In November 2020, I was out trying to photograph the full moon and unfortunately, clouds had a different idea. The moon was completely covered and I was just standing in the cold with my camera and 70-200mm on a tripod. I could have gone the next night when the sky would have been clear but I just was feeling so discouraged that I didn’t want to. This had been my 3rd month in a row where I wasn’t able to capture the moon. So I wanted to do something that would keep me motivated to go out and shoot.
Right then and there I came up with an idea that I should rent the biggest lens I can find. LOL.
So after discussing this idea with a few friends, I finally decided that I’d rent a 200-600mm lens. This would bring a whole new view to the city that I couldn’t even imagine. I rented it from lensrentals.com and I could not have been more excited that it actually came 3 days earlier than I had expected. So I had 10 days with the lens and I was pumped!
Images my friend, Albert captured me with the 200-600mm
My first real test came on an afternoon at the Washington Monument. It is actually the same exact place where I came up with the idea to rent the lens so it’s funny that this was the first place that I want to go to test it out.
I was blown away!
600mm ISO 250 F6.3 1/2500 on a tripod
324mm ISO 250 F6.3 1/2500 on a tripod
The compression on the lens is CRAZY. These people were at least 20 feet away from me. The US Capitol is about a mile away from the Washington Monument. But if you asked me, it seriously looks like you could just reach out and touch the people.
Here are my top 5 favorite GoPro Mounts and Accessories for travel and adventure photography.
If you are looking for a super simple way to capture water sports, time lapses or just have a different perspective for your images and videos, read on…
My personal GoPro journey started when I got the GoPro Hero 2 in 2011.
My husband, Andrew and I were starting to get more and more into scuba diving and I wanted to have an easy way to capture what we were seeing underwater. Of course, I could have gotten a housing for my DSLR camera, but it wasn’t really something I wanted to invest that much money in. In order to get quality housing for the camera, it had to cost as much as your actual camera. We don’t live near a beach so I was skeptical to pay thousands of dollars for something I could only use one or two times a year.
Plus who has time to mess with lighting, flashes, and settings when you’re just trying to scuba diving for fun. All the fishes would have swum away by the time you had your focusing correct.
So as an alternative I always had an underwater point and shoot cameras that lasted half a year. Or I would buy a separate underwater housing for point and shoot cameras. Even then the cameras never lasted as long as I thought they should have since they had been underwater. So that was reason number 2 why I didn’t want to risk the same thing with my DSLR camera.
But when the GoPro first came out, I remember being amazed. This tiny camera fits in the palm of my hand, it takes amazing pictures, AND I could take it underwater! Slap on an underwater housing with the red filter (to neutralize the color) and my underwater images were AMAZING! I was hooked ever since. Unfortunately, I can’t find any of those images of those early on videos. If I happen to stumble upon them one day, I’ll update this post. But this is not to say the quality of images will be the same as a DSLR camera underwater. This was just the easiest, solution for me. The DSLR images will be far superior.
I loved having a small adventure camera to go underwater or carry around with me and not worry about dropping or messing it up. Just the way that they are built they seem so rugged that can take falls, scrapes or pretty much anything you throw at it. Perfect to take anywhere if you just want to throw it in your backpack quickly.
Since the evolution of the GoPro cameras, you don’t even particularly need underwater housing anymore. The GoPro is waterproof and as long as you’re staying above 33 ft (10m), you should be good to go without any kind of underwater housing. But with housing, you can go down to 196ft!
The best part about GoPro cameras is all the different mounts and accessories that go along with the camera. OMG, the possibilities are endless and SO MUCH FUN.
I may have had the GoPro Hero 3 as well. Now I’m at the GoPro Hero 5 Black. I love this little camera.
So with all my adventure camera experience, here are my favorite mounts and accessories that I have used to capture some of my favorite travel images and videos:
Side note: In my opinion, I would skip out on the Accessory Kits you see on Amazon. There’s just so much in them and I’m pretty sure you won’t even end up using half of the screws and mounts that you get with them. It will just end up as a pile in your closet.
After using your camera a few times, you’ll get an idea of what kind of images you’ll want to capture and just purchase those mounts or straps that will help you accomplish that idea.
GoPro Head Strap and QuickClip
You may feel a little ridiculous walking around with this thing on your head but the unique perspective is my favorite part. I love how it keeps you hands-free PLUS you can include your hands in the shot. That way your viewer can see exactly what you’re doing. Perfect for any kind of tutorial videos or just giving your viewer a little more personal view of what it’s like being at your travel location. I used to use this strap a lot when we were scuba diving but now I use it for fun photo walks or on long hikes in mountains.
