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After 3 years of repair work, the Washington Monument finally reopened. I was so excited to get back up there, I had only been once before – the last time it reopened. LOL.

So I heard a rumor that it was actually staying open until 9 pm the first week that it was opened. I had to jump on this opportunity as fast as I could because it will be difficult to get sunset views like that ever again. There’s a possibility that it could happen again in November when the sunset is closer to 5 pm (the regular closing time), but to be able to take my time and take images as I please, I wanted to get up there asap.

From now until October 15th, you will have to go in the morning to line up and get tickets at the Monument for the same day. After the 15th, it can be done online. But waking up early in the morning never stood in my way. I arrived around 6:45 am and I was about 20th in line. Luckily, you can request what time you want to go up and so I got it for 6:30 pm.

It was a cloudless day but the sun was still glowing all over the city. Obviously, I spent most of my time in the window facing east. I love this view of the WWII memorial with my long lens. It’s so interesting to see all the people and what they are doing… from above 🙂

My camera settings for this image are F10 at 1/40th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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We had a couple of thunderstorm warnings last week but for some reason, none of them really came to be. I’m still on the hunt to capture a lightning strike this summer so I tried my best to get out there to try to capture the weather. But when the actual rain didn’t happen, I was fortunate enough to still be able to at least capture this beautiful sunset.

I love how the colors in the sky are in line with the trees and it just looks like a band of color stretched across the entire image. I will be honest and say that I got rid of some of the people on the left-hand side. Just one small group of people because they were wearing really bright clothes and it was distracting to see them in the dark trees. I wanted to make sure that the focus was entirely on the Lincoln Memorial and the amazing sunset.

Hopefully, the storm warnings we have this week will actually come to be.

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My camera settings for this image is F16 at 1/4th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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Yesterday was a great day. The kind of day where you go out and get ice cream to celebrate – Dairy Queen vanilla soft serve and dipped in chocolate to be exact. So after Andrew and I basically inhaled our ice cream we set off to go to the Tidal Basin for a little walk around at sunset.

First of all, it was DEFINIETLY tour bus season. I don’t think I have seen so many people at the National Mall at one time. It was kind of insane. But that didn’t even matter because as soon as we parked, I noticed this amazingly bright rainbow. I walked over to the pedestrian bridge as fast as I could and saw how the rainbow was coming right out of the Jefferson Memorial. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything so perfect. Andrew ran to the bathroom while I was having the time of my life capturing the rainbow. I didn’t want to move because I was afraid the rainbow would fade away but I saw it for a good 20 minutes before it started disappearing in the clouds.

It was all good because the sunset that followed the rainbow was equally as cool. It’s been a while since we had such great weather conditions. Thank you lightning storm that passed earlier in the day. But I am so grateful for that rainbow and sunset. It made for the perfect ending to an already great day. I won’t even mention the gummy bears we got on our way back home. LOL

Have a great weekend everyone, especially to all the mamas out there. I appreciate you! Special shout out to my mom. The more I grow up, the more I see you in me. It’s especially evident when I look in the mirror. OMG.

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/125th of a second at ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Another one from Saturday morning’s amazing sunrise.

I was walking up the Lincoln Memorial steps when I just had to turn around and appreciate the morning light. It felt so good on my back that I wanted to see what it looked like and I saw this scene. My favorite part of it all is the light that is shining right down the middle of the image.  My eye keeps going to the huge shadow it created of the guy walking down the steps. It looks like the shadow is as tall as the Washington Monument!

I don’t usually put a lot of sunbursts in to my images, but I do shoot them a lot. Sometimes I feel like they can be a bit overwhelming and may take away from the image. In this particular one, I think it works well. I think it helps create the mood of the light shining down on the reflecting pool and everyone walking around it. I also think it’s interesting how the light effects the people depending on where they stand. The people who are closest to the reflecting pool look so teeny tiny, I love all the layers in this image.

On a side note, how about all that rain and snow we got? Please magnolias. Please stay warm and intact. I’m not so worried about the cherry blossoms. I think they’ll be fine. A similar weather situation happened last year where we got ice and freezing temperatures right before they were about to bloom and they were fine, for the most part. In some ways it was kind of better because it deterred a lot of people from visiting the Tidal Basin. All good with me! But I’m not so sure about how well the magnolias will do since they’ve already started blooming 🙁

The settings for this image is F22 at 1/20th of a second and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm handheld.

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So here it is, the deer story! As Andrew I were walking around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park around sunset, we noticed about 3 or 4 deers drinking the water. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and from a distance, I started taking pictures. Then we noticed some other people even closer to the deer walking towards them. The deer didn’t seem to be scared or anything because they didn’t run away, so after witnessing that, I wanted to go closer, obviously.

We slowly walked closer to them and noticed that there were so many more than just 3 or 4. There were like at least 10 of them! AND there were some baby deer too. They were sooooo cute. Pretty soon there was a big group of us people surrounded by all these deer! I’ve seen deer before but not this many at one time and never this close up and calm. All of us were taking pictures but moving really slow to not scare the deer. But eventually, after standing there for about an hour observing the deer, the sun had set and it was getting dark fast.

Andrew and I decided to break away from the pact of people and continue on to the trail to walk back to the car, but the deer had another idea. As soon as one of them saw us walking past them, he started CHARGING AT US!!! OMG scariest ish EVER! So I ran towards Andrew, looked behind at the deer and he CHARGED AT US AGAIN!!!! By the third time he charged at us, Andrew and I had ran so far down the lake that we put everyone else in between us and the deer. At one point, we heard this lady scream “Stop Running!” In my head, I was like ‘lady, are you crazy?!?!’

After freaking out for 20 minutes, I confessed to Andrew that I had made eye-contact with the deer and that’s probably why he charged at us. Oh man. Never again deer! So we ended up back tracking and taking the long way back to the car.

The best part is that I got the beginning of the first charge on video! It will be up on youtube soon but I stopped recording as soon as I realized what was happening. Biggest regret- turning off my camera 🙁 Oh well, I got a little bit of it that I will share soon….

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You know what’s funny? As I was shooting this, I noticed I was the only one who was getting up close to the US Capitol building. There were quite a few tourists out there with me. I think a bus pulled up while I was there and so many of them were taking selfies in front of the Capitol. But no one would even get near the fountain. Weird, right? Maybe it was the Capitol police with their guns that looked so intimidating. Or maybe they were just not trying to get into my shot. Either way, I was all alone taking this picture. I’m not complaining though. It was really nice to be the only one. Who knows how many people got pictures of my back side though. HAHA.

On this evening, it looked like it was going to storm but I don’t think it actually did. The clouds were super dark. I couldn’t tell with my eyes if they were moving but once I slapped on the Ice Neutral density filter 10 stop, I could see that they were making this really cool effect. Like they were all racing out of the Capitol dome. I really liked it so I tried different angles and came out with this one. This one came out particularly awesome because you can see some reflection in the water and may I add the symmetry of the building’s architecture is probably the coolest part of the image.

For some reason seeing dark and moody images of the Capitol always reminds me of President Underwood. So now that House of Cards season 5 is officially back on Netflix, I think you know what Andrew and I will be doing on our flight back home from our trip. Oh man, can’t waitttt. This season is really going to be good!