things to do

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If you’ve never been to the Neon Museum, I’d highly recommend it. Out of all the times I’ve been to Vegas, I can’t believe I’ve never been before. It’s a really cool place with lots to see and reminisce on what used to be.

My mom and I used to go every summer while I was growing up. Her sister and family lives there so we would go and visit them all the time. I loved it. But what I didn’t realize was how family friendly Vegas was trying to be in the 90’s. At that time there was Circus Circus, Excalibur, Luxor was just built and for those super hot summer days, Wet and Wild was my favorite place to be. It wasn’t until I took the tour at the Neon Museum where I realized that that was happening and I was actually happy I grew up in the era of the “family friendly Vegas”.

Now it’s the total opposite of that but it’s still really cool to see these vintage signs. For example, this sign of the Stardust. I totally remember visiting the hotel and casino but even more so I remember watching the the building blow up on TV. My cousin told me that her and her friends were sitting on top of their car and watched it in person. Pretty cool if you asked me.

So if you’ve never been, I’d highly recommend the art talk provided the the Neon Museum. It was entertaining to listen to and learned a lot of cool facts. To be honest, the “boneyard” itself wasn’t big. I actually did a whole lap around before I found out about the art talk, attended the art talk, and then did another entire lap around the property. It worked out well because I challenged myself to keep the same lens on for each lap I did and could only switch when I was done. It definitely challenged me to be more mindful of things and I probably saw a lot more detail than I would have if I was just constantly switching the entire time. In case you’re wondering, 3 laps around the boneyard took me about an hour.

My camera settings for this image is F14 at 1/250th sec and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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One of the places I was looking forward to the most while visiting Joshua Tree National Park was the Cholla Cactus Garden. From the pictures, I could tell that they were like cacti that I’ve never seen before. What surprised me the most was that some of them were taller than me! Andrew is 6′ and it looked like some of them were almost as tall as him! That’s insane.

One of my favorite parts about the garden was that it was right in front of these beautiful mountains. They made for an amazingly beautiful background at sunrise. More of those images soon but while I was looking through my images, I was really drawn to this one. I really liked having the photographers in the middle capturing the scene but still being able to see the cacti in the foreground and mountains in the background. The depth of this image is really interesting and perfectly describes what it’s like being in the garden.

If you’ve never been, the garden is a little bit out there but worth the drive. Probably 15-20 minutes outside of the other trails and attractions but I liked it so much that I actually went twice on our trip. One time with just Andrew when we went out for a solo sunrise adventure. The second time was when our cousins joined us later on in the day and I wanted to show them what it was all about. The sunrise adventure was a little bit better. Andrew and I were the only ones there and I loved when the sun rose a little bit and you could see the sunlight poking through the spikes of the cacti.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/800th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I’ll be honest, since being back from Norway I haven’t gone out to shoot that much. I’ve woken up for a few sunrises here and there but nothing too serious. So last week I was getting that itch to go out shooting again.

I met up with my friend, Birch and we headed to the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery. It’s been on my to do list for a while now and I’m so glad we made it out there. It was a beautiful, sunny day after days and days of rain. It felt so great to just be outside and enjoy the crisp autumn air.

When we had made the plans, I immediately had a vision of what I wanted one of my shots to look like. Although this one isn’t it, I love the way that it turned out. These two were just sitting there. They weren’t really talking, they just looked like they needed a little break from walking around. So they were the perfect focal point to break up the repetition of the seating area and the columns behind them.

If ever plan on visiting the amphitheater in real life, I think you would be immediately impressed with the grandness of everything. I love the beautiful lines and the light that reflects off of the white marble. Everything just seems so bright! I definietly want to come back when the leaves start changing in the Washington DC area and photograph this place again. The Arlington National Cemetery is a beautiful place to capture the leaves changing.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/2000th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and my 70-200mm zoom lens. I think next time I come back to this spot, I may shoot more with my wide angle 🙂

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One of our goals for the trip was to get in a little hiking in while we were in Norway. After our camping adventures in Lake Tahoe, Andrew and I were looking for beautiful scenery but not too strenuous of a hike. Well Ramestreken was half of that. It was one of the best views we saw the entire trip, but the hike was probably one of the hardest I had ever done.

