In an effort to push me out of my comfort zone and try something new, I did something that I never thought I would ever do. I left my house around 8:45 pm and drove all the way to the Shenandoah Mountains ALL BY MYSELF AT NIGHT!
I’m not sure what got me to do this but I was just craving a new challenge and just a different type of photography than I’m used to. I say that I thought I’d never do it because I never thought I’d have the courage to go into the mountains all by myself AT NIGHT. I don’t know about you, but I get freaked out about all these animal noises I’ve never heard before. But luckily, I pulled myself through it and I am so excited to go back again for another round!
I captured these at the Jeremy’s Run Overlook (I THINK), just a few overlooks away from the Thorton Gap Entrance into Shenandoah Park. Since I got there at night, it was pretty difficult to find out a foreground element. My first idea was to try to get myself in the image. But figured it would need more light, so I had to coordinate my interior car lights with my cellphone acting like I was taking a picture of the milky way with my phone. It was a fun experiment but moved on to the most obvious foreground in front of me, this crazy branchy tree.
I am very happy with the way both of these turned out. I think in all my years of photography, I’ve only tried to capture the milky way a hand full of times. I was not so confident with my focus, but in the end, I think it turned out pretty good. *pats on the back
My camera setting for the self-portrait is F2.8 at 3.2 seconds at ISO 3200 with my Sony A7II and 35mm lens. My camera settings for the tree image are F1.8 at 13 seconds at ISO 3200 with my Sony A7II and 35mm lens.
Also, some exciting camera equipment upgrades coming soon 🙂
In the past few weeks and even days, I’ve started realizing all the things I used to take for granted. I used to take for granted meeting up with a friend for lunch. I never even considered the fact that I would be unsafe walking past someone on the sidewalk. I took for granted being able to run to the grocery store real quick when we ran out of eggs. Now it’s a lengthy discussion with Andrew as to who’s going to go, what we want to eat for the next couple of days and if we have all the ingredients, fun snacks and even to make a note to look out for toilet paper (which we’re running dangerously low on!). Needless to say, it’s a crazy time where I’ve been feeling a lot of ups and downs. When I’m feeling up, I am productive doing things that make me happy.
A few images from an expired roll of Porta 400 film from cherry blossom season. I got these images developed from PhotoVision.
When I’m feeling down, I try my best to journal or write at least write down the things that I’m grateful for. Going on neighborhood walks has helped. Sitting down and expressing my feelings out to Andrew or friends on the phone has been great too. I’m still constantly thinking about what’s going to happen after all of this is done, when it’s going to be done but I just know all this uncertainty can’t be answered right now. When I catch myself feeling like this, I try to remember how I’m blessed to even have my health and almost instantly feel better.
From a walk on the Mt Vernon Trail before the stay at home order in Virginia.
I’ve also realized that every time I step foot outside my house, I’m concerned about the coronavirus. Even if it’s just to walk Frankie, I’m on the lookout to see who’s about to come near us and I feel so disturbed having those feelings. This has also hindered my photography. I’m not going out nearly as much as I used to but still feel the urge to capture images. I’ve taken a few pictures around my neighborhood and surrounding areas which has been nice.
Our local grocery store that I can walk to.
One day, Andrew and I just needed to get out so we decided we’d go fo a car ride. It was great to get out but so weird to see the streets of DC so quite. Frankie loved the little outing too. I also need to make a mental note that whenever I leave the house, I should bring my camera. I want to get better at that, especially since it doesn’t happen very often.
We didn’t get out of the car. Just enjoyed the views from inside.
While I’m home, I’ve been working on a few personal projects. One project that I’ve mentioned in my newsletter and on Instagram is that I’ve been scanning old family pictures. Luckily, my mom gave me a few photo albums before everything really broke out so it’s been keeping me busy. I’ve also taken the time out to scan images from high school.
A few family scans
But a majority of the time I’ve been trying to learn more. I want to take this time to try to improve my own photography. I love watching youtube videos of other photographers and attending webinars. I’ve learned that one thing that I don’t want to take for granted now is all this extra time we’ve been given. No more time spent stuck in traffic, no more time even commuting anywhere or even running mindless errands has given me so much “extra” time. All those things that I use to say that I would do if I had more time, I’m going to try to do them now!
