united states

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And this is what it looks like when lightning strikes behind the clouds. I love the glow the clouds are giving off in this image. So much so that it’s kind of hard for me to say if I like this image better or the one I took of the actual lightning strike. There’s something about seeing all the definition in the clouds that I can’t stop looking at. Plus it’s incredible how much light actually comes from lightning. *trying my best not to reference Grease Lightning*

Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.

In other news, Andrew and I are headed to Oregon next week. I can’t wait. It’s our first times visiting and I’m really looking forward to spending time exploring the Pacific Northwest. You should see my google map. It’s filled with pins. Is it me or does it seem like everywhere you turn is another waterfall in Oregon? While I was doing some photo research, I read that someone called it the “Iceland of America”. I giggled but also really hope it’s true.

I also discovered that Oregon seems super dog-friendly. Out of all the places I was interested in going, Crater Lake National Park is the only place that dogs aren’t allowed to go. So with that in mind, Frankie’s coming on the trip with us too! I can’t wait to go on hikes with him and run on the beach. Don’t worry though, we bought a backpack for when he gets tired on the hikes 🙂 Can’t wait!!

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

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Hey Hey Hey! Guess what today is?! It’s my birthday! Virgo baby! I’d be lying if I said I was one of those people who don’t make a big deal out of their birthdays because I DO! I love my birthday. What other time do you get to publicly declare how awesome you are without getting weird looks? Plus theres birthday cake. And I love birthday cake. Especially on a Tuesday. With extra frosting. And ice cream on the side 🙂 Hopefully there will be some french fries today too.

I’m also really proud of the fact that today is Michael Jackson’s birthday as well. Birthday twins! RIP. Two creative geniuses born on the same day. HAHA JK about me being a creative genius. See, I can say stuff like that because today is my birthday 🙂

Anyways… I took this shot a couple of years ago after a summer storm in the DC area. It was a crazy evening because the storm ended right around sunset. I wasn’t expecting much because I thought the sunset wouldn’t have had time to shine through but then the rainbow popped up. We were there just in time. The glow from the sun and the clouds made this an even more incredible scene. I just love the red/orangey hues contrasted with the blue skies. I feel lucky that I was able to even witness it, let alone photograph it. I just remember being really, really happy when it was all over. Just a few minutes later the storm clouds kept rolling in and another storm was hit the Marine Corps Memorial . I got wet but it was totally worth it. Nothing makes me happier than to see colorful skies like this.

My camera settings for this image was F/22 at 1 second ISO 64 on a tripod.

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I made this picture last week in between creating this one and this one. There was about a 30 minute window from when the rainbow faded and when the sun was about to go down. At first I was thinking I should just go back to my car and sit in the air conditioning for a little while, then I stumbled upon some flowers and got all distracted. The flowers were right in front of the United States Botanical Gardens which is located very conveniently next to the US Capitol. At that time, it was already closed but it was nice being able to walk around the front area garden for a little while and capture some flowers and plants.

I was particularly drawn to this image. Straight out of the camera it had some beautiful tones that I knew I could bring out more in post processing. All I did was make the darks a little bit darker, I tried making the tips a little more yellow and put a little vignette around the image and called it a day. Pretty simple editing processes but I really like the result. I also love monotone green for some reason.  So if you’re interested in learning more about my post processing, you can check out this video tutorial here.

The water droplets add a little bit of extra texture that I enjoy as well. It was at this time that I decided that whenever it rains, I’m going to try to remember to bring my macro lens. It’s perfect for conditions like this and its been a while since I’ve actually used it. This particular image was taken with my 16-35mm wide angle. I envision a much more detailed image with the flowers and droplets in the future, just wait and see 🙂

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Dead Horse Point. What a funny name for a state park, don’t you think? But it’s probably one of my favorite places in Utah that I’ve ever photographed. It is beautiful at any time of the day and in the two days that we were in Moab, we visited this place twice. It was that cool. I also liked it because it was so easily accessible. There weren’t long hikes or anything that you had to do in order to get some great views. You pretty much park your car and you are right there in the mix of all this amazingness. I took this while I was waiting for the sun to go down. It’s hard to believe places like this really exist.

Speaking of which, have you seen the HBO show West World? Andrew and I started watching it from a recommendation of a friend and just hearing people talk about it in general. I think we’ve seen 3 episodes of it. To be honest, I’m not a big fan. It’s a little too weird for me. There are so many characters and so much going on at once that it’s a bit too much for me. I can’t find a single character to really care about or relate to. But I mention West World because it looks like the characters on the show are straight up living in National Parks. I don’t know for sure but some of it must have been filmed in Utah and they make it look amazing! I think that’s the most exciting part of watching West World to me. Just watching the scenery and imagining what life really must of been like back in the day, when there were no real rules, just amazing landscapes. Oh man, the trouble I probably would of gotten myself into. HAHA!

BTW, did you know that if you hoover on top of the image and there’s a link to “purchase print”? Obviously, you can buy this print if you’d like, but it also allows you to view it larger. I’d recommend doing that! This image looks even better bigger! For realz.

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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!