united states capitol

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Happy 2020! 

My first official blog post of the new year. Hope you all had a great holiday and a happy new year. But now that the holidays are over, I figured this would be the most appropriate image to post. I captured it yesterday during a sunrise walk around the US Capitol with my friend, Andy.

It turned out to be a great sunrise with color in the sky, but I thought this image was something different. The tree had been blocked off all morning so it was cool to see that they were getting ready to take down the holiday decorations. Just in the little time we spent watching them take down the ornaments, it seemed like they had a long road ahead of them. A timelapse would have been cool to capture of it all.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/3200th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Going through some images I took earlier in the year, I found this gem. I had no idea I captured the lightning because the exposure was actually pretty dark. I thought maybe a lightning strike hit behind the clouds or something but it was the bright light on the left-hand corner that caught my eye where I thought it could be something. So in Lightroom, I brought up the exposure and found the lightning strike! It was so exciting. Probably almost as exciting as capturing it, even though I didn’t know I had captured it at all.

It brought back all these memories of that evening. Obviously, I knew I captured this one and waiting out the rain on the west side of the Capitol was awesome because we didn’t actually get wet. But it’s always a good time storm chasing with friends. It makes the time go by so much faster.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/5th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm.

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It happened! OMG! I’m pretty sure it’s because I blogged about it last week, but I was finally able to capture a lightning strike this summer. I still can’t get over it.

I had been talking to my friend, Andy sporadically throughout the day through text message when I finally asked him if he wanted to meet up for sunset. He told me he was already meeting up a friend for sunset but if I wanted to join them, I was welcome to. So I crashed their party and invited another friend and ended up having such a great time.

The best part was that we did not even get wet! The storms were passing right in front of us and we definitely felt some of those lightning strikes, but no actual raindrops on us. It was perfect.

The sunset ended up being dramatic but I stayed about an hour after to try to get a more distinct lightning strike. You can definitely see lightning strikes a lot better when it’s dark out.

Holy cow I did not expect this one. It was like Thor’s hammer slammed straight down into the Capitol Reflecting Pool. I’m still so excited I was able to capture it.

Since I got one, I’m hooked. I can’t wait for another storm to happen so I can try to get even more lightning strikes. Maybe now that I’ve blogged about it again, it will happen again 🙂 Fingers crossed!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Hope you enjoyed the last two blog posts where I relieved some of my favorite moments of 2018. If you missed it, you can see them here and here. There were just so many images to choose from because I tend to like all my images LOL. but for some reason this one didn’t make the cut.

This evening at the US Capitol was pretty epic. There was barely any rain but the lightning strikes were going crazy. It was perfect. The only reason why it didn’t make the 2018 favorites just because I wasn’t able to capture the lightning strikes like how I’d hoped for. I was really hoping for a huge strike like this one I captured in 2016. Man, I think capturing that image has sort of made me a bit jaded from all the other lightning strikes I’ve been able to capture. Like this one is cool and all but… LOL.

But I do really like this image because of the composition. Those clouds were epic and I loved the way the sky turned from dark blue to purple when the lightning would hit. Just showing that little bit of of the US Capitol dome is all the information you need to know exactly where you’re standing. It was beautiful night and I was so lucky to even capture anything at all.

So let me know, were there images that you liked in 2018 that weren’t on my list? I’d be really interested in hearing your opinion.

Either way, I’m so looking forward to 2019! It’s going to be a fantastic year with hopefully a lot more photo opportunities like this one to capture that huge lightning strike I’ve been looking out for.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/13th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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As you may know, I’ve been on the hunt for fall colors in the city and the US Capitol never disappoints. However sunrises can sometimes be disappointing. The night before, as I was getting ready for bed, I checked my weather apps. All signs pointed to a colorful sunrise but when I got up in the morning I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Usually when you get a colorful sunrise, you have to have clouds and there was not a cloud in the sky. So since I was up, I decided to make my way down to the Capitol anyway. I was a little discouraged because I had my hopes up and I really think that played a part of how my images turned out while I was on the east side of the Capitol. I didn’t really come out with anything that I really liked. I even stopped by Lower Senate Park but it was all closed for construction. As I was leaving, I felt like it must have been one of those days where I wasn’t going to get much. It’s ok because those days happen more often than I’d like to admit but then something magical happened.

I was on my way home and I just saw this gold glow coming from the street right ahead of me. It just happened to be this amazingly beautiful tree covered in yellow leaves and I had to pull over. Don’t tell anyone but the only spot available was for government officials only, but I was only going to be there for a second 😉 So glad I did because I love the way this turned out. Images like this is what makes me super excited for the seasonal change. So in the end, it all worked out. I really believe that if you come out with even one good image that the photo session is totally worth it.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/1250sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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From the other day when I was going through old photographs of the US Capitol, I ran across this one. This on the other hand, I do remember photographing. It was earlier this year, I don’t remember what season, but I do remember it being cold. I also remember that I was the only photographer out while there were severals runners all around me. Do you see that person in the blue? I think she kept on running by me to see what I was actually doing. She’s in several of my shots but decided to not really include her in the final image since I think the compass is the main focus here. I also remember just walking around the Capitol grounds and just having a great time listening to my earphones.

Sometimes I listen to music in my earphones but other times I’m listening to audiobooks. I just finished my latest earlier this week. It was Tiffany Haddish’s book, The Last Black Unicorn. It reminded me a lot of Kevin Hart’s book, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons because it’s all about how Tiffany became a comedian. I love how she reads the book herself. I feel like it gives me a way better feeling of who she is in real life. I feel like if we met, I would be cracking up laughing the entire time.

The book is funny but I was not cracking up laughing the entire time. Tiffany has gone through some crazy stuff in her life that makes you realize how amazingly strong this woman is. She’s definietly a role model to someone who needs to look on the brighter side of things. A little warning: It does get a little raunchy at times but overall I’d recommend it to my friends if they’re looking for an interesting book to read/listen to.

If any of you have any other book recommendations, please let me know. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I read/listen to a lot of motivational, self improvement or biography type books. I love a good non-fiction story.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/15 sec at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.