For the most part, our trip was very rainy. It wasn’t consistent rain but it rained everyday. However  the weather gods were in our favor when we woke up on one of the last days of our trip to an amazingly beautiful, sunny morning (it rained in the afternoon). It was meant to be that we planned this hike on one of the best days that we were there because I don’t think it would have been possible to do it in the rain. The whole thing is 550 meters (.35 miles) which doesn’t seem like a long hike at all but it’s straight uphill the entire way! If it were raining it would have been way too muddy and slushy everywhere to even hike up. Some of it was paved, but for the most part you’re walking on tree trunks and dirt. In the image you can see a little piece of the decline. This was when we had already reached the top and we were headed down. This part of the hike had steps which made it a little easier but Andrew isn’t that far ahead of me when I took this image. Seriously, the most vertical hike I’ve ever experienced! We have definietly broken in our hiking shoes this summer.

But the strenuous hike was totally worth the views. I’ll post more about it later but it’s absolutely breathtaking. Highly recommended if you’re willing to test your endurance.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/1000 ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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There are certain things you can almost always guarantee when you’re visiting the National Mall. 1. its stunningly beautiful 2. the monuments will always have you looking up 3. there will almost always be puddles so once in a while you should look down. For some reason, even if there has been no rain for days, this puddle will always be there. They are on the set of stairs that’s closer to the Reflecting Pool than the Lincoln Memorial but it creates these amazing reflections.

Sometimes I’ll find inspiration in this puddle, this time I thought it was really cool how that guy was looking out towards the Washington Monument and I love how I was able to catch that in the reflection as well.

If you’ve been catching up with the blog this past week, this is the 4th image in the hour that I spent at the National Mall photographing the sunrise this past month. I thought it would be real interesting to show the importance of making sure you aren’t stuck in one place and you keep walking around to find multiple compositions.

This image sort of reminds me of the first one in that there is a space in the reflection between the actual subject and where the reflection starts. I love how there is that peek a boo of trees just coming out. Everything just seems to line up real nicely in this image.

Click here if you missed the second and third image.

As far as Andrew and I? Today we’re in Geiranger, Norway. Out of our whole trip, this is the place that I’m looking most forward to staying in. We were able to get this cute cabin right along the water. I’m really looking forward to waking up and walking right out to this amazing view. Can’t WAIT!

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/400th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.

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This is probably one of my favorite views ever of the National Mall. It’s right when you’ve reached the top of the Lincoln Memorial steps and turn around to see behind you. There’s just something about the columns framing the Washington Monument that makes me so happy. It was odd though, for a Sunday morning, a weekend morning, there was hardly anyone out. Usually you’ll see at least runners and small groups of people here or there. But I’m glad this lady was there. Her red shirt pops perfectly as she’s taking her own photograph.

This is the second image in the five images that I’ll be posting this week, encouraging photographers to walk around when they’re out taking pictures. You’ll never know what images you’re missing by staying in one place the whole time. The first image was right on the Lincoln steps leading up to this image. I really believe that if you keep walking around and try new compositions you’ll find new ones that you may have never seen before and probably end up really loving.

This five day series is coming because Andrew and I are in Norway! We landed in Bergen yesterday and spent the afternoon exploring the city. Today we’re headed to FlÃ¥m which marks the beginning of our road trip. Hopefully we’ll get to ride the railway system. Thank you to everyone who has suggested it. I am so looking forward to seeing more of this country. Planning the trip was so fun, I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like to experience it. I’ll be adding pictures and videos to my instagram stories so definietly follow along if you’re not already.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/80th of a second at ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens handheld.