a different story. LOL.
The streets of Taipei are crowded! Even waking up before sunrise, you’ll always find people on the streets. It’s pretty crazy how noisy it can get, not necessarily from cars honking but just all the different types of cars engines on the road. From trucks to cars to scooters, you really gotta watch out while walking the streets. But I took full advantage of a busy street in Taipei and waited for this moment to happen. I saw this lady standing on the corner of a crosswalk, right by the taxis. I knew if I waited long enough, some taxis would cross in front of me and create this intersection of yellow. What I didn’t notice while I was capturing the moment was all the yellow in the signs too. I love it when things like this just work out!
Right before my trip to Taiwan, I got my first prime lens! I almost immediately fell in love and probably had that lens on my camera about 70% of the time I was traveling. I can’t even describe how it simplifies street photography and finding moments like this is so much easier to capture. There were a lot of images that I captured with that lens, but this one is probably one that sticks out the most because I just love that slice of light coming from the corner of the image.
I grew up visiting Taiwan. As I’ve gotten older, the visits have become less frequent but each time I go, I am reminded of so many memories while visiting in the past that I think I grow a greater appreciation for it. This time was even more special because it was going to be the last time I saw my grandfather on my mom’s side. He was 103 years old! I’m so grateful for the time we went because I got to see him while he was still healthy. I hadn’t mentioned it in the past, but he had a stroke during our visit and passed away soon after I came home. I’m grateful to have the last memories of him while he was healthy and to have been able to help him in the hospital. I was considering sharing some images I captured of him during the beginning of our trip, but not sure if I really will on my blog…
But with all that said, I created so many amazing memories this past year. A lot of them came from my travels and I could not be more grateful for the opportunities. There were moments that made me laugh hysterically and moments that made me cry. 2019 will be hard to forget. But it makes me so excited to see what’s in store for 2020 and all the images that still need to be created. Thank you all so much for following along on my journey.
What’s on your travel list for 2020? and HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!!!
Since I was uncertain of my schedule in Taiwan, I left for the trip knowing I was going to spend most of my photo-taking time working on my street photography. In the past year or so, I’ve really fallen in love with street photography, especially while traveling. It so exciting trying to capture the shot. It’s hard to plan for since you don’t know what is going to be going on and when you get something cool, it makes it so much more thrilling.
So far, the biggest tip I can offer for street photography is always being prepared and don’t put your camera away. You don’t know where the shot is going to be and you want to be ready when it happens. I’ve noticed that I’ve also gotten into the habit of always turning off my camera after I take a shot. I really made an effort to leave my camera on because even in a second, the image you see on the street can be gone.
One thing you gotta know about Taiwan is that the cars rule the streets. Pedestrians need to look out for cars as opposed to the other way around in the States. So you always cross at crosswalks when it’s your turn. The cars get a pretty long time to drive along the road, in turn, pedestrians get a while to cross the street too. AND you get a countdown. The longest countdown I saw started at 90 seconds. So it gives you plenty of time to cross the street or take pictures of people crossing the street. LOL.
This image was taken while I was wandering the streets of Taipei. It was one of those 90-second countdowns but as you can see, I captured it at 20 seconds left for the cars to drive before the pedestrians can cross. What I love about this image is all the information you see. You see the people lined up, with the store signs in the background and on the very top you can see the count down to begin to cross. So much going on can be a little chaotic, but everytime I look at this image I see something different.
My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/800th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
I’ve been to the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall many times on my visits to Taipei. Each time I go creates a special memory but I wasn’t really planning on going on this trip. For one, I didn’t know what my schedule would be and how much time I would have. But one day when I figured out I had a free afternoon, I started googling things to do in Taipei on rainy days. Yes, I’ve mentioned rain almost every single one of these Taiwan blog posts, but it was a threat every day we were there.
So I found this blog post that had some very good suggestions. I even considered going to the Hello Kitty cafe but that was pretty far out of the way. So I figured I’d just spend the evening at the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. As soon as I got there, I was so glad I made the decision. There were puddles EVERYWHERE and made for some amazing reflections. To be honest, I had never seen so many people line up to take puddle images before and I felt like I was right at home. LOL.
This is one of the images I captured of Liberty Square. I haven’t had the chance to look at the other images yet, but I’m so excited to share more images I captured from this evening.
My camera settings for this image is F2.2. at 1/200th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 35mm prime lens.
I guess you would call this a day market? I’m not sure, but every morning there are always these street vendors selling produce, cooked food and meats. It’s not an everyday scene that we see in America so I tried to capture it as much as I could. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure about posting it. I didn’t know if everyone would want to see meat hanging from hooks. This is outdoors with no refrigeration or with any kind of packaging but this is how they do it in Taiwan.
I showed this image to Andrew and he really liked it. He said he likes the framing but also how the vendor looks so sharp. I like it because he has such a big smile on his face and it really shows a sense of community. Its everyday scenes like this that I wanted to capture on this trip, so I’m glad this one turned out as well as it did.
What do you think?
My camera settings for this image are F5.0 at 1/160th sec and ISO 80 with my 35 mm prime lens.