So remember how in May-ish I was so excited for lightning season? On the east coast, we can get some pretty crazy lightning storms in the summertime and the first one I captured this year was pretty cool. I had never seen a lightning strike sideways before. It has always been vertical. I’m not sure how it happened like that, maybe it was too cloudy or something like that? But either way I thought it was really cool.
But that wasn’t the whole image. THE SECRETS OUT! I cropped it. LOL. In that same exact image, I actually captured a second lightning strike. I thought it was really funny looking and really different because of how yellow it was. Even though it looked cool, I didn’t think it helped the image at all. I find it a bit distracting because it’s so bright. It’s kind of like two different storms going on at once. What do you think? Would you have left it in?
Anyways, I read somewhere that September is going to remain hot in the Washington area. Hopefully that will bring more opportunities for lightning. If not, it’s ok too. I’m looking forward to the change of season and everything that fall has to bring.
In order to capture this image, I was standing in between the columns of the Jefferson Memorial. The Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial are great places to go if you ever want to photograph lightning in the district. Its scenic with the perfect amount of shelter so you and your camera gear dont get wet. I don’t use any phone apps or anything to capture them. It’s all really just watch the lightning for a bit to figure out the pattern of lightning strikes and hope for the best.
Now that our Caribbean vacation is just a few days away, I thought it’d be appropriate to post about Iceland. LOL. I don’t know what it is about Iceland that makes me want to keep going back. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Everyone who I know who’s been there has been more than once. I’ve been twice but I would like to go back asap.
because I still haven’t seen a great display of northern lights
because I still haven’t gone to the northern part of the island
Last time I was there, we tried to go into an ice cave but it got cancelled because of rain and I would LOVEEEEE to photograph one.
because every single corner of the island is amazing and so photogenic
I had the best smoked salmon of my life on my last trip and can’t wait to eat even more
The list goes on and on. Plus I didn’t even mention the horses! And you know me and fluffy cute animals. So hopefully I can make that happen asap. Or at least when I return from the beach 🙂
But this image was from my last trip to Iceland in the beginning of last year. I remember we weren’t planning on stopping here but ended up getting out of the car because it was so beautiful. It was pretty cool too because we were the only ones on this side of the beach. Everyone else was on the other side of the cliffs. I brought my tripod out with me so that I could get those silky smooth water with my neutral density filter. I loved the way it turned. This image was originally a horizontal image that I cropped to vertical. I think it’s much more dynamic this way.
I found the biggest difference between photographing the US Capitol and the other memorials like Lincoln Memorial or Jefferson Memorial during lightning was the fact that there was no real place to hide from the rain. At least when you visit the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial, you are able to hide under a bit of shelter and still be able to create images. At the US Capitol there is nothing like that so you’re basically out in the open, hoping your camera gear doesn’t get soaked.
That was the case for this image. I actually had a huge rain droplet in the middle of my lens and didn’t even notice until a couple of frames after this image. Its ok though because I cropped the image to the most interesting part of the image anyways. I’m just glad I caught it when I did. Every time the lighting would strike, it turned the skies crazy purple. I love how the relationship between the lightning and the US Capitol dome. The lighting bolt is twisting and turning in all kinds of ways when the US Capitol is so straight and architectural. I think my favorite part of the image is the fact that the lights are still on in the dome. It some how gives it even more life.
I’m really looking forward to photographing more lightning this summer, especially since sunrise is so early now, I’ve noticed that I’ve been shooting a lot more sunsets and night images than sunrises. LOL. I woke up yesterday to capture the sunrise and it was totally washed out with rain. I should have just stayed in bed…
My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/15th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens on a tripod.
I remember I took this on a Sunday evening. I knew the sunset wasn’t going to be great, color wise, but I just wanted to get out there and go for a walk with my camera. It could have been the 4 slices of pizza I ate prior to the photowalk, but it was just so nice to be out in fresh air and doing what I love doing.
And PS Thank you Thank you Thank you to everyone who has ordered Snap DC so far. I am LOVING all the pictures you’re sending and all the feedback. You seriously made my whole year already. I don’t know how long this is going to last for but Amazon actually dropped the price of the book. I had no idea that they were going to do that so the original price was $29.69 and now its on sale for $24.78. So if you haven’t already, I’d get your copy of the guide now.