I’ve also been going back and editing some older images. (L) Our first snowstorm in March 2018. (R) Surfer in San Diego in January 2019
But I think one of the most rewarding experiences so far has been running again. It’s been a great release for me. Andrew and I used to run a lot together when we first started dating. But after I ran a half marathon in 2015, I haven’t ran much. Running now has shown me how much stronger I have gotten over the years just by working out at the gym (which has now been replaced by virtual workouts). But in general, I feel less winded and my mile has definitely gotten faster. I am starting to feel really good when I go out for a run too. After all of this, I’m not sure if I’ll still continue running. But for now, I’m am grateful to be able to concentrate more on my health.
That’s all from me. This update was kind of all over the place with all the things I’ve been thinking about and doing but I hope you enjoyed it. Sending you much love and well wishes. Stay safe!
PS If there are any particular blog posts or photo content that you’d like to see from me, please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to use my skills to try to make you feel safe and more comfortable at home.
We flew in and out of Portland and hit the ground running. Our first stop upon arrival was donuts, but as soon as we picked up the essentials, we made our way to Cannon Beach. LOL. Just an hour and a half from Portland but by the time we arrived at our hotel, I was exhausted. We spent a little time walking around the beach but it was mostly spent decompressing in our hotel.
So Andrew and I woke up early the next morning (while Frankie continued to sleep in the hotel) and made our way to Ecola State Park. While researching the Oregon trip, this seemed like the place to be to get a great overall view of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock and it really was. I loved how peaceful it was in the morning and for a little while, we were the only ones there.
If I remember correctly, the tree on the left-hand side was a stand-alone tree and probably one of the biggest ones at the viewpoint. I captured this image while we were walking back to the car. I loved the way the branch was framing Haystack Rock. I’ll be sharing more images from this view soon because it was just so impressive. I just thought this one was an interesting one and slightly different from what you typically see at Ecola State Park.
My camera settings for this image are F10 at 1/320th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
Taken right after I captured this image, this bird was basically singing in my ear. I turned around and I could tell he was having a good time in the Smithsonian Gardens hopping from one branch to the next. So when he actually stopped to pose for the picture, I had to take it. He kind of sticks out but also kinda blends in with the background at the same time which I like.
By the way, why are all animals always “he”?
Along with the cherry blossoms, I always look forward to when the Magnolias bloom around the city. I don’t think they get enough credit because they are beautiful too. It seriously feels like you’re walking through a pink wonderland sometimes with how much blooms around the city. I love spring.
Anyways, hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll probably still be out taking pictures throughout. Even though peak bloom has passed for the magnolias and cherry blossoms, I also kind of like it when the flowers are falling off a bit. When the pedals are all over the grass and in the Tidal Basin water. Especially with the rain and hopefully wind, we’re getting today it should make for some interesting petal formations. I’m hoping the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas will look totally different.
That’s the thing about cherry blossom/magnolia/flower season, it’s just so hard to let go. LOL. It comes and go so quickly when all you want to do is just sit and appreciate them for a little while longer.
My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/80th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
This may sound crazy but a couple weeks ago I bought my very first pair of real hiking boots. For the amount of hiking that I’ve done with just plain ol’ sneakers, these definietly came at the right time. Don’t get me wrong or anything, I feel no aches or pains with my sneakers, I just think that I’ll be better supported with some proper footwear. They’ll definietly come in handy next month 😉
But for now, heres an image from my last hike. This was taken at the end of the trail at Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park. Just steps away from the parking lot was this house covered by trees and bushes. It down poured on us at the end of our hike. By the time I reached this house it had already stopped raining but all the steam that came from the rain and the humidity mixing literally made everything glow. I just love how that one branch is pointing directly at the point of the roof to make everything so centered in this image. Even the trees surrounding the house almost look perfectly straight as if they were grown for this image. Everything is just so straight up and down, I love it!
Now that the spring flowers have basically come and gone. Everything in our area is looking very green. I’m really looking forward to all the summer flowers that bloom like the sunflowers and these lotus flowers. The best ones in the DC area are definietly the ones in Anacostia at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Its like rows and rows full of them. The only thing that’s not so great about them is that they are only open from 8:30a to 5p. Peak hours for the sun light to be shining down on them so they can be a little difficult to photograph.
My tip to photograph the lotuses during this time would to be find a large tree. Hopefully it’s casting it’s shadow on at least one of these lotuses so it would be very even lighting on the flower. They really can be really difficult to photograph under the extremely harsh light. If you can’t find one that’s in a shadow, then I’d recommend trying to shoot from the bottom looking up. They can look amazingly majestic from this point of view and the light shining down on them can really help. And especially with the pink color, they look great against a blue sky. I remember when I first found about these flowers, Kenilworth didn’t close their gate so I could walk in at sunrise. They must of learned from Great Falls Park to shut it down once it was closing time 🙁